Kentucky truckers want IRP course requirement nixed

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/16/2015

The Kentucky Legislature has approved a lengthy bill that includes a provision to void a first-of-its-kind truck rule set to take effect next year. The action was the result of OOIDA members making the trip to Frankfort to convince legislators to right a wrong.

House lawmakers voted unanimously to advance a bill to repeal a 2013 law that prohibits Kentucky-based motor carriers from obtaining their IRP before completing an annual “educational training course” on motor carrier operations and safety regulations. The Senate already approved the amended bill on a 24-11 vote.

The bill, SB153, to delete the course requirement set to take effect in 2016 is on Gov. Steve Beshear’s desk.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has been active throughout the year pushing to nix the training requirement.

Mike Matousek, OOIDA director of state legislative affairs, Kentucky owner-operators and OOIDA Members Gil and Mary Barany, and OOIDA General Vice President Woody Chambers of Eddyville, Ky., met with state lawmakers who include Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, and Rep. Richard Heath, R-Mayfield. The concerns of professional drivers were conveyed about pending course requirements that apply solely to motor carriers, including owner-operators with their own authority.

Company drivers and owner-operators leased to motor carriers are exempt from the looming requirement.

Training courses are set to be conducted by an authorized provider at a cost of as much as $200 annually for each motor carrier registering in the state. The trucking contingent told lawmakers that if additional training or information is needed, there are resources already available to professional drivers.

The Baranays, based in Milton, Ky., pointed out that the rule is redundant. Gil said that motor carriers already are required to comply with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

“They asked us if we wanted to change it. We said ‘No, we don’t want to change it. We want to repeal it. It’s redundant, stupid, and we’re already required to know all of this stuff,’” Gil said.

He said under no circumstance is it appropriate for a motor carrier’s registration – in particular a motor carrier registering under the International Registration Plan – to have any bearing on the completion of an educational training course as required under the 2013 law.

Gil said they let lawmakers know there is also a question as to whether the one-of-a-kind law impedes the flow of interstate commerce and whether it is a violation of federal law.

“It costs time to come in off the road. Woody brought up the point to them it’s not just one operation affected. There are more than 8,000 trucking companies in the state. That’s a lot of lost time for businesses being taken off the road,” Gil said.

After the couple wrapped up their time at the state Capitol they reflected on what they were able to help accomplish.

Mary said the whole experience was eye opening and rewarding. Gil shared the sentiment.

“The knowledge we gained, for better or worse, was very rewarding,” Gil said. “Mike, put everything together for us, and he explained exactly what we were going to be doing. That gave us the opportunity to do what we wanted. Instead of talking to people on the phone or via email all the time, we wanted to talk face to face. Back and forth it was just a really good deal.”

To view other legislative activities of interest for Kentucky, click here.

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