Semi-trucks have previously been banned from the left lane on parts of Interstates 20, 30 and 45 in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. So now the DOT plans to drastically increase the number of miles in the Dallas-Fort Worth region where semi-trucks are prohibited from the left lane.
The DOT said safety was the reason the lane restrictions have been put in place, citing a 36-week study launched by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute in 2000 that found lane restrictions along I-10E in Houston resulted in 68% fewer car, truck and semi-truck accidents along main freeway lanes. A follow-up study of lane restrictions on I-20 in Dallas and I-30 in Forth Worth found lane restrictions reduced crashes by 78% and 22%, respectively.
Prohibiting semi-trucks from continuous travel in the far left lane allows passenger vehicles to move more freely in that designated lane, according to the Texas Transportation Commission. It also reduces the number of lane changes and passing maneuvers attempted by passenger vehicles, thus reducing the likelihood of semi-truck accidents.
Among the largest roads affected by the proposed change: I-30 between downtown Dallas and the Tarrant County line; I-30 to the east of the LBJ Freeway and into Rockwall County; I-35E between downtown Dallas and just beyond the Ellis County line; LBJ Freeway between North Central Expressway and I-30 in Dallas; and North Central Expressway between LBJ Freeway and the Sam Rayburn Tollway in Dallas.
The proposal still needs approval next month from the Texas Transportation Commission. Assuming this approval is granted, crews will begin installing signs later this summer. Semi-trucks caught in the wrong lane would then be subject to a citation, unless they were using the left lane to pass other vehicles or to enter and exit the highway. Fines for semi-truck drivers ignoring lane restrictions are typically $200 per violation, though the amounts differ by jurisdiction. The semi-truck lane restrictions have been popular among motorists, but some in the semi-truck industry are not in favor of the policy. Some critics of the measures, including those in the trucking business, argue that the restrictions actually create a more dangerous situation and could lead to more semi-truck accidents.
If you or a family member were injured in a car wreck or semi-truck accident, a Texas personal injury attorney can evaluate whether punitive damages may be available in your car wreck or semi-truck accident case.
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