If you have ever driven on one of our state’s many limited-access or two-lane roadways, you have probably noticed that semi-trucks and tractor-trailers tend to stay in the right lane.
This is because Washington State requires certain commercial vehicles to remain in the right lane unless making a left turn. However, many of these commercial vehicles do not obey the law—sometimes, with deadly results.
Understanding Washington’s left-lane laws
Every state has different laws regarding commercial vehicles in the “fast” lane. In Washington, a vehicle or combination that weighs more than 10,000 pounds is not allowed to:
- Drive in the left lane of a limited-access roadway that has three or more lanes, unless turning left.
- Drive in the left lane of a two-lane roadway except when traveling at a speed greater than surrounding traffic, passing another vehicle, avoiding a merging vehicle, turning left or exiting.
Trucking companies or individual drivers that violate these regulations face a penalty of up to $250. What’s more, they also stand to seriously injure other drivers.
Trucks that break the law can cause serious injury
Our state passed these laws for more than just the sake of convenience for passenger cars. Restricting large vehicles to the right lane can also prevent accidents and injuries. For example, large trucks have more blind spots than other vehicles. If a truck driver changes lanes frequently, it can increase the risk of a crash.
Motor vehicle accidents involving commercial trucks tend to be serious, as trucks are significantly larger than passenger cars. If a truck driver or trucking company is liable for an accident, they may owe the victim financial compensation for damages such as medical bills, auto repairs, lost wages and pain and suffering.