Columbus - 

In a time when fatal traffic accidents have continued to increase over the last five years, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of traffic laws as well as the lesser known regulations administered by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Transportation Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with regards to the safe operation of for-hire passenger-carrying Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) in our state. Vehicles carrying more than eight passengers, of which the driver receives compensation to transport passengers, are considered for-hire, passenger-carrying CMVs and must follow state and federal regulations specific to their line of work.


Commercial traffic accidents can be costly to the owner of the transportation company, the operator of the vehicle and any passengers transported at the time of the incident. Proper seat belt usage is recognized as one of the best preventatives of fatality during a collision, but did you know that adequate rest time for a driver between shifts is also significant in preventing accidents? As such, CMV drivers are not permitted to drive more than 10 hours following eight consecutive hours off duty.


Companies or hired drivers of CMVs must carry financial responsibility insurance for bodily injury and property damage, for which policy amounts vary depending on the number of passengers transported. For example, for-hire passenger-carrying CMVs carrying 15 or fewer passengers must have at least a $1.5 million insurance policy. Carriers and drivers of 16 or more passengers must have at least a $5 million insurance policy. Of course, obtaining an insurance policy does not avert accidents, but it does provide financial protection for the company, driver and passengers in the unfortunate event of a collision.


Just as important as carrying proof of valid insurance is proof of registration and a valid license. Carrying proper documentation is the best way for state and federal agencies to be able to determine that companies and CMV operators are credentialed and able to safely transport passengers. For-hire passenger-carrying CMVs must register with PUCO in order to transport passengers within Ohio and with the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) in order to transport passengers across state lines. Additionally, CMV operators must have a valid Ohio driver’s license, and if they transport 16 or more passengers, they must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement. The passenger endorsement ensures that the driver has passed a written exam on special safety factors when carrying passengers. This endorsement applies to both intrastate and interstate travel. For-hire CMV drivers who do not follow safety regulations or obtain proper credentials are subject to enforcement and monetary fines by PUCO, law enforcement and the USDOT.


The aforementioned regulations are only a sampling of the important rules CMV companies and drivers must follow. PUCO has published the Motor Carrier Safety Guidebook as a comprehensive resource for companies, drivers, passengers, and the general public who would like to learn about for-hire passenger-carrying CMV regulations. This guidebook can be found at www.puco.ohio.gov, or if you would like to obtain a paper-copy version of this guidebook, please contact my office at (614) 644-5088 or rep76@ohiohouse.gov


For more information about for-hire passenger-carrying CMV regulations, a listing of registered companies or to file a complaint, please contact PUCO at:


Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Transportation Department


180 E. Broad Street, 4th Floor


Columbus, Ohio 43215


PUCO Call Center (800) 686-7826


(Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)

 
 
 
  
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Guest Column From State Representative Sarah LaTourette: Awareness Of Commercial Passenger Transportation Safety Regulations Important For Companies, Operators And Consumers

 
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In a time when fatal traffic accidents have continued to increase over the last five years, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of traffic laws as well as the lesser known regulations administered by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) Transportation Department, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) with regards to the safe operation of for-hire passenger-carrying Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) in our state. Vehicles carrying more than eight passengers, of which the driver receives compensation to transport passengers, are considered for-hire, passenger-carrying CMVs and must follow state and federal regulations specific to their line of work.



 
 

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