America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

April 20, 2012

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America Outdoors Association Bulletin

New Position on Van Provisions In Map-21

Unusually Large Visa/MasterCard Payment by Your Customer? Be Sure to Alert Your Processor to Avoid Having It Held Up

New Online Seminar

AOA Develops New Position on Van Provisions in the MAP-21 Highway Bill. New Law Expected within 90 Days.

On April 18, 2012 the House of Representatives passed a 90-day extension of the authority to spend money from the Highway Trust Fund. Last month the Senate passed a more extensive bill, MAP-21, S. 1813 which includes a provision that requires the U.S. DOT to study a requirement for Commercial Drivers License (CDL) endorsements for drivers of 9 to 15 passenger Suburbans and vans used to transport customers. If a CDL requirement is put into effect in the future, it would apply to interstate commerce, but since many states adopt federal standards, many outfitters operating within their state boundaries (intrastate) will be subject to the requirement. The language in the legislation only requires a study. It does not specifically authorize a CDL although we think that requirement is likely to be recommended. However, there’s more to the story.

We have discovered that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering changing outfitter carriage to “for direct compensation” from its current status as “for indirect compensation” in which the transportation is incidental to the service provided. This classification will invoke new regulatory requirements for 9 to 15 passenger vans or Suburbans towing trailers, including requirements for driver medical certificates, hours of service logs, maintenance records and other regulatory requirements which were contained in a rule that went into effect in June 2010.

Given this new development, AOA is recommending SEC. 32709 be modified to deal with the FMSCA strategy to revise outfitters’ transportation classification.

Draft of addition to the language in SEC. 32709:
(b) For purposes of subchapter B of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Department of Transportation’s regulations (49 CFR Parts 350 – 399), motor carrier operation of 9 to 15 passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce for compensation in connection with the following operations and other similar business shall be considered not for direct compensation: whitewater river rafting; canoe liveries, float trips; hotel/motel shuttle transporters; vanpool services; camps, rental car shuttle services.

URGENT - ACT TODAY. Call your members of Congress. Ask them to support the addition of this language in SEC. 32709 in the MAP-21 Highway bill when the differences are negotiated between the House and Senate Highway bills. To get information about your Senators and Legislators go to Congress.org Type in your zip code. Your members of Congress are listed in the left hand column.

Please include the following language in SEC. 32709:
(b) For purposes of subchapter B of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Department of Transportation’s regulations (49 CFR Parts 350 – 399), motor carrier operation of 9 to 15 passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce for compensation in connection with the following operations and other similar business shall be considered not for direct compensation: whitewater river rafting; canoe liveries, float trips; hotel/motel shuttle transporters; vanpool services; camps, rental car shuttle services.

To put this issue into context, in 2007 according to the FMCSA there were less than 70 fatalities in 9 to 15 passenger vans. Of those, 80% were not restrained (not wearing seat belts) and many, if not most, were not in CMV's. They were in non commercial vehicles using volunteer drivers who would not be subject to a CDL. So, the CDL requirement is not likely to result in a significant improvement in highway safety considering the fact that ten times more people (700) died in bicycle crashes in 2007 than in 9 to 15 passenger van wrecks. No one runs around Capitol Hill grieving for the hundreds of people who would lose their jobs or who would be forced out of business by this unnecessary regulation.

Unusually Large Visa/MasterCard Payment by Your Customer?  Be Sure to Alert Your Processor to Avoid Having It Held Up

Credit card processors may send an unusally large credit card payment from a customer to the fraud department to be checked out delaying payment to you.  For example, if your average ticket is $1000 and you get a credit card payment that's $6,000 or a payment that is significantly higher than any previous credit card payment, your processor may send it to their fraud department to be verified.  Most card processors will have fraud screens to prevent losses, which they can be on the hook for.  Payment processing can be withheld for several days or even weeks if the fraud screen is tripped by an unusual credit card payment.  One AOA member had a significant payment withheld by a processor for several weeks while the fraud department sat on the payment with little attempt to confirm the charge with the customer.  Most processors will simply call the customer to confirm the charge, but you may want to ask your processor how to handle such situations to avoid problems before they occur.

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April 26, 2012 at 2 pm Eastern  Learn More.

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