North Carolina bills cover work comp, lane use, passing in no-pass zones

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/16/2015

Multiple bills of interest to truck drivers under review in the North Carolina General Assembly cover worker’s compensation, left-lane use, and permission to pass in no-passing zones.

The first bill covers occupational accident insurance. Sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown, R-Onslow, and Sen. Brent Jackson, R-Sampson, the bill would allow owner-operators leased to motor carriers in the state to get occupational accident insurance as an alternative to worker’s compensation.

Owner-operators would remain eligible for coverage under a motor carrier’s worker’s compensation coverage without affecting the owner-operator’s independent contractor status, as long as an owner-operator and motor carrier reach agreement.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports the bill.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, said that depending on an owner-operator’s needs, occupational accident coverage can be a more affordable, desirable and effective insurance plan.

“Making this option available will benefit both owner-operators and motor carriers,” Matousek said. “We are unaware of any unintended or negative impact this policy would have on the trucking industry.”

The bill, S205, is in the Senate Judiciary II Committee.

Also of note is a bill in the Senate Transportation Committee that covers left-lane use along highways in the state.

Sponsored by Sen. Jeff Tarte, R-Mecklenburg, S634 would prohibit travelers from using the passing lane when they are driving below the posted speed or “impeding the steady flow of traffic.”

Violators would face $200 fines.

Exceptions would be made for overtaking and passing another vehicle or when making a left turn.

One more bill in the House Transportation Committee also covers slow-moving traffic. H60 would permit drivers to cross double yellow lines or areas marked by the state Department of Transportation as no-passing zones to get around slow vehicles.

The bill specifies that a passing maneuver would only be permitted when the vehicle being passed is driving at less than half the posted speed. The passing vehicle would also be prohibited from exceeding the posted speed while going around the vehicle.

In addition, the bill specifies the road ahead must be clearly visible and “free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit the overtaking and passing to be made in safety.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for North Carolina, click here.

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