Missouri bill tackles trucking issues

| 4/26/2006

The Missouri House overwhelmingly approved a bill Tuesday, April 25, that would allow the state’s Highway Commission to revoke licenses and registrations of motor carriers in certain circumstances. The bill also addresses concerns about unskilled truck drivers on roads in the state.

Sponsored by Sen. John Griesheimer, R-Washington, the 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.

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 could not 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of any license, registration, permit, certificate or other credentials until the out-of-service order has been rescinded or “the orders have been set aside by a court of proper jurisdiction.”

A provision added to the bill on the House floor is intended to eliminate the worst of the third-party testing facilities in the state.

It was added by Rep. Neal St. Onge, R-Ellisville, in response to allegations that a third-party CDL testing facility in West Plains, MO, accepted money in exchange for passing grades. The testing facility is run by a school district.

The amendment would limit third-party tester certification to private companies that operate on the campus of junior colleges or community colleges. It also would apply to private companies who own and maintain their own fleet and administer in-house testing to employees.

The amendment also would prohibit third-party tester certification from being issued to any private company predominately operated for commercial driver’s license testing purposes. In addition, no third-party tester certification would be renewed for such companies.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri is sending out letters to 600 drivers who were tested at the West Plains facility, ordering them to re-take the driving portions of their exams. Neither the Highway Patrol nor the Missouri Department of Revenue could confirm that number for Land Line.

This is the second such investigation to come to light in Missouri in recent weeks. Another third party tester in Sikeston, MO, has been under investigation on similar charges since 2005. In that case, the Department of Revenue is in the process of issuing letters to 2,200 drivers – in Missouri and other states – to re-take the driving portion of their CDL exams.

The bill – SB1001 – has been sent to the Senate for final approval. If approved, it would head to Gov. Matt Blunt’s desk for his signature.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
Senior Writer Terry Scruton contributed to this report.