Missouri bills address truck enforcement, idling issues

| 4/1/2008

Several bills of interest to truck drivers are on the move at the Missouri statehouse. Among those efforts are incentives to reduce idling and allow local enforcement of truck rules.

The House Transportation Committee voted Tuesday, April 1, to approve a bill that would increase the maximum gross vehicle weight limit and axle weight limit for large trucks equipped with idle reduction technology. Sponsored by Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, the measure – SB841 – also would authorize affected trucks to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

It now awaits clearance for consideration on the House floor. The Senate previously approved it by unanimous consent.

Another piece of legislation offered by Stouffer also addresses truck idling. The bill would create a tax credit for installing idle reduction technology for the next two years. The credit would be equal to 50 percent of the amount of purchase and installation on class 8 trucks – up to $3,500 per truck.

A provision added to the bill in committee would authorize the state to issue up to $10 million in tax credits annually.

The measure – SB811 – is awaiting consideration on the Senate floor.

Another bill awaiting consideration before the full Senate includes a provision to revise procedure for conducting roadside inspections of large trucks. The measure – SB761 – calls for setting up a program to certify local law enforcement officers to enforce commercial motor vehicle laws.

Certified law enforcement officers could conduct random roadside examinations or inspections to determine compliance with the CMV weight and size limit laws. Officers who are not certified still could pull over large trucks with a “visible external safety defect.”

The bill also would mandate that commercial driver’s license holders who fail to appear or pay would lose their driving privileges until they fulfill their obligations.

A separate bill that gained passage Tuesday in the House Transportation Committee would authorize the state to implement and administer the Unified Carrier Registration Act. The Senate-approved measure – SB760 – is a federal act intended to replace the Single State Registration System.

UCR is a plan that will have a fee structure that goes from the old per-truck basis to a per-carrier basis and will be the same for all member states. Truckers will no longer have to pick and choose states, as they do with the SSRS. One fee will cover all states.

The bill now awaits further consideration on the House floor.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor