Texas bills would widen truck enforcement efforts

March 27, 2023

Keith Goble


Multiple bills in the Texas Legislature would open the door to more local police enforcing commercial vehicle safety standards.

Currently, the Texas Department of Public Safety is solely responsible for enforcing overweight rules. Certain exceptions are made for select counties and cities that include Austin and Kyle. Overweight fines range from $100 to $10,000, depending on how many pounds a truck is overweight.

Waller County

The Senate Transportation Committee has voted unanimously to advance a bill that would expand enforcement efforts.

Specifically, SB323 would permit the Waller County Sheriff’s Office to apply for certification to enforce truck rules.

The county northwest of Houston has four major corridors including Farm to Market 359 and 362, Interstate 10, and U.S. 290.

A bill analysis states that many commercial vehicles use these corridors to travel through the county, which does not have the authority to enforce certain truck safety regulations while surrounding counties do have such authority.

Advocates say that expanding authorization for truck enforcement is needed because Department of Public Safety officers simply do not have the resources to continually police affected areas.

The bill awaits further consideration in the Senate. An identical House bill, HB1967, is in the House Transportation Committee.

Bend County

A similar House bill would provide the same authorization for the sheriff’s office in neighboring Fort Bend County.

HB1096 would permit the county constable’s office and the sheriff’s office to apply for certification to enforce truck rules.

The bill is in the House Transportation Committee.

Dallas area locales

One Senate bill would permit police in locales near the city of Dallas to enforce truck rules.

SB540 would permit police officers in locales within 25 miles of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to apply for certification to enforce commercial vehicle safety standards.

The bill analysis reads that current state restrictions on truck enforcement have left certain communities with a “public safety issue.”

On March 29, the Senate Transportation Committee is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the bill.

2019 laws

The statehouse pursuits follow action taken during the previous legislative session to expand the list of law enforcement agencies to enforce truck rules.

Since 2019, law enforcement officers in the city of Jacksonville have been authorized to carry out truck enforcement.

Certain police officers in the Permian Basin are authorized to be certified by the state to inspect trucks. In addition to greater enforcement efforts in West Texas, the 4-year-old rule includes the South Texas locale of McMullen County.

Advocates said more truck enforcement is needed for the areas of high oil and gas production. They cite bridge crashes, overweight and overloaded trucks, and other safety issues. LL

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