The Illinois House and Senate returned to the State Capitol on Tuesday and Wednesday after taking the past week off. Lawmakers will have three weeks to debate bills in committee ahead of the March 9 committee deadline.
The Illinois Trucking Association has been working with several lawmakers to ensure that any new state laws are consistent with the Federal Hand-Held Cell Phone Ban for truck and bus drivers that took effect January 3, 2012.
In addition, several other trucking-industry bills have been introduced in Springfield:
HB 4446, sponsored by Rep. David Reis (R-Willow Hill), would eliminate Illinois’ kingpin to rear axle length limit for livestock trailers. Illinois law currently restricts the distance from kingpin to rear axle to 45.5-feet on Class I and Class II state highways and 42.5-feet on Class III and other state highways. HB 4446 is scheduled to be heard this week in the House Transportation: Regulation, Roads, & Bridges committee.
SB 3516, sponsored by Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville), would limit local governments in the amount they could charge for an overweight permit. In recent years, local governments that have high concentrations of truck traffic (particularly overweight intermodal containers) have implemented excessive overweight permits at the local level. If passed, SB 3516 would restrict local governments to the permit costs used by the Illinois Department of Transportation for state permits as spelled out in the Illinois Vehicle Code. Currently SB 3516 is in the Senate Assignments Committee.
HB 4539, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), would require all Illinois-licensed trucks with a GVWR above 26,000-pounds to purchase convex mirrors for the front of the vehicle at an estimated cost of $500 per truck. This legislation, that would mandate only Illinois-licensed trucks to install convex mirrors, was voted down in the House Transportation Vehicles & Safety Committee this week.
Considering that Illinois has over 213,000 of those vehicles licensed in Illinois, the legislation could cost the industry nearly $107-million. Trucks licensed outside of Illinois would not be required to have the mirrors.
Illinois Trucking Association Executive Director, Matt Hart, testified against the bill in committee on behalf of the trucking industry.
“While the legislation is well intended, there is no evidence that requiring only Illinois-licensed trucks to install these devices will translate into improved safety on Illinois roads” Hart said. “Furthermore, House Bill 4539 will actually incentivize companies to license their vehicles in another state to avoid the mandate.”
“If we haven’t given trucking companies enough reason to leave Illinois over the past 8-years, HB 4539 gives them another $500-per-truck incentive to move to a neighboring state.”
The committee agreed, and the bill was defeated with 8 members voting no and 1 member voting yes: the single yes vote coming from the sponsor of the bill.
The Illinois Trucking Association would like to thank its individual members and affiliates that also worked to inform committee members of the consequences of the legislation.