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

| 7/14/2008

Gov. John Lynch has signed a bill into law that is intended to allow truckers in New Hampshire a small helping hand. Two more new laws also are of interest to truck drivers.

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 through 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 also have been signed into law by the governor.

The first bill establishes 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.

The new law, previously HB1610, also makes it a misdemeanor if the operator fails to stop or allow an inspection. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2009.

Another new law that takes effect the first of the year removes 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 are included in the prohibition.

Previously HB1343, the new law exempts parking tickets.

Incentive for New Hampshire to adopt the new rule is tied to federal funding. Failure to pass the bill would have resulted 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 was implemented.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor