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NO. 46. AN ACT RELATING TO OVER DIMENSION TRUCK PERMITS.

(S.165)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 23 V.S.A. 1402(a) is amended to read:

(a) *[Such]* The permit shall be signed by the commissioner or by his or her agent. A copy of the permit shall be kept in the office of the commissioner. Before operating a traction engine, tractor, trailer, motor truck or other motor vehicle, the person to whom the permit is granted shall pay a fee of $20.00 for each single trip permit or $70.00 for a blanket permit, except that the fee for a fleet blanket permit shall be $70.00 for the first unit and *[$30.00]* $1.00 for each unit thereafter. At the option of a carrier, an annual permit for the entire fleet, to operate over any approved route, may be obtained for *[$250.00 if the carrier has between 1 and 249 tractors, $500.00 between 250 and 499 tractors, $750.00 between 500 and 749 tractors and $1,000.00 for 750 or more tractors]* $70.00 for the first tractor and $1.00 for each additional tractor, up to a maximum fee of $1,000.00. The fee for a fleet permit shall be based on the entire number of tractors owned by the applicant. An applicant for a fleet permit may apply for any number of specific routes, each of which shall be reviewed with regard to the characteristics of the route and the type of equipment operated by the applicant. If a fleet permit is obtained, no additional permit shall be required of the holder to operate on a specific route or routes approved in the permit. When the weight or size of the vehicle-load are considered sufficiently excessive for the routing requested, the agency of transportation shall, on request of the commissioner, conduct an engineering inspection of the vehicle-load and route, for which a fee of $150.00 will be added to the cost of the permit if the load is a manufactured home. For all other loads, the fee shall be $400.00 for any engineering inspection that requires up to eight hours to conduct. If the inspection requires more than eight hours to conduct, the fee shall be $400.00 plus $60.00 per hour for each additional hour required. The study must be completed prior to the permit being issued.

Sec. 2. 23 V.S.A. 1402(f) is added to read:

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a fleet blanket permit allowing statewide operation shall be available for a tractor-semi-trailer combination in which the length of the semi-trailer is 48 feet or less, and the overall vehicle length exceeds 65 feet but does not exceed 75 feet. The permits shall be issued to an applicant without charge, and all efforts shall be exerted to process permit applications by the end of the next business day following submission by the applicant. The secretary of transportation or designee, shall report to the chairs of the house and senate committees on transportation on a quarterly basis, the number of all applications submitted and the number which have not been processed within the period provided for by this subsection. The report shall also contain a list of those permittees who have been fined for third offenses under section 1434(a) and (b) of this title.

Sec. 3. 23 V.S.A. 1402(g) is added to read:

(g) In the case of trailers or semi-trailers that exceed 48 feet in length, as a condition of operation in this state, the commissioner may require that the length of the trailer or semi-trailer be displayed upon the trailer or semi-trailer in the manner determined by the commissioner.

Sec. 4. 23 V.S.A. 1414 is amended to read:

1414. RECIPROCAL ENFORCEMENT

(a) It is the intent of the general assembly that the commissioner make a reasonable effort to reach agreement with the New England states and New York with respect to a uniform size and weight of motor vehicles to be allowed to operate on the public highways of those jurisdictions and Vermont. The agreement should, to the extent possible, find a balance between the free flow of commerce and the safety of the users on the highways.

(b) The commissioner may enter into agreements with other states, the District of Columbia and Canadian provinces providing for the reciprocal enforcement of the overweight or over dimension vehicle permit laws of those jurisdictions entering into the agreement. The agreement is allowed to conflict with sections 1400 through 1408 of this title provided that the overall effect of the interstate agreement maintains standards thatare generally comparable to those presently in effect in Vermont, in which case the terms of the agreement shall govern as to vehicles issued permits pursuant to the agreement.

Sec. 5. 23 V.S.A. 1434 is amended to read:

1434. PENALTIES

(a) The operation of a vehicle on a public highway in excess of the height, width or length limits as prescribed in section 1431 or 1432 of this title without first obtaining a permit to operate the vehicle shall be a traffic violation as defined in section 2302 of this title and the violation shall be punishable by a fine of *[$200.00]* $300.00 for the first offense and by a fine of *[$400.00]* $600.00 for a second or subsequent offense occurring within 12 months.

(b) The operation of a vehicle on a public highway in excess of the legal height, width or length as prescribed in section 1431 or 1432 of this title, designated by permit issued in conformance with section 1400 of this title shall be a traffic violation as defined in section 2302 of this title and shall be punishable by a fine of *[$100.00]* $150.00 for the first offense and by a fine of *[$200.00]* $300.00 for any second or subsequent offense occurring within 12 months.

Sec. 6. 23 V.S.A. 1435 is added to read:

1435. ENFORCEMENT PLAN

It is the intention of the general assembly that the departments of motor vehicles and public safety, in conjunction with other law enforcement entities throughout the state, produce a coordinated statewide truck enforcement, safety and training plan. The plan shall provide for a common philosophy and approach to commercial vehicle enforcement, while recognizing the different focus and responsibilities of each entity. The plan shall also provide for training and for certification of commercial vehicle enforcement officers as well as a process to ensure effective communication of information between enforcement personnel, the over dimension permitting unit, and members of the trucking industry. In addition, the plan shall provide for periodic informational meetings with municipalities, groups of municipalities, regional entities and the general public.

Sec. 7. 23 V.S.A. 1454 is amended to read:

1454. SECURING LOADS

(a) A person shall not operate a motor vehicle nor draw a trailer or semi-trailer on a highway unless the motor vehicle, trailer or semi-trailer is so constructed and loaded that it will create no hazard to other users of the highway.

(b) The commissioner may, by rule, impose design and load security requirements, consistent with nationally recognized safety standards, upon motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers in order to provide for the safe and secure transport of any loads.

Sec. 8. 13 V.S.A. 7251(b) is amended to read:

(b) Fines, forfeitures and penalties imposed by the traffic and municipal ordinance bureau for all speeding traffic violations under Title 23, chapter 13, subchapter 8 entitled "speed restrictions" on state highways and for height and width violations under 23 V.S.A. 1431 and length violations under 23 V.S.A. 1432 on town highways resulting from the enforcement by towns within the jurisdiction of the town shall be paid to the town by the formula set forth in subsection (c) of this section except for the administrative charge according to the provisions of subsection (a) of this section which shall be retained by the state. The enforcement by towns shall be by a town law enforcement officer or a law enforcement officer by contract with the town. Such law enforcement officer shall be certified according to the provisions of 20 V.S.A. 2358. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the jurisdiction of a certified law enforcement officer. The revenue that is collected by the state pursuant to enforcement of this section by a town shall be distributed annually during the first quarter of the fiscal year immediately following the fiscal year in which the fines, forfeitures and penalties are collected.

Sec. 9. 13 V.S.A. 7251(c) is amended to read:

(c) The allocation of revenue to the towns under the formula shall be updated annually by the state court administrator and shall provide that the revenue be distributed to those towns whose law enforcement efforts on state highways and town highways as specifically set for in subsection (b) of this section have resulted in the imposition of the fines, forfeitures and penalties for all speeding traffic violations under Title 23, chapter 13,subchapter 8, entitled "speed restrictions" and for height and width violations under 23 V.S.A. 1431 and length violations under 23 V.S.A. 1432 provided that no town may receive more than five percent of the total revenue in any given year. The formula used for distribution shall reflect the percentage of a town’s law enforcement expenditures as it relates to the town’s total municipal taxing effort. The town’s total municipal taxing effort shall be determined by subtracting the town’s school taxes assessed from the total taxes assessed as provided each year in the annual report of the division of property valuation and review by the Vermont department of taxes. By July 31 of each year, the local legislative body of any town which had law enforcement efforts resulting in the imposition of fines, forfeitures and penalties and which wishes to participate shall submit to the court administrator the total amount of the funds spent for law enforcement in the most recently completed town fiscal year.

Approved: June 19, 1997