Call to Order and Roll Call
The2nd meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Transportation was held on<Day> Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at 1:00 PM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Ernie Harris, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Ernie Harris, Co-Chair; Representative Hubert Collins, Co-Chair; Senators David Givens, Jimmy Higdon, Paul Hornback, Ray S. Jones II, Bob Leeper, R.J. Palmer II, John Schickel, Brandon Smith, Damon Thayer, Johnny Ray Turner, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, Leslie Combs, Tim Couch, Jim DeCesare, David Floyd, Keith Hall, Richard Henderson, Melvin B. Henley, Jimmie Lee, Donna Mayfield, Charles Miller, Terry Mills, Lonnie Napier, Rick G. Nelson, Tanya Pullin, Marie Rader, Steve Riggs, Sal Santoro, John Short, Fitz Steele, Jim Stewart III, Tommy Turner, and Addia Wuchner.
Guests: Representative Ted Edmonds; Representative John Will Stacy; From the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet: Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Rick Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Vehicle Regulation; Ann D’Angelo, Office of Legal Services; Sergeant Tristan Truesdell, State Police, Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement; Brian Alvey, Director, Local Affairs and Policy Development, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation.
Approval of Minutes
Representative Henderson made a motion to approve the minutes from the June 5, 2012 meeting as submitted. The motion was seconded by Representative Collins and adopted by voice vote.
New Farm Vehicle Escort Regulations
Tom Zawacki, Commissioner, Department of Vehicle Regulation complimented the combined efforts of the Transportation Cabinet, LRC, and legislators to make the process a smooth one.
Ann D’Angelo, Assistant General Counsel, Office of Legal Services gave an explanation of the history of the farm vehicle escort regulations. She explained that the regulations started out as an independent regulation pertaining to overweight, overdimensional vehicles, 601 KAR 1:018. The farm vehicle escort regulation was formed when the Cabinet tried to amend 601 KAR 1:018 and realized that there was interest in having the farm provisions in a separate regulation (601 KAR 1:019).
Ms. D’Angelo stated that House Bill 518 was filed during the 2012 Regular session which caused the farm vehicle escort regulation, 601 KAR 1:019 to be deferred until the bill was passed, in order for the Cabinet to conform the provisions of the regulation to match the legislation.
Rick Taylor, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Vehicle Regulation explained that the major changes enacted in the farm vehicle escort regulation had to do with the escort requirements, lighting requirements, and signage of escort vehicles. These changes made the requirements slightly more flexible for the farming industry. The Cabinet added a definition for “convoy” to allow several pieces of farm equipment driving together to only need one escort vehicle, rather than requiring each piece of equipment to have an escort vehicle.
In response to Representative Collins, Mr. Taylor explained that, on a two lane road, a vehicle exceeding twelve feet in width must have a single lead escort, and a convoy of vehicles that exceeds a width of twelve feet will also need a single lead escort.
In response to Senator Givens, Mr. Taylor stated that rules governing the transporting of agricultural products, whether the vehicle is farm owned or a commercial trucking outfit, is dependent on how the vehicle is registered for operation (farm use or commercial use). Vehicles registered with farm tags are not permitted to haul “for hire” under the statute.
In response to Senator Hornback, Mr. Taylor explained that a farmer has the discretion to use either amber flashing lights or a flag at the widest point of the vehicle.
Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Farm Vehicle Regulation Guide
Brian Alvey, Director, Local Affairs and Policy Development gave an overview of Kentucky Farm Bureau’s Farm Vehicle Regulation Guide. The guide is a quick overview of farm vehicle regulations for constituents, county clerks, Department of Vehicle Enforcement, and other interested parties.
In response to Representative Collins, Mr. Alvey stated that there have been many questions regarding the licensing of trailers. If an individual has a farm plate on a vehicle, the vehicle, trailer and load must be under the 38,000 pound requirement in order not to be exempted from licensing. There is confusion due to there being two different statutes pertaining to trailers: one for trailers and vehicles under 38,000 pounds and one for vehicles and trailers over 38,000 pounds. When an individual is using a trailer to haul a load “for hire,” the trailer must be licensed.
In response to Representative Collins, Sergeant Tristan Truesdell, State Police, Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, stated that the way the statute is being interpreted is that if a vehicle is registered under KRS 186.050(4)(a), which is the statute pertaining to the registration of farm vehicles 38,000 pounds and under, the trailer is not required to be licensed unless it in a “for hire” operation. If a vehicle is registered with a farm limited plate, the exemption of not having to license the trailer is not applicable.
In response to Senator Givens, Sergeant Truesdell stated that when a vehicle is registered with a basic farm plate, no matter the size of the trailer, it is not required to be licensed unless it is being used in a “for hire” operation.
In response to Representative DeCesare, Sergeant Truesdell explained that, to determine whether an individual is following the law when it comes to the use of a farm plate while hauling a trailer, the officer will use discretion and training during the initial interview with the driver. As an example, if an officer pulls over an individual hauling a trailer with several lawn mowers, weed eaters, and gas cans, and the individual claims to be hauling for personal use, the officer will most likely determine the individual is trying to get around licensing the trailer and will be cited.
In response to Senator Schickel, Sergeant Truesdell stated that several law enforcement offices, including the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, Louisville Metro Police Department, and the Lexington Metro Police Department, are satellite branches of the Division of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement and are trained to enforce the commercial regulations. Those three law enforcement entities are the only ones that receive any federal grant money and are trained in safety inspections of commercial vehicles.
Enforcement of Small Commercial Vehicles (10,000 pounds to 26,000 pounds)
Sergeant Truesdell stated that the definition for a commercial motor vehicle is any self-propelled or towed motor vehicle used on a highway in interstate commerce to transport passengers or property. There are four weight classes for commercial vehicles. The one being discussed is when a vehicle that has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds to 26,000 pounds. Regardless of the weight designation on the license plate, if the physical weight of the truck and trailer is over 10,000 or the manufacturers’ weight rating is over 10,000 and is being used in commerce, the vehicle is considered a commercial vehicle.
Sergeant Truesdell explained that Kentucky has adopted the definition of interstate commerce, as well as other federal regulations to apply to intrastate carriers. If an individual stays within Kentucky with a commercial vehicle, the individual must comply with adopted federal regulations not exempted by statute.
In response to Senator Givens, Sergeant Truesdell stated that Kentucky has adopted the federal regulations regarding commercial vehicles to apply to the vehicles traveling intrastate.
In response to Representative DeCesare, Sergeant Truesdell explained that for commercial vehicles there is no mileage exemption, but there are some exemptions for farm operations where an individual can travel 150 miles from the farm and are exempt from licensing requirements.
In response to Representative Collins, Sergeant Truesdell stated that the way he interprets the statute is that, if a vehicle is designed to carry 15 or fewer passengers and was manufactured after 1981, seatbelts are required for the driver and any other passenger.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:25 p.m.