West Virginia bills geared toward truck issues, road safety die

| 4/14/2008

A handful of bills of interest to truckers in West Virginia failed to gain passage during the recently completed regular session. Measures addressing truck weights, lane use and blood tests after vehicle wrecks missed deadlines to advance, effectively killing them for the year.

The first bill – SB86 – called for increasing the maximum weight amounts for large trucks equipped with six axles and two additional brakes. Affected tractor-trailers would have been allowed to have a maximum gross weight of 97,000 pounds with a tolerance of 10 percent. State law now limits those trucks to 80,000 pounds with a tolerance of 10 percent.

Another bill was intended to keep most traffic out of the left lane on certain highways in the state.

State law now requires vehicles traveling below the normal speed of traffic to stay right. The measure – SB112 – sought to require cars and trucks traveling on multilane highways posted with 65 mph speed limits to clear the left lane.

Violators would have faced $50 fines. Exceptions would have been made for passing other vehicles, turning left or if traffic volume makes it difficult to safely merge into the non-passing lane.

One other failed bill dealt with drawing blood from drivers involved in wrecks that result in injury or death. The measure – HB2427 – would have required mandatory blood tests if law enforcement had “reasonable grounds to suspect a driver” was under the influence or drugs and/or alcohol.

The legislation can be brought back for consideration during the 2009 regular session.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor