Missouri bills address truck-related issues

| 12/18/2007

With a few weeks remaining until the start of the legislative session in Missouri, several bills of interest to truck drivers have been prefiled for consideration at the statehouse. Among those efforts are incentives to reduce idling, mandate biodiesel use and allow local enforcement of truck rules.

Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, offered all four of the bills.

The first bill – SB811 – would create a tax credit for installing idle reduction technology on big trucks for the next two years. The credit would be equal to 50 percent of the amount of purchase and installation on class 8 trucks – up to $3,500 per truck.

Another bill would increase the maximum gross vehicle weight limit and axle weight limit for large trucks equipped with idle reduction technology. The measure – SB841 – also would authorize affected trucks to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

A separate bill includes a provision to revise procedure for conducting roadside inspections of large trucks. The measure – SB761 – calls for setting up a program to certify local law enforcement officers to enforce commercial motor vehicle laws.

Certified law enforcement officers could conduct random roadside inspections to determine compliance with the CMV weight and size laws. Officers who are not certified would still be allowed to pull over large trucks with a “visible external safety defect.”

The bill also would mandate that commercial driver’s license holders who fail to appear or pay fines would lose their driving privileges until they fulfill their obligations.

Another bill would require all diesel fuel sold at retail locations in the state to be a biodiesel blend. The measure – SB810 – would require at least 5 percent biodiesel at the pumps by January 2010. The Missouri Department of Agriculture would be responsible for developing cold temperature operability standards for biodiesel.

One more bill – SB760 – would authorize the state to implement and administer the Unified Carrier Registration Act. It is a federal act intended to replace the Single State Registration System.

UCR is a plan that will have a fee structure that goes from the old per-truck basis to a per-carrier basis and will be the same for all member states. Truckers will no longer have to pick and choose states, as they do with the SSRS. One fee will cover all states.

The bills are awaiting assignment to committee for the session that begins Jan. 9.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor