Ohio bill singles out trucks in left lanes

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/15/2013

A bill under review at the Ohio statehouse would ban trucks from using the far left lane on certain highways.

Current Ohio law requires any vehicle moving at less than the normal speed of traffic to stay to the right. Exceptions to the lane rule are made for preparing to turn or to overtake and pass another vehicle.

The House Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee is scheduled to consider a bill on Tuesday, Oct. 15. It would mandate that large vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds stay in the two right-hand lanes on stretches of highway with three or more lanes in the same direction.

Exceptions to the rule would include situations when a trucker is preparing to exit the roadway from the left.

Rep. Marilyn Slaby, R-Copley, is the bill sponsor. HB278 would authorize fines up to $100 for violators. Offenders who were recently convicted of other traffic offenses within the past year would face fines up to $500 and/or up to 60 days behind bars.

The effort to single out truck traffic on Ohio highways has drawn the ire of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. The Association is opposed to lane restrictions for any class of vehicle.

“Adopting lane restrictions would be an ill-advised step to take,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer. “Such restrictions invariably cause more problems than they fix.”

Spencer pointed out that when vehicles are restricted to certain lanes there is more tailgating, as well as unsafe passing maneuvers in all lanes.

“Lane restrictions simply discourage smart, safe driving practices,” he said.

Opponents also tout a Virginia Department of Transportation study from 2007 that recommended truck lane restrictions be removed on “high-volume” interstates with at least three lanes in each direction.

OOIDA encourages Ohio truckers to contact their state Representatives to voice concerns about the bill.

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

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