The Texas Motor Transportation Association reports that the state's recent 81st Legislative Session resulted in a number of laws affecting the trucking industry.

The new regulations, which will go into effect Sept. 1, 2009, include:

* No use of cell phone communication devices while operating a motor vehicle within a school zone, unless the vehicle is stopped or the cell phone is hooked up to a hands-free device.

* Drivers will no longer have an exemption to idle while getting mandated rest. (TMTA had lobbied for the sleeper berth exemption to be extended until April 2011, without success. The group also wanted the law to allow California-certified "clean idle" engines and offer a 400-pound weight exemption for trucks with auxiliary power units, but were unable to convince the Legislature.)

* In order to receive delivery of a commercial driver's license at a post office box, the applicant must provide the documentation to verify the validity of the applicant's address.

* A driver with a commercial driver's license must notify the state and their employer within seven days of a conviction of any motor vehicle traffic law or ordinance violation.

* If a person uses a motor vehicle in an offense that involves the transportation, concealment or harboring of an alien, this person is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle for life.

Many legislative issues affecting the trucking issue did not get passed. One piece of legislation, which would have prohibited the parking of commercial vehicles in driveways in residential neighborhoods, got shot down. The TMTA Margins Tax Bill also died, which would have reduced the tax rate for trucking companies. The legislature also rejected the Fuel Tax Refund, which would have allowed industry to submit diesel tax refunds on fuel used for power takeoff equipment, off road equipment and reefer trailers.

For more information, visit TMTA's web site.