New Oregon laws cover truck issues

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 7/19/2011

One new law makes unenforceable any motor carrier contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence. The rule outlawing the provisions, which protect shippers or hold them harmless from anything that happens with a shipment, applies to contracts executed after May 27.

Oregon law defines affected contracts 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.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, another new law is intended to crack down on unnecessary idling of trucks. It sets a statewide standard for idling.

Commercial vehicles will be prohibited from idling for more than five minutes each hour on property open to the public. Violators would face $180 fines.

Various exceptions to the rule are included. Examples of circumstances that warrant additional idling are to operate defrosting, heating or air conditioners.

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.

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.

A separate law puts the state in accordance with the FMCSA’s 2012 medical certification requirements. As of Jan. 1, 2012, CDL holders operating interstate will be required to submit a copy of their medical certification to the state Department of Transportation. Failure to do so would result in the loss of commercial driving privileges.

There was a financial incentive for Oregon to adopt the rule. The federal government mandates that states adopt the provision before Jan. 30, 2012, to avoid non-compliance. Failure to comply in the first year could cost a state 5 percent of federal highway funds.

Also signed into law is a bill that is intended to give commercial vehicles more room to maneuver through roundabouts.

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, vehicles will be prohibited from driving alongside or passing large trucks in the one-way circular intersections that are used to control traffic instead of a stop sign or traffic signal. Trucks also will be allowed to use more than one lane to navigate through, when necessary.

Oregon has about 50 roundabouts throughout the state. Only seven multilane roundabouts exist in the state.

Signage is required at the entrances of multilane roundabouts to notify motorists of the new law.

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

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