Texas bills would impact trucking rules


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Several bills of interest to the trucking industry are drawing consideration from lawmakers in both chambers of the Texas Legislature.

Among the bills of relevance that are advancing in the Senate is a measure that is intended to curb unsafe trucking operations. Currently, state law doesn’t prohibit intrastate travel for motor carriers that have been deemed unfit or unsafe for interstate travel by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Sponsored by Sen. John Carona, R-Dallas, the bill – SB332 – would prohibit motor carriers from operating intrastate if the FMCSA has prohibited them from operating in interstate commerce because of safety concerns. It also would prohibit an employer from knowingly permitting a person to drive such a vehicle if the employer is subject to an out-of-service order affecting a driver or vehicle.

Violators to the proposed rules would face up to $2,000 in fines and/or 180 days in jail.

Another bill authored by Carona would bring state law in line with federal rules for saddlemounts. The rule was part of the 2005 federal Highway Bill. The bill – SB331 – would change the maximum length for saddlemount vehicle transporter combinations in the state from 75 feet to 97 feet.

Two more bills penned by Carona deal with cargo securement.

One bill – SB387 – would add refuse and aggregates to the list of material that must be covered to prevent it from blowing or spilling from trucks. State law now includes sand, gravel, dirt and wood chips under the items that must be covered.

The bill also would delete a provision in state law that exempts vehicles operated at speeds below 30 mph from the mandatory coverage requirement.

“That 30 mph exemption really doesn’t serve much purpose when, in fact, loose items continue to fly out of the truck,” Carona told lawmakers during a hearing on the bill.

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