FMCSA: NY/NJ port sticker program not preempted by federal law

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied the New Jersey Motor Truck Association’s petition requesting that the agency determine the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Drayage Truck Registry sticker display program be preempted by federal law.

FMCSA said in a Federal Register notice that the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA–LU) prohibits states and their political subdivisions from requiring motor carriers to display in or on commercial motor vehicles any form of identification other than forms required by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, with certain exceptions. FMCSA said it has determined that the NY/NJ Port Authority’s sticker display program is not preempted because it is voluntary.

The NY/NJ Port Authority in October 2010 amended its marine tariff to require trucks entering marine terminal facilities to display a sticker showing compliance with its new DTR for upgrading port trucks to newer emissions-compliant models. In response, NJMTA petitioned DOT for a determination that the port authority’s sticker display requirement is preempted by federal law.

Effective Oct. 15 and in response to NJMTA’s petition, the port authority amended its tariff to clarify that the compliance stickers were a voluntary way to demonstrate compliance with the DTR and that no truck will be denied access to marine terminal facilities for failure to display a sticker.

In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood dated Nov. 2, 2010, NJMTA disagreed that the compliance sticker would be voluntary and amended its petition to request that DOT determine that the substantive provisions of the DTR are preempted. FMCSA said in a Federal Register notice last December that it would consider NJMTA’s request for a preemption determination.