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Truck Lane Restrictions in California

When driving on a busy highway in a passenger car, it can be stressful to encounter semi-trucks and other bigger vehicles on the road. In fact, the variance of the size and speed of vehicles on the highway can often lead to dangerous traffic accidents, which can sometimes be fatal. For this reason, some states—including California—have passed laws that limit which lanes larger trucks can use in order to promote a safer flow of traffic.

Continue reading to learn more about truck lane restrictions in California.

California Truck Regulations

California has a particularly large number of commercial vehicles travelling on its many busy highways. In an effort to keep all motorists safe, California has placed various restrictions, which are detailed in the California Vehicle Code. California not only regulates large trucks with three of more axles (including semi-trucks and big rigs), but also any vehicles towing other vehicles, motor homes, or u-hauls. These larger vehicles are restricted to a speed limit of 55 miles per hour on highways.

Lane Restrictions for Trucks

The state also limits the lanes in which these larger, heavier vehicles can travel. Studies have shown that a significant variance in the speed of travelers can cause accidents when vehicles are forced to suddenly slow down or change lanes. For this reason, in some circumstances, California doesn't allow slower-moving vehicles to use the left lanes of highways, which are typically reserved for passing slower-moving vehicles.

The lanes available to larger vehicles will depend on the total number of lanes in the highway. If there are three or fewer lanes traveling in each direction (excluding carpool lanes), trucks must use the far right lane. Or, if there are four or more lanes in each direction, trucks can use the two right-hand lanes. California law also requires that any kind of slower-moving vehicle also use only the right lanes of the highway, regardless of size. California's busy Interstate 5, which connects Northern and Southern California, utilizes "truck only lanes"—some of the only such lanes in the country— which entirely separate trucks in order to stabilize the flow of traffic and make the roads safer.

Enforcement of California's Truck Laws

The California Highway Patrol is tasked with enforcing these lane restrictions on the many highways throughout the state. If you are driving on a California highway, you may notice specific police vehicles designated as commercial vehicle enforcement. Larger vehicles violating the laws regarding speed and required lanes of travel can be ticketed and fined.

Better Understand Truck Lane Restrictions in California by Speaking to a Lawyer

If you've been injured in a truck accident or other traffic accident, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. All lawsuits have an applicable statute of limitations, which means that the time in which you can file such a case will be limited. For this reason, it's important to fully understand your legal rights and remedies so you can make an informed decision about how to proceed. The best way to do that is to speak with a car accident attorney in California.

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