OOIDA draws attention to Indiana overweight truck bills

January 27, 2021

Keith Goble

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The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association continues to draw attention to a pair of bills at the Indiana statehouse. The bills would accommodate more overweight trucks for travel around the state.

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.

Overweight truck permits

The first bill, HB1190 would authorize the Indiana Department of Transportation to issue overweight truck permits. The rule would not apply to highways under a local authority’s jurisdiction.

Sponsored by House Roads and Transportation chairman Jim Pressel, R-Rolling Prairie, the bill reads that applications for permits must demonstrate that rail travel for the resource is not an option; “other transportation options that do not include travel using a permit have been exhausted; and as a result of the lack of transportation options for this resource supply chain interruptions or supply dock backlogs exist.”

HB1190 awaits consideration in the House Roads and Transportation Committee.

Overweight divisible loads

The second bill in the Senate Homeland Security and Transportation Committee covers overweight divisible loads.

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

Sponsored by Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute, SB40 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 states that affected loads “must have a total equivalent single-axle load calculation that is equal to or less than 2.8 equivalent single-axle load.”

Additionally, haulers also must apply for and be granted a permit for transportation of divisible loads in excess of 80,000 pounds.

OOIDA disputes claim that heavier trucks are needed

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

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, sent an email Tuesday to members in the state asking for their input about the Association’s position on overweight trucks.

“If you agree with what we’re saying, reach out to your state lawmakers,” the letter encourages recipients.

Matousek also asked Indiana members to contact him via email with any questions or suggestions. LL

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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.