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Commerce Commission rules will be enforced says DPS

 Police officers with Traffic Division of the Department of Public Safety are currently enforcing the Commerce Commission Rules for Commercial Vehicles, Operators and owners. District Court Judge John Ward issued the schedule of fines for violators to the police who put enforcement in effect on January 7, 2013.

Head of DPS Traffic division, Ta’aloloioufaiva Captain John Cendrowski, said the police are enforcing the commerce commission rules. He said aiga bus owners are now required to have emergency exit doors and built-in seat belts for bus drivers of aiga buses, and if not, they will be cited and fined.

“Also there will be restrictions on the operation of small aiga buses from Fagatogo to the LBJ hospital, or from Fagatogo to the canneries.  If the operator is caught violating this, the first fine is $50 and if caught the second time, the fine will be increased and it will be up to court how much.”

“Tinted windows or windshields on commercial vehicles are also prohibited and the fine for the first time is $50.  It will be increased at the court’s discretion if caught for the second time. “Eating and drinking is not allowed in taxis and buses, and the operators are supposed to remind the passengers, because the passenger along with the operator will be penalized” said the Captain.

The bus or taxi owner must also display signs indicating that eating and drinking is not allowed— if not, that is another violation.

He said the owner must also provide a litter container for the commercial vehicle.

“There will be no smoking in commercial vehicles for the passengers and the bus or taxi driver must prevent the passengers from smoking. The owner must display a “No smoking sign” on the bus” he said. He said taxis must have a sign on the top and the sides of their commercial vehicle or they will be penalized.

Then Commerce Commission attorney Sean Morrison told Samoa News earlier this year that the new regulations are partially due to a request from the US Department of Transportation, who provides federal funding for the DPS Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP).

It should be noted that the regulations are also for road and public safety. DPS-MCSAP has adopted Federal guidelines to be in compliance with the DOT. This includes the seat belt law that has been in place locally since 1988. 

“When the Federal officials came down they pushed for bus drivers to have seat belts and they said there have to be seat belt rules — however that has been the law since 1988. Somehow, bus drivers got the idea they were exempt from the seat belt law, which was never the case” said Morrison.