Illinois lawmakers advance bills covering tows, road closures

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Multiple bills in Illinois cover truck issues. One bill halfway through the statehouse would put limits in place on nonconsensual tows of large trucks.

The Senate voted unanimously to advance a bill that would prohibit towers from removing a commercial vehicle under the vehicle’s own power without authorization from law enforcement. SB2932 awaits consideration in the House before it could move to the governor’s desk.

Sponsored by Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, the bill would forbid “towing” a truck by operating the vehicle under its own power as opposed to physically hauling the vehicle away unless police authorize moving the vehicle.

Sullivan said the protection is needed to address use of a master key to start up and move vehicles without authorization from the truck driver or company.

“It raises liability concerns about whether tow company drivers are qualified to get behind the wheel of a large vehicle,” Sullivan recently told Land Line. “My legislation says you cannot use a master key to move a vehicle unless you have permission from law enforcement.”

Other bills still active include an effort to allow truckers with Illinois base plates to keep more money in their pockets.

Sen. Martin Sandoval, D-Cicero, is pursuing a rule change that would repeal collection of the commercial distribution fee for trucks in the state. The amount is a 14.35 percent surcharge of the annual registration fees.

For truck registrations of 80,000 pounds, truckers are required to chip in another $400 to cover the CDF. On top of the nearly $2,800 they already pay for base plates, truckers pay about $3,200 a year to tag their trucks in the state.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer has said the fee amounts to a tax on a tax. He has referred to the fee as “wholly inappropriate,” and he said it should be eliminated.

SB2927 is in the Senate Assignments Committee.

Another bill from Sandoval in the Senate Assignments Committee would simplify commercial driver’s license testing for more prospective truck drivers.

Illinois law now requires the state and third-party testers to make testing available in English, Spanish and Polish.

SB3373 would add Mandarin to the list of test offerings.

One more bill covers road closures.

Sponsored by Sen. Darin LaHood, R-Dunlap, SB3471 would prohibit highway commissioners from permanently closing, vacating or reducing “the weight limit on any road or portion thereof without the written approval of the county.”

The bill awaits a final Senate floor vote before it can move to the House.

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