Gabler to hold town hall meetings addressing veteran and transportation issues

State Representative Matt Gabler (R-Elk/Clearfield) will be hosting a number of meetings intended to address concerns held by his constituency, specifically those pertaining to veterans' affairs and new transportation regulations for truck drivers.Truck drivers' meeting Leah Mollica, legislative assistant with Gabler's DuBois office, said the representative decided to hold a "truck drivers' town hall meeting" in response to numerous inquiries his offices have received from drivers, carriers and business owners who are revved up about a new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) policy requiring a DOT number be obtained by commercial truck drivers and carriers engaged in intrastate commerce, or trade, traffic, or transportation that is confined to the Commonwealth. The meeting will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m. at DuBois Area High School. Mollica said that prior to the legislative revision, a DOT number was only required for carriers and individual drivers engaged in interstate commerce or "hauling out-of-state." Under the revised regulation, Pennsylvania carriers engaged in intrastate commerce must have a U.S. Department of Transportation-issued number and must display the number and business name on both sides of a commercial vehicle, even when operating in-state. According to the DOT website, the law is intended to "help identify carriers with serious safety violations discovered during roadside inspections or following truck crashes. Unsafe carriers will be notified of deficiencies and may undergo an operational review to bring them into compliance." Violators of the new DOT number requirement face fines and fees totaling up to $134.50 for carriers and $109.50 for individual drivers.Mollica explained that the rule does not necessarily apply to every hauler and that there are specific requirements contingent upon factors including, most notably, vehicle size. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, rigs with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) or Gross Combines Vehicle Weight Rating (GCVWR) of 10,001 pounds or less do not necessitate a DOT number. They add that GVWR can be found on a trailer or tow vehicle and the GCVWR can be determined by adding the two numbers together. Mollica said the new requirements affect a wide range of businesses, from excavation to landscaping companies to individual or private enterprises, and that the meetings are designed to be informative and satisfy concerns and questions. She added that many carriers have encountered difficulty in navigating the website and the online application process and that specifics will be addresses at the meeting. Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.