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NO. 34. AN ACT RELATING TO MOTOR VEHICLES.

(H.10)

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

Sec. 1. LEGISLATIVE STUDY ON TRUCK AND TRAILER SIZE

(a) An interim legislative study committee is established to study truck and trailer size, and the operation of tractor-trailers, to include the operation of

53-foot trailers, on Vermont highways. The committee shall investigate and recommend specific courses of action which will allow for the safe but expeditious operation of tractor-trailers in Vermont, identify where the operation of larger vehicles is appropriate, and determine whether permits or permitted routes are necessary, and whether infrastructure improvements or bypasses, or both, might be utilized in order to accommodate today's vehicles and commercial needs. If restrictions on the operation of certain vehicles are warranted, the committee shall make recommendations as to how these restrictions are best communicated to truckers, shippers, and others doing business in the State of Vermont and adjacent states. The committee shall investigate whether Vermont laws and policies on the operation of tractor-trailers are in substantial conformance with neighboring states, and if not, how better uniformity might be achieved. The committee shall also examine the issue of reciprocity among the states involving excess weight permits.

(b) The committee shall consist of the members of the Senate and House committees on transportation. The committee shall elect a chair and vice-chair from among its members.

(c) The committee is authorized to meet no more than four times, and members of the committee shall be entitled to compensation and reimbursement pursuant to the provisions of section 406 of Title 2.

(d) The committee shall have professional and clerical support from the Legislative Council and the Joint Fiscal Office, and may call upon the executive branch of state government to provide any required expertise or recommendations.

(e) The committee shall solicit testimony and recommendations from interested parties and groups such as the trucking industry, shippers and manufacturers, municipalities, and the law enforcement community, as well as members of the general public.

(f) The committee shall implement its findings in the form of draft legislation no later than December 15, 1999.

Sec. 2. 23 V.S.A. § 1221a is amended to read:

§ 1221a. DEFECTIVE EQUIPMENT WARNING

The operator of a motor vehicle who receives a ticket for inoperative lights shall not be required to pay the fine associated with the ticket provided that within 72 hours of receiving the ticket the issuing department receives proof that the defect has been repaired *[by an authorized inspection station]*.

Sec. 3. 23 V.S.A. § 105(c) is added to read:

(c) If a presuspension or prerevocation hearing is available by law, the written notice of suspension or revocation shall so state. Unless otherwise specifically provided by statute, a written request for a hearing must be received at the department of motor vehicles within 15 days after the date of the notice or the right to a hearing is deemed to be waived.

Sec. 4. 23 V.S.A. § 204(c) is amended to read:

(c) If a presuspension or prerevocation hearing is available by law, the written notice of suspension or revocation shall so state. Unless otherwise specifically provided by statute, a written request for a hearing must be received at the department of motor vehicles within *[10]*15 days after the date of the notice or the right to a hearing is deemed to be waived.

Sec. 5. 23 V.S.A. § 304a(b)(6) is added to read:

(6) On a form prescribed by the commissioner, a nonprofit organization that provides volunteer drivers to transport persons who have an ambulatory disability or are blind may apply to the commissioner for a placard. The application shall be accompanied by a fee of $3.00 for each placard. Placards shall be marked "volunteer driver." The organization shall ensure proper use of placards and maintain an accurate and complete record of the volunteer drivers to whom the placards are given by the organization. Placards shall be returned to the organization when the volunteer driver is no longer performing that service. Abuse of the privileges provided by the placards may result in the privileges being revoked and the placards repossessed by the commissioner. Revocation may occur only after suitable notice and opportunity for a hearing. Hearings shall be held in accordance with sections 105-107 of this title.

Sec. 6. 23 V.S.A. § 4(18) is amended to read:

(18) "Motorcycle" shall mean any motor driven vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, but excluding mo-peds, golf carts, track driven vehicles, tractors and vehicles on which the operator and passengers ride within an enclosed cab, except that a vehicle which is fully enclosed, has three wheels in contact with the ground, weighs less than 1,500 pounds, has the capacity to maintain posted highway speed limits, and which uses electricity as its primary motive power shall be registered as a motorcycle but the operator of such vehicle shall not be required to have a motorcycle endorsement nor to comply with the provisions of section 1256 of this title (motorcycles - headgear) in the operation of such a vehicle.

Approved: May 20, 1999