New law allows longer trucks on state roads

In other trucking news, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration publishes 2018 fees. Find out when they might be due in Illinois.

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Length limit uniformity between local roads and state highways will allow farmers to more efficiently haul from farm to market, says IFB Assistant Director of Transportation Kirby Wagner. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By Kay Shipman 

A new Illinois law that took effect Jan. 1 makes the bumper-to-bumper truck length on county, road district or municipal roads uniform with the length allowed on the state highway system, according to Kirby Wagner, Illinois Farm Bureau assistant director of transportation.

Under the new law, the overall limit from bumper to bumper increased to 65 feet from the previous 55 feet. On Class I and Class II routes, which include interstates and other major designated state and federal highways, the truck-trailer overall length is unlimited; however, a semitrailer length is still restricted to a maximum 53 feet.

This length uniformity will allow Illinois farmers to more efficiently haul from farm to market, especially on longer trips, Wagner noted.

Under the new law, units of local government are not required to widen or otherwise alter nonstate highways to accommodate the new truck and trailer lengths, Wagner said. That unit of government may also seek recovery for the cost to repair damaged highways that result from the operations of trucks under the new allowed length.

In addition, the law now sets the allowable kingpin-to-last-axle length to a maximum of 42 feet and 6 inches on local roads – the same restriction on most state highways, Wagner continued. He pointed out Class I and Class II routes have a kingpin-to-last-axle length restriction of 45 feet and 6 inches.

A separate law also makes frequency of safety inspections more uniform for truck-tractor semitrailer combinations operated in intrastate and interstate commerce. Semis operated within Illinois are now required to undergo a safety inspection only once every 12 months instead of every six months.

Trucks – other than semis – registered for more than 8,000 pounds and operated wholly within Illinois must still undergo twice-a-year inspections at licensed truck safety test lanes, Wagner said.

The new year brought final rules for the Unified Carrier Registration (UCR). Today, the federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published rules for the 2018 fees, which will decrease an estimated 9.1 percent compared to 2017. States are recommended not to start enforcing 2018 compliance until 90 days after rule publication.

Any farm vehicle owner required to have and display a U.S. Department of Transportation number must also register and pay a UCR fee.

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