New York bills intended to aid truck travel

August 21, 2019

Keith Goble

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Multiple bills in the New York statehouse cover truck travel and CDL use.

One bill is intended to benefit commercial truck traffic.

The legislation in the Assembly and Senate is targeted at keeping canal lift bridges around the state from getting to the point they are in disrepair and unable to function. Specifically, the state would be required to maintain bridges to not impede commercial vehicles.

At least one public hearing would also be required in communities where a bridge closure is located.

Bill sponsors wrote in a memo attached to the legislation that canal lift bridges provide a critical transportation resource for residents and business in affected communities.

“Currently the state often allows these bridges to deteriorate to such a point that they must be closed. … It is unconscionable to think that infrastructure needs can be so ignored to allow this to happen.”

The Assembly version, A3222, and Senate version, S125, are in their respective chamber’s transportation committee.

A separate bill would make it illegal in the state for a commercial driver to transport loose substances uncovered in an open vehicle.

A2433 would require commercial operators to use safeguards approved the New York State Department of Transportation to prevent loose substances from becoming dislodged or removed during transport.

New York law now requires the use of a tarp only when open trucks or trailers transport loose substances on public highways.

Sponsored by Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester, the bill would revise statute to require the use of a tarp or similar device by all commercial operators transporting loose substances in an open truck or trailer.

“Given the potential for harm to persons and property, it is necessary to require all commercial operators of motor vehicles to use reasonable methods, as determined by the commissioner of transportation, that will prevent loose substances from becoming dislodge or removed from the truck during transport,” Gantt wrote in a memo attached to the bill.

The legislation includes a provision to prevent substances from being thrown by the vehicle’s wheels during travel. Specifically, tire guards would be required to prevent objects from being thrown during operation.

Gantt’s bill is in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

Another bill in the Assembly Transportation Committee covers CDL holders with lapses or termination affecting their personal driving privileges.

Sponsored by Assemblyman Cliff Crouch, R-Bainbridge, A1748 would permit CDL holders to continue to drive after a lapse or termination of insurance for his or her personal vehicle if he/she needs their license to perform his or her employment.

“If persons who are convicted of driving while impaired receive special licenses to drive to work, so should special accommodations be made for CDL operators,” Crouch wrote.

One more Senate-approved bill covers truck travel in northern New York.

S4713 would allow vehicles with increased weight and dimension to travel a portion of highway between the Ogdensburg Prescott International Bridge and the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority entrance.

The exception would cover a 1.7-mile stretch of roadway to accommodate the international shipment of goods to and from Canada via the Prescott International Bridge to the Port of Ogdensburg.

Advocates say current weight limits make many Canadian companies reluctant to expand operations to the Port of Ogdensburg.

They add that existing statute affects many local industries, including agriculture and container shipping.

The bill awaits further consideration in the Assembly Transportation Committee.

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.