By Jeff McConnell & James Mennella, Attorneys at law
There are an inordinate number of violations in Franklin County, OH, for hauling hazmat through the city of Columbus. We hope the following information helps you steer clear of this potential pitfall.
Q. How can I drive through the city of Columbus without having a problem if I have hazmat?
A. The city of Columbus, like most large cities, would like to prevent the transportation of hazardous materials through or near heavily populated areas of the city. According to the city code, unless you are delivering or picking up a load or properly permitted, you should be using Interstate 270.
Q. I was hauling a load through Columbus, OH, and missed the exit for Interstate 270. Before I had a chance to turn around, I was ticketed for disobeying a traffic control device and had a misdemeanor complaint for hauling hazmat through the city. Is this a big deal?
A. It can be. Disobeying a traffic control device is a point offense and, depending on where you are licensed, may allocate points for a conviction of the charge. The complaint for violating the municipal code is a much bigger deal.
Section 2551.06 of the Municipal Code for the City of Columbus sets out the parameters for transportation of hazardous material on city streets. Violation of this section is classified as a first-degree misdemeanor (the most severe) punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
If you missed your exit and were not picking up or delivering the hazmat load in the city, then technically you are in violation of the code. If you picked up your load or were delivering your load within the city, then we have to look at the code in greater detail to see if there are any other restrictions such as prohibited operating hours or necessary permits required in order to determine if there is a violation.
Q. So do I have to go to court to resolve these citations?
A. Due to the severity of the charge, you or an attorney will need to make arrangements to appear in court to resolve the matter. As of the writing of this article, none of the client cases we have assisted with have resulted in the maximum punishment or the necessity for the client to appear in resolving these cases. LL
Send any questions or comments regarding transportation law to: Jeff McConnell and James Mennella, Road Law, 3441 W. Memorial, Suite 4, Oklahoma City, OK 73134; call 405-242-2030, fax 888-588-8983, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Land Line Magazine or its publisher. Please remember everyone's legal situation is different. Consult with an attorney for specific advice on your situation.