Thesixth meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Friday, November 7, 2008, at 10:00 AM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Hubert Collins, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Brett Guthrie, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Bob Leeper, R.J. Palmer II, Dick Roeding, Brandon Smith, Gary Tapp, and Damon Thayer; Representatives Eddie Ballard, Tim Couch, Jim DeCesare, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Jimmie Lee, Charles Miller, Rick G. Nelson, Sannie Overly, Marie Rader, Sal Santoro, Arnold Simpson, Ancel Smith, Jim Stewart III, Greg Stumbo, and Tommy Turner. Representative Don Pasley also attended the meeting.
Guests Appearing Before the Committee: Commissioner Rodney Brewer and Major Jack Miniard, Kentucky State Police; and Howard Howells, Harrodsburg, Kentucky. Testifying for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet was: Mike Hancock, State Highway Engineer; Dan Glass, Commissioner, Jo Carol Roberts, Executive Staff Advisor, Office of Motor Vehicle Regulation; and Cindy VanHoose, Director and Doug Sutton, Assistant Director, Division of Driver Licensing.
LRC Staff: John Snyder, Jim Roberts, Brandon White, and Linda Hughes.
Representative Lee moved to approve the Committee’s October 7, 2008 minutes, as submitted. Representative Henley seconded the motion, which passed by voice vote.
The first item on the Committee’s agenda was a discussion of driver’s license issuance procedures. Testifying on this subject were Commissioner Rodney Brewer and Major Jack Miniard, Kentucky State Police; and Dan Glass, Commissioner, Jo Carol Roberts, Executive Staff Advisor, Office of Motor Vehicle Regulation; and Cindy VanHoose, Director and Doug Sutton, Assistant Director, Division of Driver Licensing, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
Commissioner Glass noted that drivers’ licenses have become the most recognized form of identification and that since 9-11 the Transportation Cabinet has been working on ways to beef up the security of the driver’s license issuance process. There have been over 1.2 million licenses issued in 2008. The 1.2 million licenses are comprised of 117, 277 for autos, motorcycles, and mopes; 115,209 for permits; 613,022 renewals; 244,636 for duplicate licenses; and approximately 59,618 for the various CDLs. ID cards totaled 125,590 and Hardship licenses 2,590 in 2008.
Mr. Glass said that two branches of state government deal with driver licenses – the Judicial Branch through the circuit clerks and the Executive Branch through the Kentucky State Police and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. He stated that all of these entities will be meeting soon to discuss the best ways to streamline the driver license issuance process.
Senator Leeper voiced his concern with the state not routinely giving eye examinations during the driver license renewal process. Mr. Sutton stated that it is mostly a money issue. He said that there are approximately 80 examiners that give around 280,000 exams each year throughout the state’s 120 counties. Thirteen sites offer examiners four or five days a week, while the remaining examiners travel to the remaining counties on specific days of the week to give driver examines. If eye exams became mandatory he felt that additional personnel would have to be hired at all 120 counties.
When asked, Commissioner Brewer noted that the failure rate percentage for driver licenses is around 35 to 37 percent and the CDL failure rate is approximately 37 percent, with the written part of the CDL testing failure rate at 60 percent.
The next item on the Committee’s agenda was the re-consideration of 601 KAR 13:070 – No pass/no drive regulation. This regulation was considered at the committee’s October 7, 2008 meeting and after questions arose regarding the person(s) allowed to sign off on a minor’s application for driving privilege. The regulation was changed from “superintendent” to “school representative” with other minor changes imposed to compliment the main change. Upon the Cabinet’s explanation Representative Henley moved to approve the regulation as amended. Senator Guthrie seconded the motion, which passed by voice vote.
At this time Mr. Howard Howells, a private citizen from Harrodsburg, Kentucky and Mike Hancock, State Highway Engineer, Kentucky State Transportation Cabinet, discussed the safety perils of US 68 in Mercer County. Mr. Howells said that he had appeared before the Committee three years ago on this very matter. He noted a number of fatal and injury accidents that occur on US 68 and asked that something be done to eliminate this hazardous section. He stated that Transportation Cabinet officials met with county officials earlier in the year to discuss the problem and that the only solution anyone could come up with was to try and re-route tractor trailer traffic from US 68. Mr. Howells complained that while this decision was not a total solution to the problem it would help to eliminate some of the hazards on that section of the highway, but stated that as of today no signs had been erected. Mr. Hancock stated that the Cabinet was aware of the hazards on US 68 in Mercer County. He said that there is very little that can be done not only because of how the road curves around hill sides, but also because of the state’s financial restraints. Mr. Hancock informed the Committee that signs, redirecting tractor trailer traffic from that highway have been ordered but had yet to be delivered to the Cabinet. Mr. Hancock stated that as soon as the signs were received the Cabinet planned to erect those signs in the appropriate places.
Mr. Howells also noted that it would also be helpful if some of the culverts could be cleaned out in that area. Mr. Hancock noted Mr. Howells’ concern and stated that he would check into the matter.
Chairman Collins took time to congratulate his Senate counterpart, Senator Guthrie, upon his election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Chairman Guthrie thanked Chairman Collins and the member of the Committee.
Chairman Collins also honored retiring members: Senators Dick Roeding and Richard Sanders; and Representatives Scott Alexander, Russ Mobley, and John Vincent. Chairman Collins made mention of the retirement of staff member Jim Roberts and thanked him for his 30 plus years of service to both LRC and the Transportation Cabinet.
The last item on the Committee’s agenda was a memorial resolution in honor of the late Representative Larry Belcher. With no objections voiced Chairman Collins asked that a copy of the resolution be delivered to Mrs. Belcher and to her daughter.
With no further business before the Committee, the meeting adjourned at 11:05 a.m.