Washington state poised to get tough with trucking's 'worst of the worst'

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A bill nearing the end of its trek through the Washington statehouse is intended to get tough with “the worst of the worst” trucking operations that do not heed out-of-service orders.

The Senate Transportation Committee voted to advance legislation to authorize law enforcement to confiscate license plates from motor carriers that continue to operate with a revoked registration.

The bill – SB6206 – now moves to the Senate floor for a final vote. If approved there, it would advance to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s desk. House lawmakers already approved it.

In an effort to improve safety on roadways, Washington State Patrol, city police and county sheriffs’ deputies would be required to take plates off trucks in operation while the vehicle registration is revoked, suspended, or canceled. The authority to pull plates would apply to trucks and tractors.

Law enforcement would be instructed to recycle or destroy plates on all vehicles in an affected fleet.

Larry Pursley, executive vice president of the Washington Trucking Association, said the rule would provide a much-needed tool for law enforcement.

“It would allow the State Patrol to get at the one-tenth of one percent of the carriers out there that continue to flaunt their illegal activity and operate after they have been placed out of service,” Pursley told committee members.

“It’s one more step toward compliance for these companies that are really out of control and have proven to be a danger to the public,” said Washington State Patrol Captain Jason Berry.

Chairwoman Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, said the authority sought for the State Patrol is welcomed.

“This really does give you the hammer to drive the final nail.”

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

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