Missouri bill focusing on several truck rules advances

| 4/4/2007

The Missouri Senate unanimously approved a bill that includes several provisions of interest to truck drivers. It now heads to the House for further consideration.

Sponsored by Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, the bill also would bring state law in line with some federal rules that were part of the 2005 federal highway legislation.

The bill – SB239 – would change the maximum length for saddlemount vehicle transporter combinations in the state from 75 feet to 97 feet on interstate highways. It also would allow common carriers of household goods to file applications to the State Highways and Transportation Commission for approval of rates to reflect increases and decreases in the carrier’s costs.

It would repeal “the exemption that currently allows household goods movers to operate wholly in municipalities, between contiguous municipalities, or commercial zones” without having to obtain operating authority from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Currently, household movers are exempt from the rules and regulations if their operations are restricted to those described areas.

Supporters say the change would put in-state companies and companies based outside the state on a level playing field.

A separate provision included in the bill would prohibit indemnity agreements in motor carrier transportation contracts that claim “to indemnify a party against loss from negligence or intentional acts void and unenforceable.”

Another provision would allow commercial motor vehicles originating in the state and delivering to neighboring states to meet weight restrictions of the destination states. If weight limits of a destination state are less than Missouri’s weight limits, the Missouri weight rule would apply.

Also included is a provision that would expand the area in which “local log trucks” and “local log truck tractors” can operate from 50 miles to 100 miles. One other provision of note included in the bill would direct all fines from cities’ use of automated traffic enforcement cameras to be used for education.

The bill is awaiting assignment to committee in the House.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor