House Bill 287, sponsored by Rep. Ohio State Representative Marilyn Slaby from Copley was introduced Tuesday, October 15th. The bill would restrict trucks weighing 10,000 lbs. or more to the two far right lanes of highways that are three lanes or more.
The law has exceptions if the highway if only two lanes, there is a construction zone, an accident or the driver must exit the highway to the left. A representative for Rep. Slaby said 40 other states have similar lanes restrictions.
“Other states already do that. I don’t see it as that much of a problem. I have been pulled over before, given a warning ticket about being in the left lane. I don’t see it as being that much of a problem,” truck driver, Bill Blackwood told Fox 8 Cleveland.
If the law passes, truckers who violate the law would face a $100 fine. Drivers with recent traffic violations could have a $500 fine.
Rep. Slaby believes the law would help traffic move more smoothly, especially in areas where the speed limit is higher and many trucking companies put restrictions on the speeds their drivers can travel.
But the head of Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association opposes the law stating that lane restrictions could cause more truck accidents.
“Adopting lane restrictions would be an ill-advised step to take,” Executive Vice President Todd Spencer explained to Land Line. “Such restrictions invariably cause more problems than they fix.”
Spencer said that when truckers are limited to just two lanes there is more tailgating, and drivers may engage in risky driving maneuvers to pass slower moving vehicles.
“Lane restrictions simply discourage smart, safe driving practices,” Spencer said.
Land Line, a journal of the trucking industry, noted that a 2007 study from the Virginia Department of Transportation recommended that states with trucking lane restrictions lift them immediately. The study found that lane restrictions on lower volume roadways had road safety benefits, but that is not the case on high volume roadways.
The study notes that incidents of truck accidents were actually higher of heavily traveled interstates and highways. Researchers found that lane restrictions contributed to higher incidents of “sideswipe (same direction), angle, or rear end crashes between a truck in the right lane and vehicles merging on or off of the highway.” Rear-end accidents and sideswipe accidents where a driver is changing lanes are also higher when truckers are restricted to the right lanes.
Most motorists get irritated and frustrated with truckers, but lanes restrictions have not proven to be effective preventive tools for truck accidents. There is no solid evidence that it would allow traffic on Ohio’s roadways to move smoothly, but it may make other motorists feel safer and less intimidated which in and of itself could help reduce truck accidents.