California Semi-Truck Lane Restrictions

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Commercial trucks are incredibly important for the economy of California and the entire US. However, these are large vehicles, and there are specific state and federal regulations in place to ensure that they are operated safely across our state. Here, we want to discuss the most important semi-truck lane regulations and restrictions that you need to be aware of, as well as steps you can take if you are injured due to the actions of a truck driver or trucking company. Since semi-trucks are so much larger than other types of civilian trucks, accidents can be much more severe.

California Truck Lane Restrictions

The state of California places restrictions on which lanes larger commercial trucks and heavier vehicles are allowed to travel on. In some places around California, state officials do not allow slower-moving vehicles to use the leftmost lanes of the highway. These lanes are typically reserved for vehicles that need to pass slower-moving vehicles.

The lanes reserved for larger commercial trucks and other larger vehicles will depend on how many lanes are available on each particular highway. For example, if there are three lanes or less going in the same direction (this does not include carpool lanes), then the trucks are required to use the far right lane. If there are four or more lanes traveling in the same direction, trucks are allowed to use the two farthest right lanes.

California also has two laws that require slower-moving vehicles to use the right-hand lanes of highways, regardless of the size of the vehicle. If we look at Interstate 5, which connects Northern California to Southern California, there are specific “truck-only lanes” that entirely separate commercial trucks in order to keep the railways safer and help the flow of traffic. These truck only lanes are:

  • Southbound I-5 in Kern County at the State Route 99 Junction.
  • Northbound and southbound 1-5 in Los Angeles County at the State Route 14 split.

Who Regulates Truck Lanes in California?

The California Highway Patrol is responsible for the enforcement of all traffic laws along the state’s highways. This includes enforcing commercial truck lane restrictions. The CHP has specific units and vehicles that handle commercial vehicle law enforcement.

What Does Federal Law Say About Truck Lane Restrictions?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is responsible for regulating trucks at the federal level, but there are no federal regulations regarding truck lanes throughout the United States. However, any larger commercial truck driver that operates across state lines, which means the majority of commercial trucking activity in California, must adhere to regulations inside of the state when they are here.

The FMCSA does strictly regulate how long truck drivers are allowed to operate during each workday and during the workweek, and they also ensure that trucking carriers regularly inspect and maintain every vehicle to ensure roadway safety.

If You Get Into an Accident

If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident involving a larger commercial truck, you need to reach out to a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Recovering compensation in these situations can be complicated, but an attorney will get involved, gather and preserve any evidence needed to prove your claim, and handle all communication and negotiation with aggressive insurance carriers. You should be able to recover compensation for medical bills, property damage expenses, and pain and suffering damages if your crash was caused by the negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company.