Wisconsin panel advances bills to toughen, ease truck rules

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 9/11/2013

Two Wisconsin bills on the move would ease one truck rule and toughen another rule.

The Assembly Transportation Committee voted unanimously to advance a bill to make it easier for veterans to get back to work driving truck.

Sponsored by Rep. Keith Ripp, R-Lodi, AB279 would allow service personnel returning from duty to exchange their military CDL for a state-issued CDL without requiring a driving test. However, the written portion of the test would not be waived.

Advocates say the change is necessary to bring the state in line with federal standards and provide more money for roads.

Wisconsin has every incentive to adopt the federal rules. Failure to act could result in the state losing out on $25 million in federal funding the first year, according to a fiscal estimate on the bill. The amount would double the second and subsequent years.

Another bill approved by the Assembly Transportation Committee would make changes to Wisconsin law concerning commercial driver’s licenses to comply with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.

Sponsored by Rep. John Spiros, R-Marshfield, AB283 would beef up the punishment for first-time offenders of the out-of-service rules. Getting behind the wheel of a truck while in OOS status would result in the driver’s license being suspended for six months – up from 90 days.

Driving suspensions for repeat offenses within 10 years are already set at two years.

Fines for first offenders are set at $2,500. Anyone caught more than once would be responsible for paying $5,000.

Wisconsin faces the loss of up to 10 percent of federal highway if they don’t boost suspensions for first offenders.

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

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