Does Texas Have Truck-Only Lanes?February 23, 2017
Truck-only lanes are highway lanes designated solely for the use of trucks in order to separate trucks from other traffic to improve safety and traffic flow. Very few states have truck-only lanes. Southern California has two truck-only lanes, North- and southbound I-5 in Los Angeles County and Southbound I-5 in Kern County. Additionally, Georgia has proposed a 38 mile truck-only lane on I-75. With other states creating truck-only lanes, should Texas cities push for truck-only lanes as well? The easiest way to answer this question is to look at the benefits and risks of truck-only lanes.
- Truck-only lanes would alleviate traffic congestion and reduce the time for trucks to deliver their goods. Additionally, studies show trucks would brake and accelerate less, resulting in a reduction in per-mile operating costs. Experts believe truck-only lanes would allow longer-combination vehicles (LCV) – such as twin- or three-trailer combinations – and reduce the total number of trucks on the roads.
- Safety would improve. Of all fatal crashes involving large trucks, 79% of the fatalities were passengers in the vehicle other than the large truck.
- Additional lanes would improve speeds and potentially reduce traffic congestion.
- Trucking productivity would increase. A national LCV highway system would result in trucking productivity improvements of anywhere from 23% to 42%.
- Ironically, the major draw-back of truck-only lanes is the cost. Experts predict an additional truck-only lane would cost $2.5 million per mile per lane. To create two additionally truck-only lanes on either direction of the highway, taxpayers would be looking at $10 million per mile. Two financing mechanisms have been explored by state and federal experts – tolls paid only by large trucks and tolls paid by all vehicles.
- If trucking companies do not believe the value of truck-only lanes exceed the cost of the tollways, trucks could travel on different highways to divert the tolls, leaving passenger vehicles to pay for the majority of the cost, even though the majority of the benefits are for trucks.
Improved safety is a benefit that cannot be measured. The damage and injuries from a truck wreck can be catastrophic. However, the current cost projection is astronomical. At $10 million per mile, it is infeasible to implement truck lanes on major highways for long stretches in Texas. While truck-only lanes would be a huge benefit for truckers and drivers alike, at this time, it is unlikely to happen. Drivers should exercise caution when traveling around trucks.
If you or a loved have been involved in a truck wreck and has suffered injuries as a result of the negligence of another person, please contact us immediately. The attorneys at the Amaro Law Firm have successfully handled complex truck wreck cases and can help you hold all responsible parties liable in order to obtain any possible compensation for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.