Missouri bills addressing truck-related issues advance

| 2/8/2008

Several bills of interest to truck drivers are on the move in the Missouri Senate. Among those efforts are incentives to reduce idling, mandate biodiesel use and allow local enforcement of truck rules.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted to clear the way for a bill to advance to the chamber floor that would increase the maximum gross vehicle weight limit and axle weight limit for large trucks equipped with idle-reduction technology. Sponsored by Senate Transportation Chairman Bill Stouffer, R-Napton, the measure – SB841 – also would authorize affected trucks to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Another piece of legislation offered by Stouffer also addresses truck idling. The bill would create a tax credit for installing idle-reduction technology 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.

The measure – SB811 – is in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

The Senate Transportation Committee approved two other bills of note sponsored by the panel chairman. One bill – SB761 – includes a provision to revise procedures for conducting roadside inspections of large trucks. It 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 examinations or inspections to determine compliance with the CMV weight and size limit laws. Officers who are not certified still could 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 would lose their driving privileges until they fulfill their obligations.

Another bill cleared by the Transportation Committee would authorize the state to implement and administer the Unified Carrier Registration Act. The measure – SB760 – 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.

One more bill would require all diesel fuel sold at retail in the state to be a biodiesel blend. Sponsored by Stouffer, 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. The bill is in the Senate Agriculture, Conservation, Parks and Natural Resources Committee.

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