New Safety Rules for Private Intrastate Non-CDL Vehicles
The Public Utilities Commission (PUCO) has revised its rules relative to motor carrier transportation safety. The new rules apply to businesses that use vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW), gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR) of 10,001 to
26,000 pounds to transport property or passengers on a not‐for‐hire basis within Ohio. Previously, vehicles of this size were not covered by safety rules. Individuals transporting personal items that are not in furtherance of a commercial enterprise will not be subject to the new rules.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found Ohioʹs regulations with regard to hazardous materials and private carriers were inconsistent with federal standards and required a series of changes to be made. The changes were made to ensure that state and federal regulations remained compatible and to increase safety on Ohio’s roadways. The new regulations were adopted by the PUCO so that the state of Ohio may continue to receive federal grant money for the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. This federal grant program provides financial assistance to states to enforce the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations in an effort to reduce the number and severity of commercial motor vehicle accidents. In order to receive these funds, Ohio’s safety rules must mirror federal rules.
The PUCO is currently involved in an education and awareness campaign to help identify and educate entities that may be subject to the new regulations. Fines will not be assessed on roadside safety inspections until January 1, 2012, unless egregious violations are discovered. However, vehicles and drivers found not to be in compliance can be declared out‐of‐service. Please note: If a vehicle crosses state lines, a USDOT number must also be visible on the vehicle.
Information on obtaining a USDOT number may be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov. The application for a USDOT number requires a safety audit from the PUCO.
Drivers must be at least 18 years old and possess a currently valid operator’s license. He or she must be able to read and speak the English language, understand highway traffic signs and signals, respond to official inquires and make entries on reports and records.
Drivers must also be physically qualified to drive and must pass a medical exam performed at least once every 2 years and carry a copy when operating a commercial motor vehicle. Disqualifying medical conditions include poor hearing, poor vision, high blood pressure, diabetes (requiring insulin), loss of or defects in hand or foot, epilepsy or seizure disorder, certain heart conditions, drug or alcohol Updated December 7, 2010
Driver’s List of Violations:
Drivers must annually provide their employer with a list of all violations involving a conviction, forfeited bond or collateral. The employer must retain this information in the driver’s qualification file for 3 years. Disqualifying offenses include leaving the scene of an accident, driving under the influence, refusal to undergo drug testing, committing a felony and violating a state issued out‐of‐service order.
Each driver must successfully complete a road test and issued a certificate before operating a commercial motor vehicle. A copy of the road test certificate must be placed in the driver qualification file and a copy provided to the driver. The road test shall be given by the employer or a designated person. The person conducting the road test must be competent to evaluate whether the driver is capable of operating a commercial motor vehicle. At a minimum, the driver must be tested while operating the type of vehicle the company intends to assign the driver and the driver must demonstrate skills performing a pre‐trip inspection, placing the vehicle in operation, use of vehicle controls and emergency equipment, operating the vehicle in traffic and while passing other motor vehicles, turning the motor vehicle, braking and slowing the vehicle by means other than braking, backing and parking the vehicle and coupling and uncoupling of combination units if the equipment assigned to the driver includes combination vehicles.
Dick Wagner is a Disaster Restoration and Commercial Marketing Consultant. 419-202-6745