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Bill introduced to clarify the definition of “commercial vehicle”

Rendering of proposed new Fono Building
To satisfy fed requirements for grant funding and safety

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — An Administration bill, which seeks to clarify the definition of a commercial vehicle in local statute to satisfy federal requirements for grant funding was introduced last week in both the Senate and House.

According to the Lolo Administration, the definition of commercial vehicle “lacks clarity which has led to some difficulties enforcing the law”. The updated definition clarifies the meaning of commercial vehicle and commercial transportation, bringing “our local laws in compliance with federal regulations which will allow ASG’s eligibility for significant federal grants,” according to the bill’s preamble, which adds that regulations based on these definitions “can now be instituted to help keep our highways safer.”

The bill defines “commercial transportation” to mean, the transportation of passengers for compensation or property; however, it does not include transportation performed by any subdivision, including any semi-autonomous agency of ASG or the US government.  Also excluded as commercial transportation is the “occasional transporting” of personal property by individuals not for compensation and not in furtherance of a commercial enterprise; or transport of sick or injured persons.

A “commercial vehicle” is defined as any automobile, truck, motorbus or other “self propelled or towed vehicle” that:

•    is used for commercial transportation; or

•    has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of more than 10,001 pounds or more, whichever is greater; or

•    designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers including the driver regardless of whether it is used for compensation; or

•    used to transport material designated as hazardous in accordance with federal law.

The bill also states that vehicles used to transport eight or fewer passengers, including the driver for commercial transportation shall not be subject to Federal Motor Carrier Safety regulations or Federal Hazardous Material Regulations that are adopted by statute or regulation.