OOIDA State Watch

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor


A bill moving through the House would prohibit household goods movers from refusing to deliver a person’s goods or placing a lien on the items. HB2145 would also require operations to accurately disclose all fees, rates and charges, including the scope of the insurance coverage for lost or damaged goods.


Multiple bills are of interest. HB6060 would create a task force to study alternative funding sources for rest areas on state highways.

HB5422 would require the use of natural alternatives to magnesium chloride for melting ice on state highways.


One House bill would raise the state’s 18-cent-per-gallon gas tax and the 16-cent diesel tax by 10 cents. In addition, the state’s 11-cent motor carrier surcharge tax would nearly double to 21 cents. HB1002 would also index the taxes on an annual basis. Other provisions in the bill include devoting the state’s sales tax on fuel solely to the state Highway Fund and implementing vehicle fees. Tolls are also on the table. Another component of the plan would authorize INDOT to study implementation of a vehicle-miles traveled tax.

A bill halfway through the statehouse would require motorists to yield the right-of-way to large trucks when driving through roundabouts. For occurrences where two large trucks are approaching a roundabout at about the same time, HB1039 specifies the vehicle on the right is required to yield the right-of-way. Offenders could face $500 fines.


A House bill would authorize commercial vehicles to bypass inspection stations under certain circumstances. HB23 would allow operators to keep driving past a facility if they are “unable to completely exit a highway, road or street due to a vehicle obstruction when reaching the exit lane for the inspection station.” Affected drivers would be required to stop at the next inspection station along their route.


A Senate bill would limit the use of chloride-based liquid de-icers on highways. The allowed usage would be reduced by 10 percent each year over the next decade. SB106 would not apply to the use of a 10 percent rock salt base mixed with sand.


In an effort to quell ticket quotas, SF338 would prohibit certain traffic stop-related information from being used in law enforcement officer job performance evaluations. It would be forbidden to include the number of traffic stops made or traffic enforcement activity in evaluations.


Two bills are of note. HB91 would extend hours of commercial operation at the federally operated Santa Teresa Port of Entry. About $200,000 would be appropriated from the state’s general fund to pay for keeping the facility open longer.

SB76 would revise the state’s Move Over law. State law requires travelers to move over, or slow down if unable to switch lanes, for emergency vehicles parked along roadsides with lights activated. The bill would expand the list to include all vehicles parked along roadways displaying flashing emergency lights or hazard lights.


One Assembly bill would permit police to cite truckers and other drivers for failure to clear accumulations of ice or snow when traveling on roadways with posted speeds in excess of 40 mph. Vehicles found with at least two inches of snow or one-half inch of ice would be in violation. Violators would face $75 fines. A2455 specifies that accumulations occurring while vehicles are on the roadway would exempt drivers from the clearance rule.


A new state law permits all township police to make arrests during traffic stops on local highways. HB378 removes a 50,000-resident threshold to allow all township police the authority to make arrests on national highways that are not included in the interstate system. The affected roadway must be located within the territory of the officer. The new law takes effect April 6, 2017.


SB203 specifies that any sheriff trained by the Department of Public Safety is authorized to stop and weigh any vehicle with a scale certified by the agency upon any county road.


A handful of bills call for fuel tax increases that range from 4 to 12 cents per gallon. South Carolina has not raised its 16-cent-per-gallon fuel tax in 30 years. One effort would allow counties to levy their own fees to pay for road improvements and maintenance. S70 would require local voters to sign off on the fuel user fee, or sales tax.

Another bill of note, H3459, would prohibit municipal speeding ordinances that do not follow the state’s uniform traffic code.


Multiple bills call for adding an instruction to driver’s education classes on how to handle being stopped by law enforcement. The intent of the rule is to educate new drivers how to calmly approach a situation and to not panic, and also to help them avoid doing anything that may seem like a red flag to law enforcement. HB602, SB233 and SB273 would add a section to driver’s education courses for teachers to emphasize “appropriate interactions with law enforcement.”


H78 would authorize the towns of Montgomery, Westfield, and Lowell to prohibit large trucks from accessing the Hazen’s Notch segment of Route 58. Violators could face up to $2,000 fines.


A House bill specifies that vehicles and cargo that are impeding traffic flow because of a wreck be removed from moving lanes. HB2022 would require drivers to move a vehicle from the roadway after an emergency, wreck or breakdown that did not result in injury or death – if the vehicle is movable and the driver can do so safely. LL