What Are Truck-Only Lanes?

What are truck only lanes? Read this article to learn more about truck only lanes in California, how they work what to do if a trucker fails to use them

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What Are Truck-Only Lanes?

Commercial trucks are involved in thousands of major traffic collisions each year. Large trucks and tractor trailers face significant dangers to smaller passenger cars. They are normally hauled by trailers and travel on 18 wheels, weighing up to 80,000 pounds. They also transport dangerous goods, including flammable chemicals. Where a big truck collides with a vehicle, the latter almost always sustains more damage.
In 2017, heavy trucks were involved in over 4,600 deadly crashes in the United States. The state of California is attempting to limit the number of big vehicle crashes by implementing truck-only lanes.

How Do Truck-Only Lanes Work?

Truck-only lanes are precisely as their name implies: highway lanes that are restricted to the use of heavy vehicles. California is one of a few states with dedicated truck lanes. In California, these lanes are clearly marked as being distinct from the rest of the highway, with signage indicating that they are reserved for trucks and trucks only. A truck-only lane is intended to distinguish freight vehicles from regular passenger vehicles on congested sections of the highway. By separating them, you can reduce the risk of serious truck crashes and relieve congestion on the main highway, where smaller trucks go quicker than big rigs.
Truck drivers must use the black and white lanes. The signs prohibiting passenger vehicle drivers from using truck-only lanes are orange, indicating that they are not enforceable. Therefore, it is illegal for a truck driver to not use a truck-only lane, but it is not illegal for a motor car driver to use a truck-only lane. Though daily commuters can avoid the truck-only lanes in California, they will face no fines for doing so. In the other side, if a truck driver crosses a truck-only lane and starts driving on the main highway, they can be subject to a fine.

Where Are California’s Truck-Only Lanes?

While legislators are considering adding additional truck-only lanes, California currently has only two, both on Interstate 5. (I-5). I-5 in Los Angeles County begins at the State Route 14 split with a northbound and southbound truck-only lane. These truck-only lanes are 2.426 miles long northbound and 2.452 miles long southbound. To alleviate congestion on I-5, these lanes separate heavy vehicles from faster general traffic.
In California, the other truck-only lane is a southbound lane off I-5 in Kern County, beginning at the Grapevine at the State Route 99 interchange. This truck-only lane is 0.346 miles long. Its primary function is to divert commercial traffic farther down I-5, away from the point at which general traffic merges into the highway from State Route 99, in order to avoid delays and merge collisions. California’s truck-only lanes are unusual in that they physically distinguish trucks from all vehicles, with laws excluding general traffic use, rather than requiring trucks to use the right lane on a shared highway.
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What if a Truck Driver Fails to Use a Truck-Only Lane?

Truck-only lanes perform a variety of functions. They separate big trucks and passenger cars to improve motorist safety. They help open up road space and stabilize traffic by excluding slower-moving vehicles from general traffic in congested areas. Additionally, they encourage truckers to drive without fear of being cut off or going too slowly in front of them, allowing them to make delivery on schedule.
If a California truck driver fails to use a truck-only lane as required, he or she can face a traffic ticket and consequences from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. A violation can result in a fine of up to $250 for a third conviction within one year. If a truck collides with a smaller vehicle when not using a truck-only lane, the truck carrier can be held vicariously responsible for costs incurred as a result of the truck driver violating the truck-only lane’s laws. Speak with a knowledgeable Los Angeles truck accident lawyer to learn more about the truck accident lawsuit.

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