New Hampshire law allows leeway on truck weights; other bills advance

| 5/23/2008

Gov. John Lynch has signed a bill into law that is intended to allow truckers in New Hampshire a small helping hand. Two other bills of interest to truck drivers are headed to the governor’s desk.

A new law, previously SB364, requires law enforcement officers to allow a tolerance of 5 percent above certain specified weight limitations for vehicles on non-interstates and general highways. It takes effect July 11, 2008.

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.

Two more measures that deal with trucking issues have moved to Lynch’s desk after clearing the state’s House and Senate.

One bill 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 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.

An 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.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor