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Hogstaubers. They’re everywhere. If there’s a sewer that needs to be cleaned out, call a hogstauber. It’s a filthy job, but someone has to do it. While not a new type of truck, hogstaubers have made a dramatic increase in quantity the last few years, particularly in the metro Chicago area. Predictably, the law continues to evolve with them. This article will discuss SB2620, which is making its way through the Illinois General Assembly and would provide extra weights for these sewer sucking beasts.

First up is clarification as to what a hogstauber is. Hogstaubers have nothing to do with hogs, unless you want to compare the odor of sewer materials to that of swine. A hogstauber is the street name for straight trucks which have jetting and vacuum capabilities, specially designed to clean out sewers. The 3-axle variety of a hogstauber is most common, but 4-axle versions have been sighted at a much more frequent pace.

Here’s the irony: it has not even been a year since the Illinois Vehicle Code was last amended to accommodate hogstaubers. On August 16th, 2013, Governor Quinn signed Public Act 98-410 into law which gave extra weight to 3-axle hogstaubers registered as special hauling vehicles (SHV). The ITEA wrote an article about this…you can read it HERE.

The new legislation under SB2620 has undergone several changes. When the bill was introduced, amendments were made to the law which has previously been added in 2013. The 2013 law had given 3-axle SHV hogstaubers the same weights as garbage trucks, but this introductory language added text to allow 4-axle hogstaubers 66,000 pounds gross weight.

Amendment #1 to SB2620 completely struck the language from the 2013 hogstauber law and added language to the exemption for public utility vehicles. Public utility vehicles involved in emergency repair work are exempt from the bridge formula under 625 ILCS 5/15-11(a)(4). Amendment #1 would have allowed hogstaubers to be exempt from bridge formula weight if hired by a municipality or public utility company.

This amendment would not have stopped at emergency use either. The text also added that if a hogstauber was hired by a public utility or municipality for maintenance work (not just emergencies), the weight exemption would apply.

The game of political ping-pong continued as a second amendment to the bill was introduced while still in the Senate. With this amendment, the bill passed out of the Senate and into the House on May 1st. Amendment #2 cleared out everything from Amendment #1 and added a new subsection to the bridge formula exceptions.

Leaving the all the language from the 2013 law in place for 3-axle hogstaubers, this amendment quit trying to carve out a second exemption for hogstaubers. Instead, it changed the text to include any 3 or 4-axle vehicle, hired by a municipality to do emergency sewer repair work. This could mean a dump truck, a hogstauber or even a mobile crane.

The amendment then does two things never seen before in Chapter 15 of the Illinois Vehicle Code. First, the amendment sets up a geographic area for which these municipally contracted vehicles will receive higher weights.

In the counties of Cook, Lake, McHenry, Kane, DuPage and Will, if a 3 or 4-axle vehicle is hired by a municipality for emergency sewer work, the vehicle would receive a maximum 66,000 pounds of gross weight. But, as in all things truck law, there is an exception to that rule as well!

The second groundbreaking rule is that for first time ever, the law would allow a gross vehicle weight rating to be enforced as an overweight violation. If the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating is less than 66,000 pounds, the same 3 or 4-axle vehicle cannot exceed that weight.

In other words, the lawmakers are trying to allow for extra weight to vehicles which are involved in the work of emergency sewer repair, but they are not ready to allow the trucks to run willy-nilly overweight if the truck s not built to handle that weight.

If passed, could this GVWR enforcement become a slippery slope for the trucking industry? You better believe it. Who ever thought hogstaubers could cause so much trouble!

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