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Can Trucks Drive in the Left Lane in New York?

Posted in Truck Accidents on February 6, 2024

Can Trucks Drive in the Left Lane in New York?

Like many states, New York has a keep-right law. This law requires motorists, including truckers, to keep right and use the left lane only to pass another vehicle, make a left-hand turn, or exit a highway on the left. These laws are designed to prevent traffic congestion and reduce the risk of serious truck accidents.

In a summary report of large truck crashes, the NYC DMV found that failure to keep right was one of the top three causes of truck accident fatalities, along with failure to yield the right-of-way and speeding.

Trucks driving in the left lane pose a high risk because of their blind spots. A semi-truck’s blind spots are near the front and back of the vehicle and along both sides. The right-hand side has a larger blind spot than the left-hand side. When large trucks drive in the left lane, all other motorists except those in HOV lanes are on their blind side.

New York Laws Restricting Left Lane Driving

New York has several rules for driving in the left lane that trucks and other motorists must obey.

All drivers must use the right lane(s) and only use the left lane for specific reasons:

  • When passing or overtaking another vehicle, bicycle, or hazard
  • When turning left
  • When exiting on the left
  • When a right lane is closed
  • On one-way roads

When drivers are using the left lane, they should move to the right when they are traveling slower than the speed of traffic, even if they are driving at or above the speed limit.

On three-lane roads and highways, trucks should use the right lane, but they can pass using the middle lane. On a four-lane highway, semi-trucks should only operate in the two rightmost lanes.

Finally, motorists must use lanes as designated by any traffic control devices. This includes designated truck lanes or bus lanes.

Trucks Are Prohibited From Using the Left Lane on the Thruway

New York CRR 21 § 103.6 specifically prohibits trucks, buses, and any vehicles hauling trailers from using the far-left lane on the Thruway. Trucks can only use the right two lanes on the New York Thruway system.

The 570-mile Thruway system has six components and connects New York to Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Ontario, Canada. It includes parts of I-87 (Bronx to Albany), I-90 (Albany to Berkshire Connector and Ripley), and I-287 (Elmsford to Suffern).

Many New York City Roadways Restrict Trucks and Commercial Vehicles

Trucks aren’t just prohibited from using the left lane in many cases; New York City also bars trucks and other commercial vehicles from using many roadways at all.

Trucks are prohibited from traveling on most NYC parkways, including most of the Grand Central Parkway, F.D.R. Drive, the Belt Parkway, and the Jackie Robinson Parkway. Some portions of other roads are also restricted, such as parts of Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Trucks Must Use the New York City Truck Route Network

Truck drivers in New York City must use specific roads listed on the New York City Truck Route Network. This network has two roadway classes: Local and Through truck routes. The NYC Truck Route Map published by the NYC Department of Transportation shows both routes across all five boroughs.

The Local route shows roadways that must be used if there is an origin and destination within a single borough. The Through route is mostly major highways and arterials used by trucks without an origin or destination within a borough.

Failing To Follow These NY Traffic Laws Can Result in Serious Truck Accidents

These New York laws are designed to protect motorists from serious accidents. When trucks drive in the left lane or on restricted roadways, other motorists can end up seriously injured.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, we are here to help you. Contact our law office for a free consultation with a New York truck accident lawyer to explore your legal options and what we can do to help.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the NYC personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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