Virginia nears new rules on size and weights, CDL testing

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Multiple bills approved by the Virginia General Assembly cover truck size and weight rules, and commercial driver’s licensing.

House lawmakers voted unanimously to advance a bill to change certain truck rules to get in compliance with federal law. Passage clears the way for the bill to advance to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk. Senate lawmakers already approved SB1384 by unanimous consent.

Specifically, the bill would bring the state in line with federal rules on size and weights. Among the provisions in the bill is permission for vehicle and watercraft carriers to backhaul general cargo.

A separate provision would increase the weight at which a vehicle must be inspected at a permanent weigh station to at least 10,000 pounds.

Another provision would make overweight permits available for tank vehicles hauling milk.

The changes would bring the state into line with the federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act of 2015. Noncompliance would result in the state losing out on 7 percent of federal-aid highway funds each federal fiscal year.

If the bill is not approved, the Virginia Department of Transportation estimates the state could lose $72.9 million of federal-aid highway funds in the next year.

Another bill that made its way through the statehouse with unanimous support covers overweight permits for trucks hauling asphalt.

Specifically, SB1316 would add asphalt haulers to the list of vehicles whose owner or operator may obtain an overweight permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles to operate in certain counties. Exceptions are already available for haulers of gravel, sand, or crushed stone.

The bill also specifies that vehicles with six axles must have no less than 40 feet between extreme axles to exceed gross weight limitations.

VDOT says the bill would likely result in slightly slowing the rate of deterioration on pavement and bridges in the affected counties because it would require minimum axle spacing for vehicles with a gross weight up to 110,000 pounds. The agency reports the change would allow for better weight distribution for such vehicles.

The bill is on the governor’s desk.

One bill signed into law covers commercial driver’s licensing via community colleges.

Previously HB2075, the new law permits “comprehensive” community colleges in the state system to administer the skills test to students enrolled in a commercial driver training course who have failed the CDL skills or written exams three times.

After the additional training, the DMV will be solely responsible for administering the applicable exam.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Virginia, click here.

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