Texas DOT proposes lane restrictions for big trucks

The Texas Dept. of Transportation is seeking comment from the public on a proposal that would prohibit trucks with three or more axles, as well as truck-tractors — whether or not they are hauling trailers — from using the left lane of Interstate 35 through much of McLennan County.

That stretch would encompass about 14 mi. and would apply to both northbound and southbound lanes, TxDOT spokeswoman Jodi Wheatley told the Waco Tribune.

The restriction would apply around the clock and would allow trucks to use the left lane only to pass slower traffic or when entering or exiting the freeway.

TxDOT officials say the changes could improve safety on the road, citing studies by the Texas A&M University Transportation Institute that found areas that have such restrictions see fewer and less-severe wrecks.

John D. Esparza, president of the Texas Trucking Assn., said he doesn’t oppose the proposed measure, but questioned whether the lane restrictions, and not a combination of factors, may have led to fewer wrecks in areas with lane restrictions that were studied.

He added that restricting trucks to the right and middle lanes could create a “barrier” when passenger vehicles are attempting to enter or exit the highway.

Esparza added that he thinks the bigger-picture problem is drivers of passenger vehicles who make risky maneuvers and drive aggressively around big trucks.

“The sooner we understand how to share the road, the longer we’re all going to live,” Esparza said.

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