Texas laws in effect Sept. 1 widen truck enforcement efforts

August 28, 2019

Keith Goble

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Truck enforcement in Texas will soon be ramped up in certain areas around the state.

Gov. Greg Abbott acted earlier this year to sign into law multiple bills to open the door to local law enforcement to enforce 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. Overweight fines range from $100 to $10,000, depending on how many pounds the truck is overweight.

Effective Sept. 1, a group of laws will expand the list of law enforcement agencies to enforce truck rules.

One new law includes law enforcement officers in the city of Jacksonville.

Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, noted during legislative discussion on the change that there are three U.S. highways that intersect in his hometown.

Another new law permits certain police officers in the Permian Basin to become certified by the state to inspect trucks.

In addition to greater enforcement efforts in West Texas, the rule has a provision to include McMullen County in South Texas.

Advocates say 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.

A separate new law permits certain police officers in the city of Katy to enforce commercial vehicle standards for overweight trucks.

Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, pointed out the change makes police officers in the Harris County locale eligible to apply for certification to enforce overweight truck rules.

She said during previous discussion that truck traffic is accessing roadways in downtown Katy to avoid Interstate 10 congestion.

Advocates add that DPS officers simply do not have the resources to continually police downtown Katy.

Another new rule authorizes a sheriff or a deputy sheriff in Williamson County to apply for certification to enforce truck rules.

The county is located directly north of the city of Austin.

Additionally, one new law is intended to reduce overpass and bridge strikes from over-height large trucks.

The owner of the vehicle would be strictly liable for any damage to a bridge or overpass caused by vehicle height. Drivers of the over-height vehicle could also be charged.

Violators would face misdemeanor charges. The charges could not exceed the cost of the damages.
The Texas Department of Transportation reports that in 2018 there were 82 overpass strikes across the state of Texas. Damages alone topped $20 million.

Despite the high dollar amount, less than $3.6 million of the cost of repairs has been collected from the drivers and companies responsible.

Texas laws in effect Sept. 1 widen truck enforcement efforts
Truck enforcement in Texas will soon ramp up around the state. Multiple new laws open the door to local law enforcement to enforce truck rules.

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.