What Are Truck-Only Lanes?

Millions of vehicles pile onto California highways every day. Because California boasts the largest economy of any state in the nation, there are plenty of large commercial trucks in operation on highways ensuring that goods get to the places they need to be. However, these large commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and reach lengths of 75 feet. Due to the size and weight of these vehicles, accidents often lead to significant injuries. That is why California has instituted truck-only lanes in some areas of the state. If you are driving on California highways, you should understand what regulations are in place regarding commercial vehicle travel. In the event you or a loved one is injured in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, consult with a skilled Irvine truck accident lawyer as soon as possible to learn your legal options.

What Are Truck-Only Lanes?

Truck only lanes are exactly what they sound like – lanes that are designated for the use of trucks. A truck-only lane is designed to separate larger commercial vehicles from other traffic on the highway to ensure enhanced safety and help stabilize traffic flow.

Truck only lanes are not very common throughout the United States. While many states will restrict which lanes the trucks may travel in, you will find very few truck-only lanes throughout the country. However, California has instituted two truck-only lanes.

Where Are California’s Truck-Only Lanes?

If the state of California was going to implement a truck-only lane anywhere, then it would most certainly be on the busy Interstate 5 that connects Northern and Southern California. That is exactly where state authorities designated both truck-only lanes in CA (forgive the truck slightly confusing direction and postmile information here. Truck drivers will need this technical information).

  1. Northbound and southbound I-5 in Los Angeles County at the State Route 14 split. This truck lane begins as two separate roads – NB at LA County postmile C043.925 and SB at C043.899. These two roads join at postmile C044.924 and continue to postmile C046.351. The total length of these roads both reaches a little more than 2.4 miles and have the goal of separating slower moving trucks faster traffic on the grade. This truck only lane has been in place for around three decades.
  2. Southbound I-5 in Kern County at the State Route 99 junction near the Grapevine. This truck-only lane starts on Route 99 at Kern County postmile L000.629 and ends on Interstate 5 postmile R015.492. The total length of this truck-only lane is 0.346 miles. This lane is designed to merge trucks farther down than the area where traditional passenger vehicles merge.

Commercial trucks are required to use these lanes and will need to follow the black and white enforceable road signs that direct them. Passenger vehicle drivers are encouraged not to use these lanes, but they are not prohibited from doing so.

Are There Commercial Truck Restrictions On Other Highways In California?

Truck-only lanes are not the only restrictions the truck drivers have on California highways. On highways with three or fewer lanes traveling in the same direction, large trucks must operate in the right-hand lane only. If there are four or more lanes traveling in the same direction on a California Highway, truck drivers are allowed to operate only in the two right-hand lanes.

In general, slower-moving vehicles must travel in the right-hand lanes on California highways. In some areas of the state, left-hand lanes are only to be used as passing lanes.