Maryland Legislature considers bigger truck fines

| Friday, March 01, 2002

Maryland's House judiciary committee is considering a bill that increases penalties for certain violations by commercial vehicle drivers and authorizes charging motor carriers who require or permit a driver to commit the violations. The bill, which addresses those violations resulting in injury or death and heavier penalties, hasn't seen action since Valentine's Day.

Those violations include breaking the law in regard to weight, size and load restrictions, hours-of-service restrictions, safety inspections and utility and transportation emergencies, and certain federal regulations relating to hazmat, safe loading, maximum driving time and unsafe operations.

If the violation resulted in bodily injury to another person, a driver could be fined up to $1,000 or imprisonment up to six months, or both for the first offense. Second and subsequent offenses bring a fine up to $3,000 or imprisonment for up to one year, or both. If the violation results in the death of another person, the driver is subject to a $2,00 fine or imprisonment up to three years, or both, for a first offense, and a $5,000 fine or imprisonment for up to five years, or both, for a second or subsequent offense.

A motor carrier, who requires or allows any person to commit these violations, could be fined up to $5,00 for a first offense if the violation results in bodily injury, and $10,000 if the violation results in death. For second and subsequent offenses, the carrier could be fined up to $10,000 for violations resulting in injury and up to $25,000 for those resulting in death.

The proposed fines go up even more for violating federal regulations relating to drivers declared out of service and out-of-service orders. In these cases, a driver could face up to a $2,000 fine and imprisonment for up to one year, or both on a first offense if the violation results in bodily injury. Second and subsequent offenses bring up to a $5,000 fine or imprisonment up to three years, or both. If the violation results in death, the driver could be fined up to $5,000 and imprisonment up to five years, or both, and for a second or subsequent offense, the fine jumps to $10,000 or imprisonment up to 10 years, or both.

Motor carriers involved in federal regulation violations could be fined up to $10,000 for the first offense and $20,000 for a second or subsequent offense in bodily injury cases. If the violation results in death, the fines go up to $25,000 for the first offense and $50,000 for second or subsequent offense.

The bill had its first reading by the judiciary committee Jan. 30 and a hearing Feb. 14, but has seen no further action. Last session, the judiciary committee gave an unfavorable report to a similar bill, HB987.

Comments