Left Lane Hogs

LUZERNE COUNTY, Pa. -- We've all experienced this: when a tractor-trailer hogs the left lane on an interstate keeping you from passing.

"I think it is an accident waiting to happen. I think if they're going to pass, that's fine," said Paul Gaudet of Eagle Rock.

Newswatch 16 took a drive along Interstate 81 in Luzerne County. We were only on the road for a short time and found several examples of tractor-trailers hogging the left lane.

It's not just drivers who are concerned about this; other truck drivers are, too.

"They shouldn't be in the left lane at all," said truck driver Joh Ackland. "I see it all the time. I try to let them know, but they don't care."

Newswatch 16 did a story on left lane hogs earlier this year but still had more questions, like what are state agencies doing to keep this problem from happening?

The first place we checked with was PennDOT.

PennDOT places signs along the interstate to try to keep traffic flowing. You'll see signs that say, "no trucks, buses, trailers in left lane."

"There are certain times where we will have a sign up that says, 'trucks use right lane.' What that does is restrict the truck only to the right lane. Other times, there will be a sign that says, 'all vehicles stay right except to pass.' That, obviously, applies to trucks and cars because it's talking about all vehicles," said PennDOT official James May.

May says that in an area like ours, with many hills, trucks hogging the left lane can cause serious congestion issues.

"What we were finding, like down in the Hazleton area, down on I-81 southbound especially, would be one truck going 35 miles an hour down the road and then another truck would be passing it at like 40 miles an hour and it would be backing up the traffic for miles and miles and the truck driver would say, 'Hey, I'm following the sign that says keep right unless to pass." So in that instance, we'd put a sign up that was a little bit stronger that says all trucks must stay in the right lane," May explained.

After talking with PennDOT's spokesperson, Newswatch 16 wanted to learn more about the enforcement of left lane laws so we spoke with state police.

"Pennsylvania Vehicle Code 3301 states that all vehicles drive on the right side of the roadway except for when passing on the left side," said Trooper Anthony Petroski.

We contacted Pennsylvania State Police headquarters in Harrisburg and learned that in this year in Luzerne County alone, state police have given out 48 left lane citations. That's quite a jump from last year when there were only four left lane citations in Luzerne County and from 2016 when they were nine.

The headquarters spokesperson told Newswatch 16 there is no way to pinpoint why there was such a drastic increase in citations from 2017 to this year, but he did say enforcement priorities and manpower changes could be factors.

"We pull people over for any kind of violation whether they think it's serious or not," Trooper Petroski said.

State troopers stress that all vehicles, not just trucks, are supposed to use the left lane only if they're passing.

"They can be charged with section 3111a which is obedience to traffic control devices which is a $150 fine plus court costs.

Truck driver Jon Ackland has only been on the job about a month, but he has an important message for all truck drivers on the road.

"Let's say the speed limit is 70 out here and they're doing 55 in the left lane, then, yeah, get out of the left lane. Let the cars go by."

19 comments

  • Jonathan Daddario

    the problem isnt the truck drivers, its their companies! governing their trucks at 61-62 when the speed limit is 70! if you were driving would you follow another truck doing 55 when you can do 62 hell no youd go pass

    • bohica6284

      Really? Funny because “Class C” drivers make up the largest percentage of people traveling on the roads and highways. In some states it’s not even legal for a tractor trailer to use the left lane and that’s how it should be. Plain truth is, truck drivers think they own the road and disregard “4 wheelers” constantly. I work around trucks and drive along side them each and every day, my parents were both CDL instructors and truck drivers, my father who drove truck in Vietnam and has been a truck driver for 50+ years. While there are sure to be plenty of good truck drivers out there who do things the way they should, there’s a high percentage that don’t give two sh!#s and they are the cause of the problems.

      • straubdavid9

        I’m not a truck driver, nor do I play one on TV, but I’ve traveled a lot across this state and country, and my experience has been that most truck drivers are pretty safe on the roads. I’ve seen my fair share of moronic regular vehicle drivers doing some pretty darn dangerous stuff around semis etc. Not taking either side here …… both are at fault on any given day.

  • albertcohol

    The story is misleading and targeting truckers, most of the vehicles in the video are cars & SUV’s in the left lane.
    The signs for left lane only, are mainly on stretches of the road with a long hill and 3 lanes, these signs are rarely seen on a 2 lane road.
    Way to go WNEP

  • burtfan16

    These truckers lives revolve around time, how long it takes them to get from point A to point B. That’s what gets them paid. If I were a trucker I’d be doing the same thing, otherwise you starve.

  • Robert Davenport

    Woooo not so fast on the trucks…. Truck and bus companys are governing their vehicles at 67 mph in the name of safety. Considering different weights and aerodynamics it takes time for some trucks to pass each other… The cars are just as bad and they have more control over their speed. We can’t have enough Trooper on the road to enforce the maintain till merge point rule either. The speed limits have been raised to help with the vehicle load on Interstates but What it comes down to is people are inconsiderate on the road!!!

  • dieselfred

    If there’s 3 lanes like on 81n before the nanticoke/Wilkes Barre exits and the sign says trucks use right lane im sure not going to get behind the truck going 35 in the right lane if I’m doing 65, I’ll stay in the center and pass, and yes I’m driving a truck

  • albertcohol

    I don’t drive an 18 wheeler but tend to use the left lane to allow others room to get onto the interstate or expressways.
    If I see someone in my rear view that wants to pass, then I will move over as needed.
    It’s a courtesy that some don’t have.

    • George Lamprinos

      Albert, please stop that stupid “reverse merge” thing where you “move over” to let people on the highway. They should learn to merge. Instead of merging, motorists get target fixation. They look over and “lock on” to a car on the highway, timing their entrance to the exact same time when I drive by. There could be no one in a half mile radius yet people synch the highway entrance to when I drive by. Try “locking on” to the empty space ahead of me or behind me. Merging is simply passing. You have no problem passing someone. You have no problem being passed. Just do it on an onramp. No need for someone to “move over”.

      • straubdavid9

        Better to be aware and courteous, than to jamb people up! Besides, left lane hogs have plenty of company all the way around …… not just truckers. I try to set myself up as to where I’m isolated from nitwits on the highway, and many times I will have a swarm of drivers I like to call “killer bees” descend upon me going like a bat out of hell. These jackazzes have a death wish. These are the morons that cause innocent people to die with total disregard for others on the road. Morons are morons, no matter what state or country you’ve driven in, and I know idiots when I see them, having driven in a number of other countries on both sides of the road ….. bunch of moronic AJ Foyt wannabes! Try to be just a tad safer and maybe we can all make it to our destinations in one piece!

      • Downwiththeagenda

        It’s a merge, not a stop you dumb arse. “Locking on to an empty spot,” yea sure, if there is one. But you get all these “me first” people who tailgate, speed up just so they can hurry up and get in front of you. Stop being a d*ck and contribute to society! If you see cars merging on the highway MOVE OVER!!!! You are probably one of those people who flip out when no one lets you into traffic either.

      • George Lamprinos

        Downwithheajenda, no, I learned to merge as I described in my post. If there’s a gap between cars I can fit my car in there. Without anyone having to “move over” for me. I learned the yield sign means the cars on the onramp yield to cars on the highway.

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