OOIDA State Watch

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor


A new law implements rules for in-state moving companies. Effective Aug. 8, movers cannot refuse to deliver goods unless they provide consumers with an up-front estimate and the consumer has failed to pay. HB2145 permits police to take possession of household goods that a mover refuses to deliver and unload. Moving companies will be authorized to pursue collection of unpaid amounts on the contract after the goods are unloaded.

Another new law covers concern about civil asset forfeiture. HB2477 increases the burden of proof needed in affected cases. In an effort to prevent fraud and misuse, new oversight mechanisms are also established on the use of funds seized by law enforcement.


The Senate voted to advance a bill to the Assembly to implement a federal rule that requires people seeking a CDL to complete a certified course of instruction from a commercial driving institution or program offered by an employer before being issued a license. SB158 would also set minimum behind-the-wheel training requirements to be completed as part of CDL training.


A Senate-approved bill, SB1576, would allow a special permit to be issued by IDOT during a declared harvest emergency. The permit would waive a vehicle’s registered weight limitation for a truck hauling agricultural commodities and set a divisible load weight limit not to exceed 10 percent above a vehicle’s registered gross weight or axle weight.


Gov. Steve Bullock signed into law a bill to keep slow-moving vehicles to the right. HB415 clarifies what is and is not permissible when using the left lane. Exceptions to the lane rule would be made for situations that include traveling on a roadway – not including interstates – within a city or town. The new rule takes effect Oct. 1.


The Senate voted to advance a bill that would require representation on the Turnpike Authority’s board by all regions of the state. The authority oversees the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. S1674 would require at least one of the seven appointed members to be from Ocean, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester or Salem counties.


Multiple bills are of note. A4699 would open the door to faster speeds on certain highways. The transportation commissioner would be authorized to bump speeds on rural interstates, including the New York Thruway, to 75 mph – up from 65 mph. Divided highways with at least four lanes could have speeds posted at 65 mph.

S389 would permit more locales throughout the state to set their own speed limits. New York law now requires most towns to petition the state DOT to set local speed limits. However, villages, cities and towns with populations exceeding 50,000 are exempt from the requirement. The bill would authorize all towns to enact ordinances to set speed limits within their own jurisdictions. Speeds would be posted below the 55 mph maximum speed limit.


A House-approved bill, HB716, would exempt truck platoons from the state’s following distance requirement. Currently, no minimum distance is listed in state law. Instead, statute defines following too closely as “more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”


Multiple Senate bills address the use of ticketing mechanisms. SB279 would permit local police officers to use radar to nab speeders. The bill specifies that use of speed radar by local law enforcement would be limited to “trained officers” in Philadelphia, Allegheny, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery counties. Twelve more counties in the third class would also be permitted to use the technology.

SB172 would set up a five-year pilot program for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Commission to post speed cameras in active work zones.

“Rogue” household goods movers are the topic of a separate bill. SB458 applies criminal penalties to HHG movers who fail to adhere to existing rules in the state. Fine revenue would be used to help motor carrier enforcement efforts.


A House bill would repeal a one-year-old law permitting the state to charge commercial drivers to access highways. Toll revenues are supposed to be used for bridge replacement and reconstruction around the state. H6109 would sideline the collection of tolls primarily along Interstate 95, and on state and U.S. highways.


One new law already in effect, H3289, exempts truck platoons from the state’s minimum 300-foot following distance on all roadways.


Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law two bills of interest. SB128 covers steps to curb human trafficking. A training course on human trafficking is required to be completed for CDL applicants and truckers renewing their licenses.

SB1524 provides an increase in truck weights for tractor-trailers hauling intermodal shipping containers. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, seven-axle combinations with a gross vehicle weight of up to 100,000 pounds will be allowed. Six-axle combinations will be allowed with permits up to 93,000 pounds. The loads will be subject to various axle configurations. Loads must also begin or end at a port-of-entry along the Gulf of Mexico or along the state’s border with Mexico. Affected loads could not exceed a 30-mile radius. LL