2011 - 2012 LEGISLATURE
February 3, 2012 - Introduced by Senators Lazich and Lasee, cosponsored by
Representatives Petrowski and Bies, by request of The Department of
Transportation. Referred to Committee on Transportation and Elections.
1An Act to repeal
348.07 (2) (gr), 348.07 (2) (i), 348.26 (5) and 348.27 (13); and 2to amend
194.32, 348.05 (2) (f), 348.07 (1), 348.07 (2) (fs), 348.07 (2) (g), 348.07 3
(2) (gv), 348.07 (2) (h), 348.07 (4), 348.07 (4m), 348.08 (1) (a), 348.25 (4) (intro.) 4
and 348.28 (1) of the statutes; relating to: the length of vehicles that may be
5operated on a highway and granting rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, a person may not operate on a highway any combination of
two vehicles (vehicle combination) with an overall length in excess of 65 feet unless
a specific exception applies or the person has a permit to exceed these lengths.
This bill increases the generally applicable overall length limit for vehicle
combinations from 65 feet to 70 feet. However, the Department of Transportation
(DOT) may, by rule, establish exceptions to this general length limit with respect to
specific types of vehicles or designated highways. Under the bill, motor bus-trailer
combinations owned and operated by, and for the exclusive use of, nonprofit
organizations are subject to the general length limit of 70 feet, an increase from their
length limit of 58 feet under current law.
Under current law, there is an exception to the general length limit that allows
for the operation of tractor-semitrailer combinations with an overall length not
exceeding 75 feet on the state trunk highway system except those parts designated
by DOT by rule as ineligible for this length limit or as long truck routes for which
there is no length limit. In addition, there is an exception to the general single vehicle
length limit that allows for the operation of a semitrailer as part of a vehicle
combination if the semitrailer does not exceed 53 feet, its kingpin-to-axle length
does not exceed 43 feet, and it is operated on the state trunk highway system except
those parts designated by DOT by rule as ineligible for this length limit.
Under this bill, this 75 feet length limit exception for tractor-semitrailer
combinations, and this 53 feet length limit exception for certain semitrailers, apply
on all highways, not just state trunk highways, subject to the same exceptions for
designated ineligible highways or long truck routes that apply under current law.
Under current law, the overall length limit for combinations of two or three
vehicles operated or transported by the drive-away method in saddlemount
combination is 65 feet. The term "saddlemount combination" is neither defined nor
described by statute, but DOT defines it by rule as a combination of vehicles in which
a truck or truck tractor tows one or more trucks or truck tractors, each connected by
a saddle to the vehicle in front of it; the towed vehicles essentially piggyback the
power unit or one another. Also under current law, DOT and local authorities may
issue permits for combinations of two or three vehicles operated or transported by
the drive-away method in saddlemount combination with an overall length not
exceeding 65 feet.
This bill increases, from 65 feet to 75 feet, the length limit for combinations of
two or three vehicles operated or transported by the drive-away method in
saddlemount combination. In addition, the bill eliminates provisions of current law
related to the issuance of permits for these vehicle combinations.
The bill also increases, from 65 feet to 66 feet, the vehicle length limit for
articulated buses operated in urban areas.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
3194.32 Buses, restrictions.
No common motor carrier of passengers shall 4
operate any passenger-carrying bus over any public highway of this state with any 5
trailer or semitrailer attached except for an articulated bus as defined in s. 340.01 6
(2m). Except for an articulated bus as defined in s. 340.01 (2m) which may be 65 feet
7in length, no No
interurban motor bus which exceeds 45 feet in length or 8 feet 6
8inches in width or
is of a double-decked open-roof design shall be operated upon the
public highways under the authority of this chapter. As used in this section an 2
interurban motor bus is deemed to be of a "double-decked open-roof design" when 3
passengers are carried therein on an upper level throughout the length of the bus 4
over passengers on a lower level throughout the length of the bus and the bus roof 5
does not extend throughout the length of the bus or is not permanently enclosed with 6
SB422, s. 2
348.05 (2) (f) of the statutes is amended to read:
(f) Eight feet 8 inches for urban passenger buses and 8 feet 6 inches
9for interurban passenger buses
No person, without a permit therefor, may operate on a highway any 13
single vehicle with an overall length in excess of 45 feet or any combination of 2 14
vehicles with an overall length in excess of 65 70
feet, except as otherwise provided 15
in subs. (2) and,
(2a), and (4m) and s. 348.08 (1)
SB422, s. 4
348.07 (2) (fs) of the statutes is amended to read:
(fs) 75 feet for a tractor-semitrailer combination that is operated on
18any part of the state trunk highway system
, except as provided in par. (f) or sub. (4m).
SB422, s. 5
348.07 (2) (g) of the statutes is amended to read:
(g) 48 feet for a semitrailer or trailer operated as part of a 2-vehicle 21
combination, except as provided in par. (gr) or
SB422, s. 6
348.07 (2) (gr) of the statutes is repealed.
SB422, s. 7
348.07 (2) (gv) of the statutes is amended to read:
(gv) 53 feet for a semitrailer whose length from kingpin to axle does 25
not exceed 43 feet and which is operated as part of a 2-vehicle combination on any
1part of the state trunk highway system
, except as provided in par. (gr) or
sub. (4m). 2The length limits in this paragraph do not apply to a trailer or a semitrailer that is
3authorized to operate under par. (im).
SB422, s. 8
348.07 (2) (h) of the statutes is amended to read:
(h) 65 Sixty-six
feet for articulated buses operated in urban areas.
SB422, s. 9
348.07 (2) (i) of the statutes is repealed.
SB422, s. 10
348.07 (4) of the statutes is amended to read:
The secretary shall, by rule, designate the highways to which sub. 9
(2) (f), (fm), and
(gm), and (gr)
and s. 348.08 (1) (e) apply. The designation of highways 10
under this subsection may not be inconsistent with the designation of highways 11
made by the U.S. secretary of transportation under P.L. 97-424
, section 411. The 12
secretary may also designate additional highways by rule. In adopting a rule 13
designating other highways, which may include 2-lane highways, the secretary 14
shall specify the factors which resulted in the determination to designate the 15
highways. These factors shall include, but are not limited to, safety, economics, 16
energy savings, industry productivity and competition. Vehicles to which sub. (2) (f), 17
(gm), and (gr)
and s. 348.08 (1) (e) apply may also operate on highways not 18
designated under this subsection for a distance of 15 miles or less in order to obtain 19
access to a highway designated under this subsection or to reach fuel, food, 20
maintenance, repair, rest, staging, terminal or vehicle assembly facilities or points 21
of loading or unloading. The secretary may, by rule, designate an access route of more 22
than 15 miles from a highway designated under this subsection when the longer 23
route provides safer and better access to a location which is within the 15-mile limit. 24
Household goods carriers may operate between highways designated under this 25
subsection and points of loading and unloading.
SB422, s. 11
348.07 (4m) of the statutes is amended to read:
The secretary shall, by rule, designate those parts of the state 3
trunk highway system to which sub. (2) (fs) and (gv) do not apply. For each part of 4
the state trunk highway system designated under this subsection, the secretary 5
shall specify the factors that resulted in the determination to designate the part as 6
not suitable to accommodate vehicle lengths as specified in sub. (2) (fs) and (gv). The
7secretary may, by rule, establish exceptions to the vehicle-combination length
8limitation specified in sub. (1), including establishing any greater or lesser length
9limitation than that specified in sub. (1), with respect to specific types of vehicles
10identified by the secretary or highways designated by the secretary, but the secretary
11may not establish under this subsection any length limitation inconsistent with sub.
12(2) or (2a) or s. 348.08 (1).
SB422, s. 12
348.08 (1) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) Two or 3 vehicles may, without such permit, be drawn or attached 15
when such vehicles are being transported by the drive-away method in saddlemount 16
combination and the overall length of such combination of vehicles does not exceed 1765 75
(intro.) Except as provided under s. 348.26 (4), (5),
(6), or (7) or 348.27 21
(3), (3m), (4m), (9), (9m), (9r), (9t), (10), (12), (13),
(16), or (18) permits shall 22
be issued only for the transporting of a single article or vehicle which exceeds 23
statutory size, weight or load limitations and which cannot reasonably be divided or 24
reduced to comply with statutory size, weight or load limitations, except that:
SB422, s. 14
348.26 (5) of the statutes is repealed.
SB422, s. 15
348.27 (13) of the statutes is repealed.
Permits issued under ss. 348.25, 348.26 and 348.27 and (16)
be carried on the vehicle during operations so permitted.
(1) This act first applies to vehicles operated on the effective date of this 8
This act takes effect on the first day of the 7th month beginning after 11