As the end of the regular session approaches in New Jersey, legislation of interest to truck drivers still could draw consideration.
One bill would require New Jersey-based truckers who haul
hazardous materials intrastate to be compensated "with an hourly wage,
exclusive of overtime pay or other benefits paid to the driver." The bill
specifies that the hourly wage be paid by the business, corporation, company,
organization or other entity a driver is hauling for.
Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, said the bill is
intended as an alternative method of compensation to better promote safety on
the state's roadways.
Burzichelli wrote in the bill that hazardous materials
haulers are often paid by the load. "This practice often encourages drivers to
travel at excess speeds and increases the likelihood that a commercial motor
vehicle transporting hazardous material may be involved in accident, placing
the citizens of New Jersey at unnecessary risk from these hazardous materials."
He also wrote that nothing in the measure "is to be deemed
or construed so as to limit, alter, or impair in any way any other applicable
provision of federal or state law or regulation concerning the operation in
intrastate or interstate commerce" of hazardous materials haulers.
Another bill would double penalties for large trucks that
fail roadside emissions inspections.
Sponsored by Assemblyman John Rooney, R-Emerson, the measure
would increase the fine for first-time violators from $700 to $1,400. A second
or subsequent offense within one year of the previous violation would result in
a $2,600 fine, up from $1,300.
If the truck's owner can provide certification of repairs to
the vehicle "that is satisfactory to the court and in compliance with emissions
standards," fines would be reduced.
The fine for first-time violators who provide proof of
repairs would pay $300, up from $150. Repeat offenders with proof of repairs
would pay $1,000, up from $500.
Rooney's bill - A1136 - is in the Assembly Environment and
Solid Waste Committee. Burzichelli's bill - A1932 - is in the Assembly
Transportation and Public Works Committee.
The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn in January 2007. Any
bill that doesn't gain approval in both chambers prior to the end of the
session can be brought back for consideration next year.
- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor