Tougher restrictions on trucks at rail crossings now law in Alaska

| Thursday, June 12, 2003

The Alaska House and Senate have worked out their differences and passed a bill to tighten restrictions on commercial drivers and those who employ them.

HB124 would make it illegal for an employer of a commercial driver to encourage their drivers to violate federal, state or local laws regarding railroad crossings. The law also makes it a penalty for the driver to violate the rules. It calls for the suspension of those drivers’ licenses.

A conference committee worked out a conflict between the two chambers that centered on one word. The original text listed “operating a commercial motor vehicle in violation ofa federal or state statute or regulation, or a local law or ordinance, relating to railroad-highway grade crossings.” The Senate added the word “knowingly” to the beginning of that sentence. The final version, as listed on the Legislature’s Web site, the word “knowingly” was retained.

The bill passed the Alaska House by a vote of 34-1 on March 12, and then the amended version passed the Senate 19-0 on April 29. It was signed by the governor, and became law June 3.

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