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California Commercial Truck Lanes

Where Are Commercial Trucks Allowed to Drive on the Road?

Despite a commercial truck’s immense size and potential danger, these vehicles are absolutely integral to the well-being of the American economy. However, precisely because of its size, a typical car can be placed in serious danger simply for driving next to a commercial truck. Some types of trucks weigh close to 80,000 pounds, which is a huge weight difference from standard motor vehicles. It goes without saying that a commercial truck can easily crush a passenger vehicle in a collision. Truck accident injuries can be especially severe.


With your safety in mind, our experienced truck accident lawyers will explain where truck drivers are allowed and not allowed to drive. If you have suffered injuries as a result of a truck crash in California, West Coast Trial Lawyers is always here to answer any questions you may have about truck accident claims and damages.

Commercial Truck-Only Lanes

Pedestrian Deaths in Los Angeles

Truck-only lanes are rare. For the most part, California highways are shared by large, commercial trucks and passenger vehicles. The general rule is that trucks can drive just about anywhere except for the left lane. This is due to its reduced speed, among other reasons. Please read below to learn more about trucks driving in the left lane.

The state of California does have a few truck-only lanes. There are currently plans underway for the creation of more, however, at the moment, the two existing truck-only lanes in the state are:

  1. Southbound I-5 in Kern County: A truck-only lane on Route 99 near the Grapevine begins here. The lane runs for 0.346 miles until I-5 at postmile R-15.492. This lane was designed for large trucks to be able to merge further away from where most vehicles merge, between I-5 and Route 99.
  2. Northbound and Southbound I-5: This truck only lane starts as two roads, northbound at postmile C043.925 and southbound at postmile C043.899. Both of these roads converge at postmile C044.924. These truck-only lanes are meant to separate slower trucks from faster moving traffic. These roads run 2.426 miles northbound and 2.452 southbound.

Anytime there is a truck-only lane, a commercial truck must drive in it. Truck-only lanes can be identified by black and white highway signs that indicate where they begin and where they end. A truck driver can be cited for not using truck-only lanes. A passenger vehicle may technically drive in these lanes, but for safety reasons, it is not recommended. 

Can Commercial Trucks Drive in the Left Lane?

Due to the heavy commercial truck traffic in the state, there are strict rules regarding where they are and are not allowed to drive in. In fact there are many no-zone truck driveways. While it is just common sense for slow moving trucks to stay out of the left lane, California actually has a law to prohibit “motor trucks, truck tractors with three axles or more, and truck tractors pulling vehicles” from driving in the left lane. Slow moving vehicles are required to use the right-hand lane or second right-hand lane on a highway with four lanes of moving traffic.

A truck driver that does not abide by these left lane restrictions could be subject to fines of up to $250. The California Highway Patrol strictly enforces its truck lane restrictions and will stop large trucks for these violations.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries in a truck crash in California, our skilled truck accident lawyers at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Call us today at (213) 927-3700 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.


If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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