Whenever used in this chapter, unless a different meaning clearly appears in the context, the following terms shall be given the following respective meanings:
(1) COMMERCE. a. Any trade, traffic, or transportation within the jurisdiction of the United States between a place in a state and a place outside of the state, including a place outside of the United States.
b. For the purpose of this chapter, commerce also includes any trade, traffic, or transportation beginning and ending within the boundaries of this state.
(2) COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLE. Any self-propelled or towed vehicle used on the highways in commerce to transport passengers or property if the vehicle meets any of the following:
a. It has a gross weight rating or gross combination weight of more than 10,000 pounds, whether operated interstate or intrastate.
b. It is designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, regardless of weight.
c. It is used to transport hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards under regulation of the U.S. Department of Transportation.
(3) DEPARTMENT. The Alabama Department of Public Safety.
(4) DIRECTOR. The Director of the Alabama Department of Public Safety.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (b), no person may operate a commercial motor vehicle in this state, or fail to maintain required records or reports, in violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 49 C.F.R. Part 107, Parts 171-180, Parts 382-384, and Parts 390-399 and as they may be amended in the future. Except as otherwise provided herein, this chapter shall not be construed to repeal or supersede other laws relating to the operation of motor vehicles.
No law enforcement officer may make an arrest or issue a citation under this chapter unless he or she has satisfactorily completed, as a part of his or her training, the basic course of instruction developed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Those law enforcement officers authorized to enforce this chapter shall annually receive in-service training related to commercial motor vehicle operations, including, but not limited to, training in current federal motor carrier safety regulations, safety inspection procedures, and out-of-service criteria. The annual training requirements shall be designated and specified by the director.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a) or any other provision of law to the contrary:
(1) Amendments to the hours of service regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Transportation at 68 Federal Register 22456, April 28, 2003 and effective June 27, 2003, shall not apply to utility service vehicles as defined at 49 C.F.R. 395.2, not including television cable or community antenna service vehicles, which are owned or operated by utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission or electric cooperatives and which are engaged solely in intrastate commerce in this state until June 27, 2006, provided the amendments are valid and remain in effect as of that date. Hours of service regulations which are applicable in this state immediately prior to June 27, 2003, shall remain applicable to utility service vehicles engaged solely in intrastate commerce in this state until June 27, 2006. If the U.S. Department of Transportation issues an official finding that this provision may result in the loss of federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program funding, the department may promulgate regulations providing for earlier implementation of the amendments to the federal hours of service regulations. If federal law or regulations are amended at any time to exempt utility service vehicles from the hours of service requirements, any exemption shall be effective in this state immediately for the duration of the federal exemption.
(2) The department may promulgate regulations suspending the effective date for up to three years after adoption of any motor carrier safety regulation by the U.S. Department of Transportation as applied to vehicles engaged solely in intrastate commerce in this state, provided that the suspension does not result in the loss of federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program funding.
(3) The department may enter into agreements with state and local emergency management agencies and private parties establishing procedures for complying with 49 U.S.C. Section 31502(e) and federal regulations promulgated thereto at 49 C.F.R. Section 390.23 which provide an exemption from the hours of service regulations during certain emergencies.
(4) The department may promulgate regulations granting any waiver, variance, or exemption permitted under 49 U.S.C. Section 31104(h) and federal regulations promulgated thereto at 49 C.F.R. Sections 350.339-350.345, provided that the waiver, variance, or exemption does not result in the loss of federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program funding and does not take effect unless approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation if that approval is required.
Any records required to be maintained by operators of commercial motor vehicles pursuant to state or federal laws or regulations shall be open to inspection during the normal business hours of a carrier by members designated by the director. The inspection may be made without a warrant. Members of the department designated by the director may also go on the property of an operator of a commercial motor vehicle to conduct inspections of facilities and records to ensure compliance with applicable state and federal laws and regulations governing commercial motor vehicle operations.
The director may promulgate reasonable rules and regulations relating to this chapter subject to the Alabama Administrative Procedure Act.
Any person violating this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished by a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars ($25) nor more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) for each offense. In addition, the court may impose a sentence of imprisonment in the county jail, not to exceed 30 days, for each offense. In addition to other punishment fixed by law, the court may enter an order prohibiting the person from operating any commercial motor vehicle for a period to be specified by the court, or perpetually, as the court may determine.
This chapter is remedial and should be liberally construed to promote the public health, public safety, and general welfare. To the extent this chapter directly conflicts with other state laws governing the operation of motor vehicles, this chapter prevails. Where this chapter is silent and not in direct conflict with other laws, the general laws governing the operation of motor vehicles shall continue in force and effect.