Pennsylvania revises rule on overweight truck permits during holidays

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, September 05, 2017

A new law in Pennsylvania covers overweight truck permits during holiday periods.

State law now restricts travel options for large trucks over most holidays.

Rep. Mindy Fee, R-Manheim, said the rule has resulted in putting more trucks on the road during some of the most heavily trafficked time periods.

“The current vehicle code restricts many haulers from being on the road on the day of, and days surrounding, most major holidays,” Fee said in prepared remarks. “A local agricultural company, in its efforts to comply with this law, ended up having to put 100 additional trucks on the road to meet this weight restriction.”

As a result, she said the rule has significantly increased truck traffic during times when the roads are often most congested.

In an effort to address these concerns, Gov. Tom Wolf has signed into law a bill that is intended to reduce truck travel restrictions during holidays. The new law allows special permitted trucks to haul certain heavier loads during affected periods.

Specially permitted trucks up to 135,000 pounds that do not exceed 10 feet in width or wany height and length limitations will soon be allowed on Pennsylvania highways during all holiday periods. The existing restriction on trucks hauling heavy loads during inclement weather, however, will not change.

“I think this is a reasonable update to our traffic laws that keeps more commercial vehicles off the roads during busy holiday travel periods while helping the small business haulers to reduce costs at the same time,” Fee stated.

Previously SB1426, the new law takes effect on Sept. 18.

A separate piece of legislation introduced at the statehouse covers certain fees for CDL holders.

Currently, truck drivers must pay at least $28.50 to get a new CDL to reflect a change of address.

Sponsored by Sen. John Gordner, R-Berwick, the bill would waive the fee for address changes that result from government action.

Gordner highlighted the consolidation of 911 call centers in two counties in the state. Some residents in the affected areas will end up with new addresses despite not moving out of their home, he said.

“I believe this action will occur more frequently as other consolidations occur around the state,” Gordner wrote in a memo to encourage support from fellow lawmakers.

His bill, SB796, is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Another bill covers child safety seats in large trucks.

Pennsylvania law now requires car seats and booster seats in Class I and Class II trucks. Classes III and up are exempt from the requirement.

“Children in these larger vehicles face the same, if not greater safety concerns, as those riding in a smaller vehicle,” stated Rep. Dan Miller, D-Mt. Lebanon. “Larger trucks should not be exempted from this requirement.”

Miller’s bill would apply the car seat and booster seat rule to all trucks, regardless of class.

HB586 is in the House Transportation Committee.

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

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