California’s recent action against two brokers set a new enforcement precedent

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The recent actions taken against Roadrunner Transportation Systems and Marten Logistics by the state of California were not just lessons in how truckers and their support companies need to abide by rules in California that are stricter in many areas. They were precedent-setting.

The dual actions were the first taken by the California Air Resources Board against out-of-state brokers, according to two communications representatives from CARB.   

“Brokers dispatching trucks in California have always been subject to the rule,” Stanley Young, a CARB communications director, said in an email to Freightwaves. Asked what had spurred the state to take a different type of action, Young replied, “These were simply the first two cases involving California-based brokers headquartered outside of California.”

The definition of “out of state” can get tricky. Because while Roadrunner and Martens are both “out of state,” in the sense that Roadrunner is in Illinois, and Marten is in Wisconsin, Young said that the law doesn’t distinguish about location. “The regulation requires any California based broker to meet regulatory requirements,” Young said. “Brokers are California based when they broker loads in California, regardless of where the broker is physically located.” But despite that definition, which seemed to imply at first glance that this was no big deal, Young did concede that they were different than other actions taken in the past given the out-of-state headquarters of the companies.

Although these are precedent-setting enforcement actions, Young appeared to not want to give too much weight to the idea that they were “firsts.” “Brokers dispatching trucks in California have always been subject to the rule,” he wrote.

The violations cited by CARB against Roadrunner and Marten were not that they sent trucks into the state that violated any safety or maintenance laws. Rather, it was that they failed to verify that the trucks in question met California’s regulations.

As another CARB spokeswoman, Heather Quiros, said: “It is a violation if a broker hires a vehicle or fleet without checking compliance first, regardless of whether or not the hired fleet or vehicle is compliant.”

Marten was tagged with a $100,000 fine; Roadrunner was levied a penalty of $52,250.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.

One Comment

  1. I’m guessing California is on a fast tract to become thier own Country! They have more individual mandates against the trucking industry than any other state! When we are already Federally mandated to National rules and regulations, what gives California the right to go above and beyond those laws? Guess they can eat thier own products and figure out a new way to get anything from outside thier borders! I for one, will not ever run there again.

  2. We don’t go in California anymore, and never will for that very reason. Trump needs to build the wall to separate California from the US. Let them fend for themselves.

  3. Very simple….don’t pay and continue on business as usual. California has no reciprocity agreement with any other states so no way to collect fines unless company gives into their bullying tactics. Advise to run at night if possible, avoid rest areas and scales during day and check FB for a few sites that post the CARB Nazis whereabouts.

  4. Im glad that CARB is finally enforcing there rules,now they have 10 thousand and 1 left to enforce…
    Follow the rules in California or dont visit ,I choose not to visit my Birthplace!

  5. Very simple stop brokering loads in california if they want something from out of state they can get it or drop the load in newmouris drop yards before california. Us out of staters should not have to put up with their crap. Let them hall their own crap.

  6. California residents will pay the price. It will cost that much more for stuff to get hauled in, and it puts California ports at a competitive disadvantage to those in Oregon and Washington.

  7. I have read this article twice and still don’t know what the actual problem was with the trucks.

    If they truly want to protect the Safety of their citizens they need to do basic safety checks on every truck that roles across their southern border. Most of those rattle traps would be red tagged.

    1. James, the article is referring to EMISSIONS regulations..not safety, or operations…
      Example: DPF’s (Diesel Particulate Filters), Reefer emission requirements, etc..
      CARB is an acronym, meaning these are initials for a longer title, but shortened for everyday use… CARB= C alifornia A ir R esource B oard..
      Even the California Highway Patrol doesn’t like them…lol

  8. Here is the cure Dont Do Bussiness in California, Dont take loads to or from the state. Dont register your truck for there state. Treat them as poison and stay away, The way there failing if we dont take them freight and we dont haul out there freight there going to perish.

    1. Amen Dont do business in California when they can’t afford anything then they will come to terms with those of us who bring them their goods.

  9. I may be wrong but I thought there was NO verifiable evidence of a correlation between emissions and deaths in CA. This is supposed to be the entire basis for the DPF’s. The scientist who worked on this and publicized his findings was canned but got reinstated. His firing was motivated by a group who was trying to impose its political agenda for clean air regardless of the truth of the matter.

  10. Lastly, some believe the DPF’s are responsible for fires in the motor. Yet, CARB, as far as I know, is unwilling to begin an investigation on this matter. Faulty devices would go against their political agenda. So, sweep it under the rug or come up with a fallacious excuse. Anyone feedback on this? Surely, there should be many drivers who have more knowledge on this. This is Atex in TX.