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 are the most significant laws that Land Line found:
The first of the month marks the official shift of responsibility for Ports of Entry staff and facilities from the Colorado Department of Revenue to state troopers. As a result, the department’s motor carrier services division will be eliminated.
A follow-up to a 2010 law that handed over all truck safety activities to the State Patrol, the changes are intended to help ensure greater uniformity and consistency in truck inspections, interpretations of laws and enforcement procedures.
Starting July 1, towns no longer have the authority to set speed limits on state highways.
Until now, Idaho law authorized local governments to set speed limits on affected roadways that run through city limits – at times resulting in posted speeds that were at least 10 mph lower than outside their boundaries.
The new law returns to the Idaho Transportation Department the power to set speed limits on highways. The agency will be required to investigate and base posted speeds on “sound traffic engineering safety standards.” Localities could do their own study and request a different posted speed from the department.
Counties throughout the state now are authorized to use property tax revenue to pay for local road projects. The affected roads typically are funded through a combination of fuel taxes, vehicle and county fees.
Two new laws now are in effect. One law forbids the inclusion in truck contracts of any provisions for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence and make them “void and unenforceable.”
Affected contracts are defined as “a contract or agreement” between a motor carrier and a shipper covering the transportation of property for hire by the motor carrier, entry on property to load, unload or transport property, including the storage of property.
To help cover increased costs for the state, another new rule now in place requires truck drivers to pay $10 to setup an IFTA account. Renewals will also cost $10 each year. Each set of decals will be $1.50, with a $1 fee charged to mail the decals.
As of July 1, truck drivers are responsible for applying to the DMV for IFTA licenses and identification. The new rule authorizes DMV personnel to handle truck size and weight compliance at permanent weigh stations, as well as issue citations for IFTA violations.
The agency will also be responsible for working with State Police and local law enforcement to make sure truck rules are dealt with uniformly throughout the state.
Intended to ease the transition from military duty to driving truck stateside, another new law allows service personnel returning from duty to exchange their military CDL for a state-issued CDL without the need for a written or a skills test.
Passenger vehicles, motorcycles and pickups can surpass the speed limit by as much as 10 mph to overtake trucks and other vehicles traveling below the posted speed on two-lane roads. The leeway will apply only to roads with speed limits of at least 50 mph.
Passing vehicles are required to return to the right-hand lane and slow to the posted limit as soon as possible. LL