Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear readers,

The Dickinson Press recently wrote a story that said one in four trucks driving in oil country had safety violations serious enough to put the vehicles out of service.

I posted the story on my Facebook page, which prompted the following reader question:

Great article! I was left with one question, though. Are the fines on those violations substantial enough to make the truck owners/drivers fix the problem or lighten their loads?

Jacque Just


Thanks for writing! I contacted Lt. Jody Skogen at the North Dakota Highway Patrol. Here’s what he said:

“There are a variety of factors that motivate owner/operators to operate their vehicles in a safe, responsible manner. Fines do act as an important deterrent, as fees for commercial motor vehicle violations often exceed those assessed to non-commercial operators.

“Placing vehicles out of service, even for a short period of time, creates additional motivation for owners to operate a well maintained fleet, as trucks generally don’t create revenue when parked. Frequent safety violations also impact companies in a negative way, as a federal safety rating is applied to all commercial carriers. Frequent violations, whether they are driver or equipment related, affect companies in a negative manner.

“Safety and weight inspections are performed on a daily basis throughout the state. North Dakota Highway Patrol troopers performed 14,834 commercial motor carrier inspections in 2009, (and) 5.5 percent of these inspections resulted in a driver or vehicle being placed out of service for defects or violations.

“In 2010 the number of inspections increased to 16,920. The out of service ratio for the 2010 calendar year inspections dropped to 4.4 percent, an improvement of over 1 percent. Typical out-of-service fees range from $100 to $500.

“The overload fee scale is set by legislative statute. The fees are as follows for weight in excess of legal limits. For instance, an operator of a vehicle that is 8,200 pounds over legal limits would be assessed a fee of $575. An overload of twice that weight (16,400 pounds) would cost $2,550.”

Extraordinary Road Use Fee Schedule (NDCC 39-12-17)

(NOTE: Here are examples of the fines. This is not the whole list. You can find the full list at the link above.)

1 to 1,000 pounds          $20

5,001 to 6,000 pounds      $305

10,001 to 11,000 pounds    $1,100

15,001 to 16,000 pounds    $1,920

20,001 to 21,000 pounds    $4,200

25,001 to 26,000 pounds    $5,200

29,001 to 30,000 pounds    $6,000

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505. Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

4 thoughts on “Today’s Ask Your Government

  1. Those fines need to ALL be tripled. That is a rounding error on one load’s value! North Dakota needs to get ahead of the curve regarding these commercial vehicles, and the blatant disregard and disdain that operators and businesses have for trucking regulations. Their industry lobbyists ensure that palms are greased and re-elections are ensured for the pro-business Republicans in this state.

    Tripling the rates will not drive the businesses out. Not in this oil boom economy.

    Enough is enough!

    • Remember…The question was about Oil Field Trucks….Us over the road trucks are already kept on very tight leashes and we do make sure our weight is right just a soon as we can after being loaded……Oil field trucks are out in the boonies and much tougher to regulate

  2. Why wasn’t the question presented in it’s original form when it went into the colum? The original question was about oil field trucking which is still a bit cowboy & outlaw kind of trucking as it was in the 80’s when I lived out there and worked in the fields…..Today I’m long hauler who occasionally run up to Williston, Dickinson, or Minot and from what I’ve seen the ol’ outlaw spirit is still out there. It’s more difficult for them to get caught because so much of their trucking is done on back roads and law enforcement can only be streched so thin.

    As for the rest of us who basically stick to the paved highways and interstates…..We know we have to keep track of the conditions of our trucks and the weights of our loads because there’s weigh stations and temp check points most anywhere. So basically over the road truckers are far above the curve….But it is irritating to lump us in with the oil field because there’s already so many misconceptions that keep leading to more rediculous regulations that often work counter the very thing they are supposed to be in place for.

    There is however one concern that isn’t a biggy up here yet….That’s the damn new regs they are trying to use to get Mexican trucks further into the states…..I deliver quite often along the border and have seen these trucks first hand….Most of them are truck and trailers brought down to sell because they are too old and not up to par to run legal in the states……There are those who are trying to get those trucks to not have the same restrictions as american and Canadian trucks have….Why? So they can have thing made cheap in 3rd world countries shipped to Mexico where they pay even less in tarrifs…Then have it shipped north by compainies doing it for pennies on the dollar and paying their drivers the same…..All in the name of corporate greed…..Now there’s a real troubling situation…..I don’t know if ND will have much of a direct problem with it because we don’t have many factories needing parts, but it couold have

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