Missouri lawmaker renews effort to scrap truck lane ban

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 12/16/2014

A renewed effort at the Missouri statehouse would open up to trucks the far left lane on certain multilane highways in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas.

Since 2008, trucks with a registered gross weight in excess of 48,000 pounds are prohibited from driving in the far left lane of “urbanized” roadways with at least three lanes of traffic in each direction.

Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer, R-Odessa, has filed a bill for consideration during the upcoming regular session that would allow large trucks to merge left for passing only. HB164 would repeal the lane rule on trucks in excess of 48,000 pounds.

Kolkmeyer also attempted to get the change through the statehouse during the 2014 regular session. The provision was included in a bill that fell one vote shy of heading to the governor’s desk.

Advocates for keeping trucks out of the far left lane say it makes roadways safer for all travelers.

Kolkmeyer, who owns Energy Transport Solutions in Bates City, Mo., has said prohibiting trucks from using the left lane does the exact opposite.

“I have had numerous drivers, as well as myself, behind the wheel and experience the problems with restricting trucks from the left-hand lane. What you end up with is a barricade in the middle,” Kolkmeyer previously told Land Line.

Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say existing state law poses serious challenges for truckers and jeopardizes the safety of the traveling public.

“By restricting the movement of trucks to the center- and right-hand lane, trucks will inevitably block on- and off-ramps and impede motorists from safely getting on and off a roadway,” said OOIDA Director of State Legislative Affairs Mike Matousek.

He also said that truckers contribute a significant amount of money to federal, state, and local transportation accounts, and they have every right to use any available lane.

“At the very least, it’s counterproductive to enact and enforce traffic laws that actually decrease safety, rather than improve it.”

HB164 can be considered during the regular session that begins Jan. 7, 2015.

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