Trucks cannot drive in the left lane in Indiana in most situations. If a driver ignores this law and operates their heavy commercial vehicle in the left lane for long periods, they could be creating dangerous situations for other drivers on the road.
State Law in Indiana Dictates How Drivers Should Act on the Road
Per IC § 9-21-8-12, large trucks are only supposed to drive in the left lane in a few different scenarios. A truck may use the left lane when:
- Entering or leaving a highway
- A hazard requires the use of the left lane
- Passing a slower vehicle
If a truck is not doing one of those things, it cannot drive in the left lane in Indiana. Drivers must operate trucks in the far right lane in all other situations.
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Why Trucks Are Heavily Regulated in Indiana and Nationwide
To some, this may seem like a silly rule. If passenger vehicles can use all lanes on the road, why are commercial vehicles like trucks limited in what they can and cannot do?
This law was passed with the primary concern of keeping all motorists safe. A truck is so much larger than the typical passenger vehicle and outweighs the other cars on the road by a significant amount. A truck that is operated irresponsibly can end up causing a dangerous (and possibly deadly) situation for other drivers. Our truck accident lawyers could help you if you suffered from such an event.
Hazards of a Truck in the Left Lane
A truck that drives in the left lane or a truck that keeps switching lanes can be a hazard due to:
Increased Weight of the Truck
As we mentioned earlier, a truck can weigh far more than a passenger vehicle. In some cases, a truck can be 20 to 30 times heavier! This can make accidents involving a truck far more dangerous and more likely to cause serious injuries. For the most part, by sticking to the right lane, trucks can operate more safely.
Lane Changes Can Cause Accidents
Changing lanes without taking the proper precautions can be dangerous. Lane changes are a common cause of accidents and, as we have already covered, an accident with a truck can cause far more damage than an accident involving just passenger vehicles would.
Trucks Have Longer Stopping Distance
A truck driver also has to be careful because the increased weight of their vehicle means their stopping distance is also longer than that of a passenger vehicle. A truck driver needs to be able to hit the brakes quickly to react to changing traffic conditions, and they need to give other vehicles on the road space.
A driver switching in and out of lanes or driving fast in the left lane is less likely to leave themselves enough room to come to a stop.
Trucks Handle Differently
To put it simply, the increased weight and the design of trucks ensure that they handle differently than a typical passenger vehicle will. A small car or even an SUV can easily switch into a lane and switch back to its original lane, but a truck with its increased size, powerful brakes, and heavy trailer is just not going to handle such maneuvers in the same way.
Trucking Accidents Have Severe Consequences for All Nearby Drivers
Truck drivers who do not follow the law can easily end up causing an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle accidents cause billions of dollars in damage each year.
Thanks to their size and weight, accidents involving trucks can be even more damaging, leaving behind significant amounts of property damage and injured motorists. These trucking accidents can even result in death.
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A Truck Driver’s Violations Are Recorded for the Future
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for ensuring truck companies and drivers obey the rules laid out before them. There are many regulations governing the trucking industry, and ignoring any of them can be dangerous behavior that risks harming other drivers on the road.
If a company or driver violates a law like IC § 9-21-8-12, the FMCSA keeps record of it. A trucking company or driver repeatedly creating unsafe situations on the road will have an easily accessible record showing their violations. We can utilize this in your case.
We Could Help if You Were Injured in a Truck Accident
If you or a loved one was injured in a trucking accident in Indiana, you might face mounting medical bills, missed paychecks, and significant stress and mental anguish. Your accident could have been caused by the actions or negligence of a truck driver or trucking company. We can inform you of your legal options.
Contact the Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers today and ask about a free consultation. We can help you learn more about the potential value of your case and how you can make things right. Our team can discuss how a truck driver in Indiana using the left lane could equate to negligence.