Wyoming legislation targets truck speeds

| Friday, January 21, 2005

A Wyoming legislative panel has advanced a bill calling for split speed limits on interstates and stiffer speeding penalties for truckers.

The Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee approved the bill Thursday, Jan. 20. The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration as early as Monday, Jan. 24.

It would set the speed limit for large trucks at 65 mph on the state’s interstate highways. All other vehicles would continue to travel at the current 75 mph limit.

The bill would also bring more harsh penalties for truckers found traveling in excess of 80 mph on the same roadways.

The measure – SF126 – would make driving more than 15 mph over the proposed truck speed limit a serious offense. Two serious offenses in three years would result in the trucker’s license being temporarily suspended.

“Wyoming wind and weather is almost a daily occurrence here,” the bill’s co-sponsor, Senate President Grant Larson, R-Jackson, told The Associated Press. “There’s not a state out there that has our kind of conditions.”

Larson said he told the Senate panel Wednesday, Jan. 19, during preliminary discussion he thinks most Wyoming truckers follow the law. It is the out-of-state truckers that cause problems, he said.

He said he was prompted to introduce the bill after making many harrowing journeys to Cheyenne on Interstate 80, a main artery for trucks.

“I and others are absolutely tired of them roaring down the highway at any speed and putting everybody else in danger,” Larson said.

According to local media, in the past week, I-80 has been the scene of numerous truck accidents, and the highway was closed near Laramie on Monday after one tractor-trailer rear-ended another, killing a driver and spilling potentially explosive chemicals.

The bill, however, is not the only piece of legislation before Wyoming lawmakers that seeks to slow trucks down and enact harsher penalties for speeding.

HB212 calls for truckers traveling on interstates to slow to 65 mph “when there is evidence of moisture on the roadway.” The law would apply only to trucks. Violators could face a fine of $100 if found to be driving in excess of 70 mph with any sign of moisture present.

HB198 would increase from $100 to $300 the fine for trucks found traveling in excess of 5 mph over the current limit on the state’s interstates and other highways. The fine for other vehicles would remain unchanged.

Both House bills, offered by Rep. Kurt Bucholz, R-Saratoga, are before the Transportation, Highways and Military Affairs Committee.

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