July 20, 2001

SPRINGFIELD (July 20)–Gov. George Ryan today signed H.B 2218, the Contract Carriers Regulation Act, into law.

The Act, which had been waiting for the governor’s signature since May 1, when the State Senate passed it by a vote of 54-0, went into effect immediately.

“This is a great triumph for the UTU and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers,” said UTU Illinois Legislative Director Joseph C. Szabo. “It means railroad crew members being shuttled to and from their workplaces in commercial vans will enjoy the same level of vehicle safety as children riding a school bus or passengers on an intercity motor coach or tour bus.”

The governor’s signature on H.B. 2218 caps a nearly two-year legislative campaign spearheaded by the UTU, whose members complained repeatedly that vans provided by contractors to the railroads lacked essential safety appliances, suffered from poor repair, often had bald or underinflated tires and sometimes were driven by employees who had been called to work without adequate rest. Research by Szabo and Asst. Legislative Director John Burner revealed that small vans–those carrying fewer than 15 passengers–were not subject to the same vehicle-inspection and safety laws governing larger commercial passenger-carrying vehicles.

With H.B. 2218 now in effect, Szabo said, vans hauling railroad crews to and from their assignments will be subject to the same safety regulations as larger commercial vehicles.