TRUCKS WILL BE banned from the right-hand lane on Victoria's multi-lane freeways in a new plan announced by Roads and Ports Minister Tim Pallas today.
Except for buses, the restrictions will apply to all heavy vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Mass over 4.5 tonnes. Mr Pallas said the restrictions will improve safety and encourage better road sharing across the state.
“The Brumby Labor Government is listening to community concerns about road sharing and taking action to introduce lane restrictions for trucks to help create a safer and more efficient driving environment,” Mr Pallas said.
“Restricting trucks from the right-hand lane on freeways with three or more lanes of traffic in each direction is aimed squarely at making some of the busiest roads in the state safer, while ensuring the needs of all drivers on these roads are met."
Research by RACV showed that 83 percent of motorists believed trucks should be restricted from the using the right-hand lane of any freeways with three or more lanes in each direction.
The law will come into effect by the middle of this year, starting with the Princes Freeway between the Western Ring Road interchange and the Beach Road interchange at Lara, followed by the West Gate and other of the state's major arterials.
“The 38 kilometre stretch of the Princes Freeway is just the start, with lane restrictions for heavy vehicles also to be rolled out on the West Gate Freeway, west of Williamstown Road to the M80 Ring Road, the Eastern Freeway and EastLink.
“Other roads, including CityLink, the M1 corridor and the M80 Ring Road, are being investigated as part of the lane restrictions plan.”
Mr Pallas acknowledged the importance of the freight industry, but said that it should not be given preferential treatment over safe road practices.
“Freight plays a vital role in the state’s economy, and trucks do have a place on our roads. However, we are also dedicated to improving safety and amenity and minimising the negative impacts of freight transport,” he said.
“The new restrictions aim to address the significant impact freight operations have on traffic flow, safety and the liveability of Melbourne and Victoria.”
The laws, which will be enforced by Victoria Police and VicRoads, will include educational campaigns and extensive signage on affected freeways.