A bill has been proposed in the Montana legislature that would allow log truckers to use shorter scales to weigh their rigs, a measure that would save them time and money needed to travel to longer scales to get weighed.

Scales at mills such as Porterbilt Co. owned by Ron Porter located south of Hamilton, MT, are only 27-ft. long and can’t weigh a truck and trailer in one fell swoop, according to a report in the Billings Gazette.

The shorter scales were adequate when most of the lumber being hauled in the state came from private land. However, under current state law, log truckers can’t weigh their loads at shorter scales available at some mills because the U.S. Forest Service requires log trucks to be weighed on scales long enough to accommodate both tractor and trailer.

Consequently, log truck drivers traveling to Porter’s mill are currently required to travel an hour out of their way to get to a scale long enough to weigh both tractor and trailer, a detour that also causes them to make a dangerous turn broadside to traffic on U.S. Highway 93, Porter said. “There is a safety issue here.”

State Rep. Pat Connell, R-Corvallis, has introduced a bill that would allow truck drivers throughout the state to weigh their loads on short scales similar to Porter’s.

“The only person who is doing well by making truckers drive further to get their loads weighed are the companies selling diesel fuel,” Connell said.

The bill, House Bill 157, was heard last week by the House Transportation Committee. Future hearings on the bill have yet to be set.