Intermodal chassis inspection bill dies in Oregon

| 9/23/2003

Oregon lawmakers failed to pass legislation before they adjourned for the year that would have forced the owner or leaser of an intermodal chassis to be responsible for the proper maintenance of the equipment.

Under HB2039, ports in the state that load and unload oceangoing vessels would be required to employ trained safety inspectors to check every intermodal chassis, the trailers that carry intermodal freight containers, before they leave a port.

The bill, which was in the House Transportation Committee when legislators adjourned for the year Aug. 27, called for inspections that would have checked brakes, suspension, tires and wheels, connecting devices, lights and electrical system. Inspectors would have been required to place a tamper-proof green tag on chassis with no defects and a red tag on chassis with defects.

Red-tagged chassis could not be released to a driver until repairs were made. Removing or tampering with a tag could result in a $5,000 fine, one-year imprisonment, or both.

The measure also would have allowed a driver to request that a chassis be reinspected if he or she thought it was unsafe. Port employees, inspectors, owners or lessees of intermodal chassis would be fined $1,000, serve 30 days in jail or both if they threatened, coerced or otherwise retaliated against a driver who notified an inspector about the condition of a chassis, or requested reinspection or repair.

Washington state failed to pass similar legislation earlier this year. HB1663 sought to make the owner or leaser of an intermodal chassis responsible for the proper maintenance of the equipment. The bill didn’t specify any fine amounts.

The Oregon Legislature won’t be able to reconsider the proposal until lawmakers reconvene in January 2005. Washington state lawmakers could revisit the issue as early as January 2004.