PA 10-110—sSB 414

Transportation Committee

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

Judiciary Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT MAKING REVISIONS TO STATUTES CONCERNING THE DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

SUMMARY: This act:

1. imposes penalties on school bus operators and others who, among other things, (a) file false reports relating to the maintenance, repair, or use of school buses or (b) fail to inspect, maintain, and repair the buses ( 44 and 47);

2. requires, rather than allows, the installation of ignition interlock devices on vehicles driven by certain people convicted of driving under the influence (DUI), and imposes a $100 ignition interlock fee ( 6, 45, and 46);

3. requires the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) commissioner to conduct state and federal criminal history record checks of DMV employees who make or produce driver's licenses or identity cards or who are able to affect the identity information that appears on them, and to remove from such a position a person with a disqualifying criminal offense or condition ( 26);

4. requires driver's license and non-driver's identity card holders to appear in person only at every other renewal if the DMV has their digital image on file ( 21);

5. requires the DMV commissioner to conduct formal state and national criminal history record checks on, and check the state child abuse and neglect registry for, applicants seeking or renewing a license to conduct a driving school or become a driving instructor and makes other changes in laws affecting driving schools and driving instructors ( 38 - 41);

6. makes it a crime for certain health professionals to falsely certify in writing that a driver requires a handicapped placard ( 24);

7. prohibits municipal assessors and tax collectors from disclosing information they receive from DMV that the department is not required to disclose or is otherwise protected by state or federal law ( 22);

8. allows, rather than requires, the commissioner to issue registration stickers ( 23);

9. allows automobile clubs and associations to process identity card renewals for non-drivers and conduct registration transactions ( 21);

10. requires that all people and firms that operate wreckers be licensed, regardless of whether they tow motor vehicles for compensation, and that each wrecker be registered ( 61); and

11. exempts certain nonprofit organizations from requirements applicable to “carriers” ( 36).

The act also makes a number of changes to laws affecting commercial driver's license (CDL) holders, activity vehicles, motor vehicles in livery service, the driver's retraining program, motor vehicle dealers and repairers, motor vehicle recyclers, state marshals, seat belt requirements, fingerprinting, and tow truck operators. It also makes technical changes ( 8, 50-59).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Various, see below; technical changes are effective on passage.

1 — ELIMINATES A LAW BARRING DMV FROM CHARGING A DRIVER'S LICENSE FEE FOR CERTAIN VEHICLES

The act eliminates an obsolete reference to a law barring DMV from charging an operator's license fee with respect to any municipal, governmental, or military motor vehicle used exclusively to conduct official business.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

2 -3 — PENALTIES FOR VIOLATING OUT-OF-SERVICE ORDERS

By law, a CDL holder who is disqualified or subject to an out-of-service order cannot drive a commercial motor vehicle (see BACKGROUND), and an employer cannot knowingly permit or require a driver to do so.

The current penalty for employers who knowingly permit or require a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle in violation of an out-of-service order is a fine of between $2,750 and $11,000, the same as the federal penalty. Drivers who violate an out-of-service order are subject to a fine of between $1,100 and $2,750, the same as now exists under federal law. The act conforms these penalties to the federal regulations as amended (49 CFR 383. 53), so that the state penalties will change as the federal penalty does.

By law, CDL holders who violate certain laws are disqualified from driving commercial motor vehicles for specific periods of time.

The act applies the various disqualification periods applicable in some, but not all, of these cases to drivers convicted of offenses in other states that the commissioner deems substantially similar to offenses that would call for their disqualification in Connecticut. For example, it applies 60-day disqualifications to violations committed in other states that would result in 60-day disqualifications in Connecticut, such as committing two or more serious traffic violations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

4 — “TOW DOLLY” EXEMPT FROM REGISTRATION

The act exempts a “tow dolly” from motor vehicle registration requirements. It defines a tow dolly as a two-wheeled vehicle without motive power (1) that is towed by a motor vehicle and designed and used to tow another motor vehicle and (2) on which the front or rear wheels of the towed motor vehicle are mounted while the towed vehicle's remaining wheels stay in contact with the ground.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

5 — REGISTRATION RENEWAL APPLICATIONS FOR LEASED VEHICLES

The act allows DMV to mail registration renewal applications to lessees of leased vehicles registered to licensed leasing companies.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

6 — IGNITION INTERLOCK FEES

By law, the commissioner may permit or require certain individuals whose licenses have been suspended after being convicted of driving under the influence to operate a motor vehicle on which an ignition interlock has been installed. This device prevents a driver from operating a vehicle if it detects a predetermined level of alcohol on the driver's breath. The act requires these individuals to pay a $100 fee before the device is installed, and requires the commissioner to deposit these fees in a separate, nonlapsing account in the General Fund, which the act creates. The commissioner must use this money to administer the ignition interlock program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

7 — EXPANSION OF SEAT BELT REQUIREMENT

The act requires drivers and front seat passengers to wear seat belts in any motor vehicle when it is being operated, rather than just those drivers and front seat passengers in vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

9 — ELIMINATING A REQUIREMENT THAT DMV RECEIVE A COPY OF A CERTIFICATE OF TITLE IN CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

The law imposes certain requirements on insurance companies taking possession of a motor vehicle with a Connecticut title that has been declared a total loss, and which the company offers for sale in Connecticut. The requirements include attaching to the certificate of title a copy of the appraiser's damage report. The law requires that insurance companies send a copy of this certificate to DMV. The act allows the commissioner to discontinue the requirement that the companies send DMV this copy if he finds that salvage information federal law requires the insurance company to report to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (49 CFR 30501 to 30505 and 28 CFR 25. 51 to 25. 57) is regularly available to DMV.

The act gives the commissioner the same authority under the same conditions in the case of a self-insurer offering for sale in Connecticut a motor vehicle with Connecticut title that has been declared a total loss.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

10 — MOTOR VEHICLE RECYCLER REQUIREMENTS

Recyclers store unregistered motor vehicles no longer intended for use, and used and discarded motor vehicle parts. The law requires licensed motor vehicle recyclers to mail to DMV, twice monthly, a list of all motor vehicles received. The act requires recyclers to also report this information to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (49 USC 30504). It exempts DMV from reporting this information to the system.

The law also requires that a licensed recycler receive a vehicle's certificate of title, or a copy of it, when receiving a motor vehicle. These certificates or copies must accompany the list of motor vehicles that recyclers send to DMV. Under the act, if the commissioner determines that information concerning junked motor vehicles the licensee must report to the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System is regularly available to DMV from the national system, he may discontinue the requirement that licensed recyclers submit to DMV (1) the list of vehicles or parts received and (2) certificates of title or copies of these certificates.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

11 — MEDICAL REPORTING REQUIREMENTS

By law, physicians may report to DMV, in writing, the name, age, and address of any patient with (1) a chronic health problem the physician believes will adversely affect his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle or (2) recurring periods of unconsciousness uncontrolled by medical treatment. The act adds licensed physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to those health professionals who may do so. The law similarly authorizes optometrists to report to DMV the name, age, and address of anyone the optometrist believes has a vision problem that would significantly affect his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The act prohibits anyone from suing these physicians, physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses, or optometrists if they make a report to DMV in good faith.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

12 — DEALER SURETY BOND INCREASE

The act increases, from $20,000 to $50,000, the amount of a surety bond required of applicants for a new or used car dealer's license.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

13 — SUSPENSION OR REVOCATION OF DEALER OR REPAIRER LICENSES

By law, the DMV commissioner, after notice and a hearing, may, for certain specified violations, (1) suspend or revoke the license of a motor vehicle dealer or repairer, (2) impose a civil penalty of up to $1,000 per violation, and (3) order the dealer or repairer to make restitution to an aggrieved customer. The act allows him to also impose these sanctions if the license holder (1) has been convicted either in federal or any state court of a violation (a) of any law pertaining to the motor vehicle dealer, repairer, or recycler business or (b) involving fraud, larceny, or deprivation or misappropriation of property; or (2) has failed to disclose such a conviction. The commissioner may similarly impose these penalties on a licensed firm or corporation if an officer or major stockholder has been convicted of these violations.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

14 — APPLYING FEDERAL MOTOR CARRIER SAFETY ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS TO CERTAIN MOTOR VEHICLES

By law, the commissioner may adopt regulations incorporating Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration standards and apply them to certain motor vehicles or motor carriers. The act authorizes the commissioner to apply these federal regulations to motor vehicles designed or used to carry more than (1) eight passengers, including the driver, for compensation or (2) 15 passengers, including the driver, but not for compensation. These definitions conform to federal regulations for commercial motor vehicles (49 CFR 390. 5).

The act excludes student transportation vehicles from the first category. By law, a student transportation vehicle is a vehicle other than a registered school bus that a carrier uses to transport students. The state already regulates these vehicles.

Under prior law, the commissioner could apply the federal standards to vehicles designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, regardless of whether they were transported for compensation. Prior law also allowed the commissioner to apply the federal standards to “service buses,” which are vehicles, other than vanpool vehicles or school buses, designed and regularly used to carry at least 10 passengers in private service without charge to the individual (CGS 14-1 (81)).

The act's effect is to (1) extend the federal standards to vehicles (except for student transportation vehicles) that carry between eight and 15 passengers for compensation and (2) remove from these federal standards those vehicles carrying between 10 and 15 passengers for no compensation.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

15 — LICENSE SUSPENSION FOR PERSONS UNDER 18 YEARS OLD

Under prior law, the commissioner could not issue a driver's license for at least one year to anyone under age 18 who was convicted of operating without a license and did not have a license at the time of the conviction.

The act instead bases the commissioner's action on whether the offender had a license at the time of the offense. It allows the commissioner to suspend or refuse to issue a driver's license for one year to a person under age 18 convicted of driving without a license if the commissioner determines the offender did not have a license at the time the offense occurred.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

16 — EMISSIONS RE-INSPECTION LATE FEE

The law imposes a $20 late fee if a motor vehicle's emission inspection is performed more than 30 days after the initial assigned inspection date. Anyone whose motor vehicle fails its emission test may return within 60 days for a free re-inspection. The act allows the commissioner to also charge the $20 late fee for an emissions inspection (apparently an emissions re-inspection) performed more than 30 days after the expiration date of the assigned re-inspection. As with inspections, the commissioner may waive the late fee for the re-inspection if (1) he finds the delay was due to exigent circumstances or (2) ownership of the vehicle was transferred after the re-inspection, if the new owner has the vehicle inspected within 30 days of registering it.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

17 — SERVING PROCESS ON DMV

The act requires that any process to compel the DMV commissioner to provide a copy of any document from a motor vehicle record, as defined by law, (1) must be in writing and (2) cannot be issued until at least seven working days have elapsed since the commissioner received the request for the document. Under prior law, these conditions only applied to process to compel the commissioner to provide a copy of an abstract of a driver's history record.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

18 — IMPOSING ENHANCED SPEEDING FINES ON COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

The law imposes certain fines on people convicted of speeding depending on the speed, where it occurred, and the type of vehicle. There is a fine of between $150 and $200 on anyone operating a truck on (1) a multiple lane, limited access highway at speeds between 70 and 85 mph and (2) any other highway at speeds between 60 and 85 mph.

The act generally expands the types of vehicles subject to the fine. It imposes the fine on anyone operating a motor vehicle (1) in intrastate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 18,001 or more pounds; (2) in interstate commerce with a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds; (3) designed or used to transport more than eight passengers, including the driver, for compensation, except a student transportation vehicle; (4) designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, but not for compensation; or (5) used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding under the federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 USC App. 1801 et seq. ), unless exempted by law. On the other hand, it apparently excludes trucks in intrastate commerce weighing 18,000 pounds or less and in interstate commerce weighing 10,000 pounds or less.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

19 — DEALER'S RETURN OF NUMBER PLATES

The act requires licensed motor vehicle dealers whose dealer licenses are no longer valid or who are no longer in business to return to the commissioner, within five business days of the license expiration or termination of the business, any (1) number plates or other materials the commissioner supplied to enable the dealer to issue new registrations or complete the temporary transfer of registrations and (2) applications for new registrations or registration transfers that the dealer did not act on or complete while conducting its business. Failure to do so is an infraction.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

20 — LIMITING DEALERS' REGISTRATIONS

By law, the commissioner may withdraw a registration he issued a car dealer or repairer, or limit the number of registrations that a dealer or repairer may receive, in cases where the licensee has violated certain motor vehicle laws. The act also allows him to withdraw a registration or limit the number of them a dealer or repairer may receive if the commissioner finds that the dealer or repairer does not need so many of them.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

21 — PERSONAL APPEARANCE NOT NEEDED FOR CERTAIN DRIVER'S LICENSE RENEWALS

The act authorizes the commissioner to renew a driver's license or non-driver's identity card at every other renewal without the licensee or card holder's personal appearance in cases where DMV has a digital image of the licensee or card holder on file and the licensee or card holder has fulfilled all other renewal requirements.

By law, automobile clubs and associations may perform license renewals at their office locations for which they may charge a convenience fee of up to $2. The act allows them to also renew identity cards for non-drivers and conduct registration transactions, and to charge up to $2 for each transaction.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

22 — TAX COLLECTORS AND ASSESSORS BARRED FROM DISCLOSING CERTAIN INFORMATION

By law, the commissioner must annually provide information to each municipal tax assessor for motor vehicles and snowmobiles subject to property taxes in the assessor's town. The information must include the names and addresses of the owners and the identification number of each vehicle. The act prohibits assessors and tax collectors from disclosing any information that the commissioner provides if (1) the commissioner is not required to disclose the information or (2) it is protected from disclosure under state or federal law.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

23 — REGISTRATION STICKERS

Prior law required motorists to display on their rear number plates or elsewhere on their vehicles a sticker noting the date their vehicle registration expires. The act leaves issuance of these stickers and their placement on the vehicle to the commissioner's discretion. It requires motorists to place such a sticker, if issued, where the commissioner directs.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

24 — HANDICAPPED PLACARDS

By law, persons with disabilities seeking or renewing a handicapped placard must present certain certifications to the commissioner verifying they are eligible for one. People with disabilities must present certifications of disability from (1) a licensed physician, (2) a physician assistant, or (3) an advanced practice registered nurse. They also must include certification that they meet the definition of a person with a disability that limits or impairs their ability to walk from (1) a licensed physician, (2) an advanced practice registered nurse, or (3) a member of the handicapped driver training unit. The act adds a physician assistant to those who can issue the latter certification. By law, people who are blind and eligible for handicapped placards require certification of legal blindness from an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or the Board of Education and Services for the Blind.

The act requires that people who issue these certifications sign the application or renewal application under the penalty of second-degree false statement (CGS 53a-157b). A person is guilty of this crime if he or she intentionally makes a false written statement under oath or on a form bearing notice to the effect that a false statement is punishable, which he or she does not believe to be true and is intended to mislead a public servant in his official function. Second degree false statement is a class A misdemeanor (see Table On Penalties).

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

25 — MOTOR CARRIER INDEMNITY AGREEMENTS

The act makes void and unenforceable any provision, clause, covenant, or agreement in a “motor carrier transportation contract” that indemnifies, defends, or holds harmless an “indemnitee” from or against liability for loss or damage his or her negligence or intentional acts or omissions caused. It specifies that it does not apply to contracts or agreements for moving household goods. (Though the act does not define “indemnitee,” it presumably means a shipper or other person who is not the motor carrier. )

It defines “motor carrier transportation contract” as a contract, agreement, or understanding entered into, renewed, modified, or extended on or after July 1, 2010 about (1) transporting property for compensation or hire; (2) entering public or private property to load, unload, or transport property for compensation or hire; or (3) a service incidental to either (1) or (2). The act excludes from the definition the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement administered by the Intermodal Association of North America and any other agreements providing for the interchange, use, or possession of intermodal chassis or containers or other intermodal equipment.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

26 — CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK FOR DMV EMPLOYEES

The law requires DMV to subject new employees to state and national criminal history records checks. The act specifically requires DMV to run formal background checks on all employees who make or produce driver's licenses or identity cards or who have the ability to affect the identity information that appears on them. The check must include name- and fingerprint-based criminal history records checks of federal and state records to determine if the employee has a disqualifying criminal offense under federal law or a disqualifying condition.

DMV must evaluate the criminal history record of any such employee according to the criteria set forth in federal law. If DMV determines the employee has been convicted of a disqualifying crime, the employee cannot remain employed in such a position. If the employee is found subject to a disqualifying condition, the employee cannot be employed in that position until the disqualifying condition no longer applies. DMV must reassign any such employee to a different position in the department.

Under federal regulations (6 CFR 37. 45(b)(1) and 49 CFR 1572. 103), permanent disqualifying crimes include murder, terrorism, and certain other crimes. Interim disqualifying crimes include assault with intent to murder, kidnapping, hostage taking, and rape. An interim crime is disqualifying if the employee (1) was convicted of the crime or admits having committed acts that constitute the crime's essential elements in the seven years preceding the date of employment in the covered position or (2) was released from prison within five years before the start of employment in the covered position.

Under federal regulations (6 CFR 37. 45 (b) (1) (iii) and (iv)), an employee who is wanted or under indictment for a permanent or interim disqualifying crime is disqualified from employment until he or she is no longer wanted or the warrant is released. When a fingerprint-based check finds an arrest for a disqualifying crime without noting a disposition, the state must determine the disposition.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

27 — LICENSE SUSPENSION DEADLINE

By law, the DMV commissioner must suspend the driver's license of a person arrested for driving under the influence who refuses to take a breath test or whose test results indicate an elevated blood alcohol level (administrative per se). A driver whose license has been suspended is entitled to a hearing. Prior law required the commissioner to suspend the driver's license or nonresident operating privilege of a person (1) who failed to contact DMV to schedule a hearing, (2) failed to appear at the hearing, or (3) against whom the commissioner rendered a decision, by either (a) the effective date of the suspension notice or (b) the date the commissioner rendered a decision against the driver, whichever is later. The act requires him to suspend the license or operating privilege by the suspension notice's effective date.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

28 — DISCLOSURE EXEMPTION FOR LAKE PATROLMEN

The act adds lake patrolmen enforcing boating laws to those people, such as judges and law enforcement officers, who may ask the DMV commissioner, in writing, to disclose or make publicly available their business address rather than home address.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

29 — STATE MARSHALS ENTITLED TO INFORMATION FROM DMV RECORDS

The act adds state marshals to those people to whom the commissioner may lawfully disclose personal information from motor vehicle records. A marshal may only use the information in executing or serving process according to law. The marshal may request the information by fax or other means the commissioner requires. The commissioner must provide the information by fax or other means in a reasonable time.

By law, anyone seeking this information must sign and file with DMV, under penalty of false statement, a statement that the information will only be used for the purpose allowed.

The law already allows the commissioner to disclose personal information from a motor vehicle record to individuals or organizations that require the information in connection with any civil, criminal, administrative, or arbitral proceeding, including the service of process.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

30 — PROCESS SERVER'S FEE INCREASE

By law, drivers and motor vehicle owners are deemed to have authorized the commissioner to receive process in a civil action resulting from the operator's or owner's negligence or alleged negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle. The act increases, from $20 to $50, the fee the serving officer must leave with the commissioner.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

31 — DRIVER'S RETRAINING PROGRAM

The law allows the commissioner to require that violators of certain motor vehicle laws attend a motor vehicle operator's retraining program. The program is offered by DMV or by any organization that conducts a program the commissioner certifies. Participants must pay a fee of up to $60. Under prior law, the commissioner could retain up to $10 from this fee to implement the program. The act allows any licensed driving school to seek certification to offer the program. It specifies the certification procedure, sets a $350 application fee, and eliminates the commissioner's ability to retain $10 of the participants' fee.

Under the act, certification is valid for two years and is not transferable. Re-certification is at the commissioner's discretion and in the form and manner he determines.

The act (1) requires the commissioner's designee or an instructor he approves to teach the program, and (2) allows the commissioner to determine the number of providers needed to serve the public. Driving schools seeking to offer the program must submit the $350 application fee to DMV and request certification on a DMV-prescribed form.

Each applicant for certification or re-certification must (1) be registered to do business in the state; (2) be continuously in good standing with the secretary of the state; (3) have a permanent place of business in the state where it must keep program records accessible to the commissioner during normal business hours; (4) submit for the commissioner's approval a detailed curriculum, lesson plan, and any program changes; and (5) electronically transmit enrollment and class completion information to the commissioner when and how he prescribes. An applicant also must file and continuously maintain a $50,000 surety bond.

The bond must be (1) conditioned on the applicant complying with federal and state law and regulations relating to the conduct of the retraining program and (2) provided to indemnify any loss or expense the state or any person sustains because of the provider's acts or failure to act. The bond must be executed in the name of the state of Connecticut for the benefit of an aggrieved party, but it cannot be forfeited except on the commissioner's order following a hearing conducted according to the Uniform Administrative Procedure Act.

Before certifying an applicant, the commissioner must investigate his or her character; criminal and driving history; and, if the applicant is a business entity, that of its principals and officers. The applicant must submit to DMV any information pertaining to past or current criminal or civil actions.

EFFECTIVE DATE: January 1, 2011

32 — ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW DEALER FRANCHISES IN A MARKET AREA

Certain notice and hearing requirements apply to manufacturers or distributors seeking to enter into a franchise establishing a new motor vehicle dealer or relocating an existing dealer into a relevant market area where the same motor vehicle line make is represented. These requirements do not apply in certain cases. The act additionally exempts the sale of new or used motor vehicles by a licensed new motor vehicle dealer at a public display of motor vehicles sponsored by an association of licensed new motor vehicle dealers representing more than 75% of these dealers in the state. These displays must be permitted annually for up to four consecutive days.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

33 — MOTOR VEHICLES IN LIVERY SERVICE

The act exempts from laws applying to motor vehicles in livery service a motor vehicle operated by or through a community-based regional transportation system for the visually impaired. Motor vehicles in livery service, with some exceptions, are vehicles used by a person, association, limited liability company, or corporation in the business of transporting passengers for hire.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

34 – 37 — ACTIVITY VEHICLES AND THE DEFINITION OF “CARRIER” AND “STUDENT TRANSPORTATION VEHICLE”

By law, motor vehicle carriers generally include school districts, school bus companies, and others that transport people under age 21. Carriers are subject to certain laws and regulations. The act expands the class of carriers to include people, firms, and corporations providing transportation primarily, rather than exclusively, for people under age 21 for compensation. But it exempts from carrier laws and regulations corporations, institutions, and nonprofit organizations whose main purpose is not transporting primarily people younger than age 18.

The act specifies that a “student transportation vehicle” is any motor vehicle, except a registered school bus, that transports students to or from (1) school, (2) school programs, or (3) school-sponsored events. It eliminates the subcategory of, and corresponding operator's license endorsement for, “activity vehicles. ” Under prior law, these were a type of student transportation vehicle that brought students to school-sponsored events and activities, but did not bring them to or from school.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2011

38 - 41 — LICENSING OF DRIVERS' SCHOOLS AND DRIVING INSTRUCTORS

The act requires the DMV commissioner to conduct state and national criminal history record checks on, and check the state child abuse and neglect registry for, applicants seeking or renewing a license to conduct a driving school. It requires DMV to conduct the same formal criminal history record and registry checks on anyone seeking to become a driving instructor or to renew an instructor's license.

The act also authorizes the commissioner to (1) create a master instructor license, (2) charge certain applicants late fees in certain instances, and (3) revoke instructors' licenses in certain situations. It changes the duration of driving school and instructor licenses, and bars the commissioner from issuing classroom-only instructor licenses after September 30, 2010.

Driving School License

The act requires the commissioner to determine whether to issue a driving school license to, or renew one for, an applicant with a criminal record or who is listed on the child abuse registry according to standards and procedures set out in law and regulation.

It makes a license to conduct a driving school valid for one year, instead of the calendar year in which it is issued.

The act maintains the $350 license renewal fee and an $88 fee for each additional place of business. It authorizes the commissioner to charge an additional $350 late fee if he has not received a complete renewal application before the applicant's license expires. It eliminates a requirement that an applicant renewing a license provide a security deposit.

Instructor's License

Under prior law, driving instructors had to provide the commissioner with evidence they were of good moral character considering their criminal record and listing, if any, on the state child abuse and neglect registry. The act instead subjects them to a formal state and national criminal history record check. If an applicant seeking or renewing a driving instructor's license has a criminal record or is listed on the child abuse registry, the commissioner must decide whether to grant the license according to standards and procedures set out in law and regulation.

The act requires each applicant to be fingerprinted when he or she applies for an instructor's license. Under prior law, the applicant was fingerprinted after successfully completing an examination and meeting all other licensure requirements.

By law, the applicant must show the commissioner that he or she has (1) held a driver's license for the past four years and (2) not been convicted of a drug or alcohol-related offense in that time. Under the act, the applicant must also show that he or she has not had an administrative license suspension for a drug or alcohol-related offense during those four years. An administrative license suspension occurs when a driver refuses to submit to drug or alcohol testing or when his or her test results indicate an elevated blood alcohol level.

The act requires a licensed instructor to notify the commissioner within 48 hours of an (1) arrest for, or conviction of, a misdemeanor or felony or (2) arrest, conviction, or administrative license suspension for a drug- or alcohol-related offense.

It reduces, from three months to one month, the length of time an applicant for an instructor's license must wait before retaking a test he or she failed.

It makes the license valid for one year, rather than for the calendar year in which it was issued.

License Revocation

By law, the commissioner may suspend or refuse to renew an instructor's license for several reasons, including the failure to comply with (1) laws on driving schools or (2) regulations establishing instructional standards of procedure. The act allows the commissioner to also revoke an instructor's license for these reasons, and expands the grounds on which he may suspend, revoke, or refuse to renew a license to include failing to comply with driving school regulations the commissioner adopts.

Master Instructor's License

The act authorizes the commissioner to adopt regulations creating standards and procedures to teach and license master instructors to train driving instructors. Master instructors are subject to the same application procedures as driving instructors.

It sets a $100 fee for a master instructor's license and renewal, and requires an additional $100 late fee if the commissioner does not receive a complete renewal application and fee before the license expires.

Classroom-Only Instructors

Under prior law, the commissioner had to adopt regulations requiring him to issue licenses allowing certain driving instructors to teach only in a classroom, and not on the road. The act bars the commissioner from issuing these classroom-only licenses on or after October 1, 2010, but permits classroom-only instructors who receive such licenses before that date to keep and renew them.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage for the termination of the classroom-instructor license and provisions on instructor license revocation; July 1, 2010 for changes to the application procedures for applicants seeking to conduct driving schools; and October 1, 2010 for changes in the application procedure and license conditions for driving instructor applicants and authorization of a program to train and license master instructors.

42 — MOTOR CARRIER ADVISORY COUNCIL

By law, the Motor Carrier Advisory Council serves as a forum for motor carrier industry representatives to meet with representatives of state agencies that regulate the commercial transportation industry. Among other things the council, composed of representatives of the departments of transportation, motor vehicles, public safety, and other state agencies, must meet before the start of each regular legislative session about bills affecting the industry. The act instead requires this meeting to take place after the start of each session.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

43 — MOTOR VEHICLE RECYCLER FEES

By law, a motor vehicle recycler applies to DMV for a “general distinguishing number and mark” which, once issued, constitutes registration for all vehicles it owns. The act specifies that a recycler pay at an annual rate of $70 for each motor vehicle it registers under its general distinguishing number and mark. Prior law required recyclers to pay $70 for each number plate provided. Recycler licenses are valid for two years.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

44 AND 47 — SCHOOL BUS INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE

The act imposes a civil penalty of up to $2,500 on carriers (see below), or people acting on behalf of a carrier, that file with the DMV commissioner, under penalty of false statement, a report or other document containing one or more false statements relating to the maintenance, repair, or use of a school bus or motor vehicle used to transport students. Each false statement is subject to a separate penalty.

It also imposes a maximum $2,500 fine per violation on carriers that:

1. fail to inspect, maintain, or repair, on a schedule set by the commissioner, a school bus or vehicle used to transport students;

2. fail to make, keep, or provide for DMV inspection a record it is required to make, keep, or provide;

3. refuse to allow DMV to inspect a school bus or vehicle used to transport students;

4. remove an out-of-service sticker from a school bus or vehicle used to transport students before repairs to the vehicle have been satisfactorily completed;

5. fail to inspect or repair a vehicle defect a driver has reported on his or her vehicle inspection report; or

6. fail to require a driver to prepare and submit a driver's vehicle inspection report for each school bus or motor vehicle used to transport students that the driver operates.

Because the law defining carriers changes on July 1, 2011 (see 34-37), from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011 the above penalties apply to:

1. school districts, educational institutions providing elementary or secondary education, and people, firms and corporations that contract with them to transport school children;

2. anyone transporting only people younger than age 21 for compensation; and

3. corporations, institutions, and nonprofit organizations that provide transportation as an ancillary service to people younger than 18.

Starting July 1, 2011, the penalties apply to:

1. school districts, educational institutions providing elementary or secondary education, and people, firms, and corporations that contract with them to transport students; and

2. anyone transporting primarily people under age 21 for compensation.

The act also requires the commissioner to adopt regulations governing the inspection, registration, operation, and maintenance of motor vehicles carriers use to transport any student, rather just special education students. State regulations already cover these vehicles (Conn. Agency Regs. 14-275c-36 et seq. )

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

45 AND 46 — IGNITION INTERLOCKS

Under prior law, a person convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) for a second time in 10 years was subject to a license suspension of three years or until the offender's 21st birthday, whichever was longer. However, in cases where the second conviction was based solely on alcohol use, and if the offender qualified, he or she could have an ignition interlock installed on his or her vehicle. In such cases the offender's license was suspended for one year, followed by two years where the offender could only operate a vehicle on which such a device had been installed.

The act conforms the law to practice by requiring, rather than allowing, installation of an interlock device for second offenders. For offenders age 21 and over, it imposes a mandatory one-year suspension and installation of the interlock for the two following years. It applies these penalties to all drivers older than 21 convicted of a second DUI violation in 10 years, rather than only those convicted based solely on alcohol use.

For offenders under age 21 it imposes a suspension of three years or until the offender's 21st birthday, whichever is longer, and bars operation of a motor vehicle without an interlock device for the two years following completion of the suspension.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

48 — FORWARDING DMV NOTIFICATIONS

The act allows the DMV commissioner (1) in cases where an individual has not notified DMV of an address change as required by law and (2) on receiving notification from the U. S. Postal Service that an individual with a driver's license, identity card, or registration for a motor vehicle, snowmobile, or vessel has changed his or her address, to send any mail related to the license, card, or registration to the address on file with the postal service. It allows the commissioner to change that person's motor vehicle records accordingly.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

49 — FINGERPRINTING

This act requires employees of the Division of State Police in the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and local police departments to collect fingerprints for criminal history record checks or other noncriminal purposes (e. g. , employment) if (1) this is part of their duties and (2) the person making the request lives or works in the town where the department or division is located. It allows municipalities to limit the hours and charge a reasonable fee for collecting fingerprints. If a municipality submits fingerprints electronically to DPS, it must charge the person providing the fingerprints all applicable state or federal fees and forward these fees to DPS each month.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

60 & 61 — WRECKERS

By law, a person, firm, or corporation who operates a wrecker to tow or transport, for compensation, disabled, inoperative, or wrecked vehicles or vehicles being removed according to law must be licensed as a motor vehicle dealer or repairer. The act requires all people, firms, and corporations who operate wreckers to be licensed regardless of whether they receive compensation (see BACKGROUND). It requires that wreckers that tow any vehicle be registered. By law, the registration fee for each wrecker is $125, renewed biennially.

The act changes where wreckers must place certain equipment. It requires a spotlight beam to be mounted so that it can be directed toward the hoisting equipment in the rear of the wrecker, rather than so it can be shown in all directions. It requires two flashing yellow lights to be installed on the wrecker as close to the back of the cab as practicable, rather than simply “near” the back of the cab. These lights must be displayed when the wrecker is towing any vehicle, not just a disabled vehicle.

The act expands the types of entities exempted from these requirements. Prior law did not apply to motor vehicle dealers towing or transporting motor vehicles for salvage, as long as they did not offer direct towing or wrecker service to the public. The act exempts from its requirements these dealers as well as (1) automobile clubs and associations, (2) motor vehicle recyclers, (3) people, firms, and corporations that repossess motor vehicles for lending institutions, and (4) people, firms, and corporations towing motor vehicles they own or lease. All these entities are also exempt from other requirements, such as the requirement that wreckers carry fire extinguishers and flares.

Under prior law, only a police officer could direct a wrecker to remove a mini-motorcycle, dirt bike, snowmobile, or other motorized personal property abandoned on private property. The act also allows the owner of the property on which the item has been abandoned to direct a wrecker to remove it. As under existing law, the wrecker (1) must notify the owner of the abandoned property, within 48 hours, (a) that he has taken and stored the property, and (b) of its location; and (2) may sell or dispose of the property if its owner does not claim it within 30 days.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2010

62 — REPEAL OF LAW BARRING MINORS FROM POSSESSING ALCOHOL IN A MOTOR VEHICLE

The act repeals a law making it illegal for minors to possess alcohol in a motor vehicle. Under the law, the minor could be summoned for a hearing at DMV, and his or her driver's license revoked for up to 60 days. Another law also prohibits minors from possessing alcoholic liquor on a public street or highway. Under this law (CGS 30-89 (b)), a first offense is an infraction, and subsequent offenses subject the minor to fines of between $200 and $500.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2010

BACKGROUND

Commercial Motor Vehicles

By law, a “commercial motor vehicle” includes vehicles designed and used to transport people or property, except for farming vehicles, fire apparatus or emergency vehicles, and recreational vehicles in private use, that:

1. have a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds or a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, inclusive of one or more towed units with gross weight ratings over 10,000 pounds;

2. are designed to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, or more than 10 passengers, including the driver, when the passengers are students under age 21 being transported to and from school; or

3. are transporting hazardous material in quantities that require placards under federal law or that are listed as a select agent or toxin under federal regulations (CGS 14-1 (15)).

Out of Service Order

An out-of-service order is an order (1) issued by a police officer, state policeman, or motor vehicle inspector under the authority of CGS section 14-8, or by an authorized official of the United States Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration pursuant to any provision of federal law, to prohibit a commercial motor vehicle from being operated on any highway, or to prohibit a driver from operating a commercial motor vehicle, or (2) issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, pursuant to any provision of federal law, to prohibit any motor carrier, as defined in Section 386. 2 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, from engaging in commercial motor vehicle operations (CGS 14-1(63)).

Wreckers

By law, a wrecker is a vehicle registered, designed, equipped, and used for towing or transporting wrecked or disabled motor vehicles for compensation or for related purposes by a person, firm, or corporation licensed according to law, or a vehicle contracted for the consensual towing or transporting of one or more motor vehicles to or from a place of sale, purchase, salvage, or repair (CGS 14-1 (102)).

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