Missouri bills tackle trucking issues

| 3/31/2006

The Missouri Senate has approved a bill that would allow the state’s Highway Commission to revoke licenses and registrations of motor carriers in certain circumstances. The bill is one of several trucking-related bills up for consideration before lawmakers.

The motor carrier bill would authorize the state to suspend, revoke or cancel the registration, license, permit or other credentials issued to motor carriers if a federal agency or the state commission has issued an out-of-service order against the motor carrier.

Sponsored by Sen. Sen. John Griesheimer, R-Washington, the rule would be applicable to out-of-service orders placing a motor carrier’s entire operation out of service. It would not apply to out-of-service orders placing an individual driver or vehicle out of service.

Affected motor carriers would be prohibited from operating any commercial motor vehicle and couldn’t allow employees to operate commercial motor vehicles in intrastate or interstate commerce.

The motor carrier would be forced to surrender all license plates, motor carrier licenses, registrations, permits and other credentials.

After an order has been issued, out-of-state motor carriers would not be eligible to apply for the issuance or reinstatement of any license, registration, permit, certificate or other credentials until the out-of-service order has been rescinded or “the orders have been set aside by a court of proper jurisdiction.”

Griesheimer’s bill also includes a provision that would require teens to spend many more hours under supervision before they could obtain their temporary instruction permit to drive.

The bill would double the number of hours of behind-the-wheel training to 40 hours. That would include 10 hours of nighttime driving.

For the first six months, a 16-year-old driver could not transport more than one passenger younger than 19, except for family members. After six months, the number would increase to three.

Missouri law now only requires drivers who are 16 to have held an instructional permit for at least six months and to have completed 20 hours of behind-the-wheel training. It prohibits drivers between 16 and 18 years old from driving alone between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. unless it is for school or work. There are no restrictions on the number of passengers.

According to Missouri AAA, the odds of being involved in a fatal accident double for teen drivers transporting another person. The odds that a driver will be involved in a non-fatal accident increase by 100 percent when a teen drives with a passenger. Driving with two or more passengers increases the odds by 500 percent, the Columbia Missourian reported.

The bill – SB1001 – has been sent to the House Transportation Committee.

Among the other trucking-related bills also up for consideration is a measure that would clarify that an owner-operator leased to a trucking company is not an employee for purposes of unemployment compensation.

Sponsored by Sen. Dan Clemens, R-Marshfield, the bill – SB755 – is awaiting consideration before the full Senate.

Another bill before the full Senate would clarify the common carrier sales tax exemption for the purchase of motor vehicles – with a gross weight of 24,000 pounds or more – or trailers.

Missouri law now applies the exemption only if the common carrier operates solely in interstate commerce.

SB696, sponsored by Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, would make the exemption applicable to both intrastate and interstate commerce.

One other bill before the full Senate would allow common carriers of household goods to file applications to the State Highways and Transportation Commission for approval of rates to reflect increases and decreases in the carrier’s costs.

Sponsored by Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, the bill – SB1027 – also would “repeal the exemption that currently allows household goods movers to operate wholly in municipalities, between contiguous municipalities, or commercial zones” without having to obtain operating authority from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Currently, household movers are exempt from the rules and regulations if their operations are restricted to those described areas.