February 21, 2003

SPRINGFIELD (Feb. 21)–A bill to bring out-of-state crew vans under Illinois safety regulation when they operate inside Illinois passed the Illinois House of Representatives today by a vote of 106-0.

House Bill 313 was shepherded throught the legislative process by Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville), who also serves as chairman of the House Transportation Committee.

The bill now moves to the Senate, where Transportation Committee Chairman George P. Shadid (D-Peoria) has agreed to serve as its principal sponsor.

As pointed out in “Hot Topics” February 5, the new bill is composed largely of “cleanup language” that closes several loopholes in the 2001 Contract Carriers’ Act.

Under the new language, all commercially operated vans that carry railroad operating crews in the state of Illinois are subject to the Act, even if they are registered and licensed in a neighboring state. The vehicles themselves are subject to state inspection for mechanical defects, and the drivers are subject to hours-of-service limits. Users can file complaints if they encounter unsafe vehicles or unsafe driver performance. State inspectors have the authority to disqualify vehicles they find unsafe. And the Illinois Commerce Commission has the authority to fine violators and suspend their permission to operate.

“The 106-0 vote in the House shows this is a relatively non-controversail bill,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Joseph T. Szabo. “Our members have brought many cases of unsafe crew vans to the union’s attention, and the General Assembly has been very responsive to our campaign for a remedy.”