North Dakota governor signs railroad taxi bill

New legislation in the state of North Dakota will provide railroad workers with some of the strongest protection in the nation when it comes to train crew transportation.

On April 12, Governor John Hoven signed Senate Bill 2309 into law, which requires railroad crew transportation providers to carry $1 million in underinsurance/uninsured motorist insurance.

BLE North Dakota State Legislative Board Chairman Mike Muscha reports that in the summer of 1998, BLE and UTU members joined forces, taking on the huge task of improving the safety and insurance standards of railroad crew transportation companies in North Dakota.

In the 1999 legislative session, a law was passed that mandated the North Dakota Highway Patrol to set safety standards for contract vans. Prior to that legislation, only vehicles carrying 15 or more persons were regulated. As a result, drivers of smaller contract vans could drive unlimited hours, and vans were subject to no greater scrutiny than a private vehicle.

The standards set by the highway patrol (18 pages) were some of the strongest in the U.S. for vehicles carrying 15 passengers or less. However, the weakness in the safety standard was inadequate uninsured and under-insured insurance. In the fall of 2000, the two unions went to work once again to increase the minimum insurance coverage levels.

Brother Muscha says the April 12 bill signing with Gov. Hoven was the final piece of the puzzle.

Muscha thanks his counterpart, UTU State Legislative Director John Risch, and all BLE and UTU legislative reps in the state for the victory.

He also thanked BLE First Vice-Chairman Ron Huff, S-T Dean Altringer and LRs John Olson and Cheri Bonebrake for their efforts.

North Dakota Governor John Hoven, center, signs a bill that provides $1 million in uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for contract carriers, the taxi companies that transport railroad workers in the state.

Seated, from left: Representative Robin Weisz; Governor Hoven; Senator Bob Stenehjem. Standing, from left: Rep. Clara Sue Price; UTU Legislative Director John Risch; Senator Dwight Cook; BLE State Legislative Board Chairman Mike Muscha; Senator David O'Connell; Rep. Kathy Hawken; and Seantor Howard Grumbo.

 

2001 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers