West Virginia bills geared toward truck issues, road safety

| 2/21/2008

A handful of bills of interest to truckers have been offered in the West Virginia statehouse. The measures address truck weights, lane use and blood tests after vehicle wrecks.

The first bill would increase the maximum weight amounts for large trucks equipped with six axles and two additional brakes. Affected tractor-trailers would be allowed to have a maximum gross weight of 97,000 pounds with a tolerance of 10 percent. State law now limits those trucks to 80,000 pounds with a tolerance of 10 percent.

Sponsored by Sen. Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson, the bill – SB86 – is in the Senate Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Another bill in the transportation panel is intended to keep most traffic out of the left lane on certain highways in the state.

State law now requires vehicles traveling below the normal speed of traffic to stay right. Sponsored by Sen. Billy Wayne Bailey, D-Pineville, the measure – SB112 – would require cars and trucks traveling on multilane highways posted with 65 mph speed limits to clear the left lane.

Violators would face $50 fines. Exceptions would be made for passing other vehicles, turning left or if traffic volume makes it difficult to safely merge into the non-passing lane.

One other bill deals with drawing blood from drivers involved in wrecks that result in injury or death. Rep. John Overington, R-Berkeley, introduced a bill that would require mandatory blood tests if law enforcement has “reasonable grounds to suspect a driver” is under the influence or drugs and/or alcohol.

The bill – HB2427 – is in the House Roads and Transportation Committee.

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