New Hampshire bills advance; inspections, weight limits included

| 5/9/2008

Several bills of interest to truck drivers are on the move in the New Hampshire statehouse. Among the bills focusing on the trucking industry is a measure that would allow truckers a small helping hand.

House lawmakers voted to approve a bill that would require law enforcement officers to allow a tolerance of 5 percent above certain specified weight limitations for vehicles on non-interstates and general highways.

Sen. Robert Letourneau, R-Derry, said truckers aren’t trying to sneak the extra weight. Several things can occur during the course of transporting shipments, such as snow accumulation, that cause loads to push allowed limits, he said.

The bill – SB364 – now moves to Gov. John Lynch’s desk. The Senate already approved it.

Two more measures that deal with trucking issues are winding their way through the statehouse.

The Senate endorsed a bill that would establish roadside inspection procedures for large trucks. Inspections could be carried out by highway patrol and enforcement officers or other law enforcement agents certified to conduct inspections.

Sponsored by Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson, the bill – HB1610 – also would make it a misdemeanor if the operator fails to stop or to allow an inspection. The measure now moves back to the House for approval of changes. It would then move to the governor’s desk.

Another bill would remove the discretion of the courts to place on file, or otherwise “mask,” convictions incurred by commercial driver’s license holders in New Hampshire or other states. Deferred imposition and diversion programs would be included in the prohibition.

Sponsored by Rep. Robert Williams, D-Concord, the measure – HB1343 – would exempt parking tickets.

Incentive for New Hampshire to adopt the new rule is tied to federal funding. Failure to pass the bill would result in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration withholding $4.9 million from the state in fiscal year 2008 and $9.7 million each year thereafter until the provision is implemented.

Williams’ bill is in the Senate Transportation and Interstate Cooperation Committee. It previously advanced from the House.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Hampshire in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor