Jason Stephens | February 10, 2022 | Truck Accidents
As you drive on the interstates around Fort Worth, TX, you will see signs that say “No Trucks Left Lane.” Traffic engineers call these “managed lanes,” and they improve safety, reduce road maintenance costs, and speed up traffic.
Here is an overview of truck lane restrictions in Fort Worth, TX, and how they affect accident cases.
The Purposes of Managed Lanes
A study by Texas A&M found that the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex is the eighth-most congested area in the U.S. According to the study, Fort Worth commuters spend 40 hours per year in traffic. Dallas-Fort Worth has more traffic congestion than Atlanta, Chicago, or Philadelphia.
Traffic engineers find ways to relieve congestion in the most cost-effective way possible. While building more roads or expanding existing roads could relieve congestion, road construction projects cost billions of dollars.
As a result, engineers have sought ways to address congestion without spending time and money designing and constructing roads.
One solution in Fort Worth comes from managed lanes. Managed lanes create a “freeway-within-a-freeway” by creating different rules for different lanes.
Some examples of managed lanes include:
- Toll lanes
- Express lanes
- High occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes
- Bus lanes
- Restricted lanes
Fort Worth has implemented most of these options.
Truck Lane Restrictions in Texas
One of the most successful managed lane systems in Texas includes restricted lanes. Restricted lanes limit the class of vehicles that can use a lane. These restrictions might only apply to certain hours, or they may last all day.
In Fort Worth, restricted lanes exclude trucks with five or more axles. This means that a semi-truck hauling a trailer cannot use these lanes.
Truck lane restrictions have relieved traffic congestion. They have also saved taxpayer money by improving the efficiency of existing roadways instead of building new ones.
Most importantly, truck lane restrictions have improved road safety. After Houston implemented truck lane restrictions on I-10, crashes dropped by 68%.
Dallas and Fort Worth saw similar improvements. Car accidents dropped by 78% after truck lane restrictions were implemented on I-20 in Dallas, and by 22% after they were implemented on I-30 in Fort Worth.
How Truck Lane Restrictions Work in Texas
In Texas, both the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) and local cities can propose truck lane restrictions. If a proposal gains approval, TXDOT posts signs and begins enforcing the restrictions. Because lane restrictions require minimal construction, they provide a cost-effective way to alter traffic patterns.
In Texas, the restrictions apply to the left-most lanes on the highway. Trucks can’t travel in these lanes during posted times, and if they do, law enforcement can issue citations. Trucks can only use the restricted lanes to pass another vehicle or to exit the highway.
These restrictions have improved highway safety because they reduce several risky moves that can lead to truck accidents, including:
Tailgating by Vehicle Drivers
Impatient vehicle drivers may be tempted to tailgate semi-trucks traveling in the left lane. Tailgating inevitably leads to rear-end collisions.
Improper Passing by Truck Drivers
Semi-trucks have large blind spots along both sides of their trailers. This can make passing dangerous, particularly in heavy traffic.
Restricting their use of the left lane results in fewer passes by truck drivers.
Truck Accidents in Restricted Lanes
If a truck accident happens in a restricted lane, the truck driver’s use of the restricted lane will come under scrutiny. If it occurred during a restricted time, a claim adjuster or jury may view the violation as evidence of negligence.
But the violation will probably not amount to negligence per se. Negligence per se allows accident victims to shortcut a negligence case by showing that the at-fault driver violated a safety law.
Lane restrictions are not primarily safety laws, so you and your injury lawyer will still need to show that the truck driver failed to exercise reasonable care in some other way.
Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in Fort Worth, TX – Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth truck accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Open 24 hrs.