Montana Administrative Register Notice 18-140 No. 10   05/23/2013    
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In the matter of the amendment of 18.8.510A, pertaining to motor carrier services








TO: All Concerned Persons


1. On March 28, 2013 the Department of Transportation published MAR Notice No. 18-140 pertaining to the proposed amendment of the above-stated rule at page 362 of the 2013 Montana Administrative Register, Issue Number 6.


2. The department has amended the above-stated rule as proposed.


3. The department has thoroughly considered the comments received.  The department received one comment letter. A summary of the comments received in this letter and the department's responses are as follows:


COMMENT #1: One comment was received stating the proposed amendment would create a danger to both the loads and the general public. The comment stated that most states require certification and flagger licenses, which must be renewed every five years. The comment stated it would be in the best interests of the State of Montana to adhere to nationwide standards and certifications. The comment stated it is not in the interest of public safety to allow any escort vehicle accompanying oversize loads that has not been properly trained, certified and insured. The comment stated that many of the drivers who work the Bakken oil fields may hold a Class A CDL, but many of them do not have road experience and do not know how to react in emergency situations.  The comment further stated a person who is not properly trained to work in an escort capacity does not know the proper procedures for stopping traffic, directing traffic around an oversize load, or communicating via the CB with other trucks who need to be informed that an oversize load is approaching. The comment concluded that more safety enforcement is necessary in the Bakken oil field area, including Sidney, Jordan, Circle, Highway 200, and Highway 16 as oil field companies transport loads across these roads.


RESPONSE #1: The department acknowledges the concerns but notes the current rule notice did not propose a certification program, therefore this type of program is outside the scope of this rule notice. Instead, the department will consider the pros and cons of a certification program and may include this in a future administrative rule proposal. The department may consider a program that recognizes another state’s program or possibly a multistate agreement.


COMMENT #2: One comment was received stating that vehicles over 10,000 lbs., utility vehicles, or mechanics trucks are not appropriate flag vehicles, as the general public does not recognize them as escort vehicles. The comment stated the proposed rule amendment seems to indicate that a semi truck may also be used as flag vehicle. The comment stated that regardless of flashing lights or oversize signs, the general public barely recognizes escort vehicles, nor do they respect the job the escort is there to perform, i.e., ensure the safety of the public. The comment further stated that the rule should not allow any other vehicle than a passenger vehicle or pickup with absolutely no service bodies, mechanics trucks or vehicles up to 26,000 lbs. to be allowed to be used as an escort vehicle.


RESPONSE #2:  The department acknowledges the concerns, but notes the proposed rule amendments already included requirements to address the comment’s concerns including: vehicles must be owned or contracted by the permittee; limited size of utility box; unobstructed lights and signs; and removal of signs when vehicle is not being operated as a flag vehicle.


COMMENT #3: One comment was received stating the proposed rule amendment, which would allow a flag vehicle to pull a trailer, is dangerous. The comment stated a vehicle pulling a trailer does not have the capability of the quick defensive moves sometimes required from an escort in order to avert an accident. The comment stated it also makes it more difficult for passing traffic to get around an oversized load. The comment stated the general public seems not to recognize that there is not always room to pass an oversize load safely in certain places, in particular on two lane roads. The comment further stated that pulling a trailer can also distract a driver and make them unaware of the potential danger to the public and the load. The comment concluded that flag vehicles should not be allowed to pull trailers.


RESPONSE #3:  The department notes the current rule language already allows a flag vehicle to pull a trailer, as this was added to the rule in the 1990s. This language was not proposed for amendment in this rule notice, and is therefore outside the scope of this rule notice.



/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 May 13, 2013.



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