Nebraska advances OOS bill; idling reduction incentive dies

| 4/1/2008

Two bills of interest to the trucking industry in the Nebraska Legislature have moved in opposite directions.

Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine, chairwoman of the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, introduced two bills intended to be used as an incentive to reduce idling and discourage violating out-of-service orders.

The Transportation Committee cleared the path for one bill – LB845 – to receive consideration before the full Legislature. It includes a provision that would get tough with those in the trucking industry who don’t heed out-of-service orders.

Motor carriers would be prohibited from permitting or requiring drivers of commercial motor vehicles to violate any OOS orders. Truck drivers also would be prohibited from violating the rule.

Companies found in violation would face fines ranging from $2,750 to $25,000, per occurrence. Truckers would face fines ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Repeat offenders would face fines up to $7,500.

Supporters say adoption of the OOS penalties would preserve some of Nebraska’s federal highway funding.

Another bill has died that sought to increase the maximum weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle reduction technology. Affected trucks would have been authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

A similar effort was signed into law this past year in Oregon. Similar efforts are under consideration in Illinois and Missouri.

Fischer’s bill – LB917 – specified the weight allowance cannot be in addition to the “five-percent-in-excess-of-maximum-load” provision in existing state law.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor