AN ACT AUTHORIZING TERMINAL AUDITS FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
Whereas, The deferred operation of this act would tend to defeat its purpose, which is to ensure forthwith compliance with federal law and ensure the availability of federal highway grants, therefore it is hereby declared to be an emergency law, necessary for the immediate preservation of the public convenience.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:
Chapter 90 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 19K the following section:—
Section 19L. (a) The registrar shall adopt regulations to ensure compliance by all interstate and intrastate motor carriers with this chapter and with:
(1) the regulations of the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, contained in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, relative to:
(i) proof of financial responsibility;
(ii) driver qualification files, including all required forms;
(iii) drug and alcohol testing records as applicable;
(iv) records of duty status and supporting documents;
(v) driver vehicle inspection reports and maintenance records;
(vi) hazardous materials records as applicable; and
(vii) an accident register and copies of all accident reports required by state or other governmental entities or insurers.
(2) sections 2, 3, 9 and 10 of this chapter, relative to operator licensing and registration of commercial vehicles;
(3) section 2B of chapter 85, section 31 of this chapter, and any regulation established thereunder relative to transportation of freight, passengers or hazardous materials;
(4) chapter 90F, relative to the operation of commercial vehicles; and
(5) any other applicable state statute pertaining to the operation of commercial motor vehicles.
(b) The department of state police may enter, during regular business hours, the commercial premises owned or leased by a commercial carrier, wherein the records, required to be maintained under the regulations adopted under this section, are stored or maintained, and may inspect, in a reasonable manner, the records for the purpose of enforcing the regulations. If the records contain evidence of violations of the regulations, the inspecting officer shall produce and take possession of copies of the records, and if the entity subject to inspection does not possess copying equipment, the inspecting officer shall arrange to have copied, in a reasonable time and manner, the records that contain evidence of the violations, and the costs for the copying shall be assessed against the owner of said records. The department of state police shall coordinate its activities under this section with the federal motor carrier safety administration to ensure compliance with all federal and state laws and regulations. Municipal police officers or municipal police departments shall not conduct terminal audits; routine commercial carrier inspections; or, without probable cause, a random inspection of a commercial carrier.
(c) Any carrier found to be in violation of record-keeping regulations established under this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $500 for each offense, and each day of a violation shall constitute a separate offense; but the total of all civil penalties assessed against a violator for all offenses relating to any single violation shall not exceed $2,500. If it is found, pursuant to a terminal audit, that a serious pattern of safety violations, other than record-keeping requirements or violations of chapter 90F, exists or has occurred, a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 may be imposed for each offense; but the maximum fine for each such pattern of safety violations shall not exceed $10,000. If it is found that a substantial health or safety violation exists or has occurred which could reasonably lead to, or has resulted in, serious personal injury or death, a civil penalty not to exceed $10,000 for each offense may be imposed. With the exception of record-keeping violations and violations of chapter 90F or such other regulations established under this section relating to a license to operate a commercial motor vehicle, as defined in section 1 of chapter 90F, no civil penalty shall be imposed under this section against an employee of a motor carrier for a violation unless the employee’s conduct is found to constitute gross negligence or reckless disregard for safety, in which case the employee shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.
(d) The amount of any civil penalty, and a reasonable time for abatement of the violation, shall by written order be determined by a court of competent jurisdiction, and all penalties so recovered shall be paid to the Highway Fund of the commonwealth.