As a commercial truck driver, you have likely traveled far and wide as you carry out your normal duties in the workplace. Whether you work for an employer or own the tractor-trailers you drive, you'd probably agree that your work can be exciting, rewarding, challenging, stressful and dangerous, sometimes all in one day! As a conscientious driver, you're no doubt aware that state traffic regulations regarding tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles are often more stringent than they are for other types of motor vehicles.
If you happen to work in different states on different days, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the driving laws in the particular state you're working in at the time. Not doing so can lead to legal problems, especially if a police officer pulls you over and cites you for violating a regulation you didn't know existed. For instance, do you know Arizona has specific regulations regarding tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks using the left lane of traffic?
What the law says about the left lane
The left lane is typically referred to as a passing lane or fast lane. The following information provides facts regarding traffic laws and the use of the left lane. This information is particularly pertinent to tractor-trailer drivers:
- Traveling speed important factor: As mentioned, the left lane is known as a fast lane. In fact, Arizona law prohibits you from driving in the left lane if you are not able to travel at a speed consistent with normal traffic flow.
- Type of maneuver matters: State law does allow you to navigate the left lane if you plan to pass another vehicle or make a left hand turn. However, these regulations are vague as they do not specify whether you must be traveling at a speed consistent with traffic to prepare for a left turn. It's logical to assume you'd have to be traveling the same rate of speed or more to pass another vehicle.
- Local law may apply restrictions: The state leaves it up to local law to determine whether vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds or those hauling trailers more than 6,000 pounds must use specific lanes of traffic.
Speed regulations apply to all vehicles, not just tractor-trailers. You may face up to a $250 fine for traveling under speed in the left lane. As noted, laws not only vary by state, they sometimes also vary by city. If you pay a traffic ticket in Arizona, your driving record will reflect the offense. Reckless driving convictions or speeding tickets can have negative repercussions down the line. You might lose your commercial operator's license, face increased insurance costs or wind up with a criminal record in certain situations.
This is why many Arizona truckers choose to fight their traffic tickets rather than implicitly plead guilty or accept responsibility by paying. Those who succeed in court are often those who ask experienced traffic law attorneys to represent them.