Arizona bill would limit trucks’ lane use

| 4/5/2010

A bill halfway through the Arizona statehouse would ban large trucks from driving in the far left lane on certain roadways in the state.

The Arizona House voted 51-6 to advance a bill to the Senate that would limit lane use for trucks weighing at least 26,000 pounds or trucks pulling trailers weighing 6,000 pounds or more. Roadways affected would be those with three or more lanes in each direction.

Trucks would be required to stay in the farthest right-hand lane or in the lane immediately to the left of that lane unless otherwise posted.

Supporters say the lane ban would allow traffic to move more freely. Rep. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, painted a picture for lawmakers during recent consideration of the bill. He described a “no-zone wrap” – a vehicle surrounded by trucks – as a hazard for crashes.

The effort to limit trucks to certain lanes has drawn the ire of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA is opposed to lane restrictions for any class of vehicle.

“This sort of legislation is based on an anti-trucker bias. It’s actually counterproductive to highway safety,” said Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs. “The alleged goal of this type of legislation will only result in an increase in car-truck interactions, not a reduction.”

Rajkovacz explained that restricting trucks to the two lanes where vehicles are constantly merging on and off freeways actually slows down overall traffic flow.

“Of those interactions, you constantly have vehicles on their brakes,” he said.

The Arizona Department of Transportation would be responsible for posting signs at “reasonable intervals” to give notice of the regulations.

The bill – HB2300 – is awaiting consideration in the Senate Natural Resources, Infrastructure and Public Debt Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Arizona in 2010, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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