Mississippi lawmakers giving a lot of attention to truck issues

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Truck drivers are getting a lot of attention this year at the Mississippi statehouse. Among the bills of note are efforts that cover IRP-registered trucks, CDL licensing, truck inspections and medical exams.

One Senate bill would give truckers a tax break on certain purchases. Specifically, SB255 would benefit truck tractors and semitrailers involved in interstate commerce and registered through the International Registration Plan “or any similar reciprocity agreement or compact relating to the proportional registration of commercial vehicles.”

Affected trucking operations would be exempt from one-half of the taxes levied on retail sales of accessories, equipment, labor, parts and services.

A separate bill, SB2638, would add a commercial driver’s license testing site at the driver’s license examining station in Lafayette County.

Mississippi now offers CDL testing at 11 locations in nine districts. Lafayette County is in District 3, which only offers CDL testing at the Nesbit facility.

Two bills cover requirements for the Department of Public Safety.

HB594 would require DPS to provide for CDL renewals in each county seat at least once per month.

HB641 would require DPS to provide for electronic transmission of a medical card required for CDL holders.

Another bill covers large truck traffic during bad weather.

State law requires large trucks and buses to slow down to 45 mph on highways when visibility is reduced because of “inclement weather.”

HB999 would remove the requirement that visibility must be bad for affected drivers to slow down during snow, ice or rain storms.

Multiple bills can come up for review in the House Transportation and Ways and Means committees.

HB852 calls for creating a commercial motor vehicle inspection program. The Department of Public Safety would be authorized to certify inspection stations. The department would be required to certify at least one station in each county.

A related bill would authorize commercial vehicles to bypass inspection stations under certain circumstances.

Mississippi law authorizes fines of up to $1,000 and the possibility of jail time for failure to stop at an inspection station.

HB851 would allow operators to keep driving past a facility if they are “unable to completely exit a highway, road or street due to a vehicle obstruction when reaching the exit lane for the inspection station.”

Affected drivers would be required to stop at the next inspection station along their route.

HB817 would set a driver’s CDL to come up for renewal every five years on his or her birthday.

More House bills cover truckers with diabetes and visual impairment.

HB246 would authorize drivers with diabetes to be examined by a board certified-advanced diabetes management nurse practitioner.

Mississippi law now limits examinations to be done by a board-certified/eligible endocrinologist.

In addition to the endocrinologist or medical examiner, blood glucose logs could be submitted to a nurse practitioner. A copy of the nurse practitioner’s report could also be provided at the time of the annual medical exam.

HB243 would allow people with visual impairment in one eye to obtain a CDL as long as they meet all other qualifications. Affected license holders would be limited to driving truck only within the state.

Visually impaired CDL holders would also be required to undergo an annual eye examination.

The deadline for the bills to advance from committee is Feb. 4.

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