Tim Quinn floats requirements for truckers with DUI incidents
With peak visitation, an international ski competition and another round of hosting Hollywood on Parkites’ minds, some might forget that in a little more than a month, Utah’s state legislators will head back to Salt Lake City to shape their state’s laws.
Rep. Tim Quinn, a Republican from Heber who represents Park City in the House, has proposals in mind ranging from tax policy to updating the flow of information between law enforcement agencies and transportation firms.
He’s in no hurry to put his name on a large number of bills, though.
“Some people have 20 bill files open or more; I have two, so I’m not a big bill sponsor,” Quinn said. “I don’t think we go there to constantly make new laws.”
Liabilities and responsibilities
Motivated by a preventable crash on U.S. 40 that killed six in October, Quinn said he is in the early stages of crafting a proposal that could establish a clear line of communication among law enforcement, commercial driver’s license holders and their employers if a driver has a record of DUI incidents or is charged with one.
“Businesses need to be notified if their drivers, particularly for heavy vehicles, have had a history of DUI so we can maybe avoid a tragedy like that in the future,” Quinn said.
The driver in the October crash, Jamie Don McKenzie, was charged with a litany of offenses including six counts of automobile homicide and two counts of DUI after the dump truck he was driving swerved into the oncoming lane, through a median, on U.S. 40 near the Jordanelle Reservoir and slammed head-on into a pickup truck with six people inside, killing all of them. He had been hauling rocks for a local business, and court records showed that McKenzie had a slew of alcohol-related and other offenses on his record.
While McKenzie’s case is an outlier in terms of severity, Rick Clasby, executive director of the Utah Trucking Association, said that regulations on the flow of information in the trucking industry are worth another look, though enforcement on alcohol-related incidents is already strict. One wrinkle in the discussion, he added, is the upcoming Dec. 30 decrease of Utah’s DUI blood-alcohol level from 0.08 to 0.05, the strictest in the nation. While the on-the-job limit for all CDL holders remains at 0.04, with stiff penalties for violations, he said it’s not yet clear if the lower limit off the clock will affect workers in the transportation industry.
Federal law currently mandates that CDL holders themselves notify their employers within 30 days of any convictions.
Clearing the aisle
Quinn, heading into his second term in Salt Lake City, has made tax policy a focus, sitting on the House taxation committee. While Gov. Gary Herbert recently unveiled a budget plan with aspects that run directly counter to Quinn’s past goal of eliminating the food tax, he said he has no plans to address the issue in this session. He is instead eying another tax proposal.
While Quinn says he still supports the idea of eliminating the food tax, fighting a hike won’t be his focus in 2019.
The 2019 General Session of the Utah State Legislature is set to begin Jan. 28 and end on March 14.
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