PA 07-167—sSB 1400

Transportation Committee

Judiciary Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

Appropriations Committee

Government Administration and Elections Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

SUMMARY: This act:

1. establishes higher penalties for (a) a commercial vehicle driver who causes a fatality while operating his vehicle negligently or recklessly, (b) repeat offenses of someone operating a motor vehicle while under license suspension, or operating when unlicensed or when in violation of the terms of licensure, and (c) drivers who fail to grant the right of way to a pedestrian in a crosswalk;

2. requires any prospective employee of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to provide pertinent information on prior arrests and to submit to a criminal history record check;

3. allows someone whose driver's license has been revoked following a third conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs to seek restoration of driving privileges after six years instead of 10, provided the commissioner determines it does not endanger public safety, certain requirements are met, and the person submits to installation and use of a vehicle ignition interlock device;

4. shortens the driver's license suspension periods for minors convicted of illegally possessing alcohol;

5. repeals vision screening requirements for renewing drivers' licenses that were scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2007;

6. allows the registration and operation on roads of certain amphibious vehicles subject to restrictions state and local traffic authorities may establish in the interest of public safety;

7. eliminates the special driver's license endorsement required to operate a camp vehicle;

8. allows DMV to substitute the business addresses for the home addresses of certain judicial department employees, federal law enforcement officers, and state referees whose safety could be at risk if their home addresses are made public;

9. applies the same federal health and fitness requirements that currently apply to anyone who holds a commercial driver's license (CDL) to those who hold CDL instruction permits;

10. allows someone who holds a CDL to participate in the pretrial alcohol education program for certain alcohol or drug impaired driving offenders if the offense occurred in a noncommercial motor vehicle;

11. exempts motorcycles from the greenhouse gas labeling program for motor vehicles;

12. makes several changes with respect to the specific information DMV must put on drivers' licenses and establishes requirements for someone to renew a driver's license without personally appearing to renew it;

13. applies the same passenger carrying restrictions to 16- and 17-year-olds receiving instruction from relatives under a home training certificate as apply for the first six months after these drivers receive their licenses;

14. authorizes issuance of a “Gold Star Family” license plate to certain relatives of an armed forces member killed in the line of duty;

15. expands the list of those to whom DMV may provide personal information from its records to include private detectives investigating motor vehicle matters;

16. increases the fee for a duplicate marine vessel certificate of number or registration and eliminates fees for vanpool vehicle registration and license plate confiscation from vehicles with registrations suspended for failure to maintain insurance;

17. exempts composite motor vehicles from exhaust emissions inspections;

18. authorizes DMV-licensed automobile clubs to charge a $2 convenience fee when they renew a driver's license on behalf of DMV;

19. allows motor vehicle dealers to maintain required records in an electronic form the commissioner approves;

20. specifies insurance coverage requirements for some types of motor carriers who may not now be subject to federal minimum financial responsibility requirements;

21. requires the main DMV office in Wethersfield to be named the “Biagio 'Billy' Ciotto Building;

22. allows DMV to consider the Consumer Price Index (inflation) when assessing whether to approve changes in the rates towers may charge for nonconsensual towing;

23. allows towers to recover their towing charges as well as their storage charges when they dispose of a vehicle they have held for the periods required by law;

24. modifies the requirement for the maximum height of motorcycle handlebars;

25. eliminates several requirements, some of which are obsolete, for operating commercial vehicles with tandem trailers;

26. establishes an abandoned vehicle task force to study the problem of abandoned vehicles in Connecticut and report its findings and recommendations to the Transportation Committee by February 1, 2008; and

27. requires DMV to study the possible effects various types of electronic devices installed in motor vehicles may have on their safe operation and report its findings and recommendations to the Transportation Committee by February 1, 2008.

The act also eliminates obsolete statutory references to public passenger transportation permits, “school bus only” driver's license endorsements, and performance of motor vehicle safety inspections by authorized emissions inspection stations, and makes several technical and minor conforming changes to laws.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below

6 – PROTECTION OF RESIDENTIAL ADDRESSES OF CERTAIN OFFICIALS

By law, the DMV can withhold from public disclosure the home addresses of certain public officials for whom such disclosure could present a threat to their safety, if the officials request this in writing. Instead, DMV may disclose the official's business address. These officials include judges, police, corrections officers, prosecuting attorneys, and members of the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The act adds judicial branch employees regularly engaged in court ordered enforcement or investigatory activities, federal law enforcement officers who live and work in Connecticut, and state referees.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

8 – PASSENGER RESTRICTIONS FOR TEENAGE MOTORCYCLE OPERATORS

The act conforms the law governing motorcycle operation to the restrictions that already exist with respect to prohibiting any 16- or 17-year-old from carrying any passengers on a motorcycle for the first six months the teenager is licensed. It also makes a technical correction to reflect the fact that authority to operate a motorcycle is granted through a driver's license endorsement rather than through a separate license.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

9 – HEALTH AND FITNESS REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVERS

The act applies the same health and fitness standards currently applicable to individuals who hold a commercial driver's license (CDL) to applicants for a commercial driver's instruction permit. It gives someone who is denied an instruction permit, or whose permit is suspended, revoked, or cancelled based on his or her inability to meet the physical standards the same right to a DMV hearing that license holders have. Individuals who want to get a CDL but who have not been previously licensed usually undergo training prior to licensure under an instruction permit.

Finally, it eliminates a reference in the law to separate standards for intrastate drivers. In practice, DMV applies the mandatory federal fitness standards to all CDL holders.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

10 – RECONSTRUCTED MOTOR VEHICLES

By law, certain motor vehicles must undergo a DMV safety inspection before they may be registered. These include vehicles (1) composed or assembled from parts of other vehicles, (2) the identification of which is so altered that they no longer bear the characteristics of any specific make of vehicle, and (3) declared a total loss by an insurance carrier and subsequently rebuilt. The act requires any vehicle that has been “reconstructed,” whether or not it has been declared a total loss by an insurer, to be inspected before it can be registered. It defines “reconstructed” as every motor vehicle materially altered from its original construction by the removal, addition, or substitution of essential parts, whether the parts are new or used.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

11 – INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR MOTOR CARRIERS

The act expands insurance requirements for certain motor carriers. By law, owners of certain commercial motor vehicles must file evidence with the DMV commissioner every six months that they have the insurance coverage or other security required by law for each vehicle they operate. For those carriers subject to federal financial responsibility coverage requirements, the commissioner has adopted the same coverage levels as state requirements. The minimum federal financial responsibility limits generally apply to (1) for-hire carriers with gross vehicle weight ratings over 10,000 pounds carrying non-hazardous cargo in interstate commerce, (2) for-hire and private carriers in interstate or intrastate commerce carrying hazardous materials requiring warning placards under federal law, and (3) any vehicles carrying passengers for hire in interstate commerce.

The state applies the federal minimum levels of coverage for vehicles (1) engaged in intrastate commerce with gross vehicle weight ratings of 18,001 pounds or more; (2) engaged in interstate commerce with gross vehicle weight ratings of 10,001 pounds or more; (3) designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver; and (4) used to transport hazardous materials requiring placards, regardless of vehicle size. Generally,

1. non-hazardous property carriers subject to federal limits must have a minimum of $750,000 liability coverage;

2. hazardous materials carriers must have either $1 million or $5 million in liability coverage depending on the classification of the hazardous material carried; and

3. passenger carriers must have $1. 5 million if the vehicle seats fewer than 15 passengers and $5 million if it seats 16 or more.

The act requires that all for-hire carriers and private carriers of property or passengers, and the owner of any vehicle that transports hazardous material requiring warning placards under federal law show in their semiannual filings with DMV that they maintain the minimum level of financial responsibility the federal regulations specify. This appears to extend the higher federal, rather than state limits, to certain types of carriers (e. g. , private carriers with over 10,000 pounds gross weight ratings carrying non-hazardous cargo in intrastate commerce or passenger carriers engaged in intrastate commerce, which, because they are not currently covered by the federal limits, may not have to show the same levels of financial responsibility as carriers that are explicitly under the federal regulations).

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

12 & 44 – REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO OPERATION OF TANDEM TRAILERS

The act eliminates several requirements for operating tandem trailers, defined statutorily as commercial vehicle combinations. It eliminates requirements that an operator of tandem trailers (1) get a special DMV license endorsement; (2) have at least three years of prior experience operating commercial vehicle combinations elsewhere, or have previously held a Connecticut license for driving these vehicles; and (3) not have violated certain traffic laws prior to licensure. To some extent, these matters are now governed by federal law, which requires states to issue special endorsements on a CDL for operating certain types of commercial vehicles, including tandem trailers. States must refuse to license, or disqualify from continuing to operate a commercial motor vehicle for specified periods, drivers who have been convicted of certain traffic offenses. These requirements are similar to those in the prior state law. However, the federal licensing standards do not specify a prior experience requirement for tandem operators. Instead, states must have testing programs that adequately test an applicant's ability to operate these specialized vehicles.

The act eliminates the requirement that the DMV commissioner establish a special safety inspection program for commercial vehicle combinations consisting of an initial pre-registration inspection and a system of staggered subsequent inspections. It also eliminates the requirement that vehicles operated in Connecticut must display a currently valid inspection sticker issued by Connecticut or another state. Commercial motor vehicles, including tandem trailers, are subject to both state and federal safety regulations enforced by both the State Police and DMV inspectors.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

13 – CRIMINAL HISTORY CHECKS FOR PROSPECTIVE DMV EMPLOYEES

The act requires DMV to get from any prospective employee a statement of whether the applicant has ever been convicted of a crime or whether criminal charges are pending at the time of application. If so, the applicant must identify the charges and the court in which they are pending. If offered employment, the person must be fingerprinted and submit to a state and national criminal history records check in accordance with state law. DMV must conduct these inquiries subject to state law governing employer inquiries regarding erased criminal records and prohibiting discrimination on the basis of these records or provisional pardons.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

14 – FEE FOR DUPLICATE MARINE VESSEL CERTIFICATE OF NUMBER OR REGISTRATION

The act increases the fee for a duplicate marine vessel certificate of number or registration from $1 to $20. By law, DMV may issue these if a vessel's original certificate of number or registration has been lost, mutilated, or destroyed.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

15 – PLATE CONFISCATION FEE FOR UNINSURED VEHICLES

Under prior law, if a vehicle's registration had been suspended for failure to maintain insurance coverage, and its license plates were confiscated by a police officer or constable, the vehicle owner had to pay a $50 confiscation fee, along with any other applicable penalties, before registration was restored. The DMV commissioner was required to remit the fee to the constable or municipality, as applicable. The act eliminates the confiscation fee.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

17 – MOTORCYCLES AND GREENHOUSE GAS LABELING SYSTEM

The act exempts motorcycles from the greenhouse gas labeling requirements established by the legislature in 2006. That law requires all new motor vehicles with gross vehicle weight ratings of 10,000 pounds or less sold or leased in Connecticut beginning with the 2009 model year to have greenhouse gas labels.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

18, 19 & 45 – DRIVERS' LICENSES

The act requires every driver's license and non-driver photo identity card issued by DMV to contain certain information and features, some of which are already included under more general statutory authority or at the commissioner's discretion. It requires them to contain the person's (1) full legal name, (2) date of birth, (3) gender, (4) height and eye color, (5) license or identity card identification number, (6) address of principal Connecticut residence, (7) signature, and (8) color photograph or digital image. It defines someone's full legal name as the most complete version of the name as it appears on a birth certificate, official passport, or other document acceptable to the commissioner to verify identity, unless the applicant presents a marriage license, certificate of civil union, divorce decree, or court order pertaining to a permanent name change. Prior law specified that a driver's license contain a picture of the licensee, but left the remaining content of the license for the commissioner to determine.

The act also requires licenses and identity cards to have (1) physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication and (2) one or more machine-readable technology features including a bar code or magnetic strip. The act eliminates obsolete references to licenses issued to anyone under age 21 and temporary licenses issued without pictures, as all drivers' licenses are now issued in the same format with a picture or digital image of the applicant.

The act also authorizes the commissioner to renew licenses and identity cards without a personal appearance by the holder in certain circumstances. These are when the holder is (1) a member of the armed forces, (2) temporarily residing out of Connecticut for business or educational purposes, or (3) in other circumstances where the commissioner determines that personal appearance would be impractical or impose significant hardship. The commissioner must decline to renew without personal appearance if (1) he is not satisfied with the reasons why the person cannot appear in person, (2) he does not have the person's photograph or digital image on file, (3) he has reason to believe the person is no longer a state resident, or (4) the applicant has not presented satisfactory evidence of identity.

The act allows the commissioner to adopt regulations to provide for renewal without appearance by mail or electronic means of anyone not identified above.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

20 – LEARNERS' PERMIT RESTRICTIONS

By law, 16- and 17-year-olds must get a learner's permit and receive instruction from a qualified individual before they may take the driver's license examination. Teen drivers may receive training in three ways—through a commercial driving instruction school, a secondary school driver education program, or by a qualified relative (which is known as ”home training”). The act establishes restrictions on the number of passengers a 16- or 17-year-old may have in the vehicle while being home trained. The restrictions do not apply if the teen is receiving training with a commercial driving school or driver education program.

The passenger restrictions are similar to the ones that apply during the first six months after a 16- or 17-year-old receives a driver's license. During the period they receive instruction under the permit, the home-trained 16- or 17-year-old may transport (1) during the first three months from the date the permit is issued, only (a) his parents or legal guardian, at least one of whom has a driver's license, or (b) one person who is providing instruction, is at least age 20, has been licensed to drive for at least the preceding four years, and has not had his license suspended during that period; and (2) during the fourth through six months, only those plus any additional passengers who are immediate family members.

The passenger restrictions do not apply to any 16- or 17-year-old who is an active member of a certified ambulance service, has begun an emergency vehicle operator's course conforming to national standards, and has had a state and national criminal history records check conducted by either the ambulance service or the municipality in which the service is provided.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

21 – WRECKER FEES FOR NONCONSENSUAL TOWING

By law, the motor vehicle commissioner must establish and publish a schedule of charges that tow truck operators may charge for nonconsensual towing and storage of motor vehicles. The commissioner must reconsider and adjust these rates as necessary, but not more frequently that every two years, if petitioned by a licensed dealer or repairer operating wreckers. The act requires the commissioner to consider the Consumer Price Index as one of the possible factors during such a rate review.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

22-23 & 40 – PENALTIES FOR REPEAT VIOLATIONS OF UNLICENSED DRIVING OR DRIVING WHILE UNDER SUSPENSION

Operating While Under Suspension or Unlicensed Operation

It is illegal for someone to operate a motor vehicle (1) without having a driver's license or in violation of the terms, classification, or conditions of licensure; or (2) when the driver's license or privilege to operate in Connecticut (if a nonresident) has been suspended or revoked.

In addition to the penalties that already apply under each of these laws individually, someone who has violated either of them before (e. g. , operated under suspension or without a license or in violation of its terms) must be fined an additional amount up to $500 or sentenced to up to 100 hours of community service. Under prior law, someone who violated either of them at least twice before, or both at least once before, was given the additional mandatory sentence of 90 days in prison.

The act increases the penalty in the second instance above (two or more prior offenses for operating while under suspension or while unlicensed). It increases the imprisonment term to one year, 90 days of which may not be suspended or reduced.

Operating While under Suspension for an Alcohol-Related Offense

A higher penalty applies if someone is found to be operating while under suspension or revocation of license and the suspension was due to an alcohol-related driving offense of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, an administrative “per se” suspension, manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, or assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle. Under prior law, the penalty was a fine of $500 to $1,000 and imprisonment for up to one year, with a mandatory minimum of 30 days unless the court determined there were mitigating circumstances. The act establishes higher incarceration penalties for repeat violations of this law.

Specifically, the act subjects someone who commits a second violation for driving while under suspension for one of the alcohol-related offenses, to a term of imprisonment of up to two years, of which 120 consecutive days may not be suspended or reduced in the absence of mitigating circumstances determined by the court. For a third or subsequent violation, the term of imprisonment may be up to three years, one year of which may not be suspended or reduced in the absence of mitigating circumstances determined by the court.

The fine of $500 to $1,000 remains unchanged for repeat violations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

24 – GOLD STAR FAMILY LICENSE PLATE

The act requires DMV to issue a special license plate, if requested by a spouse, mother, father, brother, sister, child, grandmother, or grandfather of any Connecticut service member killed in the line of duty. (PA 07-5 of the June Special Session specifies that a qualifying Connecticut service member must be a state resident who was killed in action). The plate must bear the words “Gold Star Family” and the design must be approved by a committee the commissioner establishes for this purpose. The special plates may be requested for any vehicle a qualifying family member owns or leases for a period of more than one year. The commissioner may charge a fee for the plates that covers the cost of their manufacture, which must be in addition to the normal registration fee for the vehicle.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

25 – MOTORCYCLE HANDLEBAR HEIGHT

Under prior law, the handlebars of a motorcycle could be no higher than 15 inches above the uppermost portion of the seat when it is depressed by the weight of the operator. The act changes this standard to a height that is not above the operator's shoulders.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

26 – CROSSWALK VIOLATIONS

Under prior law, except if driving an emergency vehicle responding to an emergency call, a driver had to grant the right of way to a pedestrian crossing the road within the crosswalk, whether or not the person is in the half of the road in which the vehicle is traveling, or if the person steps to the curb at the entrance to the crosswalk on either side of the road. The penalty was an infraction for which the total amount a violator must pay was set at $93, including the fine and other mandatory fees and assessments.

The act (1) increases the penalty by specifying that the fine has to be at least $90 and (2) requires a driver to grant the right of way to a pedestrian if the pedestrian steps off the curb or into the crosswalk, rather than just to the curb. With the higher fine specified for violations, the total amount a violator will have to pay increases from $93 to $182.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

27 – DMV STUDY OF POTENTIALLY DISTRACTING ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT INSTALLED IN MOTOR VEHICLES

The act requires DMV to study issues relating to driver use of electronic equipment installed in motor vehicles that is unrelated to vehicle operation. This includes word processors, computer video monitors, devices that provide Internet access, and similar equipment. The study must examine, at least, (1) the extent to which such equipment is being offered as original equipment in vehicles sold in Connecticut, (2) federal laws and regulations that govern manufacturers and such equipment, (3) the extent to which such equipment is offered for aftermarket installation, (4) recent studies or other information concerning the use of such equipment and its effect on vehicle operation, and (5) any U. S. or foreign laws that govern the installation and use of such equipment. DMV must submit its findings and recommendations to the Transportation Committee by February 1, 2008.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

28 – VANPOOL VEHICLE REGISTRATION FEE

The act eliminates the $70 registration fee for vanpool vehicles. A vanpool vehicle is any vehicle whose primary purpose is daily transportation of people between home and work on a prearranged nonprofit basis and which is manufactured and equipped to provide seating capacity for (1) seven to 15 people, if owned by or leased to an individual person, an employee of that person, or to an employee of a governmental entity in Connecticut or (2) six to 19 people, if owned by or leased to a regional ridesharing organization in Connecticut that is recognized by the Department of Transportation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

29 – MOTOR VEHICLE DEALER RECORDS

The act authorizes the DMV commissioner to permit any licensed motor vehicle dealer to maintain any records, documents, and forms DMV requires in an electronic format the commissioner prescribes. It requires the dealers to produce these records, documents, and forms in written format within three business days of DMV's request for them.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

30 – LIVERY VEHICLES USE OF RESTRICTED HIGHWAYS

Under prior law, any restriction on the use of a highway only to passenger vehicles could not prohibit its use by livery vehicles as long as their maximum seating capacity did not exceed seven passengers. The act, instead, allows livery vehicles to legally use a restricted highway, regardless of their seating capacity, as long as they do not exceed the maximum length, width, and height limits established by the State Traffic Commission for vehicles authorized to use the Merritt and Wilbur Cross Parkways. The State Traffic Commission regulates the size and types of vehicles that may use the parkways in Connecticut. The regulations generally prohibit on the parkways any (1) commercial motor vehicles; (2) buses; (3) trailers; (4) towed vehicles; (5) hearses when in a cortege or procession; (6) vehicles bearing other than a passenger, camper, taxicab, vanpool or hearse registration; (7) vehicles with combination registrations that have gross weights exceeding 7,500 pounds; and (8) any vehicle, including its load, that exceeds 24 feet in length, seven feet six inches in width, or eight feet in height.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

31 – RECOVERY OF TOWING CHARGES BY TOWERS

Under prior law, when a tower removed a motor vehicle from the highway or from private property and brought it to its storage facility, the tower was granted a lien upon the vehicle for storage charges. The act expands this lien authority to include the towing charges as well as the storage charges. The lien is usually satisfied either by (1) the vehicle's owner if he or she comes to claim the vehicle or (2) the proceeds of any sale of the vehicle pursuant to the statutory requirements governing how towers may dispose of unclaimed vehicles.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

32 – REPEAL OF VISION SCREENING REQUIREMENTS AND RENEWAL OF DRIVERS' LICENSES BY AUTOMOBILE CLUBS

The act repeals a requirement that, beginning July 1, 2007, the DMV commissioner screen the vision of every licensed driver before every second license renewal. This requirement allowed the commissioner, in lieu of conducting the screening, to accept the results of a vision screening within the 12 months preceding license renewal conducted by a licensed and qualified health care professional. PA 07-5 June Special Session restores the prior law on vision screening and changes the requirements' start date to July 1, 2009.

The act also allows the commissioner to authorize automobile clubs or associations licensed by DMV on or before July 1, 2007 to perform drivers' license renewals and to charge a convenience fee of up to $2 for the service. DMV already uses such clubs or associations to perform license renewals, but the statutes did not explicitly authorize this. They were not, however, allowed to charge any additional fee for the service.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

33-34 – ENHANCED PENALTIES FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE OPERATORS WHO CAUSE A FATALITY THROUGH NEGLIGENT OR RECKLESS OPERATION

Under prior law, anyone who caused someone else's death through the negligent operation of a motor vehicle was fined up to $1,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both. In addition, someone driving a commercial motor vehicle (a vehicle for which a CDL is required) who caused a fatality through negligent or reckless operation of the commercial vehicle, as evidenced by a conviction for negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, manslaughter in the second degree with a motor vehicle, misconduct with a motor vehicle, or assault in the second degree with a motor vehicle, was disqualified from operating any commercial motor vehicle for one year.

The act increases the penalties for anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle as follows: for a conviction of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, it increases (1) the maximum fine from $1,000 to $2,500 and (2) the period of disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle from one year to up to two years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

35 – EMISSIONS INSPECTIONS FOR COMPOSITE MOTOR VEHICLES

The act exempts composite motor vehicles that have met the requirements for a DMV safety inspection from the emissions inspection program. A composite motor vehicle is one composed or assembled from several parts of other motor vehicles, or the identification and body contours of which are so altered that the vehicle no longer bears the characteristics of any specific make of motor vehicle. Any vehicle not assembled by a manufacturer licensed in Connecticut is classified as a composite motor vehicle.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

36 – PROVISION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION FROM DMV RECORDS TO PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS

By law, the motor vehicle commissioner may only disclose personal information from motor vehicle records to certain requestors and for designated purposes. Personal information is that which identifies an individual and includes a photograph or computerized image, Social Security number, operator's license number, name, address other than zip code, telephone number, or medical or disability information. It does not include driver history of accidents or violations or information relative to the status of an operator's license, registration, or insurance coverage. The act adds private detectives to the list of those who may request such information if the request is made in connection with an investigation involving motor vehicle matters.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

37 & 47 – CAMP VEHICLE LICENSE ENDORSEMENTS

The act eliminates the requirement that anyone who operates a camp vehicle get a special license endorsement. A camp vehicle is a motor vehicle regularly used to transport passengers under age 18 in connection with the activities of any youth camp requiring licensure by the Department of Public Health.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

39 – REGISTRATION AND OPERATION OF WORLD WAR II ERA AMPHIBIOUS MOTOR VEHICLES

The act authorizes the commissioner to register a certain type of World War II era amphibious vehicle known as DUKW vehicles. It permits their use on highways subject to restrictions or prohibitions that local traffic authorities and the State Traffic Commission may impose.

To be registered, the vehicles must have been manufactured by the General Motors Corporation from 1942 through 1945. The commissioner may register the DUKW in the antique, rare, or special interest motor vehicle registration classification unless it has been modified by adding seats to transport passengers for hire, in which case the commissioner may register it as a motor bus. The DUKW must pass a DMV safety inspection before it can be registered.

The State Traffic Commission and local traffic authorities may restrict or prohibit their use as motor buses if this is determined to be necessary for the protection of passengers and highway users.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2008

41 – RESTORATION OF DRIVER'S LICENSE FOLLOWING THIRD CONVICTION FOR DRIVING WHILE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS

By law, if someone is convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs for a third or subsequent time within a 10-year period, the commissioner must permanently revoke his or her driver's license or nonresident operating privilege. Under prior law, after 10 years, the person could apply for a hearing to consider reversing or reducing the license revocation. The act instead allows the person to request a DMV hearing after six years have passed since the date of license revocation. The person must provide evidence satisfactory to the commissioner that a revocation reversal or reduction would not endanger the public safety or welfare. The evidence must include proof that the person has successfully completed an alcohol education and treatment program and that he or she has not been convicted of any offense related to alcohol, controlled substances, or drugs in the preceding six years.

As a condition of granting a reversal or reduction, the commissioner must require the person to install and maintain an approved ignition interlock device on any vehicle he or she will operate. The device must be used from the date the reversal or reduction is granted until 10 years have passed since the original revocation. The commissioner may adopt regulations to establish standards to implement these requirements.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

42 – PRETRIAL ALCOHOL EDUCATION PROGRAM FOR CDL HOLDERS

The act makes someone who holds a CDL eligible for consideration for the pretrial alcohol education program if the charged offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol occurred while driving a vehicle other than a commercial vehicle. CDL holders remain ineligible for the program if the offense occurs in a commercial motor vehicle. By law, someone may apply for the pretrial alcohol education program if certain requirements are met and, if over age 21, the person has not previously participated in the program in 10 years. If the person successfully completes the program, which can include education, intervention, or treatment, he or she may return to court and, if satisfied, the court must dismiss the charge against him.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007

46 – ABANDONED VEHICLE TASK FORCE AND STUDY

The act establishes a 12-member task force to study the issue of abandoned motor vehicles. The study must include an examination of (1) the magnitude of the abandoned vehicle problem, including vehicles that have been towed by state and municipal law enforcement agencies; (2) procedures for disposing of abandoned vehicles; (3) the cost of disposing of them; (4) the impact on municipal tax rolls; and (5) abandoned vehicle legislation in other states.

The task force must report its findings and recommendations to the Transportation Committee by February 1, 2008. It terminates on the date it submits its report or February 1, 2008, whichever is later.

The task force membership must include the DMV commissioner and Transportation Committee chairs and ranking members, or their designees, as well as a representative of:

1. a consumer advocacy group (House speaker appointee);

2. a consumer advocacy group (House minority leader appointee);

3. the Towing and Recovery Professionals of Connecticut (Senate president pro tempore appointee);

4. the Towing and Recovery “Profession” of Connecticut (Senate minority leader appointee) (this appears to mean the same professional association as above);

5. a property owners association (Senate majority leader appointee);

6. the Connecticut Tax Collectors Association (House majority leader appointee); and

7. the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (governor appointee).

Except for the DMV commissioner and the representative of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, any of the appointed members may be state legislators. All appointments must be made within 30 days of the act's effective date. Any vacancy must be filled by the appointing authority.

The House speaker and the Senate president pro tempore must select the task force chairpersons from its membership. The chairpersons must schedule the first meeting no later than 60 days after the act is effective. Members must provide administrative staff for the task force in a way that the chairpersons determine.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage (June 25, 2007)

48 – DMV MAIN OFFICE COMMEMORATIVE NAMING

The act requires the main DMV office building located in Wethersfield to be named the “Biagio 'Billy' Ciotto Building.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

49 & 50– DRIVER'S LICENSE SUSPENSIONS FOR MINORS WHO ILLEGALLY POSSESS ALCOHOL

It is illegal for anyone under age 21 to possess alcohol on public or private property. Violations are punishable as infractions for a first offense and by a fine of $200 to $500 for a subsequent offense. Under prior law, when a minor was convicted of this offense, the motor vehicle commissioner was required to suspend the minor's driver's license for 150 days. The act reduces this mandatory suspension period to (1) 60 days if the minor's possession of alcohol occurred on a public street or highway and (2) 30 days if it occurred in any other public or private location. The act also requires the commissioner to modify any license suspension in effect when the act becomes effective to reflect the lower suspension periods.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

16, 38 & 43 – ELIMINATION OF OBSOLETE STATUTORY LANGUAGE

The act eliminates statutory references to a “public passenger transportation permit” which DMV at one time issued to certain people who transported other people in motor vehicles. These activities are now covered through specific types of letter endorsements on the person's driver's license.

The act eliminates an obsolete reference for certain license test and permit fees for anyone who applies for a CDL with a “Z” (school bus only) restriction. The Z restriction was eliminated in 2004.

The act also eliminates references in the safety inspection law to inspections performed at official emissions inspection stations the DMV commissioner authorized. Emissions inspection stations are no longer authorized to perform them. All safety inspections are now performed at the DMV offices equipped to perform them.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2007, except the “Z” endorsement provision is effective October 1, 2007.

OLR Tracking: JF: KM: PF: RO