Council exempts buses from breakup restrictions

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PRIEST RIVER — City Council passed an ordinance to amend City Code on Monday, exempting school buses from spring breakup speed restrictions on city streets.

"The school came to us about the speed of the buses, because right now with load limits on, buses are supposed to travel 10 miles an hour within city limits," said Mayor Jim Martin. "... One, it's taking longer to get kids to and from school, and the other thing is it is causing a safety hazard."

One of the safety issues, Martin said, is that drivers are passing the buses in town that are obeying the 10 mph limit. Buses are already exempt from restrictions by Bonner County and the state of Idaho, he said.

According to City Code, during the spring breakup, loaded trucks are prohibited from using posted city streets, whereas "truck" is defined as any vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or greater and is licensed with a commercial truck license plate or any vehicle that requires a commercial driver's license to legally operate. A "loaded truck" is defined as any vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 pounds or greater that is loaded with any cargo for which it was designed to carry.

The original code states that local deliveries of home heating fuel, school buses and supplies, critical healthcare supplies, restaurant and merchant supplies, and public service and utility vehicles are exempt from weight restrictions on posted streets, but are not exempt from the speed restrictions imposed on posted streets.

The amendment passed by council members on Monday strikes school buses from the previous sentence and adds "school buses are exempt from the weight restrictions and speed restrictions imposed when streets are so posted when traveling on school bus routes."

Under suspension of the rules requiring three readings of the ordinance, council members approved the amendment to remove the restrictions immediately.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at mmalone@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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