State Watch – December 2018

December 2018/January 2019

Keith Goble

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As the New Year approaches, OOIDA is focused on providing truckers with information on important legislation during the coming year. In the next few months, state lawmakers from all corners of the country will rapidly add to the list by offering new bills.

Not all of them will be covered on these pages, but readers will be able to find many bills of significance to their trucking business. Here’s our roundup of noteworthy issues addressed by governors in recent weeks and the latest activity on other notable efforts.

CALIFORNIA

A new law is projected to raise $500,000 annually for each billboard classified as a digital billboard. The revenue could be applied for road work in the state. Previously AB3168, the new law permits the conversion of the state’s sign definition from static signs to include digital billboards. The rule change also clarifies and limits what can be considered as a landscaped highway. The change permits existing billboards to be relocated along highways.

KENTUCKY

Two bill drafts for the upcoming regular session are of interest. The first bill draft would require the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to set up a registry within the driver’s license section to provide emergency contact or next-of-kin information for people who become incapacitated or are killed. The option is available to anyone with a driver’s license or state-issued ID card.

Another bill draft covers how to properly interact with police during a traffic stop. Driver’s education programs would be required to incorporate information about how to handle traffic stops into the curriculum. Driving examiners also would be responsible for providing information during the skills portion of the exam.

MICHIGAN

A three-bill package halfway through the statehouse is intended to simplify the issuance of traffic citations for out-of-state drivers.

HB6011 would remove a requirement for cited drivers to pay cash along the roadside while driving out of state. Instead, the state would be enrolled in a national driver license compact to share traffic violation records with other states.

HB5542 would amend the Motor Carrier Safety Act to revise the provision concerning nonresident truck drivers issued traffic citations.

HB6012 would make the same change to Michigan Vehicle Code.

MONTANA

A bill draft for the 2019 regular session would eliminate the speed limit differential on two-lane highways. State law now permits cars to travel 80 mph on rural interstates while large trucks are limited to 65 mph.

PENNSYLVANIA

Multiple new laws are of note.

SB172 permits the use of speed cameras in active work zones on interstates and federal aid highways via a five-year pilot program. Automated enforcement cameras can be used to detect drivers exceeding the posted speed limit by at least 11 mph when workers are present. Registered owners of vehicles found in violation would receive a written warning. A second offense would result in a $75 fine in the mail. Subsequent offenses would carry a $150 fine. The new law also singles out a major roadway in Philadelphia for speed enforcement cameras. Specifically, the use of ticket cameras would be authorized along U.S. 1, (Roosevelt Boulevard) for five years.

HB1958 authorizes truck platooning in the state. Affected vehicles would be permitted to operate in violation of the state’s following distance rule for large vehicles. The rule applies for up to three vehicles while working on limited-access highways or interstates. The rule change takes effect in April.

The House has voted unanimously to advance a three-part bill to implement greater state oversight of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. HB652 would require an annual financial and management audit of the commission by Pennsylvania’s auditor general and his New Jersey counterpart.

Another provision would require the minutes of every commission meeting to be delivered to the governor. The commission would be forbidden from taking action until the minutes are approved by the governor, or for a period of 10 days.

A third provision would grant the Pennsylvania governor veto power over actions of the state’s commissioners. LL

Keith Goble

Keith Goble has been covering trucking-related laws since 2000. His daily web reports, radio news and “OOIDA’s State Watch” in Land Line Magazine are the industry’s premier sources for information regarding state legislative affairs.