Bill would redefine commercial vehicles

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A U.S. House bill would change the federal definition of commercial motor vehicles to include only those that weigh more than 26,000 pounds. The bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, D-Okla., said the legislation would help Oklahoma farmers.

“Oklahoma borders six other states, and our farmers often need to cross those state lines,” Boren said. “I am hearing from farmers across my district who are already facing fines from these regulations that were never meant to apply to them in the first place.”

Federal motor carrier regulations give states discretion in deciding whether in-state vehicles under 26,001 pounds are considered commercial vehicles, but those crossing state lines are held to the federal standard of 10,001 pounds. H.R. 1757 would change the definition of a commercial motor vehicle to include only those that exceed 26,000 pounds, which Boren says makes it consistent with most states’ laws.

The bill — introduced March 29 and referred to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — doesn’t change safety standards for vehicles of any weight that transport 16 or more passengers or hazardous materials.

Classification as a commercial motor vehicle requires farmers and ranchers to hold a commercial driver’s license, obey hours-of-service regulations and register their vehicles with the U.S. Department of Transportation.