Pennsylvania lawmakers won a game of beat the clock with the deadline to comply with a federal truck rule.
Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill into law Jan. 27 to bring Pennsylvania in line with federal rules on medical certification. Separate provisions in the bill extend the Philadelphia red-light camera program and increase the fine for out-of-state trucking operations that avoid licensing requirements.
“This bill benefits the trucking business on two fronts and sustains jobs for them both locally and statewide,” Rep. Will Tallman, R-Adams/York, said in a statement.
As of Monday, Jan. 30, CDL holders operating interstate are required to provide proof from a doctor to state licensing offices that they are healthy enough to get behind the wheel. Failure to certify by early 2014 could result in a downgrade of licenses and possible suspension.
Previously HB1458, the new law lines up state statute with the federal requirements.
States such as Pennsylvania have every incentive to adopt the federal rules. Failure to meet deadlines could cost states 5 percent of federal highway funds. In the case of the Keystone State, failure to act could have resulted in the loss of $32 million.
However, the feds could provide states that are slow to act with a grace period; as long as they submit a plan to comply with the mandate.
According to a fiscal note, the cost for the state to implement the necessary system changes for the federal medical requirements is $2.2 million.
Information on the law and certificate forms are available on the DMV website.
AAMVA has a state-by-state breakdown of methods for accepting paperwork, etc.
Another trucking provision in the bill is intended to entice certain Maryland truck drivers to pay up.
Out-of-state truckers driving tri-axle dump trucks into Pennsylvania are required to purchase a Class 20 license with a price tag of $1,251. Before the new law was signed violators were responsible for paying $25.
To address indifference to the rule, the new fine could cost out-of-state gravel haulers as much as $1,000.
Tallman said the increased fine levels the playing field for Pennsylvania truckers.
A separate provision extends Philadelphia’s red-light program through 2016.
Currently, the city of Philadelphia is authorized to use the revenue generator. The revenue from the program is split between the city and the state for use in other communities.
The new law changes how the revenue is divvied up around the state. The City of Brotherly Love is no longer assured an equal cut with the state.
According to a state analysis, about $30 million has been raised since the inception of the program in 2005.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Pennsylvania, click here.
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