The intersection of I-70 and I-71, along with other major highways, makes Columbus one of the nation’s main crossroads. For this reason, motor carriers engaged in the through transportation of hazardous materials often travel through the Columbus area. The through transport of hazmat refers to transport which has neither an origin nor a destination within the City of Columbus.
The City of Columbus requires these motor carriers to use designated routes. In general, motor carriers hauling hazmat are permitted to travel around Columbus on the I-270 loop. But, motor carriers hauling hazmat are prohibited from traveling through Columbus, inside the I-270 loop. A PUCO map helps illustrate the requirement:
Motor carriers know this requirement, and hazmat road signs are posted along and over the major highways as they approach I-270. Still, we all make mistakes. Sometimes a driver misses the exit onto I-270. Maybe it’s a new route for the driver. Maybe there is an issue with traffic, or an accident, or roadwork, or weather, or an obstruction of the hazmat road signs. Maybe there is a misunderstanding of the requirement itself.
In any event, for this one mishap, a driver can find himself or herself facing court-ordered appearances in two separate cases.
Yes, two separate court cases, involving two separate violations of two separate laws, because Columbus has two city code provisions to regulate the through transport of hazmat through the Columbus area.
One court case will be an environmental case. It involves the charge of allegedly violating Columbus City Code § 2551.06(a), which is titled, “Restrictions on the use of city streets for the transportation of hazardous materials.” This is the city code provision that prohibits motor carriers from using the major highways inside the I-270 loop to transport hazmat “where there is neither a point of origin nor destination (delivery point) within the city.”
A violation of this provision is a first degree misdemeanor. In Ohio, a first degree misdemeanor carries a maximum jail time of 180 days and a maximum fine of $1,000.
The other court case will be a traffic case. It involves the charge of allegedly violating Columbus City Code § 2113.01(a), which is titled, “Obedience to traffic control devices.” This city code provision prohibits motor carriers from disobeying the instructions on the hazmat road signs. It is like running a stop sign, only here it involves running a hazmat sign.
A violation of this provision is a minor misdemeanor. In Ohio, a minor misdemeanor carries no jail time, a maximum fine of $150, and an assessment of two points on your driving record.
At Mallory Law Office, we’ve helped numerous drivers face the legal hazards of hauling hazmat inside the I-270 loop. We work hard, and we’ll work hard for you and with you to help you to achieve your goals. We strive for:
- No loss of work time for you.
- Minimal or no time off of work for court appearances. In most cases we can appear in court for you, so you never have to appear in court at all.
- No loss or suspension of license.
- No jail time.
- No community service time.
- Minimal fine.
- Minimal points.
And, all the while, we’ll keep you posted on the status of your case, so you’ll always know what’s happening with your case, every step of the way.
So, if you get pulled over for hauling hazmat inside the I-270 loop, don’t delay contacting us. Those first court-ordered appearances often get scheduled right away, and we want to do all we can to keep you on the road.
(In this blog, “hazardous materials” refers to non-radioactive hazmat in quantities requiring placards under the Code of Federal Regulations. See Title 49 C.F.R. Part 172, Subpart F.)