Indiana overweight trucks bill moves on

February 18, 2021

Keith Goble

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An Indiana House bill on the move would accommodate more overweight trucks for travel around the state.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association continues to oppose the legislation.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh says that truck size and weight exemptions are “nothing new.”

“At the behest of economic interests that want to ship cheap freight, there is no shortage of state lawmakers willing to pick winners and losers,” Pugh said.

Dirty details

The House Roads and Transportation Committee voted 7-5 this week to advance an amended bill to authorize the Indiana Department of Transportation to issue overweight truck permits. The rule also could apply to highways under a local authority’s jurisdiction.

Existing state law authorizes trucks hauling metal commodities to be permitted up to 120,000 pounds. Additionally, loads of bark, logs, sawdust, wood chips, or agricultural commodities are permitted up to 97,000 pounds for transport from the point of harvest to the point of first destination.

Sponsored by House Roads and Transportation Chairman Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, the bill would expand the category of freight that can be considered an overweight divisible load. The provision would authorize transportation of commodities up to 120,000 pounds.

The bill, HB1190, states that affected loads “must have a total equivalent single axle load calculation that is equal to or less than 2.4 equivalent single axle load.”

Haulers must apply for and be granted a permit for transportation of divisible loads in excess of 80,000 pounds. The annual permit fee would be increased to $350 – up from $20.

Road damage concerns

Rep. Randy Frye, R-Greensburg, said during committee discussion the additional fee revenue would help the state cover costs of road damage from heavier loads.

Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, said the fee is not sufficient to cover road maintenance costs that will result from heavier trucks on the state’s roadways.

“I don’t think it’s enough money to repair the roads and the damage that is going to be done.” Morris said.

Additionally, a local authority could apply for grant permits to transport overweight divisible loads on local streets.

HB1190 awaits further consideration on the House floor.

OOIDA disputes claim that heavier trucks are needed.

Pugh wrote in a recent letter to Pressel that “trucking already suffers from overcapacity – too many trucks, trailers, and drivers.”

He said his point is reflected by wages, working conditions, and rampant driver turnover.

“Rather than address real trucking issues, you are leading the charge on a bill that will hasten the deterioration of Indiana’s already crumbling infrastructure, reduce margins of safety, and ultimately give a competitive advantage to the largest economic interests in trucking,” Pugh wrote.

Indiana membership encouraged to weigh-in.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA manager of government affairs, has asked Indiana members for their input about the Association’s position on overweight trucks. Members in the state can contact him via email with any questions or suggestions.

“If you agree with what we’re saying, reach out to your state lawmakers,” Matousek encourages Indiana members. LL

More Land Line coverage of news from Indiana.

 

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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.