Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Dedicated 18-Wheeler Truck Lanes – Will It Ever Happen?
Like many other industries, the commercial carrier industry is going through its share of growth and innovation as it attempts to make trucking safer and more efficient. Industry advocates have pushed to add dedicated trucking lanes for many years, a move that could greatly reduce the incidence of 18 wheeler accidents. There are many groups in support of this idea, including 18 wheeler accident attorneys; however, it will require a great deal of effort for it to actually be done. Yet the concept of dedicated trucking lanes does seem to be gaining ground.
More Effort To Increase Trucking Safety
Every year, 18 wheeler accidents kill and injure more than 3,500 people. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported in its 2014 Traffic Safety statistics that big rig accidents involved 3,903 fatalities.1 While this figure reflects a slight improvement from the previous year, the numbers are still sobering. It suggests that even though many efforts are underway to reduce trucking accidents and fatalities, there is still much work to be done and more ideas to be considered to make this happen.
A Push for Dedicated Truck Lanes
The idea of dedicated truck lanes has been considered for some time. Many in the industry, including the American Trucking Association and 18 wheeler accident attorneys, support this idea and believe it could dramatically improve trucking highway safety.2 If constructed, these lanes could provide a number of benefits to both truck and passenger drivers. By keeping cars and trucks separated, Dedicated Truck Lanes or DTL's would reduce overall highway congestion and cut down on the dangerous truck and car interactions that lead to 18 wheeler accidents.
Besides these more obvious benefits, advocates also suggest that dedicated lanes could result in considerable fuel savings for commercial carrier companies in a number of ways:
- Less Starting and Stopping - Truck drivers dealing with less passenger vehicle traffic around them would see a reduced number of start and stop conditions that waste fuel.
- Longer Combination Vehicles/LCV's - Dedicated lanes would make the use of longer combination vehicles or LCV's much more feasible and safe. With the use of double and triple trailer rigs, there could be a large savings in shipping costs and reduced interaction with passenger vehicles. This would also reduce fuel costs overall.
What’s Stopping It?
Despite the many benefits that various studies have suggested would come from dedicated truck lanes, there is still much debate going on over the idea. Cost is the main concern with implementing this plan, as it will take many billions of dollars to build such lanes across U.S. highways.The ATA continues to offer a number of solutions to generate funding for this project, while safety advocates, including many 18 wheeler accident attorneys, continue to focus on potential safety benefits.
The good news is that the city of Savannah, Georgia may become the first to try this new concept.3 With a recent expansion in its shipping industry, the city is seeking new ways to control traffic because of the great increase in big rig trucks moving through the area. Citing the advantages of reducing congestion and the incidence of 18 wheeler accidents, the state is researching plans that suggest construction of the first dedicated truck lanes could be right around the corner. If this does happen, the entire trucking industry, Federal safety organizations, and many 18 wheeler accident attorneys will be paying close attention to monitor the results!
2Reason Foundation, Corridors For Toll Truckways, February 2004