New Jersey Operators Warned Of Tighter Federal Rules, Fines

Posted on November 12, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

The Limousine Associations of New Jersey hears from a regulation expert on how operators face tougher federal regulatory environment.

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — No business owner likes a lot of paperwork, but thanks to a tougher federal transportation standards, operators now need to be doing a lot of homework.

The SAFETEA Act — the abbreviated moniker for the mouthful of a typically Orwellian government legislative title, called the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act — took effect this year to further regulate commercial vehicles carrying from nine to 15 passengers (that’s a lot of limousines and vans) in all interstate operations regardless of distance traveled.

To help operators better understand the rules, transportation attorney Matt Daus offered a detailed presentation on the SAFETEA Act during the LIMOUSINE ASSOCIATIONS OF NEW JERSEY meeting held Tuesday at the site of the Limousine Digest Show.

Daus, a former Commissioner of the New York City Tax and Limousine Commission and president of the International Association of Transportation Regulators, told operators they better know the rules and follow them, or else face much higher and more unpredictable fines from the U.S. government.

“When you are on their radar screens, they will be all over you,” Daus said. He warned that the bigger the fleet size of an operator, the heftier the fines levied for a violation. “They put the [information] into a computer and it spits out the fine,” he said. “They are making it up as they go.”

Some fines can reach up to $10,000 per violation. In one case, a New Jersey operator of commercial vehicles was fined $1,000 for every driver who was not carrying a certified medical card. It took six months of back and forth negotiating to get the fine cut to $400, Daus said.

Such subjective penalties raise fundamental questions of due process and fairness as applied to ground transportation operators and commercial fleet businesses, Daus said. He said he hopes the arbitration process will be fair, since the cost of an attorney specializing in federal law cases can be expensive.

Operators interested in getting a copy of the detailed presentation on the SAFETEA Act or who have questions about federal rules can contact either: Matt Daus, (212) 237-1106, [email protected]; or LANJ executive director Barry Lefkowitz, (609) 267-2855, [email protected]

Said Daus: “I’m no longer here from the government, but I’m here to help.”

— Martin Romjue, LCT Magazine

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