New Texas truck rules slated to take effect Sept. 1

| 8/27/2009

Several rules that affect trucking in Texas soon will be getting a makeover. During the legislative session that ended this spring, lawmakers authorized changes that include shifting certain trucking-related duties away from TxDOT. They also allowed an idling exemption to expire. The changes take effect Tuesday, Sept. 1.

One new law, HB3097, shifts from the Texas Department of Transportation to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles duties that include motor vehicle titling, vehicle registration and oversight of trucking.

Even though the DMV is slated to take over duties the first of the month, the new agency isn’t expected to be up and running until the first of November. Once they are in business, the DMV will be in charge of all powers, duties, obligations, rights of action, personnel, computers, other property and equipment, files, and related materials of the Motor Carrier Division (with the exception of oversize/overweight) and Vehicle Titles and Registration Division.

Another rule change takes effect Tuesday because lawmakers didn’t act. Truckers stopping in Texas may soon see enforcement of anti-idling rules stepped up as an exemption of many local government-enforced idling restrictions expires.

Truck drivers will no longer be allowed to idle during federally mandated rest periods. Cities and counties that enforce idling restrictions have agreed to sign a memorandum of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality that limits idling to five minutes at a time.

The memorandum exempted idling during “government-mandated rest periods,” but that exemption ends on Sept. 1.

Some major changes for commercial vehicles will affect driver’s licensing. One new rule that takes effect the first of the month, HB2730, brings the hammer down on truckers who get mixed up in the illegal alien trade. Truckers will be disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle for life if they use any motor vehicle in an offense that involves the transportation, concealment or harboring of an alien.

Also included in the new licensing rule is a requirement that truckers notify the state and their employers of convictions of any motor vehicle traffic law or ordinance violation. The notification must be made within seven days.

In addition, applicants for CDLs will be allowed to receive delivery of their license at a post office box only if the applicant provided the Department of Public Safety with documentation necessary to verify the validity of the physical address where the applicant lives.

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

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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