Nebraska bills focus on trucking issues

| 1/29/2008

A Nebraska state lawmaker has offered legislation of interest to the trucking industry.

Sen. Deb Fischer of Valentine, chairwoman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, has introduced two bills that are intended to be used as an incentive to reduce idling and discourage violating out-of-service orders.

One bill – LB917 – would increase the maximum weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle reduction technology. Affected trucks would be authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

A similar effort was signed into law this past year in Oregon. A bill in Maine wasn’t as fortunate.

Fischer’s bill specifies the weight allowance cannot be in addition to the “five percent in excess of maximum load” provision in existing state law.

Another bill offered by Fischer – LB845 – includes a provision that would get tough with those in the trucking industry who don’t heed their out-of-service orders.

Motor carriers would be prohibited from permitting or requiring drivers of commercial motor vehicles to violate any OOS orders. Truck drivers also would be prohibited from violating the rule.

Companies found in violation would face fines ranging from $2,750 to $25,000, per occurrence. Truckers would face fines ranging from $2,500 to $5,000. Repeat offenders would face fines up to $7,500.

Supporters say adoption of the OOS penalties would preserve some of Nebraska’s federal highway funding.

The bills are in the Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Nebraska in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor