Can Trucks Drive in the Left Lane in Florida?
Bill Allen | June 14, 2022 | Truck Accidents
Driving through Florida, it’s not uncommon to see dozens of semi-trucks on the highways. Florida has many port cities, and these trucks bring consumer goods from the ports to cities across the country.
But these trucks can cause catastrophic injuries in the event of a collision. Therefore, Florida enacted laws that minimize the length of time commercial trucks can drive in specific traffic lanes — like the far left lane — to reduce accidents throughout the state.
What Are Florida Truck Lane Restrictions?
Interstate 95 is one of the main truck shipping lines in Florida. Truck lane restrictions have been in place on this interstate for over 30 years, while restrictions from the Georgia border to the I-75 turnpike have existed for more than 20 years.
Many truck lane restrictions are in place around larger cities and help to funnel semi-truck traffic away from congested areas. Florida truck lane restrictions include:
- I-4 from the Tampa airport to Kissimmee: No trucks in the left lane
- I-4 from Osprey to the Tampa Airport: Trucks with more than six wheels are restricted to the two right lanes
- I-75 from the Florida border to The Villages: Trucks with more than six wheels are restricted to the two right lanes
- I-75 from Naples to Ft. Myers: No trucks in the far left lane
- I-95 from the Florida border to Jacksonville: Trucks with three or more axles are prohibited in the left lane
- Florida turnpike from Kendall to Miami-Dade: No trucks in the far left lane
Several other sections of Florida interstates have truck lane limitations, and these can be updated at any time by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The FDOT website lists current truck lane restrictions, and the state posts signs indicating truck length restrictions and the length of highway they apply to.
Truck drivers who violate lane restrictions face noncriminal traffic charges, with a minimum fine of $121. The driver’s commercial license is also affected, as the Florida DMV applies three points against their license for each violation.
Other Commercial Truck Regulations in Florida
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established a set of national regulations for commercial trucks, which are enforced in every state. These, and state regulations, aim to reduce the number of commercial truck accidents each year.
FMCSA regulations include:
- Regular drug and alcohol testing for all drivers
- Travel and service hour restrictions
- Rules for transportation of hazardous material (driver training/certification)
- Driver certification and training requirements to hold a CDL
- Reporting requirements for an accident
- Electronic logging to ensure driving speed and duration compliance
- Inspection requirements of truck cabs and trailers
- Cargo securing requirements
Truck drivers and trucking companies must follow these requirements, and doing so can help reduce the chances of a truck accident.
However, not every company does so. Some unscrupulous carriers or independent drivers may cut corners to save travel time and increase profits. Part of investigating the causes of a truck accident involves inspecting the safety compliance of the driver and carrier.
What to Do After a Truck Accident in Florida
Commercial truck accidents can have disastrous and often fatal consequences. If you’ve been involved in a collision with a semi-truck, there are a few essential things to do:
- Call 911: You or your passengers may have serious injuries and require immediate medical attention
- Notify the Police: It’s illegal not to report an accident. The police compile a report to determine fault
- Remain Calm: Anything that you say after an accident can affect your claim
- Hire a Truck Accident Attorney: They protect your rights and help you seek compensation
Although truck lane restrictions help protect passenger vehicles, accidents can still happen. Use defensive driving techniques when sharing the road with commercial vehicles to help keep you safe.
Lastly, you should contact an experienced truck accident lawyer to discuss your case. Call Allen Law Firm, P.A. to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team.
Contact Our Gainesville Truck Accident Law Firm in North Central Florida
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