BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the amendment of ARM 18.8.519 pertaining to wreckers and tow vehicle requirements
NOTICE OF PROPOSED AMENDMENT
NO PUBLIC HEARING CONTEMPLATED
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On March 16, 2013, the Department of Transportation proposes to amend the above-stated rule.
2. The Department of Transportation will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact Department of Transportation no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 7, 2013, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Dan Moore, Motor Carrier Services, Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 4639, Helena, Montana, 59604-4639; telephone (406) 444-0454; fax (406) 444-9263; TDD 444-7696 or (800) 335-7592; or e-mail email@example.com.
3. The rule as proposed to be amended provides as follows, new matter underlined, deleted matter interlined:
18.8.519 WRECKERS AND/OR TOW VEHICLE REQUIREMENTS
(1) The following regulations apply to wreckers and/or tow vehicles:
(a)(1) When proceeding to an emergency, the a wrecker or tow vehicle which exceeds the weight limits set forth in 61-10-141, MCA, must enter an open weigh station except if the emergency creates highway blockage and/or serious threat to life and property. If this condition exists, the wrecker or tow vehicle must have top lights flashing and may pass by the open weigh station.
(b)(2) If the licensed gross weight or actual gross weight of the towed power unit does not exceed 26,000 pounds, and separating the combination would create a safety risk to the traveling public, The a wrecker or tow vehicle may tow the vehicles or vehicle combination from the emergency scene or place of disablement on a public roadway to its the operator's place of business or operator's yard or suitable secure facility if it is within 100 miles of the emergency scene provided the licensed gross weight or actual gross weight of the power unit does not exceed 26,000 pounds.
(3) If the licensed gross weight or actual gross weight of the towed power unit exceeds 26,000 pounds, and separating the combination would create a safety risk to the traveling public, the disabled vehicle combination may be removed intact from the emergency scene or place of disablement, but must be separated at
to the first place where the disabled vehicle combination can be safely reduced to a single unit without creating a safety risk to the traveling public.
(c)(4) Combinations, including Double double and triple saddle mount configurations, nondivisible loads, or unusual combinations not readily separated (including but not limited to loaded fuel semi-trailers, stinger steered combinations, and loaded logging trucks with pole trailer connected to the disabled power unit) may be towed from the emergency scene or place of disablement to its the operator's place of business or operator's yard if it is within 100 miles of the emergency scene or place of disablement , and if the operator agrees to travel not more than 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. If a move exceeds 100 miles, the disabled vehicles may be removed from the emergency scene or place of disablement on a public roadway but must be separated at to the first place where the saddle mount configuration combination can be safely reduced to a single unit.
(d)(5) When returning from an emergency, the wrecker or tow vehicle and load which exceeds the weight limits in 61-10-141, MCA, must enter an open weigh station.
(e)(6) Permit requirements for tow vehicles operating under emergency conditions:
(i)(a) If a tow vehicle or the vehicle being towed exceeds statutory limits, special permits are required and must be carried in the tow vehicle when responding to returning from an emergency. An emergency response does not exempt the tow truck operator from special permit requirements. If the type of special permit cannot be determined, the permits must be obtained at the weigh station when returning from the emergency scene or place of disablement through the use of the Motor Carrier Services (MCS) courtesy weight permit process;
(ii)(b) A special permit is valid for both the towing vehicle and the disabled vehicle and load .;
(iii)(c) Special permits for overweight are valid for both divisible and nondivisible loads, however routing and restrictions on the original permit must be followed unless properly amended by MCS .;
(iv)(d) An emergency response exempts the tow truck operation from restricted hours of operation within 100 miles of the emergency scene .; and
(v)(e) All flag vehicles, light, and signing regulations found at ARM 18.8.510A, 18.8.510B, and 18.8.511A apply to wreckers and/or tow truck vehicles when responding to or returning from an emergency.
(7) A tow vehicle or wrecker may operate during restricted hours of daylight, weekends, holidays, and during restricted or severe weather travel conditions when returning from an emergency scene or place of disablement. A tow vehicle or wrecker may only travel during restricted or severe weather conditions to the first safe place the vehicles may be safely parked until the restricted or severe driving conditions have been removed.
(8) MCS may recommend a 30-day or longer suspension from the towing program for violation of this rule.
AUTH: 61-10-155, MCA
IMP: 61-10-121, 61-10-122, 61-10-124, 61-10-125, 61-10-141, MCA
REASON: The proposed amendments are necessary to clarify permit and other requirements for tow vehicle and wrecker operators responding to an emergency scene or a disabled vehicle. The amendments to (2) and (3) are necessary to clarify the requirements for separating combinations both over and under 26,000 pounds to ensure all statutory requirements on overweight loads are also met by wreckers and tow vehicles. The amendments to (4) are necessary to address combination loads and clarify distances which may be traveled to meet all statutory requirements for overweight loads. The amendments to (6) are necessary to address the permit requirements for tow vehicles or wreckers; including addition of language clarifying the procedure for obtaining a permit when the necessary type of permit cannot immediately be determined at the scene. The proposed new (7) will clarify that tow vehicles and wrecker may operate during normally restricted hours and severe travel conditions under the authority and requirements of this rule to avoid confusion with limits set for non-towing or wrecker vehicles. Finally, the proposed new (8) will insert a recommended penalty for violation of the rule to notify tow vehicle operators of the possible suspension.
4. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments concerning the proposed action in writing to: Dan Moore, Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 201001, Helena, Montana, 59620-1001; telephone (406) 444-0454; fax (406) 444-9263; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., March 14, 2013.
5. If persons who are directly affected by the proposed action wish to express their data, views, or arguments orally or in writing at a public hearing, they must make written request for a hearing and submit this request along with any written comments to Dan Moore, Motor Carrier Services, MDT at the above address no later than 5:00 p.m., March 14, 2013.
6. If the agency receives requests for a public hearing on the proposed action from either 10 percent or 25, whichever is less, of the persons directly affected by the proposed action; from the appropriate administrative rule review committee of the Legislature; from a governmental subdivision or agency; or from an association having not less than 25 members who will be directly affected, a hearing will be held at a later date. Notice of the hearing will be published in the Montana Administrative Register. Ten percent of those directly affected has been determined to be 9,307 persons based on the number of permits issued in the 2011 calendar year.
7. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request. Such written request may be mailed or delivered to the contact person in 4 above or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department.
8. An electronic copy of this proposal notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sos.mt.gov/ARM/Register. The Secretary of State strives to make the electronic copy of this notice conform to the official version of the notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the notice and the electronic version of the notice, only the official printed text will be considered. In addition, although the Secretary of State works to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.
9. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, do not apply.
/s/ Carol Grell Morris /s/ Michael T. Tooley
Carol Grell Morris Michael T. Tooley
Rule Reviewer Director
Department of Transportation
Certified to the Secretary of State February 4, 2013.