States roll out new laws

From fuel tax increases to truck parking – brand-new laws are on the books this month.

July 2019

Keith Goble

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Truckers must be on constant watch for new rules that could affect them as they drive from point A to point B. Fresh off legislative action in states around the country, July is one of the leading months for new laws to take effect. Below are some notable laws that Land Line found.

 

Fuel taxes

Approved as part of a two-year transportation budget deal in Ohio, the state’s fuel tax rates are slated to be increased on July 1.

The 28-cent gas tax will be raised 10.5 cents to 38.5 cents. The diesel rate will increase by 19 cents to 47 cents.

The Ohio Department of Transportation says each penny increase in the fuel tax will result in additional $67 million annually. The state DOT will receive 55% of the new revenue and local governments will claim the rest.

The Ohio Constitution requires fuel tax revenue to be used solely for road and bridge work.

A fuel tax rate increase is also coming to California. Specifically, the gas tax will increase by 5.6 cents per gallon on July 1.

The increase is part of a 2017 transportation funding deal that raised diesel by 20 cents and gas taxes by 12 cents.

The excise rates on gas and diesel will also be adjusted for inflation beginning in July 2020.

Also in effect July 1 in Nevada is a new law to authorize county commissions in counties with fewer than 100,000 people to add a tax of up to 5 cents per gallon on diesel purchases. SB48 would require additional diesel revenue raised to be used for local road construction and maintenance. A portion of tax collections would be allotted to construct, maintain or repair truck parking in counties that sell more than 10 million gallons of diesel annually.

Another provision is included for eligible IFTA carriers to receive a reimbursement of the county tax consumed outside of Nevada. The provision would be applied in counties that sell more than

10 million gallons of diesel annually.

Truck rules

In Washington, a new law effective July 28 is intended to help ease parking concerns for professional drivers.

The Washington State Department of Transportation owns and operates 47 rest areas. The agency reports that most are open to the public 24 hours each day.

State law allows visitors to park at facilities for up to eight hours daily. There is no time restriction if the vehicle is disabled.

SB5506 permits the state DOT to change allowable parking time from eight hours per day to fewer than eight hours.

The Washington State Police is allowed to impound disabled vehicles after 48 hours.

Commercial vehicles are exempt from the new rules. Additionally, affected trucks are permitted to park at rest areas for up to an hour beyond federally mandated rest periods.

A new Virginia law adds the town of Cape Charles to the list of communities that are allowed to regulate or prohibit parking on any public highway of vehicles that include commercial vehicles.

As of July 1, Northampton County will be added to the list of five towns and five counties in Virginia to have authority to regulate or prohibit large vehicles from parking along roadways.

The first of the month in Iowa marks the start date of a new law to permit stinger-steered transporters up to 80 feet – up from 75 feet. The overhang can be up to 4 feet on the front and up to 6 feet on the rear of the combination. The previous maximum overhang lengths were

3 feet and 4 feet.

Platooning

Revised statutes in Iowa and the Dakotas cover the minimum requirements for vehicle following distances.

Iowa statute reads that no large truck may operate within 550 feet of another truck.

HF387 does away with the distance minimum for autonomous trucks.

Similarly in South Dakota, law states that a driver shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is “reasonable and prudent.” Specific to trucking, the rule defines the distance as within 550 feet on a highway.

The revised rule in HB1068 permits platooning vehicles to travel within the restricted distance between vehicles.

Across the state line in North Dakota, the reasonable and prudent provision also is included for vehicle following distances.

HB1199 relaxes the rule solely for platoons. The new rule takes effect on Aug. 1.

 

Road safety

A Florida law makes texting while driving a primary offense. Use of any handheld wireless communication devices also will be forbidden in construction zones.

In Kentucky, a new law doubles fines for speeding in active work zones. Fines would amount to $100. Ticket revenue would be used to pay for “enhanced law enforcement” within the affected areas. 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.

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