Trucking topics discussed at Louisiana statehouse

| 4/25/2008

Since the start of the regular session in Louisiana, several bills of interest to truck drivers have been offered for consideration.

The House approved a bill that would prohibit the issuance of commercial driver’s licenses to haul hazardous materials to people who fail to pass background tests. Sponsored by Rep. Nita Rusich Hutter, R-Chalmette, the measure – HB784 – would mandate that trucks transporting hazardous materials be driven solely by operators who pass a background check by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Licenses would be denied or revoked if the federal agency issues a “determination of a threat” by drivers.

Supporters say the new law is needed to address federal rules that require states to deny or revoke licenses to people who pose threats to the country.

Hutter is the sponsor of two more House-approved bills. The first measure – HB840 – would adopt federal rules on felonies committed by commercial driver’s license holders. It would require loss of driving privileges for truckers convicted of felonies punishable by at least one year in jail.

The second bill would amend rules on motor carriers who allow drivers to violate out-of-service orders or get behind the wheel without a valid CDL. The measure – HB785 – would require that motor carriers “knowingly” authorized drivers to violate rules in order to be subject to certain civil penalties.

Rep. Rosalind Jones, D-Monroe, introduced another bill – HB1028 – that would impose $500 fines on log trucks traveling on interstates when the height of the vehicle exceeds 13 feet, 6 inches.

One more bill – HB1034 – would require “hard copy” tickets be issued to truck drivers cited for moving violations on motor carrier safety inspections reports attributed to the motor carrier’s U.S. Department of Transportation number or Interstates Commerce Commission number. Sponsored by Rep. Thomas McVea, R-St. Francisville, the measure would require tickets to be issued at the time of the violation.

HB784 and HB785 are in the Senate Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee. HB840 is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. HB1028 and HB1034 are in the House Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor