Louisiana bills focused on trucking permits, operations and more

| 7/8/2008

Several bills offered in the Louisiana Legislature during the recently completed regular session are of interest to truck drivers. Topics included permits for intermodal containers, indemnification contracts, the Unified Carrier Registration program, and restricting truck traffic in one town.

Gov. Bobby Jindal signed a bill into law that changes how permits are issued for sealed cargo containers. As of Aug. 15, permits will be issued to containers rather than transport vehicles.

The regulations for transport of sealed containers will be applicable to domestic and international trade.

Previously HB832, the new law also expands where regulations are applicable for vehicles transporting intermodal containers with a gross vehicle weight of 95,000 pounds. Until now, Louisiana law applied the regulations within 50 miles of ports or harbor districts. The rule change makes the regulations applicable anywhere.

A bill still atop the governor’s desk – HB550 – would authorize the state to implement and administer the Unified Carrier Registration Act. It is federal legislation intended to replace the Single State Registration System.

The UCR Act replaces the old per-truck system with a per-carrier system and will be the same for all member states. Truckers will no longer have to pick and choose states, as they do with the SSRS. One fee will cover all states. The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections would be responsible for implementing the program.

Two other bills of note failed to advance from the Louisiana Legislature. One sought to prohibit truck drivers from being required to sign indemnification agreements assuming liability for not-at-fault wrecks. One of the bills – HB 1048 – was a close vote, but the House voted 45-44 to kill it.

The other bill died in committee. It was intended to limit commercial truck traffic in the city of Clinton. The measure – HB855 – called for banning trucks from using state Highways 67 and 10 within the southeast Louisiana town. Violators would have faced fines up to $500. Exceptions would have been made for local pickups and deliveries.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor