Virginia bills address left lane use, snow on trucks

| 1/27/2011

A Virginia House bill would limit trucks to the right on certain stretches of interstate. Another bill would mandate that snow and ice be removed from atop vehicles.

Delegate John Cox, R-Ashland, is the sponsor of a bill that would require large trucks to stay to the right on heavily traveled interstates. More specifically, trucks couldn’t use the left-most lane in metropolitan areas with three or more lanes that are posted at least 65 mph.

Cox is the founder and chairman of Cox Transportation Services. The Ashland-based motor carrier operates mostly from Virginia to California.

Buddy Fowler, a spokesman for Cox, told Land Line the intent is to ease congestion.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member John Taylor of Cross Junction, VA, said that way of thinking is backwards.

“I don’t understand that mentality on the left-lane issue. All lanes should be open, especially in congested places,” Taylor said. “The through traffic should be using the left most lanes. It’s the safest place for trucks.”

“Any time the truck is in the safest place it can be it puts everyone else on the highway in a safer position.”

Taylor encourages other professional drivers to communicate this point with their lawmakers.

The bill – HB1946 – is awaiting consideration in a subcommittee for the House Transportation Committee.

The subcommittee this week handed down a decision on another noteworthy bill. Lawmakers opted to essentially kill an effort that sought to enable officers to pull over drivers whose vehicles were not cleared of snow or ice.

Sponsored by Delegate Jeion Ward, D-Hampton, HB2399 called for violators to face as much as $1,500 fines.

Cox called it a “bad bill” that is impractical for commercial vehicles.

Taylor agreed with that assessment. He questioned how rules like this could be enforced.

“There is too much interpretation in efforts like this. Is an officer going to get up on the truck and try to eye ball how much snow or ice is up there? That isn’t right,” he said.

Ward’s bill has been tabled, which makes further consideration unlikely.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Virginia, click here.

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