A review of Michigan’s left lane truck use rule has been pursued
A bipartisan push in the Michigan State House would limit the use of the left lane for large trucks when traveling on highways.
State law already prohibits all vehicles from being in the left lane. The use of the left lane is permitted in cases involving overtaking and passing another vehicle traveling in the same direction.
Commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds are also prohibited from using the far left lane on access-controlled highways, or interstates, that have three or more lanes.
Rep. Will Brock, R-Erie, is the lead sponsor of a bill introduced earlier this month that would single out large trucks on limited-access highways, or interstates. The measure includes 10 Republican cosponsors and six Democratic cosponsors.
Specifically, HB5304 would limit large trucks to the right two lanes when traveling on highways that have three or more lanes in the same direction.
Large trucks are responsible for congestion
Brock said the rule change would ease congestion on busy roads by ensuring large trucks do not block traffic in the left lane.
“By ensuring trucks stay in the right lanes, we can keep traffic flowing smoothly in the left lanes, promoting safer and more efficient transportation for all drivers,” Brock said in prepared remarks.
He added that large trucks contribute to alleviating traffic congestion.
“This legislation is a vital step toward reducing the frustration of long lines of traffic on our busiest highways,” he said.
Brock also noted that he worked with the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police to draft legislation that the departments could support.
OOIDA opposes the pursuit
Truck drivers are first-hand observers of the negative consequences of misguided traffic laws, and while it may not have been intentional, restricting trucks from certain lanes poses serious challenges to truck drivers and puts the safety of the traveling public at risk, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said.
HB5304 moved to the House Transportation, Mobility, and Infrastructure Committee.
The committee has not yet selected the left-path bill for consideration. The soonest this issue can be discussed in committee will be Tuesday 14 November.
New Mexico adopts a similar rule
New Mexico state lawmakers acted earlier this year to keep large trucks out of the left lane on highways.
State law requires all vehicles to stay on the right. Violators face fines of $25. Some exceptions apply.
In addition to this law, Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a bill to limit the use of truck lanes. In fact, the new law stipulates that large trucks traveling on multi-lane highways outside municipalities stay in the right lane. Exceptions include overtaking and passing another vehicle.
Violators face fines of $250. LL