Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/08/2005 01:30 PM TRANSPORTATION


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= SB 63 USE SEAT BELT ROAD SIGNS
Moved CSSB 63(TRA) Out of Committee
= SB 40 KUSKOKWIM PORT AUTHORITY
Heard & Held
* SB 85 OFF-ROAD VEHICLE USE ON DALTON HIGHWAY
Scheduled But Not Heard
                 SB 63-USE SEAT BELT ROAD SIGNS                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. CHERYL  SUTTON, staff  to Senator  Ben Stevens, introduced  SB
63. Currently under  the highway fatality memorial  signs program,                                                              
there are no  provisions for a seatbelt sign.  Research shows that                                                              
55  percent of  fatalities in  accidents could  have been  avoided                                                              
had  the individual  been wearing  a seatbelt.  The Department  of                                                              
Transportation (DOT)  can incorporate this  type of sign  into the                                                              
memorial program.  SB 63 provides  suggested sign options  for the                                                              
committee. The intent  is to have the sign incorporated  under the                                                              
program  and posted  at  the sites  of  fatal  accidents where  no                                                              
seatbelt  was used.  The DOT does  not charge  for memorial  signs                                                              
because they serve both a public and a private purpose.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:37:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  for  clarification  regarding the  last                                                              
sentence of SB 63.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. SUTTON deferred to the DOT.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked the need for a title.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. SUTTON  informed the  title of  the bill is  to honor  a young                                                              
man who died.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:39:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  stated it  was  uncommon  to name  a  statute                                                              
after an individual.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Senator Kookesh joined the committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  whether the  suggestive  sign options  were                                                              
binding.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. SUTTON said not necessarily. They are just suggestions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH envisioned a standard safety sign.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. SUTTON  said SB 63 was  specifically directed  toward buckling                                                              
up.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS inquired about the sign specifics.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:41:31 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SUTTON did not know precisely what the sign would look like.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   COWDERY  asked   whether  other   states  have   similar                                                              
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SUTTON did not know.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS called the DOT representatives to testify.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:42:55 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  NONA  WILSON,  legislative   liaison,  Alaska  Department  of                                                              
Transportation  (DOT),  and Mark  Neidhold,  chief  of design  and                                                              
construction standards, Alaska DOT testified regarding SB 63.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON addressed  Senator Therriault's question  regarding the                                                              
last  line of  SB  63. There  are placement  criteria  regulations                                                              
regarding  sign management.  The DOT  maintains concern  regarding                                                              
highway clutter  and driver distractions, and must  have authority                                                              
over signage organization.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEIDHOLD  added signs  were placed  after considering  several                                                              
issues  such  as  the  proliferation  of  signs  on  the  roadway,                                                              
potential distracters,  placement of  safe distance from  the side                                                              
of  road,  etc.  The  last  line of  SB  63  preserves  the  DOT's                                                              
authority to manage signage.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:45:37 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  whether  other states  had passed  similar                                                              
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEIDHOLD  said signs  were allowed  through a federal  uniform                                                              
standard.  Other  states  do  post  signs  within  the  regulatory                                                              
standards but he was not sure about memorial signs.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY  asked  whether an  administrative  order  rather                                                              
than a statute could accomplish the issue.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON answered it could be done either way.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY asked who maintains the memorial signs.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEIDHOLD  explained the DOT  maintains the signs and  there is                                                              
a term limit by Alaska code.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:47:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked the  limitations on  what the  DOT could                                                              
erect.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEIDHOLD referenced  Alaska  administrative  code. Two  signs                                                              
are allowed  under the memorial  program, which are  supplementary                                                              
plaques. They  are "please drive  safely", or "please  don't drink                                                              
and drive",  supplemented by "in  memory of", or sponsored  by the                                                              
name of the family.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON clarified  the DOT absorbs the costs  ($500) of posting                                                              
signs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked Mr. Neidhold to describe the  sign SB 63                                                              
is proposing.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEIDHOLD said  the  DOT recommends  the  sign  be similar  to                                                              
preexisting signage  with a supplemental plaque.  Regulatory signs                                                              
should be  stand alone signs because  it speaks to  uniformity and                                                              
driver expectancy. Regulatory signs are non-distracting.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked the latitude that line 8 gives the DOT.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:52:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WILSON  responded it was  for sensible placement  criteria and                                                              
general area compromise.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR HUGGINS asked whether the DOT had any issues with SB 63.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON said no.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:55:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS asked the position of the safety officer.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEIDHOLD responded the safety staff is on board.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON added  there  is the  support  of  the Alaska  Highway                                                              
Safety Office as well.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:00:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved Amendment 1.                                                                                           
     Line 8 after the word "at" insert "or near".                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Hearing no objections, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved Amendment 2.                                                                                           
     Delete Section 1.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:02:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR HUGGINS asked for sponsor concerns regarding Amendment 2.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. SUTTON  could not speak for  Senator Ben Stevens but  added he                                                              
wanted Section 1 in the bill.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:03:18 PM                                                                                                                    
Hearing no objections, the committee adopted Amendment 2                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:04:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  moved  CSSB   63(TRA)  out  of  committee  as                                                              
amended  with  individual  recommendations   and  attached  fiscal                                                              
notes. Hearing no objections, the motion carried.                                                                               

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