Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/01/2002 09:13 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 222(TRA)                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to certain motor vehicles that are required                                                               
     to yield to following traffic."                                                                                            
This  was the first  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
Co-Chair  Donley  stated  the  intent  of  this  legislation  is  to                                                            
encourage  slow traffic to  comply with  existing state regulations                                                             
requiring  any vehicle  traveling below  the speed  limit to  safely                                                            
pull off  the road, where  feasible, when  followed by five  or move                                                            
vehicles.  He  informed   the  Committee  that  the  Department   of                                                            
Transportation  and Public  Facilities  "has agreed  to put up  more                                                            
signage"  near the  Canadian border  and other  "critical  places…to                                                            
inform the public about  this legislation." He communicated there is                                                            
an  accompanying  fiscal note  for  $30,000 to  cover  the costs  of                                                            
proposed road signage.                                                                                                          
Co-Chair Donley  informed the Committee this legislation  would also                                                            
increase the fine levels  for the offense, and add two points to the                                                            
offending driver's license record.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Donley  noted that  the  Senate Transportation   Committee                                                            
Substitute  of this  bill removed  language from  the original  bill                                                            
that specified where signage would be placed.                                                                                   
Co-Chair Donley  noted the Alaska State Troopers "exercise  a lot of                                                            
discretion"  when determining  "when it is  appropriate" to  enforce                                                            
the regulation  as bad weather and  poor road conditions  could slow                                                            
drivers  down;  however,   the  legislation  "would   beef  up"  the                                                            
requirement "to pull over."                                                                                                     
Senator  Green asked  what size  the proposed  accompanying  signage                                                            
would be.                                                                                                                       
Co-Chair  Donley stated  there  are specific  regulations  regarding                                                            
highway signage.                                                                                                                
Senator  Green  inquired  if  the signage  could  be  considered  as                                                            
Co-Chair Donley responded they would not.                                                                                       
Co-Chair   Donley  voiced   appreciation  for   the  Department   of                                                            
Transportation  and Public  Facilities efforts  in formulizing  this                                                            
legislation,  and stressed  the importance  of signage in  educating                                                            
drivers,  and of having  "significant" penalties  as a deterrent  to                                                            
violating this statute.                                                                                                         
Co-Chair Kelly  cited his experience of watching frustrated  drivers                                                            
taking  risks  to  pass  slower  moving  vehicles.  He  stated  this                                                            
legislation  could  help  address  the  cause  of  the frustration;                                                             
thereby lowering the danger presented by the risk takers.                                                                       
Senator  Green  stated   this  legislation  might   be  expanded  to                                                            
accommodate other highway signage.                                                                                              
LIEUTENANT  JULIA  GRIMES,  Alaska  State  Troopers,  testified  via                                                            
teleconference  from  Anchorage  to communicate  that  the  proposed                                                            
committee  substitute  addresses  the department's  concerns.    She                                                            
stressed  that Alaska's roads  are frustrating  as there is  limited                                                            
opportunity  for people  to safely pull  off the  road to allow  for                                                            
others to  pass. She stated  the proposed  signage would serve  as a                                                            
reminder to drivers.                                                                                                            
Senator Ward made  a motion to move SB 222 (FIN) 22-LS0611\L  out of                                                            
Committee with accompanying  Department of Transportation and Public                                                            
Facilities fiscal note of $30,000.                                                                                              
There were no objections, and the bill MOVED from Committee.                                                                    
At ease 9:26 AM / 9:27 AM                                                                                                       

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