Virginia House kills bill to free up more lanes for trucks

| 2/9/2011

Virginia House lawmakers have turned back an effort to eliminate some lane restrictions for trucks.

Virginia law now prohibits trucks from traveling in the left-most lane on interstates with at least three lanes in each direction that are posted with speeds of at least 65 mph. Restrictions are also in place along interstates in Northern Virginia and on Interstate 81, regardless of the posted limit.

The House voted 60-39 on Monday, Feb. 7, to kill a bill that sought to open up the left lane to trucks along stretches of heavily traveled interstates. More specifically, HB1946 from Delegate John Cox, R-Ashland, would have authorized trucks to use the left-most lane in metropolitan areas with three or more lanes that are posted at least 65 mph.

Lane restrictions in Northern Virginia and along I-81 would not have been affected.

Cox touted a Virginia Department of Transportation study that recommended truck lane restrictions be removed on ?high-volume? interstates with at least three lanes in each direction.

According to reports, critics disregarded the study?s findings and instead pointed out that they are concerned for their own safety when sharing the road with trucks.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member John Taylor of Cross Junction, VA, said limiting trucks, or any other vehicle, to certain lanes is a detriment to safety.

?All lanes should be open, especially in congested places,? Taylor said.

He said that the safest place for trucks in high-traffic areas is the left-most lanes.

?Any time the truck is in the safest place it can be, it puts everyone else on the highway in a safer position,? Taylor said.

Cox, who is the founder and chairman of Ashland-based Cox Transportation Services, made the same point to lawmakers. As supported by the study, he explained that forcing trucks to the right-most lanes makes it more difficult for vehicles to merge onto or off roadways.

The issue most likely must wait until the 2012 session for further consideration.

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

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