California bills cover truck speed limits, parking, inspections

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 1/15/2019

Multiple bills introduced at the California statehouse cover truck rules that include speed limits, parking, and inspections.

One state lawmaker wants to do away with the speed differential for cars and trucks.

Currently, smaller vehicles are allowed to drive 65 mph – 70 mph in certain locations – while large vehicles are limited to 55 mph.

Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-SanteeSponsored by Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-Santee, AB172 would raise truck speed limits to 65 mph in rural areas.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association supports efforts to do away with speed differentials. The Association does not advocate for a specific speed limit.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs, says that truckers are firsthand observers of the negative consequences of misguided traffic laws, including differential speed limits.

“We’re excited that at least someone in the California Legislature is interested in addressing the state’s split speed limits for cars and trucks,” Matousek said. “We look at the current speed limit laws in California as a deterrent to highway safety.”

“They are also a contributing factor to increased congestion, carbon emissions, and increased inefficiencies with local, regional, and national goods movement.”

Truck parking

A separate bill from Voepel is intended to ease restrictions on where professional drivers can take a break.

Existing law prohibits vehicles from stopping, parking or standing alongside a freeway.

AB158 would exempt large vehicles from the rule under certain circumstances. Specifically, the maneuver would be permitted for truck drivers “who are unable, due to a lack of available spaces, to park their vehicles at a truck stop or rest area within hours-of-service limitations.”

Matousek says the truck parking shortage in California and elsewhere remains one of the biggest issues for truckers.

“Actually, calling it a truck parking ‘crisis’ is probably a more accurate description of the situation. We continue to work with lawmakers and transportation officials in D.C. and across the country, but progress is slow.

“We’re well beyond the point of needing another study, or a working group, etc. We need more truck parking capacity. Period.”

He adds that “if people in a position to make a positive difference continue to drag their feet, this will get much worse to the detriment of public safety and a significant portion of the trucking industry.”

“Solutions exist, so it’s time for lawmakers and transportation officials to act.”

Truck scales

One more bill covers truck inspection facilities and platform scales.

California law now authorizes the Highway Patrol to operate inspection facilities and platform scales.

AB159 from Voepel would require the department or other state or local agencies operating affected facilities to update information, including signs, about being open or closed “as soon as it changes.”

Voepel says the requirement would provide commercial drivers with enhanced driver awareness for when they are required to stop.

The bills await assignment to committees. They can be heard in committee as soon as Feb. 7.

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

 

 

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