Two bills introduced in the Texas Legislature would open the door to local law enforcement in the Houston area enforcing commercial vehicle safety standards.
Currently, the Texas Department of Public Safety is solely responsible for enforcing overweight rules. Certain exceptions are made for select counties and cities that include Austin and Kyle. Overweight fines range from $100 to $10,000, depending on how many pounds a truck is overweight.
Fort Bend and Waller counties
Rep. Steve Toth, R-Waxahachie, is behind the first bill to expand enforcement efforts.
Specifically, HB1096 would permit the Fort Bend County constable’s office and the sheriff’s department to apply for certification to enforce truck rules.
A similar Senate bill has been introduced. Sponsored by Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, SB323 would provide the same authorization for the sheriff’s department in neighboring Waller County.
Advocates say that expanding authorization for truck enforcement is needed because Department of Public Safety officers do not have the resources to continually police affected areas.
The new statehouse pursuits follow action taken during the previous legislative session to expand the list of law enforcement agencies to enforce truck rules.
Since 2019, law enforcement officers in the city of Jacksonville have been authorized to carry out truck enforcement.
Certain police officers in the Permian Basin are authorized to be certified by the state to inspect trucks. In addition to greater enforcement efforts in West Texas, the 4-year-old rule includes the South Texas locale of McMullen County.
Advocates said more truck enforcement is needed for the areas of high oil and gas production. They cite bridge crashes, overweight and overloaded trucks, and other safety issues. LL
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