Traffic laws and regulations that involve trucks are written with safety in mind. When trucks fail to obey traffic laws, such as speed limits, the consequences can be disastrous for other New York drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. 

An example is New York’s left lane law, which controls when trucks and other vehicles should be driven in the left lane. At Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C., our team of truck lawyers helps victims after New York trucking accidents, however they occur.

Understanding New York’s Left Lane Laws for Trucks

New York’s Vehicle and Traffic Law stipulates different conditions under which vehicles, including trucks, may use the left lane on multi-lane roads. Section 1120 states that all vehicles, from sedans to trucks, should be driven on the right half of the roadway, except in certain circumstances. These include when:

  1. Overtaking and passing a vehicle driving in the same direction as you;
  2. Overtaking or passing bicyclists, pedestrians, animals, or obstructions on the right side of the road; and
  3. Driving on a roadway that is restricted to one-way traffic.

Section 1120 also states that any vehicle driving slower than the normal traffic speed must be driven in the right-hand lane or as close as possible to the right-hand curb, except when overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding. If a truck is not passing or avoiding an obstacle, it generally should not be driving in the left lane.

Prohibitions on New York’s Thruway

New York has truck-specific regulations that apply to New York’s Thruway system. Trucks, buses, and trailers are generally prohibited from using the extreme left lane on the Thruway system. They are restricted to the right two lanes unless the normal lanes are unavailable. 

Examples of when the right lanes may be unavailable include road construction, car accidents, or when the left lane is used to enter or exit the roadway.

Safety Considerations for Left-Lane Laws

The main reason behind restricting trucks from using the left lane is safety. Due to their size and weight, trucks require longer stopping distances. They also have limited maneuverability without risking a rollover. Laws that keep trucks in the right-hand lanes put them with more predictable and low-speed traffic, which can reduce accidents.

Violating left lane laws can have legal consequences, including for truck drivers. These often include tickets, fines, and points against your license. However, the consequences may be more severe if a truck violating these laws is involved in an accident. 

If it is determined that a truck’s presence in the left lane was unlawful and contributed to the crash, it could be used against the driver to establish negligence. This may directly impact the outcome of any legal proceedings related to the accident.

Understanding left-lane traffic laws and regulations is important for victims of New York traffic accidents, and a personal injury lawyer can help. Whether you are injured by a truck driving in the left lane or elsewhere, we will fight for all the compensation you may be entitled to, including costs for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact Our Truck Accident Law Firm in New York City

The aftermath of a truck accident in Manhattan, NY can be overwhelming and disorienting. If you or a loved one have been involved in such an accident, protect your rights. Call 911 if injured, report the crash to the police, and see a doctor as soon as possible for a medical evaluation, whether you believe you are hurt or not. 
You should then schedule a free initial consultation with a New York City truck accident lawyer at Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C. At that time, you can explore your legal rights and options.

Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C.
100 Wall St 15th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(212) 514-5007