Priority Issues

PUCO rescinds administrative rules applying to private commercial motor carriers

COLUMBUS, OHIO (March 16, 2011) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) today rescinded administrative rules applying to private commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds operating in intrastate commerce.

“The PUCO has received feedback from numerous interested parties, including lawmakers and industry members, that these rules deserve additional review,” said PUCO Chairman Todd A. Snitchler. “It is important for the PUCO to operate at the speed of business and implement regulations that promote safety while at the same time allow businesses to compete and operate efficiently.  Today’s decision is a step in that direction.”

In 2008, the Commission approved amendments to Ohio’s motor carrier safety rules that applied PUCO jurisdiction to private commercial motor vehicles with a GVW between 10,001 and 26,000 pounds that transport property or passengers on a not-for-hire basis within Ohio. The Commission later delayed active enforcement of the rules until 2012 while it conducted an outreach program to further educate affected carriers.

The PUCO hosted a series of listening sessions across Ohio this winter to gather input from affected carriers about the operational and financial costs of compliance with the rules. Based on feedback from interested parties, the Commission finds it prudent to rescind the rules while changes to the rules are considered. As a result, roadside educational stops for these affected carriers will no longer take place.

The Commission directed PUCO staff to file a report within 90 days containing an analysis and recommendations for possible future rule amendments.  In preparing the report, staff will take into account Gov. John Kasich’s Executive Order 2011-01K “Establishing the Common Sense Initiative,” which accounts for the impact a rule has on small businesses.

OLICA President Roger Greenawalt was scheduled to testify at the State House in support of House Bill 82 which would have scaled back PUCO rules to the federal minimum. PUCO decided to withdraw their rules, which in effect eliminated the need for HB 82 and Roger’s proponent testimony, which you can view here (pdf).

Update on PUCO Motor Carrier Safety Rules

As many of you know, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) recently amended their motor carrier safety rules.  These amendments expanded PUCO jurisdiction to private intrastate vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight between 10,001 and 26,000 lbs. (10k-26k lbs.)  Previously, vehicles of this size were not covered by the PUCO safety rules.

The PUCO says this expansion of authority was necessary to meet federal requirements.  This is only partially true.  The federal government did require states to apply motor carrier safety rules to vehicles 10k-26k lbs. which carry hazardous materials.  But the PUCO did not stop there.  They also applied these safety rules to vehicles 10k-26k lbs. which do not carry hazardous materials.  Clearly, PUCO has gone beyond the federal minimum and in doing so, placed a significant financial hardship on small businesses like yours.  Some estimate the cost of complying with these rules will add up to $7,000 per driver per year.  While the PUCO has decided to delay enforcement of these rules until January 1, 2012, the obvious problem remains.

At this time, you should be aware of two things.

First, the PUCO will be holding five listening sessions regarding these rules around the state during the next four weeks.  Ohio’s motor carrier community, of which you are a member, is invited to provide testimony on the impact of these rules on small business.  Please consider attending a nearby session and expressing your view of these rules.  All meetings start at 5:00 pm and are scheduled to conclude at 6:30 pm.  Briefly, the dates and locations of these sessions are:

  • 2/9/11 Grove City Municipal Bldg, Grove City
  • 2/22/11 Middletown City Bldg, Middletown
  • 2/23/11 Oliver R. Ocasek Government Center, Akron
  • 2/24/11 Findlay Municipal Bldg, Findlay
  • 3/1/11 Cambridge Municipal Bldg, Cambridge

Second, State Representative Cheryl Grossman (R-Dist 23, Grove City) plans to introduce legislation which will scale back Ohio’s motor carrier safety rules to the federal minimum.  Representative Grossman indicates her bill would eliminate over-burdensome regulations and unnecessary government red tape.  OLICA has contacted Representative Grossman and expressed support for her bill.  As an OLICA member you will be kept apprised of this developing piece of legislation.

For more information on the PUCO motor carrier safety rules click here.

And finally, you can look up your legislator’s contact information by clicking here for the Ohio House and here for the Ohio Senate