Trucking topics advance at Louisiana statehouse

| 7/1/2008

The Louisiana Legislature recently wrapped up the regular session but not before approving a handful of bills of interest to truck drivers.

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed into law one bill that prohibits the issuance of commercial driver’s licenses for hauling hazardous materials to people who fail to pass background tests.

The new law, previously HB784, mandates that trucks transporting hazardous materials can be driven solely by operators who pass a background check by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Licenses will be denied or revoked if the federal agency issues a “determination of a threat” by drivers. The new rule takes effect Aug. 15.

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.

Another new law that takes effect Aug. 15 amends rules on motor carriers who allow drivers to violate out-of-service orders or get behind the wheel without a valid CDL. The new law, previously HB785, requires that motor carriers “knowingly” authorized drivers to violate rules in order to be subject to certain civil penalties.

One more new law adopts federal rules on felonies committed by commercial driver’s license holders. The measure – HB840 – requires loss of driving privileges for truckers convicted of felonies punishable by at least one year in jail. It takes effect Aug. 15.

A separate bill that has died dealt with log trucks. The measure – HB1028 – sought to impose $500 fines on log trucks traveling on interstates when the height of the vehicle exceeds 13 feet, six inches.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor