Alabama Looks to Tell Truckers to "Stay In Their Lane"

Lawmakers in Alabama are looking to do something about one of the driving’s annoying problems – trucks in the fast lane.

Current law states that “a motor vehicle traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic is required to travel in the right-hand lane or as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway as practicable.

House Bill 4 would specify that, on interstate highways and U.S. highways, "a commercial motor vehicle having three or more axles shall travel in the right lane unless passing” with limited exceptions, and that they may not take more than 2 miles to complete such passing.

The change would effectively designate a single lane on major roadways as being the truck lane with a $100 fine for trucks that leave that lane under most circumstances.

When asked about why he sponsored this bill, Alabama Representative James Hanes replied that this was a safety issue. "The more big trucks switch lanes, the more chances for car vs. truck accidents to occur." He added that he has "great respect" for the trucking industry and did not believe "this legislation is placing a burden on the industry."

While a lack of a passing exemption would likely make commercial trucking in Alabama an unworkable nightmare, its inclusion means the bill will likely only somewhat alleviate the problem. Representative Hanes mentioned that he has "video of two trucks side by side for over seven miles." Those of us who have experiened this know causes traffic issues, which Hanes stated he originally sought to address by only allowing "one mile in the outside lane for passing", but "changed it to two miles to get it done."

If this bill passes Alabama will join much of Europe and a small group of states including Georgia, Indiana, and Massachusetts which require trucks to remain in the right lanes. Other states have different restrictions, such as Washington which according to State Patrol Spokeperson Guy Gill requires that "commercial vehicles cannot travel in the left lane when there are three or more lanes" or California only allows commercial vehicles outside of the right lane when there are three or more lanes.