New Jersey bill would change how state’s hazmat haulers are compensated

| 11/20/2008

With less than two months remaining until the New Jersey Legislature adjourns, one bill that could still draw consideration would change how the state compensates hazmat haulers.

Sponsored by Assemblyman John Burzichelli, D-Gloucester, the bill would require New Jersey-based truckers who haul hazardous materials intrastate to be compensated “with an hourly wage, exclusive of overtime pay or other benefits paid to the driver.” The bill specifies that the hourly wage be paid by the business, corporation, company, organization or other entity a driver is hauling for.

This marks the third time in recent years that Burzichelli has sought the change. The previous two efforts failed to advance from committee.

Burzichelli said the legislation is intended as an alternative method of compensation to better promote safety on the state’s roadways.

He wrote in the bill that hazardous materials haulers are often paid by the load. “This practice often encourages drivers to travel at excess speeds and increases the likelihood that a commercial motor vehicle transporting hazardous material may be involved in an accident, placing the citizens of New Jersey at unnecessary risk from these hazardous materials.”

Burzichelli also wrote that nothing in the measure “is to be deemed or construed so as to limit, alter, or impair in any way any other applicable provision of federal or state law or regulation concerning the operation in intrastate or interstate commerce” of hazardous materials haulers.

The bill – A1483 – is in the Assembly’s Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee. All legislation must be approved by both chambers prior to the end of the regular session, which is scheduled for early January.

To view other legislative activities of interest for New Jersey in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor