Virginia panel OKs bill to free up more lanes for trucks

| 2/4/2011

An effort in the Virginia House to eliminate some lane restrictions for trucks is on the move.

Virginia law now prohibits trucks from traveling in the left-most lane on interstates with at least three lanes in each direction and 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 Transportation Committee voted 13-9 on Thursday, Feb. 3, to advance a bill that would open up the left lane to trucks along stretches of heavily traveled interstates. More specifically, the bill from Delegate John Cox, R-Ashland, would authorize 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 remain unchanged.

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 bill is intended to ease congestion.

Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member John Taylor of Cross Junction, VA, said he would welcome the change being pursued at the statehouse.

?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 their support for the bill with their lawmakers.

The bill ? HB1946 ? now moves to the House floor. If approved there, it would head to the Senate for further consideration.

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

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