Mark Roman | May 24, 2022 | Truck Accidents
Commercial trucks are the undisputed kings of the road. Weighing in at double-digit tons, they are significantly larger than almost any other vehicles on the road. Because tractor-trailers are so large, they create a level of danger that other vehicles don’t. To combat this, they are held to restrictions that most other vehicles aren’t.
In Florida, one of those restrictions involves the left lane of interstate highways. On I-95 and I-75, commercial trucks are not permitted to drive in the far left lane, even for passing.
These restrictions are dictated and enforced by the Florida Department of Transportation. Violation of these restrictions can result in a fine and points on a commercial driver’s license (CDL).
Does This Restriction Apply to All Trucks?
Left lane restrictions only apply to tractor-trailers. They do not apply to noncommercial vehicles, recreational vehicles, or tour buses. These types of vehicles can freely use the left lane on all highways.
Where Can Trucks Drive in the Left Lane in Florida?
Commercial trucks can drive in the left lane of almost every highway in Florida. State highways and highways with four or fewer lanes don’t have any restrictions. Only interstate highways with six lanes have this restriction.
Furthermore, not all portions of interstate highways have this restriction. When interstate highways go through urban areas such as Jacksonville and Port Saint Lucie, the restrictions are removed. The Florida Department of Transportation provides a map that shows all portions of all highways that have left lane restrictions.
Why Do These Restrictions Exist?
Left lane restrictions are a safety measure. Trucks have extremely limited sight lines and require much more space when switching lanes. By preventing truck drivers from traveling in the leftmost lane, they will switch lanes less often, which results in fewer truck accidents per year.
Truck accidents are significantly more likely to result in fatalities and serious injuries than other types of auto accidents. And even when they don’t, truck accidents are more likely to block roadways, backing up traffic for hours at a time. Left lane restrictions reduce the risk of these unfortunate situations.
Why Do Left Lane Restrictions Not Exist in Some Areas?
Left lane restrictions are primarily imposed in rural areas because those areas have few to no exits.
In locations where traffic is frequently entering or leaving the highway, restricting trucks to the right lanes interferes with the flow of traffic too much. Removing these restrictions allows vehicles to enter and exit the highway more easily, which minimizes the danger associated with highway exchanges.
What Are the Consequences of Violating Left Lane Restrictions?
The main consequence of violating a left lane restriction is a fine and three points on a CDL. The fine isn’t usually for a large amount. But getting points on your license can result in your insurance company increasing your premiums, losing your job as a truck driver, or even having your license revoked.
More importantly, if you are driving a truck in a restricted lane and get into an accident, you are very likely to be found liable for that accident. In the best of situations, that could have serious financial implications. In the worst of situations, it could end up with you being charged with vehicular manslaughter.
What to Do When a Truck Violates Left Lane Restrictions
If you are driving and you see a truck violating left lane restrictions, you should try to get away from the truck. The driver is creating an unsafe condition, and you should put your safety first. Once you are safe, you can protect others by notifying authorities of the truck driver’s behavior.
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If you need help with your injury case or you want to learn more information, please call the truck accident law firm of Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers at (727) 787-2500 or visit the nearest location to schedule a free case evaluation today.
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