Virginia bills focusing on truck rules, enforcement have mixed results

| 3/4/2008

Several bills of interest to truck drivers have been offered at the Virginia statehouse this year. With the finish line in sight for lawmakers, many measures have been dropped from consideration while others continue to advance toward passage.

One bill that is nearing passage would ease rules for how far coal trucks are permitted to travel on Virginia roadways. The Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved a bill that would eliminate the 85-mile distance limit for coal truck permits.

Sponsored by Rep. Terry Kilgore, R-Gate City, the bill – HB144 – is awaiting a final vote on the Senate floor. If approved there, it would head back to the House for approval of changes.

Other bills have met their demise. They include an attempt to authorize enforcement of vehicle weight laws by full-time sworn members of the enforcement division of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Sponsored by Rep. William Fralin, R-Roanoke, the bill – HB148 – remained in the House Transportation Committee at the deadline to advance to the full House, effectively killing it for the year.

The same fate befell another measure in the House Transportation Committee. Sponsored by Rep. Mark Cole, R-Fredericksburg, the bill targeted large trucks found driving at least 10 mph in excess of posted speed limits.

The measure – HB108 – sought to reduce from 20 mph to 10 mph the amount by which drivers of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 26,000 pounds must exceed the speed limit to be guilty of reckless driving.

One other bill called for amending the maximum allowable weights of vehicle combinations. Sponsored by Rep. Edward Scott, R-Culpeper, the legislation – HB110 – would have treated straight trucks the same as pickups when determining the maximum allowable weight of vehicle combinations.

It also remained in the House Transportation at the deadline to advance. All legislation that failed to advance can be brought back for consideration during the 2009 regular session.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor