Can Trucks Drive in the Left Lane in Texas?

Every Texas driver has felt the frustration of being stuck behind a semi-truck driving in the left lane. In many places, posted signs clearly state that the left lane is reserved for faster-moving passenger cars only. However, not every stretch of highway has signs that clarify the driving rules. 

Knowing the rules of the road in Texas helps all drivers stay safe. However, there’s also a practical reason to brush up on Texas truck regulations. If you end up in a truck accident, a trucker’s choice to break the law can greatly impact the compensation you recover from the crash.

Texas Rules on Trucks in the Left Lane

Are trucks legally allowed to drive in the left lane in Texas? The short answer is it depends. In general, Texas doesn’t have a rule stating that trucks can’t drive in the left lane. However, the general driving expectation is that the right lane should be used for driving and the left lane reserved for passing. 

In reality, every driver knows there are times when congested road conditions mean that plenty of drivers choose to drive in the left lane. In heavy traffic, driving on the left might sometimes be the safer choice, especially if it reduces the risk of bumper-to-bumper traffic. 

Local Truck Lane Restrictions in Texas 

Despite the lack of state-wide truck restrictions, Texas law allows local jurisdictions to set their own laws on the matter. This means that within certain city limits, trucks might be barred from driving in the left lane. 

When this is the case, you can expect to see posted signs alerting all drivers of the lane limitations for trucks. Local governments are only allowed to set truck lane restrictions under certain conditions, like on highways with three or more lanes. Locally-set lane restrictions must also extend for a minimum of six miles. 

Even in areas of highway with truck lane restrictions, truckers are still allowed to enter the far left lane for passing. However, they’re expected to promptly move back over to the right to keep the left lane clear.

Truck lane restrictions are most common in congested areas around major cities. For example, San Antonio places truck lane restrictions on parts of I-10 East and 90 West. 

For the most part, truck lane restrictions are the exception, not the norm. Unless posted signs say otherwise, all drivers in Texas, trucks included, have a right to use the left lane. 

The High Rate of Texas Truck Accidents

In 2022, Texas had a total of 1,733 fatal crashes involving a truck, semi-truck, or tractor-trailer. The state experienced a total of 38,621 crashes involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). The top five Texas counties with the highest crash rate in 2022 are: 

  • Harris: 6,203 CMV crashes
  • Dallas: 3,999 CMV crashes
  • Bexar: 2,250 CMV crashes
  • Tarrant: 2,020 CMV crashes
  • El Paso: 1,019 CMV crashes

If you’re a Texas driver, knowing the rules of the road is essential for safe driving. However, being aware of certain laws does more than just inform your driving. When you know local driving rules, you also know when they’ve been broken – which helps you identify when someone else is at fault for a crash. 

Protect Your Finances After a Texas Truck Accident

It’s essential to protect your finances after a Texas truck accident. If you find yourself involved in a truck crash, the safest course of action is to consult an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately. Don’t speak with an insurance agent before consulting a lawyer, and never admit fault for a crash. 

Truck accidents can do untold damage. Knowing the laws and your rights is the best way to protect yourself after a Texas truck crash.