Missouri lawmakers sent a couple of bills to the governor that would bring some of the state’s truck rules in line with federal rules and raise money for transportation work.
The first bill sent to Gov. Jay Nixon’s desk would comply with federal rules on learning permits for commercial driver’s licenses and outlaw texting and the use of hand-held cellphones by truckers while driving.
Failure to make the changes could result in Missouri losing out on 4 percent – $30 million – of federal highway funds the first year. Withholdings double each year thereafter until compliance is achieved.
States must adopt the CDL testing standards by July 8, 2014. The deadline to adopt the texting ban is Oct. 27, 2013, and the cellphone driving rule must be updated by Jan. 3, 2015.
Another provision in the bill – SB51 – sets minimum standards for towing companies operating in the state. Specifically, companies are required to be open at least eight hours each day from Monday through Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Telephone numbers must also be operational and available through directory assistance.
A separate provision covers fees to renew motorists’ drivers’ licenses or register vehicles.
Vehicle registrations for small vehicles would double and license renewals would increase from $3.50 for less than three years and $5 for more than three years to $5 and $10, respectively.
One more bill on the governor’s desk would offer an additional license plate for about 225,000 large trucks registered in the state.
Missouri law now limits property-carrying trucks weighing more than 12,000 pounds to one license plate.
HB349 would allow affected truck owners to request a second plate. The state could charge $15 for the additional plate.
According to a fiscal note, the plates could raise another $337,000 each year for state and local transportation work. Three-quarters of new revenue would be routed to the state’s highway fund. Cities would get 15 percent and counties would get the other 10 percent.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Missouri, click here.
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