New York bills cover truck rules on idling, tolls, more

February 4, 2021

Keith Goble


Multiple bills in the New York State Legislature address truck rules that include idling, weight limits, tolls and autonomous driving.

An effort underway in the Senate covers idling rules for large vehicles.

New York state law now limits idling time for heavy-duty vehicles with a gross vehicle weight exceeding 8,500 pounds to five consecutive minutes. Violators face fines from $500 to $18,000.

Sponsored by Sen. Brian Kavanagh, D-Manhattan, the bill would prohibit idling of affected vehicles statewide for more than three consecutive minutes.

The rule would be applied to trucks and buses in excess of 8,500 pounds. Any local law or ordinance would be preempted.

“This bill allows reasonable exceptions while ensuring that unnecessary idling is curtailed,” the sponsor memo states.

The bill, S3119, is in the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Weigh-in-motion truck rules

Kavanagh is the sponsor of a separate bill to ramp up truck weight enforcement along a stretch of one New York City expressway.

S2740 would authorize the city of New York to enforce weight restrictions via mobile or stationary weigh-in motion systems for the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.

The focus of the legislation is a 1.5-mile stretch of the expressway from Sands Street to Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. The section of Interstate 278 is described as being in “dire condition,” according to reports of the New York City mayor’s office and the New York City Council.

The mayor’s group found that the expressway’s triple cantilever is “deteriorating rapidly, with sections possibly unsafe for vehicular and truck traffic in five years if mitigations are not made expeditiously.”

Overweight truck traffic is the leading factor attributed to the elevated roadway’s deterioration.

Tickets would be issued automatically for trucks described as substantially above the existing weight limits. Specifically, citations would be mailed for trucks traveling 10% above the gross vehicle weight and/or 20% above the axle weight.

Violators would get off with a warning for the first 90 days of the program.

The bill is in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Thruway truck tolls

Another bill in the Senate Transportation Committee would eliminate all tolls on the New York State Thruway for certain trucks.

Sponsored by Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, S2038 would benefit trucks and delivery vehicles in the transportation of essential supplies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Essential supplies would include medicine, cleaning products, food, beverages, and construction equipment.

“At a time when goods are in high demand, trucking and delivery companies are working around the clock to provide essential supplies to medical facilities and grocery stores as they endure the COVID-19 crisis,” a memo attached to the bill reads.

Autonomous truck rules

One more bill would establish a commission to examine the impact of autonomous truck technology on the jobs of truck drivers and diesel mechanics.

Sponsored by Sen. Luis Sepulveda, D-Bronx, the bill defines autonomous technology as enabling a motor vehicle to operate without the active control or monitoring of a person.

The sponsor memo states the purpose of the bill is to amend sections of law for the operation of autonomous vehicles to ensure passenger and public safety until technology becomes “error-proof.”

The bill, S3068, is in the Senate Labor Committee. LL

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