Indiana House approves weight exception for APUs

| 2/9/2010

A bill midway through the Indiana statehouse is intended to provide an incentive to reduce truck idling.

The House overwhelmingly approved a bill that calls for increasing the maximum weight limits for large trucks equipped with idle-reduction technology. Trucks equipped with auxiliary power units would be authorized to weigh up to an additional 400 pounds.

Before the House floor vote, lawmakers added a provision that addresses federal certification for hauling metal coils that originate or terminate in Indiana. Truck drivers would be prohibited from hauling one or more metal coils individually, or grouped together, weighing at least 5,000 pounds unless the operator is certified in proper load securement.

Sponsored by Rep. Dennis Avery, D-Evansville, the bill – HB1084 – has advanced to the Senate. It awaits consideration in the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation & Veterans Affairs Committee.

Supporters say the weight exception removes the disincentive that would keep truckers from using APUs. They say a reduction of 400 pounds in cargo is a major loss in hauling potential and represents an economic disincentive for using these units.

States were granted federal authority in 2005 to allow a 400-pound leeway in order encourage the use of idling-reduction equipment. Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association point out it was the intent of Congress that the exemption be signed into law in every state, but it’s been a slow process that’s dragged on for five years.

OOIDA has advocated adoption of the 400-pound exemption, even before the federal authority was granted.

“The Association supports the exemption as reasonable because it’s another inducement to install an APU onto your truck,” Joe Rajkovacz, OOIDA’s director of regulatory affairs, told Land Line.

Indiana is one of about a dozen states that do not allow 400-pound exceptions for APUs. States to add the provision in the past year include Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Maine and Virginia. Legislation is pending in Alabama, Florida, Massachusetts and West Virginia to adopt the provision to state law.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Indiana in 2010, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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