Small commercial truck law exemption takes effect Tuesday

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WICHITA, Kan. -- A new Kansas law takes effect Tuesday that will exempt small commercial trucks from most of the safety regulations that apply to large haulers.

The Kansas legislature is giving a one year exemption to commercial trucks weighing up to 26,000 pounds.

Carl Harris owns a company that works with steel and precast concrete for home and commercial construction. His company's five pickup trucks are used to haul tools and compressors to job sites. Harris said current law is too restrictive for small businesses.

"Currently the limitation is under 10,000 pounds within a 25 mile radius", Harris said. "Well that really limits what we can haul to and from the job site in our company trucks."

The smaller trucks would be exempt from rules regarding safety hitches, braking systems, tires, and several other regulations. The KCC and the Kansas Highway Patrol opposed the change.

KHP Trooper Gary Warner says trucking regulations are in place for a reason. "The ultimate goal of making stops is for the safety of all motorists, the drivers of the trucks, and other motorists using the road", said Warner.

Harris said he's not against cracking down on unsafe trucks. "I'm all in favor of pulling over those who don't have tied down loads that are operating improperly", he said.

"Our vehicles are not tractor trailers", said Harris. "The drive pickups.
These are guys who are commuting to job sites with some material and some tools of the trade."

There is a one year sunset clause in the law. That will give a safety task force time to see if there are problems with the new law and whether or not the legislature should make the changes permanent.

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