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Summary: This legislation increases the penalties for operating overweight trucks, across the board. This bill stipulates that certain permits must be issued in order to operate trucks that haul loads over the maximum allowable weight limits. This bill also restricts operating trucks on highways where certain tag or lift axle components pose a hazard to the integrity of the road.
Analysis: Tag axles are trailing axles that normally are mounted directly behind the drive axle. They are non-driven axles that provide an increased carrying capacity. Lift axles are non-powered, and are installed ahead of or behind the driving tandem axles on a straight truck or tractor. They are generally used to disperse weight across multiple axles allowing for increased capacity since state laws are written to identify only certain axle weight requirements. They are essentially bridge axles used to cheat on weight limits; however they are extremely damaging to roads in practice since it is common for drivers to lift them on the road in order to save money on tires or to make certain turns where fixed axles prohibit certain turning radiuses.
Concerns: This legislation creates over 40 new fines and offenses, this is severe overcriminalization; we recognize that fines need to be coercive enough to promote the protection of public roads yet the tier systems espoused in this bill unreasonably singles out certain businesses and corporations. Furthermore: This legislation would criminalize and incarcerate certain drivers of overweight vehicles. In many cases there are certain technologies which do offend road weight requirements by virtue of their manufacturing schematic requirements. In these industries the free market will remedy this situation without significantly proliferating the number of criminal offenders knowingly or unwittingly. This not only hurts industry but it is a prodigious barrier to entry for drivers wishing to seek other employment and operate either in the same field or in other professions. We strongly oppose HB 3094.