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America Outdoors Association

December 18, 2009

America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee Approves Bill to Require CDL’s for 9 to 15 Passenger Vans Operating Interstate – Your Urgent Action Required!

Membership Elects New Board of Directors at Convention
 

Senate Commerce and Transportation Committee Approves Bill to Require CDL’s for 9 to 15 Passenger Vans Operating Interstate – Your Urgent Action Required!

Yesterday, without a hearing on the bill, S. 554, the Motorcoach Enhanced Safety Act of 2009, was approved (marked-up) by the full Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.  This bill will require a commercial driver’s license (CDL) endorsement for outfitters and other businesses using 9 to 15 passenger vans when they operate across state lines.  The bill does not appear to require event monitors which are only required for motorcoaches.   However, the enhanced CDL requirement could make it difficult for outfitters with large fleets of 9 to 15 passenger vans to find a sufficient number of seasonal employees with CDL’s.

Sec. 10. (b) of S. 554 states:  “(b) Modification of Requirements for Commercial Driver's License Passenger-Carrying Endorsement- The Secretary shall establish by regulation a requirement that a driver shall have a commercial driver's license passenger-carrying endorsement in order to operate a commercial motor vehicle and transport not less than 9 and not more than 15 passengers (including a driver) in interstate commerce for compensation.”

States will have the option to adopt the federal standards, which also includes an inspection program for vans.

AOA opposes the CDL requirement for outfitters and guides where transportation is incidental to the purpose of the business.

Call your Senators and Representatives today.  Click here for their contact information. Type in your zip code to retrieve their phone and fax numbers.  Fax letters to members of Congress  (The House bill number is H.R. 1396.). Call their offices and tell them that the CDL requirements for drivers of 9 to 15 passenger vans are unnecessary and is a burdensome regulation for outfitters and guides.  Some companies in rural areas will be forced out of business.  Our industry has a good driving record and is not the target of this legislation.

See the model letter below.

The Honorable (insert name)
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator ________________

I am writing to express concerns about provisions in S. 554 which require enhanced Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL) for drivers of 9 to 15 passenger vans operated by small businesses that cross state lines. The proposed legislation requires a CDL and vehicle inspections even if transportation is incidental to the purpose of the business.  This new regulatory requirement will make it very difficult for small, seasonal businesses like mine to find drivers with CDL’s.  The legislation also requires increased training and testing requirements for CDL drivers.  Ironically, a business providing similar services in competition with mine whose vans do not cross state lines will not be required to obtain CDL’s for van drivers.

We believe many small businesses such as ours are being caught in a regulatory net cast for other transportation providers, where transportation is the primary purpose of the business.  The CDL requirement, with its more stringent testing requirements, may force some outfitters and guides providing seasonal recreation services out of business.

Therefore, I am urging you to support provisions that exempt outfitting and guiding businesses from the CDL and inspection requirements where transportation is not the primary purpose of the business.  For example, our primary service is providing outfitting and recreation services.  We transport our customers to an area where the services are provided and cross state lines to do so. 

Below, please support inclusion of the following modifications to the legislation.

MODIFICATION OF REQUIREMENTS FOR COMMERCIAL DRIVER’S LICENSE PASSENGER-CARRYING ENDORSEMENT.
At the end of the paragraph insert: In establishing such regulations, the Secretary shall not require a driver to have such an endorsement where the transportation of passengers by motor vehicle for compensation is not the principal line of business of the motor carrier providing the transportation service.

COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY INSPECTION PROGRAMS (a) (1) at the end of the paragraph insert (a)(1) Annual Inspection Program please add: In establishing such regulations, the Secretary shall not require a motor carrier to have such an inspection where the transportation of passengers by motor vehicle for compensation is not the principal line of business of the motor carrier.

Most states have inspection programs now for vehicles.

The outfitting industry has a good driving record.  Many outfitters offer services on rivers or at resources that make up state borders.  Therefore, they cross state lines but only provide transportation as a service that is incidental to their operation.

Thank you for your support for small business.  I look forward to hearing from you about this matter.

Sincerely,
 

Membership Elects New Board of Directors at Convention

By a unanimous vote the membership elected a new slate of officers and directors at the association’s annual meeting in Reno. See the new officers and directors on the AOA website:  Board

The 2009 convention was well-attended and highly successful.  Make plans now to attend next year's event December 7 – 9 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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