Bill would make owners responsible for intermodal chassis

| 7/7/2005

New Jersey senators approved a bill June 30 intended to improve the quality of truck chassis being distributed at ports in the state.

The bill, which previously passed the Assembly, now moves to Gov. Richard Codey for his signature.

Sponsored by Assemblyman John Wisniewski, D-Middlesex, the bill would force the owner of intermodal chassis to be responsible for the proper maintenance of the equipment. Currently, that burden is placed on truck drivers pulling the chassis.

The bill also requires that truckers be compensated for downtime if they are forced to wait longer than one hour while a chassis is repaired or replaced. The amount of compensation would be determined by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.

Ports in the state that load and unload oceangoing vessels would be required to regularly check chassis – the trailers that carry freight containers – before they leave a port.

The measure – A1478 – calls for inspections every six months that would check brakes, suspension, tires and wheels, connecting devices, lights and electrical systems. Any chassis provider found to have violated this order would be fined up to $5,000 per occurrence.

It also would allow drivers to request that chassis be inspected if they thought they were unsafe. It also prohibits terminals from passing the buck for repairs on to drivers.