Should buses and other large vehicles be kept out of the fast lane?

Should buses or tractor-trailers be allowed to drive in the fast lane?

A state lawmaker doesn’t think so.

Rep. Cedric Gates of Waianae says people have complained to him about large trucks drifting on Farrington Highway into oncoming traffic.

He says this is just one reason he wants to ban large trucks and buses from driving in the left lane.

Steve Wong of Wong Way Driving School says he always tells his students exactly what the left lane is for.

“The left lane is used primarily for passing other vehicles on the road and I usually, for my new drivers, I tell them to stay out of that lane because everybody goes extremely fast,” Wong said.

While the left lane is supposed to be used for passing, Gates says he’s heard stories from people who live in his district. They say trucks will drive down Farrington Highway in the left lane and sometimes even drift over the center line.

Gates also says that’s not the only concern. “When we have a large semi-truck driving in the left lane, they are usually going faster than the right lane and the concern about that is the brake time for these large semi-trucks,” he said.

The Honolulu Police Department supports Gates’ proposal while the state Department of Transportation opposes it.

Gates says he’s spoken with police who support his bill, and believe large trucks in the left lane create a safety hazard.

“From a standpoint of safety, the police have submitted testimony in strong support of this measure, saying that larger vehicles cause a hazard when driving in the left lane,” Gates said.

Gareth Sakakida with the Hawaii Transportation Association says his organization opposes the ban on left-lane driving, because it would it would make it much more difficult for commercial drivers to do their job.

“If there are certain trouble areas, we would rather address it like that rather than have it apply everywhere,” Sakakida said.

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