State Watch
States roll out new laws

By Keith Goble
state legislative editor


Truckers must be on constant watch for new rules that could affect them as they drive from point A to point B. Fresh off legislative action in states stretching from Idaho to Virginia, July is one of the leading months for new laws to take effect. Below is a sampling of what Land Line found:

Truckers and others who cannot stay within 10 mph of the posted speed must stay to the right on grades that average 6 percent or more for at least one mile along Interstate 70. The rule change affects stretches of I-70, including Vail Pass, Georgetown Hill and the Eisenhower Tunnel.

Big shippers are expected to have the green light on July 1 to begin reaping the benefits of a boost in permissible truck weights to 88,000 pounds on non-interstate highways in the state. However, at press time there is an attempt to withhold issuing permits for heavier trucks.

Also included in the new law is a provision increasing the maximum gross vehicle, axle weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle reduction technology. Trucks with APUs installed can now weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Another change puts in place statewide standards for red-light cameras. The law allows cities and counties to set up cameras at intersections and fine red-light runners $158.

Aimed at preventing the double taxation of registered semi-trailers, a single temporary permit can be had for $60 when no more than one vehicle in the combination is unregistered in the state. Previously, a combo permit cost $120 simply if the power unit was unregistered.

Two new laws are in effect in July. One new law, which is intended to provide an incentive to reduce truck idling, allows large trucks equipped with idle-reduction technology to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Also included in the law is a provision that prohibits intrastate operations from hauling one or more metal coils individually, or grouped together, weighing at least 5,000 pounds unless the operator is certified in proper load securement.

In order to comply with FMCSRs, another new law more than doubles fines for truckers found violating out-of-service orders. Motor carriers who get in on the act also face heftier fines.

Despite various concerns, the largest trucks traveling along non-interstate highways can now pack more freight. All commodities loaded on trucks with six or seven axles can haul 96,000 pounds – up from 80,000 pounds.

A new law is intended to prevent police from going on ticket-writing sprees. Law enforcement agencies are prohibited from punishing or rewarding personnel based solely on the number of traffic citations issued. Agencies are blocked from using formal quota policies or even informal guidelines.

Faster travel through Virginia could soon be in store for truckers and other drivers. As of July 1, VDOT can increase speeds on rural sections of interstates from 65 mph to 70 mph where engineers deem it safe.

Speeders now face an extra $1 per mile fine. Lead-footed drivers will face $6 per mile fines – up from $5. Where does the fine money go? The state’s Literary Fund, of course.

West Virginia
The state Parkways Authority can now pursue selling bonds to build new highways, and collect tolls on those roads to pay off the bonds. County commissions have the power to veto toll roads. LL