Arizona laws cover veterans, heavy loads, new truckers

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 5/14/2014

Three new laws in Arizona cover prospective truckers, veterans, and changes in conditions for a special permit for combination vehicles.

One new law adheres to a standard already in place around the country for commercial driver instruction permit holders.

State law allows a commercial driver instruction permit holder to drive in the state as long as he or she is accompanied by a license holder with the same or a higher class license that was issued in the state.

Effective immediately, HB2111 changes the law to also apply to a trucker with the same or a higher class license issued from another state.

A separate law makes it easier for veterans to get back to work driving truck.

Arizona permits service personnel returning from duty to exchange their military CDL for a state-issued CDL without requiring a driving test. However, to be eligible applicants must have at least two years of experience driving a military commercial vehicle “immediately prior” to application for a CDL.

Applicants must also be, or have been, regularly employed as a member of the U.S. armed forces within the past 90 days to qualify for the skills test waiver.

Gov. Jan Brewer signed a bill into that removes the recency requirement for the waiver. HB2204 extends the time limit for veterans to 12 months.

The law, whichtook effect immediately, also ties the state’s rules on licensing of veterans with any federal rule changes.

Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, said the tie-in will free the state from needing to revisit the issue in the future simply to conform with federal rules.

Another new law already in effect is intended to benefit fly ash and limestone loads in northeastern Arizona.

HB2430sets excess size and weight special permitsfor double units in the affected region to up to 95 feet and weighing as much as 129,000 pounds – up from 110,000 pounds. Triple units are permitted for as much as 123,500 gross vehicle weight for any number of axles.

Excess size and weight permit fees are also set at $75 for a single-day or 30-day trip. Annual permits issued for excess size and weight up to 123,500 will be $360, and loads between 123,500 and 129,000 pounds will be $600.

Another provision allows ADOT to issue an envelope permit for a dual axle vehicle hauling a nonspecific and nonreducible vehicle or cargo on a highway. The permit could be issued for loads that do not exceed 14 feet in width, 16 feet in height, and 120 feet in length.

Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott, said the roads affected by the law can handle the extra weight. She has also referred to the changes as a good economic and development tool.

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