South Dakota committee votes to offer heavy haulers relief

| Tuesday, March 04, 2003

A South Dakota Senate committee unanimously backed a bill Feb. 26 that would provide some relief to heavy haulers who are hit with hefty fines if they are found carrying too much weight.

HB1172, written by Rep. Larry Rhoden, R-Union Center, would provide for plea bargains to be offered to some truckers when they are cited the first time under overweight truck regulations.

Supporters said the measure was needed because honest mistakes were sometimes made when loading trucks, the Aberdeen News reported. Rhoden said existing law was too inflexible and resulted in penalties.

“Some people think that loading trucks is an exact science,” Rhoden told the newspaper. “I assure you it is not.”

Under the bill, plea bargains would not be permitted for subsequent convictions within four years. Nor could plea bargains be struck Feb. 15 to April 30, when conditions make roads easier to damage.

The Senate Local Government Committee sent the bill to the full Senate. The House has already approved the measure.

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