Virginia rule changes cover truck heights and weights, fuel haulers

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, March 13, 2015

Virginia lawmakers this year endorsed changes to various issues that affect truckers. Issues addressed include truck heights, truck weights and fuel haulers.

One bill on Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s desk covers penalties for overheight vehicles. State law now makes the driver of overheight vehicles solely responsible for violations. Offenders face the assessment of three demerit points and fines of at least $1,000. Subsequent violations could result in fines in excess of $2,000.

The Senate and House of Delegates voted unanimously to endorse the changes.

SB956 revises the punishment for operation of vehicles exceeding a height of 13 feet, 6 inches. Drivers would continue to be on the hook for demerit points, but vehicle owners would bear the responsibility for paying fines.

On Tuesday, March 10, the governor signed into law a separate effort that deals with overweight permits for forest products. Effective July 1, the rule change establishes an overweight permit for hauling such items as wood chips, mulch and tree bark.

HB2072 authorizes permitted vehicles to have a single-axle weight up to 24,000 pounds, a tandem-axle weight up to 40,000 pounds, and a tri-axle grouping weight up to 50,000 pounds.

In addition, any five-axle tractor-trailer with a minimum of 48 feet between the first and last axle will be authorized to have a gross weight up to 90,000 pounds. Four-axle combos could weigh up to 70,000 pounds and three-axle combos could weigh as much as 60,000 pounds.

Fees for permits will be set at $130.

Another new law covers trucks hauling motor fuels. Specifically, the state will soon be authorized to temporarily suspend weight limits and hours of service for commercial vehicles hauling motor fuels, heating oil, and certain other liquid fuels during occasions when adverse road conditions exist and adversely affect the delivery of such fuels within the state.

Circumstances affected would not require a state of emergency, disaster or extreme weather event.

The new rule takes effect July 1.

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

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