On Jan. 13, a letter to the editor (“Trucks belong in the right lane”) was published expressing concern about commercial motor vehicles traveling in restricted lanes and in excess of the 55 mph speed limit. The California Highway Patrol takes the enforcement of speed limits and lane restriction violations very seriously, as they are some of the primary causes of collisions.
For example, in 2007, the CHP issued 243,745 citations to commercial vehicles. Of those, 47,619 were speed-related and 9,945 were for lane violations. The number of citations, as well as the decline in injury truck-at-fault collisions from 11,067 in 2005 to 10,671 in 2006 indicates our commitment to public safety is intact.
It is the California Department of Transportation's responsibility to determine speed limits and lane usage on California roadways, based on engineering and traffic surveys. On specific areas of Highway 99, to promote the safe and efficient flow of traffic through central Modesto, commercial vehicles are permitted to use the center lane even when not passing. This alleviates commercial traffic in the right lane (slow lane) and makes it safer for vehicles to enter and exit the freeway.
Caltrans has posted signs on specific sections where commercial vehicles are permitted to use the center lane, such as southbound at the Pelandale Avenue overcrossing and northbound at the Hatch Road overcrossing.
In other areas, signs show that trucks are restricted to the right lanes. Two examples: southbound 99 at Whitmore Avenue and northbound at Hammett Road.
Thank you for allowing us to clarify this issue. Let me assure you, the CHP will continue its efforts toward making California's roadways safe for the motoring public.
THOMAS P. KILLIAN
public information officer,