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