New Pennsylvania laws cover rail crossings, farm loads

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, November 05, 2012

A handful of bills in Pennsylvania that cover truck rules will soon become state law. The rule changes expand the travel options for certain loads and clarify rules on crossing railroad tracks.

One new law is intended to clarify that large vehicles are required to stop at railroad tracks. It takes effect Dec. 24, 2012.

SB1147 states that when approaching any railroad track, drivers of commercial vehicles are required to slow down and make sure that no trains are approaching. Truck drivers are also required to ensure that enough clearance exists to clear the grade crossing.

Also in effect on Dec 24 is a new law that makes changes for farm equipment and vehicles loaded with crops or nutrients through the harvest season.

Affected loads up to 12 feet in width could be driven, hauled or towed between sunrise and sunset on highways. Interstate travel would not be affected.

Previously HB2371, the new rule also allows farm equipment or a vehicle used for crops or nutrients and not exceeding 14 feet 6 inches in width on highways to travel at night. Date restrictions on affected loads will also be removed.

Loads hauled at night must be equipped with and operate at least one flashing or revolving yellow light, or strobe light. The light must visible to vehicles approaching from all directions.

Another bill signed into law allows farm equipment within certain width limitations to be driven, hauled or towed from farm to farm without restriction on time or roads.

The maximum width on affected loads will increase from 60 inches to 62 inches. The maximum weight will also be raised from 1,200 pounds to 2,000 pounds.

HB2372 also increases the distance of operation from 25 miles to 50 miles for daytime travel for loads up to 10,000 pounds. Vehicles between 10,000 pounds and 17,000 pounds can travel within 25 miles of the farm during daytime hours. For needed repairs, affected vehicles can travel 50 miles.

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

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