Dems: Transportation – week of March 7, 2016

March 14, 2016

SF 2248 – Annual Department of Transportation policy bill

HF 588 – Disabled parking placards

HF 617 – Special license plates with decal

HF 2345 – County engineer reports on allocation of RUTF dollars to repair bridges

HF 2356 – Towing implements of husbandry in tandem

HF 2414 – Regulation of transportation network companies



SF 2248, as amended on the floor, is the Senate version of the Department of Transportation’s annual policy bill.


DIVISION I creates a new category of vehicle called an autocyle. The bill:

  • Defines autocycles as having two front wheels and one rear wheel, a steering wheel, one or more permanent seats that are not straddled, and foot pedals that control the brakes, acceleration and clutch.
  • Establishes a motor vehicle category for autocycles in the Iowa Code.
  • Under Iowa law, Autocycles:
    • Must be registered and display one license plate.
    • Must operate with two front headlamps.
    • Must be operated under a class C driver’s license.
    • Must adhere to lighting equipment requirements.
    • Must adhere to brake requirements for motor vehicles.
    • Must adhere to safety belt and child restraint requirements for motor vehicles.
    • Must be permitted to transport packages in the vehicle.


DIVISION II simplifies the process for out-of-state salvage vehicles to be titled in Iowa. The bill allows a repaired vehicle to obtain an Iowa title indicating it was previously titled as salvage in another state by surrendering the out-of-state salvage title and salvage theft exam certificate. Current law requires repaired vehicles with salvage title from another state to apply for and be issued an Iowa salvage title before applying for and being issued an Iowa title indicating prior salvage.


This division increases to $50 the fee for a salvage theft exam and makes it due when the exam is scheduled. Under current law, a $30 fee for a salvage theft exam is due upon completion of the exam. The increase in fee is necessary to ensure appropriate compensation to keep people in the business of conducting the exams.


DIVISION IV puts Iowa on equal footing with 37 other states by allowing vehicles of excessive size and weight to have a weight of 46,000 pounds on a single tandem axle of the truck tractor and 46,000 pounds on a single tandem axle of the trailer, as long as each axle of each tandem group has at least four tires. Current law limits the weight to 20,000 pounds per axle, or 40,000 pounds per tandem axle.


DIVISION V makes registration fees for aerial applicators fairer by prohibiting them from receiving a registration refund. Currently, nonresident owners of aerial applicators are prohibited from receiving a refund, but some are getting around the system by becoming Iowa residents for short periods of time and receiving a refund when they leave the state. This allows them to operate more cheaply than legitimate Iowans who are aerial applicators.

[3/9: 45-1 (Johnson “no”; Bertrand, Chelgren, Wilhelm, Zaun absent)]



HF 588, as amended in the Senate Transportation Committee, relates to the issuance of persons with disabilities removable windshield parking placards. Under current law, a person may apply for either a temporary placard valid for up to six months or a non-expiring placard. The bill eliminates the non-expiring placard and replaces it with a placard that expires after five years. A person may renew the placard within 30 days before or after the expiration date by submitting to the Department of Transportation a statement from a medical professional that the person has a continuing need for the placard. Current law provides that a removable windshield placard only be displayed when the vehicle is parked in a disabled parking space. The bill requires that when the placard is displayed, it be entirely visible through the windshield. The bill takes effect January 1, 2017, and applies to new placards issued on or after that date. Non-expiring placards issued before then are grandfathered in.

[3/9: 12-0 (Feenstra absent)]


HF 617, as amended in the Senate Transportation Committee, eliminates the current processes for creating special license plates and establishes a new process. Special license places currently in production will be grandfathered in. The Department of Transportation will issue special license plates with a space for a nonprofit organization decal designed, produced and issued by the organization, rather than the DOT. The DOT may establish criteria for decal designs.


The plates will be available without an additional special plate fee at the time of initial registration of a vehicle, and will be renewed annually upon payment of the vehicle’s annual registration fee. A $5 replacement fee will be charged if the plates are issued in exchange for regular or grandfathered-in special plates. The new plates can be personalized upon payment of personalized plate fees.


A qualifying organization must be a nonprofit corporation, whose primary activity or interest serves the community, contributes to the welfare of others and is not discriminatory. A group of organizations with a common purpose may also be approved to issue a decal. The organization must apply to the DOT for approval by submitting information about its nonprofit status, its proposed decal design, legal rights to use the design, an explanation of the decal, eligibility requirements to purchase the decal, and fees to be charge for the decal. If the DOT approves the application, the organization will produce, administer and issue the decal. The organization will retain the fees charged for the decal.


Pursuant to current law, a violation of license plate regulations is a simple misdemeanor punishable by a scheduled fine of $20. The bill takes effect January 1, 2017.

[3/9: 12-1 (Quirmbach “no”)]


HF 2345, as amended in the Senate Transportation Committee, requires county engineers to file annual reports with the Department of Transportation detailing how the counties used money from the Road Use Tax Fund to replace or repair structurally deficient bridges. Each report must include the number of fully functional county bridges, partially replaced or repaired county bridges, structurally deficient county bridges, and pending county bridge replacement or repair projects. DOT must compile the reports and submit the cumulative report electronically to the chairs of the Senate and House Transportation Committees and to the Legislative Services Agency. The report requirement sunsets after three years. [3/9: 13-0]


HF 2356 allows the towing of more than one implement of husbandry that is not self-propelled if the implements are capable of being towed in tandem.

[3/9: 13-0]


HF 2414creates a new chapter (321N) in the Iowa Code for regulation of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs), such as Uber and other online transportation networks.


Definitions: establishes definitions for new terms related to the TNC business, including digital network, personal vehicle, prearranged ride, transportation network company, transportation network company driver and transportation network company rider.


Sets standards for TNC drivers:

  • Clarifies that a TNC, a TNC driver or the vehicle used to provide rides is not a motor carrier, private carrier, charter carrier or common carrier, and is not subject to Code regulations governing them.
  • Drivers must submit an application to the company with name, address, age, and copies of their driver’s license, vehicle registration and proof of financial responsibility.
  • TNC must conduct a local and national criminal background check, and search national sex offender registry.
  • TNC must obtain and review a driving history research report on driver.
  • Drivers must not be convicted of 3 or more moving violations.
  • Drivers must not be convicted in the previous 3 years of operating without valid driver’s license or when disqualified; reckless driving; or driving while license suspended, denied, revoked or barred.
  • Drivers must not be convicted in the previous 7 years of a felony, operating while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, or any crime involving resisting law enforcement, dishonesty, injury to another person, damage to the property of another person, or operating a vehicle in a manner that endangers another person.
  • Drivers must not be on the national sex offender registry.
  • TNC must have zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy for drivers on the job, as well as provisions for investigating alleged violations and suspension of drivers under investigation.
  • Vehicles must comply with all applicable motor vehicle equipment requirements.


Establishes requirements for financial responsibility:

  • Insurance must acknowledge that driver uses vehicle to transport riders for compensation.
  • When a driver is logged on to the TNC network and is available, but not engaged in a prearranged ride: primary automobile liability coverage of at least $50,000K/$100,000/$25,000 for per person/per incident/property damage.
  • When the TNC driver is providing a prearranged ride: primary automobile liability coverage of at least $1,000,000 for death, bodily injury and property damage.
  • Coverage may be satisfied by TNC, driver or a combination of the two.
  • If there is a loan on the vehicle, insurance must include comp/collision coverage.
  • TNC insurance requirements are in addition to any other auto insurance the driver is required to have.
  • If a driver’s insurance lapses or does not provide the required coverage, TNC must provide coverage.
  • Coverage by TNC does not depend on a driver’s insurance first denying a claim.
  • Insurance must be provided by an insurer authorized to do business in Iowa.
  • Driver must carry proof of insurance coverage, and provide it in an accident.


Sets criteria for insurers:

  • Insurers may exclude coverage for injury or loss that occurs while a driver is logged onto a TNC network or providing a prearranged ride.
  • Insurers are not required to provide coverage to TNC drivers.
  • Insurers are not precluded from providing coverage to TNC drivers.
  • Insurers that defend a claim have the right of contribution against other insurers that cover the same driver.
  • Insurers and TNCs must cooperate to provide relevant information in an investigation, including when a driver was logged on and off the TNC network, and descriptions of coverage, exclusions and limits.
  • Insurance provisions are effective upon Insurance Commissioner approving the necessary products.


The bill was approved by the committee with the understanding that significant work will be done prior to Senate debate to address the remaining permitting, insurance and regulatory concerns of stakeholders.

[3/9: 13-0]

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