Driving and operating a motor vehicle are words describing a single activity subject to state regulation and police powers in the public interest. And that is getting behind the wheel of a car or truck used for commercial purposes. Tennessee businesses that make a profit on the public right of way are subject to driver licensing, insurance and registration rules that give the state power to protect the public interest.
By David Tulis / 92.7 NoogaRadio
However, noncommercial and private use of the roads for the exercise of constitutional and statutory rights, and for personal necessity, is not subject to regulation under Tenn. Code Ann. Title 55 nor its federal guideline at U.S.C Title 49, according to transportation administrative notice, which has been submitted to City of Chattanooga, City of East Ridge, City of Dayton and Hamilton County sheriff’s department (Jim Hammond).
Recent news coverage highlights the role of transportation, whether under state or corporate control, and some attendant perils.
➤ Two police officers are killed in June 2017 while transporting inmates in Putnam County, Ga. Ricky DuBose and Donnie Rowe were described as “dangerous beyond description” while they eluded authorities and committed a crime spree seeking sustenance on the run. Mr. DuBose told an FBI agent, according to one report, ”that he fired multiple shots into the bodies of Sgt. [Curtis] Billue, who was driving the prison transport bus at the time of the escape, and Sgt. [Chris] Monica, who was sitting in a front passenger seat.” Both officers had been assigned to the transportation department and worked out of Baldwin State Prison in Milledgeville, Ga. State transportation as well as corporate is subject to statutory requirements for drivers and operators. (Billy Hobbs “Dubose admits killing correctional officers on ‘spur of moment,” The Union-Recorder, June 13, 2018)
➤ A local business donated more than $10,000 to support families of tow truck operators who are killed in the line of duty. Miller Industries Towing Equipment Inc. donated the proceeds to the Wall of the Fallen Survivor Fund, which helps to support the families of towers who are killed in the line of duty. An operator is a person hired to drive or operate a vehicle in a commercial operation. http://nooga.com/217381/local-business-donates-10000-to-support-families-of-fallen-tow-truck-operators/
➤ Transportation is big business and the focus of the best in American genius for management, efficiency and systems. Chattanooga is home to two major shippers, U.S. Xpress and Covenant Transport. “Trucking company U.S. Xpress USX -0.36% Enterprises Inc. went public again after more than a decade, its lower-than-expected offering price suggesting investor caution that freight demand could soon run out of steam,” says the Wall Street Journal. “The Chattanooga, Tenn.-based company raised $289 million, selling more than 18 million shares at $16 apiece at its initial public offering. Its target price range was $18 to $20, according to a regulatory filing. U.S. Xpress shares closed higher at $16.68 per share on Thursday, the company’s first day of trading. *** Over the past five years, the carrier has focused on improving profitability, replacing dozens of top managers and selling off some units outside its core truckload business.”
Capitalist and for-profit use of the roads is regulable in the public interest, subject to state and federal police powers through Tenn. Code Ann. Title 55 and U.S. Code Title 49.
➤ Sometimes press accounts mislead on the legalities of the use of the road. The chattanoogan.com story about the arrest of Jeff Styles in the road rage incident calls him a driver and the men who fired the pistol also a driver. Reporting indicates both have driver’s licenses, and so are drivers legally. But they are no doubt private users only, mistakenly having entered into an equitable relationship with the state through the licensing apparatus of the department of safety and homeland security.
➤ Chattanooga is home to several companies in the logistics business, supporting the transportation sector. “‘If you think about the economy, supply chain is at the center of the economy, and transportation is essentially the supply chain. And we’re at the center of all of that.’ Santosh Sankar, co-founder and director of logistics and supply-chain focused venture capital fund Dynamo, is bullish on their hometown city Chattanooga’s geographic vantage for becoming a logistics technology hub.” (Holly Beilin, “How the Country’s Only Logistics Tech VC Firm Is Attracting Startups From All Over to Chattanooga,” Hypopotamus.com, May 30, 2018. https://hypepotamus.com/companies/dynamo-vc/)
➤ The moving industry also are subject to regulation because movers such as Bellhops prosper on the use of the people’s infrastructure asset, the roadways. Bellhops as expanded to more than 20 cities in the Southeast and Midwest and in 2017 brought on as CEO Luke Marklin, the former Atlanta general manager of Uber, whose field is also subject to regulation in the public interest.
➤ The local company WorkHound “works with more than 10,000 drivers across 25 carriers that range from small outfits to large publicly traded firms, according to CEO Max Farrell.” The company is noted for an app that helps trucking companies keep drivers happy. “Fifty truck drivers who were considering leaving their carrier decided to stay after using an anonymous smartphone-based system designed to improve communication between staff and management.” (“Marten Turns to WorkHound for Driver Feedback,” Transport Topics, May 31, 2018)