Arizona to Standardize Truck-Restriction Highway Signs
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Arizona has a new law mandating that vehicle weight-restriction signs can only be enforced on state highways if designed by the state transportation department.
The new truck route uniform signage law was enacted recently by Gov. Katie Hobbs when she signed Senate Bill 1098.
It was introduced Jan. 19 by state Sen. Frank Carroll, vice chair of the transportation and technology committee, during the 2023 regular session of the state Legislature.
The bill, cosponsored by Sens. David Cook, David Gowan, David Livingston, Janae Shamp and Justin Wilmeth, went through amendments in the State Senate and House before it landed on the governor’s desk June 14 and was signed six days later.
Arizona Trucking Association President Tony Bradley testified in support of the bill. He told legislators in one hearing that ATA had identified truck route restriction signs as “woefully lacking” in Arizona for several years.
“Truck drivers don’t carry the municipal code around in their truck. They go where the GPS tells them to go. So this is simply a bill to say give us more signage, let us know where it’s restricted and how to get out so that we’re not on those roads,” he said.
One problem with truck signage was a lack of standardization on what the signs looked like and where they should be placed since some municipalities in the state can prohibit (by ordinance or resolution) truck traffic or restrict weight limits on highways under their jurisdiction. This led to truckers not knowing where they were prohibited from driving.
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Starting Jan. 1, the law directs that for a highway-use restriction to be enforceable, a uniform sign informing the public about the restriction must be placed near every intersection or junction with a traffic control device along the designated highway.
In addition, truck signage restrictions must be uniform and designed by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The signs must either provide a direction to the fastest route to leave a restricted route or inform the public of the distance that the route is restricted for trucks.
Any state or local jurisdiction that fails to erect or maintain signage that meets the law’s requirements for trucking restrictions after the start of next year will be considered unenforceable.
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This legislation was among several pro-trucking laws introduced in the state Legislature and enacted this year. ATA commended the passage and enactment of SB 1340 that outlaws converting taxpayer-funded roads into toll roads.
In May, Bradley thanked state lawmakers and extended “our deepest appreciation to the Arizona Legislature and Gov. Hobbs for their unwavering commitment to protecting the interests of Arizona’s taxpayers and the trucking industry.”
That month he also applauded the enactment of House Bill 2288 on roundabout safety “by establishing clear rules of the road and giving large trucks more room to navigate in a roundabout.” The law enables drivers of a vehicle or combination at least 40 feet long or 10 wide to use more than one lane if needed to drive through a roundabout.
Drivers also must give right of way to a large truck passing through a roundabout. If two large trucks are approaching/driving through a roundabout at about the same time in a situation that could lead to an immediate hazard, the truck driver on the right must yield to the truck driver on the left. The law also mandates that signs be placed at a roundabout saying large trucks have the right of way in the roundabout.
ATA noted that in Arizona, roundabouts are growing in popularity for improving traffic flows and lowering severe crashes at intersections.
In April, Hobbs enacted another law (SB 1097) favorable to the trucking industry that ATA described as ensuring trucks can operate on major arterial roads throughout Arizona without being burdened by a patchwork of restricted truck routes.
“The ability to travel from one city to the next on major arterial roads is vital to the safe and efficient movement of goods and services,” the association stated. “If a truck of legal size can safely operate on a road, it should not be unreasonably restricted to through traffic.”