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Friday, July 20, 2012
Unfair Indemnification: Truckers Association Pleased by Passage of SB824
By Selected News Articles @ 10:53 PM :: 5424 Views :: Energy, Environment

Hawaii laws cover indemnification, 'move over' rule

by Keith Goble, Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, Land Line state legislative editor
Professional drivers contemplating packing up and moving their trucking operation to Hawaii no longer have to worry about an unfair clause in motor carrier contracts. Another new law addresses a road safety issue.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law a bill to end the practice of including indemnification clauses in trucking contracts. The clauses are set up to protect shippers or hold them harmless from anything that happens with a shipment.

Dexter Okada, the president of U. Okada and Company, Limited in Honolulu, HI, told lawmakers during testimony on the bill that indemnity clauses in contracts are unfair to truck drivers.

“It is not fair for me to hold my trucker responsible if there is something wrong with the product. … It would be totally wrong to hold my trucker liable for something that isn’t even remotely connected to him. Indemnification creates an unfair burden for the trucker,” Okada testified.

Hawaii is the 34th state to outlaw the provisions in contracts. Other states to adopt the protection this year include Alabama, Minnesota and South Dakota. A full list of states, and the laws, where protections are in place is available.

Previously SB824, Hawaii’s new law prohibits provisions in motor carrier contracts that provide for shippers to be indemnified for losses caused by their own negligence and make them “void and unenforceable.”

The new rule is now in effect.

Affected contracts are defined as “a contract or agreement” between a motor carrier and a shipper covering the transportation of property for hire by the motor carrier, entry on property to load, unload or transport property.

Also signed into law is a bill to end the Aloha State’s distinction as the lone holdout to mandate a commonsense rule of the road.

Effective immediately, HB2030 requires travelers to make way for emergency personnel during roadside stops.

According to AAA, 49 states have implemented similar safety zone rules. Hawaii is the last state to adopt a “move over” rule.

The bill gained support from lawmakers in response to two recent traffic fatalities in Honolulu involving police officers.

Drivers now are required to move into a lane away from emergency vehicles, including tow trucks, parked along roadsides with lights flashing. If unable to move over, drivers are required to reduce speed and maintain a safe distance.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Hawaii, click here.

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