Evaluation of Truck Lane Restrictions in Virginia

Report No: 07-CR11

Published in 2007

About the report:

A number of states have implemented truck lane restrictions in an attempt to improve safety and mobility on freeways. These restrictions typically prohibit trucks from traveling in the median lane, potentially increasing passing opportunities and reducing negative interactions between slow-moving trucks and other vehicles. Virginia currently has two forms of truck restrictions in place. The first type of restriction prohibits trucks from the median lane of interstates that have three or more lanes by direction, provided certain criteria on speed limit and location are satisfied. The second type of restriction prohibits trucks from traveling more than 15 mph below the posted speed limit in the left lane of two-lane directional interstate segments. This report documents the results of a safety and operational evaluation of Virginia's truck lane restrictions. Crash data were examined at a total of 43 sites with restrictions and 16 similar sites without restrictions. Likewise, operational data were collected at 7 sites with restrictions and 6 similar sites without restrictions. The results of the analysis showed that the restrictions on two-lane sites appeared to be having a positive impact on operations and safety. At these sites, crashes were reduced by 23 percent, and speeds were estimated to have increased by 5.5 mph. At the three-lane sites, no statistically significant increase in speed was observed. A breakpoint in crash performance appeared to occur at approximately 10,000 vehicles per day per lane. Roads below this threshold experienced significantly fewer crashes than anticipated, whereas roads above this level had significantly more crashes than expected.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Last updated: November 25, 2023

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