Heads up truckers, new rules coming in Georgia, Connecticut and Utah

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/27/2014

New rules of interest to truckers are on the verge of taking effect in states that include Georgia, Connecticut and Utah.

Truckers and others traveling through some of Georgia’s highly populated areas could soon be authorized to travel a little faster.

Speed limits in metro areas around the state with more than 50,000 people now are capped at 65 mph.

New rules in place starting the first of the month authorize the speed limit in urban areas to be raised to 70 mph – up from 55 mph and 65 mph.

Josh Waller with the Georgia Department of Transportation has said the change could be done in areas it could improve traffic flow.

Rep. Sam Watson, R-Moultrie, said the new law is an effort to bring Georgia speed limits up to par with other nearby states. However, he noted the new authority doesn’t mean that speeds will change.

Watson said studies need to be done to make sure a change is necessary.

Specifically, traffic studies must be performed by the state DOT before travelers on urban interstates could be authorized to drive faster.

Meanwhile, GDOT plans to install 176 electronic variable speed limit signs along the northern portion of Atlanta’s Perimeter Highway starting in September.

Speeds are set to increase from 55 mph to 65 mph along that 36-mile stretch of Interstate 185; however, the posted speed will vary according to the amount of traffic.

During periods of heavy congestion, the posted speed along the “Top End” will be reduced to as low as 35 mph.

The agency increased the speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph on a nearly 30-mile stretch of south I-285 late last year.

GDOT is posting variable signage on the north end only because the stretch carries nearly twice as many more vehicles daily and has almost twice as many interchanges.

In Connecticut, a new law in effect starting Tuesday, July 1, covers household goods movers. The new rule tweaks the criteria in granting certification of HHG carriers.

Connecticut law gives the state DOT authority to grant start-ups approval to do business in the state based on a “public need for the service.” Owners of existing household goods companies are given a say in the process.

The new rule removes the provision that gives potential competitors a say in whether a business is approved.

Elsewhere, a new law in Utah adds the state to the growing list of states to require search warrants for cellphone location data.

Effective Tuesday, Utah law restricts the use of “Stingray” technology. The equipment allows law enforcement to track the movements of anyone nearby with a cellphone. The numbers of people’s incoming and outgoing calls and text messages are also captured.

The new law requires police to get a search warrant before obtaining information from an electronic device.

Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Saratoga Springs, called the rule change a proactive protection for the privacy of all Utahans.

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