Nebraska bills bring state law in line with federal truck rules

| 4/13/2009

Two bills that just got the go-ahead in Nebraska beef up out-of-service penalties.

One new law is intended to remove discrepancies between the Nebraska Motor Vehicle Operator’s License Act and federal regulations. In effect, it brings the language of the state law in line with the federal regs.

LB204, now a law, places restrictions on operating a commercial vehicle while there is an out-of-service order in effect on the truck or motor carrier operation. It’s a law that truckers have always regarded as just plain bone-headed, due to the consequences an out-of-service order placed on a carrier could have on a driver who is not involved in any violations.

If you are found in violation, you would face CDL suspensions for one year. Subsequent offenses would result in two-year CDL suspensions.

The new rule takes effect in September.

Another new law, which takes effect immediately, adopts updated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and hazardous materials regulations.

Previously known as LB48, the new law allows the Nebraska State Patrol to place a motor carrier out of service for failure to pay civil penalties after 90 days.

The prohibition from intrastate commerce will continue until payment of the civil penalty is fulfilled. For interstate commerce, the FMCSA will be able to take reciprocal action by prohibiting the motor carrier from operation.

Here’s an update on a bill still active at the statehouse, which makes it more difficult to get a driver’s license. LB229 would require more stringent proof of legal residence and identity to obtain vehicle licenses, including a CDL.

Applicants would be required to prove identity, date of birth, Social Security number, and lawful status through a limited source document list. For all employees who have the ability to affect information appearing on driver’s licenses, background checks would be required.

The bill is in the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Nebraska in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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