Driving Issues May Be Discussed In Legislature

Date posted - January 29, 2016

Des Moines, Iowa — According to Senator Randy Feenstra of Hull, there are some transportation issues that may be discussed this session in the Iowa legislature.
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Feenstra says that it has been noted that traffic violators cannot always come up with the full amount of a fine and this creates other issues. He says the DOT finds that people will write bad checks or drive without paying the fine which, if they are caught, could mean the State would bar them from having a driver’s license, which could spiral into the loss of a job. The DOT is proposing that fines could be paid in monthly installments so people can manage the fine amount and not go down this path that leads to more problems. Feenstra says he likes the idea.

Feenstra says another one of the issues is increasing the weight limit for trucks. Currently, he says the maximum weight allowed on a tandem axle under permit is 40,000 pounds. He says that across the country, only Iowa, Nebraska, and Oklahoma have a 40,000 pound maximum. Most states allow 46,000 with a few states between 43 and 45 thousand. Iowa Motor Truck Association, Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, and the Iowa AGC approached the Iowa DOT and noted how Iowa’s lower tandem axle weight was making the cost of doing business in Iowa less competitive compared to other states. After an analysis of the State’s system, the DOT feels that the roads can safely support a maximum of two tandem axles up to a permitted weight of 46,000 pounds, one axle each on the truck and the trailer. The senator says this will resolve the issue for the majority of freight carriers, especially those hauling construction equipment and machinery from manufacturing plants in Iowa. The Legislature will need to approve the idea.

Also, Iowa has not yet addressed how a 3-wheel car / cycle will be licensed. Feenstra says this means a vehicle with two wheels in front and one in back. The DOT has proposed to license them as cars. The legislature will probably take on this issue as well.

In addition, right now only the DOT can give CDL skills testing. The Senator says this has created a significant back log for truckers and has also required them to travel hours to get to a testing location. The DOT is recommending that the State create 3rd Party Skills testers like the community colleges to take some of this burden off of the DOT. Feenstra says he supports the idea.

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