With Texas roadways becoming increasingly crowded, the Texas Transportation Commission stepped up measures to keep motorists safe by approving left-lane truck restrictions on an additional 78 mi. of state highway along US 77, US 83 and US 281 in Cameron and Hidalgo counties. This brings the statewide total to 443 miles where trucks cannot drive in left lanes on roadways in 14 counties.
In 2000, the Texas Transportation Institute conducted a 36-week study of left-lane truck restrictions along I-10E in Houston and reported crashes along the freeway main lanes were reduced by 68%. A follow-up study performed on I-20 in Dallas and I-30 in Fort Worth reported crashes declined by 78% and 22%, respectively.
Prohibiting large trucks from sustained travel in the far left lane allows passenger vehicles to move more quickly and freely in that designated lane, the Transportation Commission says. It also reduces the number of lane changes and passing maneuvers attempted by passenger vehicles, thereby reducing the likelihood of crashes. Large trucks, defined as having three axles or more, are still allowed to use the left lane to pass other vehicles and exit the highway.
“Safety is always our first priority and the key deciding factor when weighing decisions related to efficient travel and commerce,” said Chairman Ted Houghton, Texas Transportation Commission. “As truck traffic increases along with our population, we must consider how different types of motorists and vehicles can safely interact on our highways.”