Legislative news

North Carolina takes on toll roads, truckers

HB 941, introduced by Reps. Crawford, McMahan, and Mitchell, calls for a study to determine the feasibility of establishing demonstration toll roads on existing interstates. The results of the study would be the basis for recommendations to the 2000 General Assembly. This bill has been assigned to the committee on Rules, Calendars and Operations of the House.

HB 1249 proposes that NCDOT study the effects of intensive enforcement of all trucking safety and related laws on a designated portion of an interstate highway. However the only violation specifically mentioned in the bill is speeding, calling for citations to be issued to truckdrivers, with no warnings or margins for error. A public service campaign would include encouraging the public to call *(star)HP on their car phones to report unsafe truck driving.

Under the provisions of the bill, the Division of Motor Vehicles and the Highway Patrol would be required to compile complete statistics of all enforcement actions. These statistics would include "identifying characteristics of drivers stopped, including the race or ethnicity, approximate age, and gender" and "any other information deemed to be necessary or relevant to determine the effectiveness of the intensive enforcement." (There's an editorial just begging to be written.) This bill is in the committee on Rules, Calendars, and Operations of the House.

North Carolina proposes to double existing traffic violation fines for CMV operators in HB 303. In addition, the bill also calls for North Carolina truckers to get additional points on their licenses for certain violations. For example, truckers will earn four points for speeding violations, while operators of other vehicles earn three points. This bill has passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Transportation Committee. The legislative session ends in late July.


Nebraska speeding fine bill dead

LB 16, calling for higher speeding fines for trucks, failed to make it out of committee by the legislative deadline.


Blowing scales could be costly in Louisiana

On May 17, the House unanimously approved a bill that mandates a $2,000 fine (for vehicles over 26,000 pounds GVW) for failure to stop at a state scales. HB 36 is now in the Senate Committee of Transportation, Highways and Public Works.


No passing on Louisiana bridges bill dead

No action has been taken on Louisiana Rep. Arthur Morrell's HB 58. The bill would make it illegal for trucks to pass any vehicle on any bridge or elevated section of roadway. With a short time remaining in the legislative session (ends June 21), this bill is unlikely to see any action by legislators.


Oregon will retain weight-mile tax, may boost fuel taxes

Efforts to eliminate the state's weight-distance tax was killed, while another measure to raise the fuel tax by six cents a gallon gained committee approval in the House and moved to the House floor. If it becomes law, HB 2082 will boost the gas tax by two cents per gallon on Oct. 1, and an additional four cents a gallon on Jan. 1, 2000. Registration fees would also increase. The Oregon legislative session ends in early July.


Oregon proposes penalty for human waste littering

HB 3530 will penalize those who throw containers of human waste on Oregon roadsides. Fines could go as high as $2,500. The House Committee on Transportation was expected to vote on the measure in late May.


Indiana work zone and "move over" bills signed into law

As of July 1, it will be illegal for any vehicle operator to pass another vehicle when signs indicating a lane closure have directed motorists to merge into another lane. This legislation is designed to penalize drivers who insist on running all the way up to construction barricades before merging into the open lane of traffic.

Also effective July 1, is a law mandating that motorists move over one lane when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights flashing. This law was introduced as a result of the deaths of four state police officers who have been killed in recent years while stopped on the shoulders of Indiana highways.