New Oregon laws are of interest to trucking; other efforts remain active

| Friday, May 11, 2007

Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed two bills into law intended to be used as an incentive to reduce idling and boost fines for violating out-of-service orders. Numerous other bills related to trucking continue to draw consideration.

The new law, previously SB223, increases the maximum weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle reduction technology. Affected trucks are authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Another bill signed into law by the governor includes a provision that gets tough with those driving truck who don’t heed their out-of-service orders. It increases the minimum and maximum penalty for violating OOS orders.

Existing Oregon law requires violators to face between $1,100 and $2,750 fines. The new law, previously HB2268, boosts the fine range to between $2,750 and $11,000. It also provides for the reinstatement of a “lifetime suspension” of a commercial driver’s license after 10 years.

A bill still trying to make its way through the statehouse would increase taxes on truckers and other drivers to generate $125 million a year for roads.

Sponsored by Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, the bill seeks to increase the state’s per gallon tax on gasoline by 5 cents. The bill – HB2653 – also would establish automatic tax increases of 5 cents every five years. For truckers, the corresponding weight-mile fees also would be increased. It is in the House Rules Committee

A separate bill in the House Rules Committee intends to help generate another $200 million annually for roads. Sponsored by Rep. Dave Hunt, D-Gladstone, the bill would increase certain fees for cars and trucks.

The registration fee for an 80,000 pound truck would increase from $490 annually to $660. Car registration fees would rise from $27 per year to $39.

The bill – HB3018 – also would mandate that 25 percent of the revenue from the higher fees be used for projects “of statewide significance.”

Another bill would give weighmasters and motor carrier enforcement officers more power. The bill – HB3273 – would allow weighmasters or motor carrier enforcement officers to stop and detain vehicles. Vehicles would be required to stop and submit to any enforcement “when directed to do so by any sign, warning lights or other signal.”

It is in the House Ways and Means Committee.

While some truck-related bills continue to draw consideration in the statehouse others have been put to rest.

Among the bills that have died is an effort that focused on splash and spray guards on large trucks. The bill – HB3031 – would have fined truckers $180 for operating a truck tractor and semitrailer combination without splash and spray guards mounted at every double wheel well on each side of the vehicle.

The bill failed to meet a deadline to advance, effectively killing it for the year.

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