The trucking industry, state transportation officials, and some lawmakers were staunchly opposed to the idea. Sen. Tommy Haun, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, said restricting trucks to the right lane would create a one-lane interstate system on most highways, and would also slow deliveries of goods. As much as 40% of highway traffic in the state is trucks.
Opponents of the bills noted that on a normal four-lane highway with two lanes in each direction, as much of Tennessee's highways are, such a law would create a wall of trucks in the right lane. Trucks would not be able to move over to let people on to the highway, and cars would have to squeeze in between trucks to get off an exit ramp.
Sen. Tim Burchett, who sponsored one of the bills, says he will try again next session, possibly changing the bill to apply to multi-lane highways only.
It's not the first time the idea of keeping trucks out of the passing lane has been proposed and then squashed in the state. In fact, The Tennessean, reports that during each of the past five sessions, the General Assembly has killed bills that would limit trucks to the right lane.