States make progress toward anti-idling incentives

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/4/2013

Lawmakers in multiple states are nearing approval of legislation that would increase the incentive to get truck drivers to stop idling.

States were given the ability in 2005 to allow heavy-duty trucks to exceed the 80,000-pound maximum weight limit to encourage the use of idling-reduction equipment.

In recent years many states have adopted rules at their statehouses to increase the weight limits for trucks equipped with auxiliary power units up to an additional 400 pounds.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 29 states have laws that authorize the weight allowance for commercial vehicles. There are 15 states where the weight allowance is granted by enforcement policy rather than by state law.

States yet to permit the 400-pound exemption are California, Hawaii, Kentucky, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Tennessee. The weight allowance doesn’t affect state highway funding eligibility.

On Oct. 1, the law known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) took effect. Included in the new transportation law is a provision to allow states to increase their APU weight exemption another 150 pounds to 550 pounds.

The Tennessee Senate voted unanimously to advance a bill to increase the incentive to stop idling. SB65 would offer weight allowances for idling-reduction equipment of 550 pounds.

Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, told lawmakers during recent discussion that truckers want to be able to take advantage of new technologies available, such as adding auxiliary power units.

The bill now waits assignment to committee in the House.

In neighboring Missouri, the Senate also approved a bill that would adopt the new 550-pound rule. SB43 next moves to the House.

A New Hampshire bill that is also halfway through the statehouse would accommodate additional equipment. HB196 would authorize the 550-pound exemption.

The House-approved bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Supporters say the allowance rewards independent truck drivers and large trucking firms for using technology to increase fuel economy and decrease emissions.

OOIDA has long advocated adoption of the idling-reduction incentive, even before the federal law allowed states to implement the exemption. Association leadership supports the weight exemption as reasonable because it’s another inducement to install APUs on trucks.

The Association maintains a state-by-state breakdown on the status of the weight exemptions.

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