The left lane of an interstate, often referred to as the “fast” lane, is for passing. Faster traffic stays to the left, while slower traffic, such as those who are about to exit, stays to the right. This limits congestion and helps everyone move at roughly the rate they desire.
But what about semitrucks? They’re notoriously slow and can block the entire road if two drive side by side. Can they use the left lane?
They often cannot, under Virginia law. If the speed limit is a minimum of 65 mph and the highway has more than two lanes, they have to stay in the middle or the right lane. They can’t use the left lane.
They are also barred from the left lane on Route 81 and inside the Eighth Planning District, no matter what the speed limit is on the road.
Furthermore, if the road has no more than two lanes, trucks still have to stay in the right lane if they are going at least 15 mph under the speed limit.
These rules apply not just to trucks, but to most commercial vehicles. The exceptions are construction vehicles, charter buses and school buses.
There is also a general exception stating that commercial vehicles can use the left lane when they have to exit on the left. This is far less common than exiting on the right, but it does happen.
The ramifications of driving in the left lane when prohibited from doing so could include a fine of as much as $750.
If a commercial driver breaks these laws and causes an accident, those who are injured must know what legal rights they have to financial compensation.
Source: FindLaw, “‘No Trucks in the Left Lane’ Laws by State,” accessed March 22, 2018