The state's association of truckers is asking the Department of Motor Vehicles to assure that out-of-state companies, which have come here to cart off tree branches and other storm-related debris, are subjected to the same safety and regulatory standards as the Connecticut firms they're competing with.
An Oct. 29 emergency declaration by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy exempted out-of-state companies from "federal motor carrier regulations," but that declaration has now expired -- and President Michael J. Riley of the Motor Transportation Association of Connecticut wrote Sunday to DMV Commissioner Melody Currey to ask that her agency make sure the out-of-staters are held to all regulations and standards.
Responding to news that the town of Southington had hired contractors from Florida and Texas to pick up storm debris, Riley said in the letter: "We currently have many Connecticut-based companies also looking for work. These companies with Connecticut tax-paying employees are perfectly capable and willing to perform these services. It is obviously very disappointing that Southington and other towns have chosen to give this work to out-of-state contractors."
Federal emergency funds are being used to pay much of the municipal cost of hiring the out of state firms, he said.
Riley wrote that "Connecticut companies are diligent in their efforts to meet the rigorous requirements of state trucking laws as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations. As you know, these regulations require drug and alcohol testing of truck drivers, medical examinations, certain license and registration requirements, as well as vehicle markings, inspection and repair, and fuel tax and registration payments."
He added: "The citizens of the State of Connecticut need to be assured that companies, that came here under an exemption from safety regulations, are now operating in full compliance with the law. Therefore, we request that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Division of the Department of Motor Vehicles undertake a special project to ensure that out-of-state companies doing storm related clean up are inspected, audited and reviewed to the same extent and in the same way as Connecticut motor carriers."
The DMV said Monday that its routine inspections of commercial trucks will include those of the contractors from out of state. DMV spokesman William Seymour said the department "will include these vehicles during the variety of spot-check inspections that DMV inspectors do every day. These vehicles will be treated in the same thorough manner as all the other in-state and out-of-state vehicles that are inspected every day."
DMV "advises municipalities to review with those firms working in their towns that the firms' vehicles working in Connecticut comply with all federal motor carrier regulations, which are also have been adopted as state law," Seymour said. "Municipal officials with any questions can contact the DMV's Commercial Vehicle Safety Division.... DMV is already and does daily the kinds of inspections and reviews referenced by Motor Transportation Association of Connecticut."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun