BEFORE THE Department of TRANSPORTATION
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the adoption of New Rule I pertaining to the Motor Carrier Services vehicles authorized to bypass weigh stations and the amendment of ARM 18.8.101 and 18.8.1301 pertaining to Motor Carrier Services definitions and compliance with weigh station bypass
NOTICE OF ADOPTION AND AMENDMENT
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On June 10, 2022, the Department of Transportation published MAR Notice No. 18-189 pertaining to the proposed adoption and amendment of the above-stated rules at page 859 of the 2022 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 11. On August 5, 2022, the department extended the comment period for the proposed adoption and amendment at page 1423 of the 2022 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 15.
2. The department has adopted New Rule I (18.8.1302) as proposed.
3. The department has amended the above-stated rules as proposed.
4. The department has thoroughly considered the comments and testimony received. A summary of the comments received, and the department's responses are as follows:
COMMENT 1: One comment was received stating that trucks that are clearly and visibly unloaded should receive weigh station bypass authorization.
RESPONSE: The department notes that consideration for weigh station bypass approval criteria includes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) and other factors, including, but not limited to, safety, credential verification, and fuel tax compliance. Specific approval for each individual truck authorized to bypass weigh stations is needed to maintain consistency and programmatic oversight.
COMMENT 2: Two comments were received asking for clarification on the weigh station bypass authorization process, including multiple trips, and if a carrier can appeal a denial or authorization revocation.
RESPONSE: Motor Carrier Services (MCS) will implement a process for weigh station bypass authorization that verifies credentials and trip frequency, rather than implementing an application process. Weigh station bypass authorization, denial, or revocation will be designated to the district supervisors to ensure process consistency. A carrier may appeal the district supervisor's decision to the division administrator.
COMMENT 3: One commenter asked for clarification on the criteria for a bypass authorization to be rescinded.
RESPONSE: A bypass authorization may be rescinded if there is a pattern of repeated violations such as exceeding weight limits, failing to pay GVW fees, or failing to adhere to the criteria for bypass approval, and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
COMMENT 4: One comment was received stating that the multiple trip definition should be either weekly or monthly, rather than daily.
RESPONSE: MCS disagrees with the comment as there are instances where daily bypass authorization is appropriate, and MCS does not want to limit the weigh station bypass authorization opportunities.
COMMENT 5: One comment was received asking if New Rule I(1)(d) applies to contracted motor coaches hauling high school sports teams.
RESPONSE: New Rule I(1)(d) allows school buses, as defined in 20-10-101, MCA, operating for school-sponsored activities to bypass weigh stations.
COMMENT 6: One comment was received asking why the carriers identified in New Rule I(1)(c), (d), and (e) do not need administrator approval for weigh station bypass authorization.
RESPONSE: The vehicles in New Rule I(1)(c), (d), and (e) each receive exemptions from specific regulations by other authorities, and as such, division administrator approval is not appropriate. Vehicles designated in New Rule I(1)(c) are exempt under 49 CFR 390.3. Vehicles designated in New Rule I(1)(d) are exempt under 49 CFR 390.5 and 20-10-101, MCA. Vehicles designated in New Rule I(1)(e) pertain to carriers hauling passengers on a regular route, and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) guidance provides that passenger vehicles in-transit loaded with passengers shall not be stopped and inspected.
COMMENT 7: One comment was received asking why vehicles identified in New Rule I(2) need administrator approval.
RESPONSE: Vehicles designated under New Rule I(2) are regulated by MCS inspection jurisdiction, and as such, division administrator approval is appropriate.
COMMENT 8: One commenter asked what a harvesting "support" vehicle is.
RESPONSE: Harvesting support vehicles are vehicles used in support of a harvesting operation, such as sugar beet trucks, combine trailers, header trailers, etc.
COMMENT 9: One comment was received asking if permitted loads can bypass scales if added to the permit condition, and if not, can the rules clarify single stop per trip guidelines?
RESPONSE: The criteria for all permitted loads fall outside the scope of the current rule notice.
COMMENT 10: One comment was received asking how many interested persons received this rule notice.
RESPONSE: The amended rulemaking notice was sent to 81 interested parties.
COMMENT 11: One comment was received noting inadequate time to provide notice and comment.
RESPONSE: MCS extended the comment period to provide additional time for interested parties to respond.
COMMENT 12: Four comments were received in support of the proposed new rule.
RESPONSE: MDT thanks the commenters for their support.
/s/ Valerie A. Balukas /s/ Malcolm "Mack" Long
Valerie A. Balukas Malcolm "Mack" Long
Alternate Rule Reviewer Director
Department of Transportation
Certified to the Secretary of State September 13, 2022.