Oregon bills on the move cover emissions, indemnification

| 5/16/2011

Two bills winding their way through the Oregon Legislature cover trucking issues that address emissions rules and indemnification.

The House voted 48-11 to advance an amended bill to the Senate that addresses emissions reduction. Intended to crack down on unnecessary idling of trucks, the bill would prohibit commercial vehicles from idling for more than five minutes each hour on property open to the public.

Examples of circumstances that would warrant additional idling are to operate defrosting, heating or air conditioners – or installing equipment necessary to comply with manufacturers’ operating requirements, specifications and warranties, or with federal, state or local safety regulations.

An exception would also be made for air conditioning or heating during a rest or sleep period when the outside temperature is below 50 degrees or above 75 degrees.

The exception would not apply if the truck is equipped with an auxiliary power unit or other idle-reduction technology. It would also be unacceptable to park near a grade school and idle, regardless of temperature.

Another exception to the five-minute rule would be made for idling up to 30 minutes while a truck is waiting to load or unload, as well as actually loading or unloading.

Removed from the bill was a provision to require Oregon’s Environmental Quality Commission to adopt rules and establish requirements that trucks weighing in excess of 26,000 pounds that pull box-type trailers must take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Separate rules would have been put in place for local-haul trucks and trailers. The affected haulers are classified as operating within 100 miles of home base. Day-cab trucks would have been required to only use tires with low rolling resistance.

The bill – HB2081 – is awaiting consideration in the Senate Business, Transportation and Economic Development Committee.

Another bill on the move would make unenforceable any motor carrier contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence.

Affected contracts would be defined as any written agreement for the transportation of property for compensation or hire, entry on property to load, unload or transport property, or any service incidental to such activity, including the packing or storage of property.

OOIDA leadership says the indemnification protection would effectively prohibit a receiver from pre-conditioning unloading by attempting to require the motor carrier to obtain specific insurance coverage that many times is not commercially attainable.

To make matters worse, OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs Joe Rajkovacz said the receiver often requires itself to be named as co-insured on a policy.

“This type of scam is often used by receivers to force motor carriers into paying for unloading services provided by the receiver – services from which they profit dramatically,” he said.

The bill – SB259 – is awaiting a House floor vote. If approved there, it would advance to the governor’s desk. The Senate already approved it on a 26-4 vote.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Oregon, click here.

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.