Texas to enforce left-lane truck restrictions

The Texas Dept. of Transportation announced that enforcement of left-lane truck restrictions are coming along 78 miles of U.S. Expressway 77/83 and U.S. Highway 281 in Cameron and Hidalgo counties, as soon as signs are posted along the routes.

There’s no set timetable for when signs will be posted, said Texas DOT spokesman Mark Cross told the Brownsville Herald. But when it does happen, drivers of commercial trucks with three or more axles will be required to avoid the left lane or run the risk of being written up by local law enforcement or a Texas Dept. of Public Safety trooper.

Trucks will still be able to use the left lane for passing and exiting. Lane restrictions will only be implemented on stretches with at least three lanes per direction of travel.

Fines for truckers ignoring lane restrictions are typically $200 per violation, though the amounts can vary according to jurisdiction.

The state 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 crashes 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.

TxDOT believes lane restrictions make the road safer because they reduce disparities in vehicle speeds and the frequency of lane changes and passing maneuvers. In general, lane restrictions allow highways to operate more efficiently and improve traffic flow, the DOT said.

Once the signs go up in Cameron and Hidalgo counties, 443 miles of Texas highways in 14 counties will feature lane restrictions.

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