California Semi Truck Restrictions

What are the truck lane restrictions in California? Read on to learn more about California semi truck restrictions other commercial carrier regulations

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California Truck Lane Restrictions

Sharing the lane with large commercial vehicles exposes passenger car drivers to major risks. The size and weight disparity between both vehicles will result in catastrophic injury and casualties to those inside the smaller vehicle in the event of an accident. California legislators enacted truck-only lane limits to limit the amount of time these trucks share a highway. It is actually one of only two states in the United States that does so.
truck lane laws
If you believe a truck driver violated a safety rule or failed to use the truck-only lane in connection with your crash, call a licensed Los Angeles truck accident attorney for assistance in filing a liability lawsuit.

What Are Truck Lane Restrictions?

California has more 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers than the majority of other states, due to the state’s extensive port system. As a result, legislators passed new laws separating heavy vehicles and small cars in the interest of ensuring the safety of all commuters. California developed truck-only lanes for the exclusive use of large trucks. These lanes segregate commercial trucks and other large vehicles from smaller vehicles, thus improving motorist safety and traffic flow. California’s truck-only lanes are unusual in that they are not shared with other cars. Some states prohibit vehicles from using those lanes but allow passenger cars to use them.
California currently operates two truck-only lanes and is considering adding one. On the I-5 in Los Angeles County, at the State Route 14 split, the first truck-only lane. It features a northbound truck-only lane that begins as two separate roads but eventually merges into one, as well as a southbound truck-only lane. Both lanes serve to segregate big, slower-moving vehicles from general traffic, alleviating congestion and increasing protection. The second truck-only lane in California is a southbound lane on I-5 at the State Route 99 interchange in Kern County. Its primary function is to separate trucks from general traffic at I-5 and Route 99.
If truck-only lanes are open, the regulation allows trucks to use them. This rule extends not only to commercial trucks with three or more axles, but also to other large vehicles such as U-Hauls, motorhomes, and vehicles that tow other vehicles. On conventional roads, these vehicles are generally limited to speeds of 55 miles per hour. California prohibits heavy vehicles from using the left lane on highways due to these speed limit restrictions. If there are three or fewer lanes going in the same direction, trucks must use the far right lane. Failure to use the correct lane can result in a $250 fine for repeated violations.
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Additional Regulations Governing Commercial Carriers

California Highway Patrol officers are responsible for enforcing the state’s truck-only lanes and other highway limits affecting heavy vehicles. Truck drivers in California must also adhere to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules (FMCSA). The FMCSA regulates the trucking industry on a national level. It has enacted a slew of regulations aimed at enhancing the safety and performance of common carriers. These laws include everything from alcohol checks for truck drivers to fleet maintenance standards.
  • Hours-of-service regulations;
  • Standards for drug and alcohol testing;
  • Guidelines for hazardous waste transportation;
  • Requirements for cargo securement;
  • Requirements for electronic recording devices;
  • Fleet servicing, monitoring, and repair mandates;
  • Driver preparation and recruiting procedures;
The FMCSA’s mission is to reduce major truck crashes, as well as associated injuries and fatalities, by overseeing the trucking industry’s safety. The FMCSA’s rules and regulations apply to all carriers and their staff. Failure to do so, resulting in an accident, may result in the trucking firm being held liable. If a truck driver violates an FMCSA regulation or fails to use the truck-only lanes in California, the trucking firm may be held vicariously responsible for the resulting collision. The law of vicarious liability leaves the majority of carriers responsible for their drivers’ conduct.

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