Pennsylvania Senate endorses changes to truck inspections, registration fees

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/7/2016

Issues moving through the Pennsylvania statehouse include a pair of bills that cover rules affecting truck drivers.

The House recently voted to advance a bill that covers truck inspection requirements and registration fees.

State law now mandates that trucks with a registered gross weight in excess of 17,000 pounds undergo semiannual inspections.

HB1413 instead calls for annual inspections.

Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon, notes that Pennsylvania is one of only a few states that still require semiannual inspections for affected vehicles. He said the change would save trucking operations money and allow them to move goods more efficiently.

“This bill would make Pennsylvania-based trucking companies more competitive,” Heffley said in prepared remarks. “Currently, many carriers register their vehicles out of state to avoid the costly and redundant mandates.”

He adds that the bill does not compromise safety because it would require Pennsylvania-based operations to be 100 percent compliant with all federal safety and inspection standards.

Also included in the bill is a provision to allow truck operations to be refunded their registration fee if a truck is stolen or demolished, and the vehicle cannot be replaced. Refunds would be prorated based on the number of months the vehicle was operational.

Heffley points out that registration fees for trucks in excess of 17,000 pounds are more than $2,000.

“Refunding registration fees in this instance would relieve the hardship for many small Pennsylvania motor truck businesses.”

The bill has moved to the Senate Transportation Committee.

Another bill in the House Consumer Affairs Committee would boost penalties for “rogue” commercial household goods movers operating in the state.

State law now requires HHG movers to register and obtain a permit with the Public Utility Commission, maintain workers compensation coverage, pay wages subject to taxation, and have adequate insurance coverage for goods moved.

Rep. Gary Day, R-Lehigh, said the bill targets movers who “advertise themselves as household goods movers on websites such as Craigslist.”

“This type of behavior is dangerous and misleading to consumers because they do not carry the proper credentials or insurance needed to protect consumers and their property,” Day wrote.

His bill, HB1769, calls for offenders to face $5,000 fines, a third-degree misdemeanor, suspension of registration and/or confiscation, and impoundment of the motor vehicle used in the illegal move. Subsequent offenses could result in $10,000 fines.

Fine revenue would be used to help motor carrier enforcement efforts by the Public Utility Commission.

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

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