2020 Georgia Code
Title 40 - Motor Vehicles and Traffic
Chapter 2 - Registration and Licensing of Motor Vehicles
Article 6A - Administration of Federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005
§ 40-2-140. Department of Public Safety to Administer Provisions; Registration, Insurance and Fee Requirements of Motor Carriers

Universal Citation: GA Code § 40-2-140 (2020)
  1. As used in this Code section, the term "commissioner" means the commissioner of public safety.
  2. The Department of Public Safety shall be the state agency responsible for the administration of the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005, which includes participating in the development, implementation, and administration of the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement.
  3. Every foreign or domestic motor carrier, leasing company leasing to a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder that engages in interstate commerce in this state shall register with the commissioner or a base state and pay all fees as required by the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005.
    1. Any intrastate motor carrier, leasing company leasing to a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder that engages in intrastate commerce and operates a motor vehicle on or over any public highway of this state shall register with the commissioner and pay a fee determined by the commissioner.
    2. No for-hire intrastate motor carrier shall be issued a registration unless there is filed with the commissioner a certificate of insurance for such applicant or holder, on forms prescribed by the commissioner, evidencing a policy of indemnity insurance by an insurance company licensed to do business in this state. Such policy shall provide for the protection of passengers in passenger vehicles and the protection of the public against the negligence of such for-hire intrastate motor carrier, and its servants or agents, when it is determined to be the proximate cause of any injury. The commissioner shall determine and fix the amounts of such indemnity insurance and shall prescribe the provisions and limitations thereof. The insurer shall file such certificate. Failure to file any form required by the commissioner shall not diminish the rights of any person to pursue an action directly against a for-hire intrastate motor carrier's insurer. The insurer may file its certificate of insurance electronically with the commissioner.
    3. The commissioner shall have the power to permit self-insurance in lieu of a policy of indemnity insurance whenever in his or her opinion the financial ability of the motor carrier so warrants.
    4. Any person having a cause of action, whether arising in tort or contract, under this Code section may join in the same cause of action the motor carrier and its insurance carrier.
  4. Before any intrastate motor carrier engaged in exempt passenger intrastate commerce shall operate any motor vehicle on or over any public highway of this state, the intrastate motor carrier shall register with the commissioner and pay a fee determined by the commissioner.
  5. Prior to the issuance of the initial registration to any intrastate motor carrier by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to subsection (d) or (e) of this Code section, that intrastate motor carrier shall furnish evidence to the Department of Public Safety that the intrastate motor carrier, through an authorized representative, has completed, within the preceding 12 months, an educational seminar on motor carrier operations and safety regulations that has been certified by the commissioner.
  6. In addition to any requirements under the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005, motor carriers required to have operating authority shall fulfill all applicable requirements for obtaining operating authority prior to any operation of a motor vehicle to which such requirements apply.
  7. The commissioner shall collect the fees imposed by this Code section and may establish rules and regulations and prescribe such forms as are necessary to administer this Code section and the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005. Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 40-2-131, the commissioner shall retain and utilize such fees for motor carrier safety programs and enforcement and administration of this article.
  8. The commissioner, and persons he or she designates pursuant to Chapter 2 of Title 35, shall have the authority to perform regulatory compliance inspections under the provisions of Article 5 of Chapter 2 of Title 35 for purposes of determining compliance with laws and regulations, the enforcement and administration of which is the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety.
  9. Every officer, agent, or employee of any corporation and every person who fails to comply with this article or who procures, aids, or abets therein, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor violations of this article may be prosecuted, handled, and disposed of in the manner provided for in Chapter 13 of this title.

(Code 1981, §40-2-140, enacted by Ga. L. 2009, p. 629, § 2/HB 57; Ga. L. 2011, p. 479, § 10.2/HB 112; Ga. L. 2013, p. 756, § 2/HB 255; Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 4-5/SB 100.)

Code Commission notes.

- Pursuant to Code Section 28-9-5, in 2013, "of" was inserted near the end of subsection (a).

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2015, p. 60, § 6-1/SB 100, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that: "Section 4-9 of Part IV of this Act shall become effective on January 1, 2016, and all other parts of this Act shall become effective on July 1, 2015, and shall apply to offenses which occur on or after that date."

Law reviews.

- For annual survey on insurance law, see 69 Mercer L. Rev. 117 (2017).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Preemption by federal law.

- Liability Risk Retention Act, 15 U.S.C. § 3901 et seq., preempted Georgia's motor carrier and insurance carrier direct action statutes, O.C.G.A. §§ 40-1-112(c) and40-2-140(d)(4), in regard to a risk retention group that was not chartered in Georgia, thus precluding injured passengers from bringing a direct action against the risk retention group. The court rejected the passengers' contention that the statutes were financial responsibility laws and not preempted under 15 U.S.C. § 3905. Reis v. OOIDA Risk Retention Group, Inc., 303 Ga. 659, 814 S.E.2d 338 (2018).

No repeal by implication.

- There was no repeal by implication of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140 by the Georgia Motor Carrier Act, O.C.G.A. § 40-1-50 et seq., because that statute was not even part of the Georgia Motor Carrier Act, § 40-2-140 et seq., as it was a distinct part of the code concerning administration of the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act; and the insurer did not show that the Georgia Motor Carrier Act covered the entire subject matter of compliance with that federal act. Daily Underwriters of America v. Williams, 354 Ga. App. 551, 841 S.E.2d 135 (2020).

Direct action against carrier's insurer.

- In a personal injury action arising out of an automobile accident, O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140 allowed the injured plaintiff to assert a direct action against a foreign motor carrier's insurer. Cameron v. Teeberry Logistics, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. May 21, 2013).

O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140(c)(4) permits a plaintiff having an action "under this Code section" to join a carrier's insurer, and "section" here is best understood as referring to § 40-2-140 as a whole. Cameron v. Teeberry Logistics, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. May 21, 2013).

In the absence of language stating otherwise, O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140(c)(4)'s reference to causes of action "under this Code section" must include not only causes of actions against insurers of carriers registered in Georgia, but also the insurers of those carriers that are traveling through Georgia but whose base state is a state other than Georgia. Cameron v. Teeberry Logistics, F. Supp. 2d (N.D. Ga. May 21, 2013).

In a suit arising from a motor vehicle accident, when an insurance company provided liability insurance coverage for a tractor-trailer unit, the insurance company was not entitled to summary judgment on the grounds that its admission of liability under its insurance contract removed it from the purview of the direct action statutes, because once the insurance company was joined under the direct action statutes, the insurance company had to remain in the case until final judgment or until it was later dismissed by the plaintiff or the court. McGill v. Am. Trucking & Transp., Ins. Co., 77 F. Supp. 3d 1261 (N.D. Ga. 2015).

Trial court properly denied the insurer's summary judgment motions claiming that the direct actions against the insurer were not authorized because, although it was apparent that the plain language of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-126 evinced the legislative intent that the direct action provision of O.C.G.A. § 40-1-112(c) did not apply to purely interstate commerce or to a carrier engaged exclusively in interstate commerce, and the tractor-trailer driver and the trucking company were engaged in an interstate trip at the time of the accident, the joinder of the insurer as a defendant was authorized by the direct action provision of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140(d)(4) as that statute indicated that injured parties were able to join the insurers of interstate motor carriers. Daily Underwriters of America v. Williams, 354 Ga. App. 551, 841 S.E.2d 135 (2020).

If state court lacked jurisdiction over declaratory issues, it should transfer to superior court.

- In an injured driver's action against a motor carrier and its insurer in a county's state court, in which the insurer filed a counterclaim and cross-claim for a declaratory judgment as to its duties and obligations under the insurance policy, if the state court determined that the court lacked jurisdiction over questions raised in the insurer's motion for summary judgment, it was error to deny summary judgment, and the state court should instead have transferred the action to the superior court pursuant to Ga. Unif. Transfer R. T-4. Nat'l Indem. Co. v. Lariscy, 352 Ga. App. 446, 835 S.E.2d 307 (2019).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Fingerprinting not required.

- Offense arising from a violation of O.C.G.A. § 40-2-140 does not, at this time, appear to be an offense for which fingerprinting is required; thus, this offense is not designated as one for which those charged are to be fingerprinted. 2010 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2010-2.

ARTICLE 7 MOTOR VEHICLE LICENSE FEES AND CLASSES

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

Purpose.

- Ga. L. 1937-38, Ex. Sess., p. 259 (see now O.C.G.A. Art. 7, Ch. 2, T. 40) is properly construed as an Act providing for the licensing and registration of motor buses, the fees charged and collected thereunder to be used primarily for the maintenance of the highways, and not as an Act to levy an occupational tax on motor bus corporations using the highways to raise revenue for general purposes. Georgia Power Co. v. Musgrove, 77 Ga. App. 880, 50 S.E.2d 118 (1948).

Scope and extent of Ga. L. 1937-38, Ex. Sess., p. 259 (see now O.C.G.A. Art. 7, Ch. 2, T. 40) shows a legislative intent to deal comprehensively with the registration and licensing of motor vehicles operated over the highways of this state. Its primary purpose seems to be the control and regulation of motor vehicles, and not the raising of revenue, although license and registration fees necessarily bring in revenue. Georgia Power Co. v. Musgrove, 77 Ga. App. 880, 50 S.E.2d 118 (1948).

Manifest purpose of Ga. L. 1937-38, Ex. Sess., p. 259 (see now O.C.G.A. Art. 7, Ch. 2, T. 40) is to require each motor vehicle capable of operating generally over the highways and roadways of this state to be registered and a license obtained for the vehicle's operation. Georgia Power Co. v. Musgrove, 77 Ga. App. 880, 50 S.E.2d 118 (1948).

While Ga. L. 1937-38, Ex. Sess., p. 259 (see now O.C.G.A. Art. 7, Ch. 2, T. 40) was entitled an amendatory Act, it did not purport to be merely cumulative or auxiliary to the former Act on the same subject, but it was a comprehensive Act covering the entire subject of the levying of annual license fees for the registration and licensing of the operation of motor vehicles and the Act was evidently intended by the legislature as a complete revision of and substitute for the former Acts insofar as the former Act dealt with fixing the annual license fees for the registration and licensing of the operation of motor vehicles. Georgia Power Co. v. Musgrove, 77 Ga. App. 880, 50 S.E.2d 118 (1948).

License fees not a tax against public property.

- License fee provided for in Ga. L. 1937-38, Ex. Sess., p. 259 (see now O.C.G.A. Art. 7, Ch. 2, T. 40) is nothing more than a license fee, and is not in essence a revenue-raising measure. Therefore, it does not amount to the levying of a tax against public property. Burkett v. State, 198 Ga. 747, 32 S.E.2d 797 (1945).

OPINIONS OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

Classification of a vehicle depends upon the vehicle's use, rather than the method by which the owner is compensated for use, or the ownership of the vehicle. 1954-56 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 484.

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 7A Am. Jur. 2d, Automobiles and Highway Traffic, §§ 53, 54, 56.

ALR.

- Tax on automobile or on its use for cost of road or street construction, improvement, or maintenance, 24 A.L.R. 937; 68 A.L.R. 200.

Constitutionality of retroactive statute imposing excise, license, or privilege tax, 146 A.L.R. 1011.

Deductibility of other taxes or fees in computing excise or license taxes, 148 A.L.R. 263; 174 A.L.R. 1263.

Municipality as subject to state license or excise taxes, 159 A.L.R. 365.

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