TITLE 43. TRANSPORTATION

PART 1. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

CHAPTER 9. CONTRACT AND GRANT MANAGEMENT

SUBCHAPTER C. CONTRACTING FOR ARCHITECTURAL, ENGINEERING, AND SURVEYING SERVICES

43 TAC §9.32

The Texas Department of Transportation (department) adopts amendments to §9.32, concerning Selection Processes, Contract Types, Selection Types, and Projected Contracts. The amendments to §9.32 are adopted without changes to the proposed text as published in the August 11, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 3956) and will not be republished.

EXPLANATION OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS

Updates to the rules related to indefinite deliverable contracts are necessary for more effective management of contracting resources. The amendments increase the limit on the period of time that initial work authorizations may be issued and it streamlines the process by eliminating a step that was required when additional time was needed.

Amendments to §9.32(b)(1)(B) increases the period in which an initial work authorization may be issued from two to three years. This amendment allows the department additional time to issue new work, which facilitates better management of contracting resources. With the term of the indefinite deliverable contract limited to five years, this provides sufficient time to initiate and complete work within the term of the contract and provides the department with additional flexibility for planning and procuring replacement contracts.

The amendment to §9.32(b)(1)(C) clarifies that the term of the contract is not limited to the same period as the initial period in which a work authorization may be issued. The date may vary depending on the needs of the department. Should the contract term be less than five years, the contract term may be amended by supplemental agreement, but may not extend more than five years beyond the execution date.

COMMENTS

No comments on the proposed amendments were received.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under Transportation Code, §201.101, which provides the Texas Transportation Commission with the authority to establish rules for the conduct of the work of the department.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Government Code, Chapter 2254, Subchapter A and Transportation Code, §223.041.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 26, 2017.

TRD-201704338

Joanne Wright

Deputy General Counsel

Texas Department of Transportation

Effective date: November 15, 2017

Proposal publication date: August 11, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 463-8630


PART 10. TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF MOTOR VEHICLES

CHAPTER 217. VEHICLE TITLES AND REGISTRATION

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (department) adopts amendments to Chapter 217, Vehicle Titles and Registration, Subchapter A, Motor Vehicle Titles, §217.3, Motor Vehicle Titles, and §217.4, Initial Application for Title; and Subchapter D, Non-repairable and Salvage Motor Vehicles, §217.82, Definitions, and §217.84, Application for Non-repairable or Salvage Vehicle Title. Sections 217.4, 217.82, and 217.84 are adopted without changes to the proposed text as published in the September 8, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 4596). These rules will not be republished. Section 217.3 is adopted with changes to published text and will be republished.

EXPLANATION OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS

Amendments to §217.3 update the maximum width and length for a travel trailer as authorized by Senate Bill (SB) 2076, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which was effective September 1, 2017. An amendment also clarifies that if a trailer or semitrailer having a gross weight of 4,000 pounds or less has been titled previously, it must be titled by any subsequent owner.

Proposed amendments to §217.3(4)(C)(i) updated the maximum width and length for manufactured homes, which are defined in Occupations Code, §1201.003(12). This proposed amendment is incorrect and in conflict with the statute. On further review, clause (i) is unnecessary and inconsistent with the purpose of the subparagraph. As such, this amendment will be adopted with changes by deleting §217.3(4)(C)(i) and re-numbering the succeeding clauses. This amendment makes no substantive changes.

Amendments to §217.4 implement a portion of SB 2076 regarding place of application for title when motor vehicle ownership is transferred and the county tax assessor-collector's office of the county in which the owner resides is closed or may be closed for a protracted period of time as defined by the department.

Amendments to §217.82(13) define a nonrepairable motor vehicle by reference to the statutory definition.

Amendments to §217.84(b)(2) implement a portion of SB 2076 regarding the description of a motor vehicle included in an application for a nonrepairable or salvage vehicle title. Amendments to §217.84(b) also delete the paragraph (7) language because the information is no longer necessary in an application for a nonrepairable or salvage vehicle title and renumber the remaining paragraphs accordingly.

Other amendments update the references to "nonrepairable" motor vehicles to be consistent with statute by deleting the unnecessary hyphen.

COMMENTS

No comments on the proposed amendments were received.

SUBCHAPTER A. MOTOR VEHICLE TITLES

43 TAC §217.3, §217.4

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under Transportation Code, §1002.001, which provides the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles with the authority to adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and the duties of the department under the Transportation Code; and more specifically, Transportation Code, §501.0041, which provides the department may adopt rules to administer Transportation Code, Chapter 501, Certificate of Title Act.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Transportation Code, Chapters 501 and 502.

§217.3.Motor Vehicle Titles.

Unless otherwise exempted by law or this chapter, the owner of any motor vehicle that is required to be registered in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 502, shall apply for a Texas title in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 501.

(1) Motorcycles, motor-driven cycles, autocycles, and mopeds.

(A) The title requirements of a motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, autocycle, and moped are the same requirements prescribed for any motor vehicle.

(B) A vehicle that meets the criteria for a moped and has been certified as a moped by the Department of Public Safety will be registered and titled as a moped. If the vehicle does not appear on the list of certified mopeds published by that agency, the vehicle will be treated as a motorcycle for title and registration purposes.

(2) Farm vehicles.

(A) The term "motor vehicle" does not apply to implements of husbandry, which may not be titled.

(B) Farm tractors owned by agencies exempt from registration fees in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.453, are required to be titled and registered with "Exempt" license plates issued in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.451.

(C) Farm tractors used as road tractors to mow rights of way or used to move commodities over the highway for hire are required to be registered and titled.

(D) Farm semitrailers with a gross weight of more than 4,000 pounds that are registered in accordance with Transportation Code, §502.146, may be issued a Texas title.

(3) Neighborhood electric vehicles. The title requirements of a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) are the same requirements prescribed for any motor vehicle.

(4) Trailers, semitrailers, and house trailers. Owners of trailers and semitrailers shall apply for and receive a Texas title for any stand alone (full) trailer, including homemade or shopmade full trailers, or any semitrailer having a gross weight in excess of 4,000 pounds. Owners of trailers and semitrailers having a gross weight of 4,000 pounds or less may apply for and receive a Texas title. If a trailer or semitrailer having a gross weight of 4,000 pounds or less has been titled previously, any subsequent owner shall apply for a Texas title for the trailer or semitrailer. House trailer-type vehicles must meet the criteria outlined in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph to be titled.

(A) The rated carrying capacity will not be less than one-third of its empty weight.

(B) Mobile office trailers, mobile oil field laboratories, and mobile oil field bunkhouses are not designed as dwellings, but are classified as commercial semitrailers and must be registered and titled as commercial semitrailers if operated on the public streets and highways.

(C) House trailer-type vehicles and camper trailers must meet the following criteria in order to be titled.

(i) A house trailer-type vehicle that is less than eight feet six inches in width or less than 45 feet in length is classified as a travel trailer and shall be registered and titled.

(ii) A camper trailer shall be titled as a house trailer and shall be registered with travel trailer license plates.

(iii) A recreational park model type trailer that is primarily designed as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping or seasonal use, is built on a single chassis, and is 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projection when in the set up mode shall be titled as a house trailer and may be issued travel trailer license plates.

(5) Assembled vehicles.

(A) An assembled vehicle is a vehicle assembled from the three basic component parts (motor, frame, and body), except that a motorcycle must have a frame and motor, and a trailer or travel trailer will have no motor, and that is:

(i) assembled from new or used materials and parts by someone not regulated as a motor vehicle manufacturer;

(ii) altered or modified to the extent that it no longer reflects the original manufacturer's configuration; or

(iii) assembled from a kit even if a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin or Manufacturer's Statement of Origin is provided.

(B) A newly assembled vehicle, for which a title has never been issued in this jurisdiction or any other, may be titled if:

(i) it is assembled and completed with a body, motor, and frame, except that a motorcycle must have a frame and motor, and a trailer or travel trailer will have no motor;

(ii) it is not created from different vehicle classes, (as established by the Federal Highway Administration, except as provided by subparagraph (C) of this paragraph), that were never engineered or manufactured to be combined with one another;

(iii) it has all safety components required by federal law during the year of assembly, unless the vehicle qualifies and is registered as a custom vehicle or street rod in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.501;

(iv) it is not a vehicle described by paragraph (6) of this section;

(v) for a vehicle assembled with a body, motor, and frame, the applicant provides proof, on a form prescribed by the department, of a safety inspection performed by an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) technician with valid certification as a Certified Master Automobile and Light Truck Technician, certifying that the vehicle:

(I) is structurally stable;

(II) meets the necessary conditions to be operated safely on the roadway; and

(III) is equipped and operational with all equipment required by statute or rule as a condition of sale during the year the vehicle was assembled unless it is being inspected pursuant to Subchapter G of this chapter;

(vi) for a vehicle assembled with a body, motor, and frame, the applicant submits a copy of the Certified Master Automobile and Light Truck Technician's ASE certification;

(vii) the applicant submits a Rebuilt Vehicle Statement; and

(viii) the applicant submits the following to establish the vehicle's vehicle identification number:

(I) an Application for Assigned or Reassigned Number, and Notice of Assigned Number or Installation of Reassigned Vehicle Identification Number, on forms prescribed by the department; or

(II) acceptable proof, as established by the department, of a vehicle identification number assigned by the manufacturer of the component part by which the vehicle will be identified.

(C) Component parts from the following vehicle classes may be interchanged with one another or used in the creation of an assembled vehicle:

(i) 2-axle, 4-tire passenger cars;

(ii) 2-axle, 4 tire pickups, panels and vans;

(iii) 6-tire dually pickups, of which the rear tires are dual tires.

(D) The ASE inspection for a newly assembled vehicle required under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph is in addition to the inspection required by Transportation Code, Chapter 548, except a vehicle that qualifies and is registered as a custom vehicle or street rod in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.501, is exempt from the inspection required under Transportation Code, Chapter 548, for the duration the vehicle is registered as such.

(E) An assembled vehicle which has previously been titled and/or registered in this or any other jurisdiction is subject to subparagraph (B)(i) - (iv) of this paragraph, but is not subject to subparagraph (B)(v) - (viii); however, it is subject to the inspection required by Transportation Code, Chapter 548, except a vehicle that qualifies and is registered as a custom vehicle or street rod in accordance with Transportation Code, §504.501.

(F) An assembled vehicle will be titled using the year it was assembled as the model year and "ASSEMBLED" or "ASVE" as the make of the vehicle unless the body of the vehicle is established to the department's satisfaction to be an original body from a particular year and make. An assembled vehicle utilizing an original body may be titled by the year and the make of the original body but must reflect a "RECONSTRUCTED" remark. An assembled vehicle not utilizing an original body may obtain a title with a "REPLICA" remark featuring the year and make of the replica if the vehicle resembles a prior model year vehicle. This subparagraph applies regardless of how the vehicle's model year or make was previously identified in this or any other jurisdiction.

(6) Not Eligible for Title. The following are not eligible for a Texas title regardless of the vehicle's previous title and/or registration in this or any other jurisdiction:

(A) vehicles that are missing or are stripped of their motor, frame, or body, to the extent that it materially alters the manufacturer's original design or makes the vehicle unsafe for on-road operation as determined by the department;

(B)vehicles designed or determined by the department to be a dune buggy;

(C) vehicles designed or determined by the department to be for on-track racing, unless such vehicles meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for on-road use and are reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration;

(D) vehicles designed or determined by the department to be for off-road use only, unless specifically defined as a "motor vehicle" in Transportation Code, Chapter 501; or

(E) vehicles assembled, built, constructed, rebuilt, or reconstructed in any manner with:

(i) a body or frame from a vehicle which is a "nonrepairable motor vehicle" as that term is defined in Transportation Code, §501.091(9); or

(ii) a motor or engine from a vehicle which is flood damaged, water damaged, or any other term which may reasonably establish the vehicle from which the motor or engine was obtained is a loss due to a water related event.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 25, 2017.

TRD-201704326

David D. Duncan

General Counsel

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Effective date: November 14, 2017

Proposal publication date: September 8, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 465-5665


SUBCHAPTER D. NONREPAIRABLE AND SALVAGE MOTOR VEHICLES

43 TAC §217.82, §217.84

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under Transportation Code, §1002.001, which provides the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles with the authority to adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and the duties of the department under the Transportation Code; and more specifically, Transportation Code, §501.0041, which provides the department may adopt rules to administer Transportation Code, Chapter 501, Certificate of Title Act.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Transportation Code, Chapters 501 and 502.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 25, 2017.

TRD-201704327

David. D. Duncan

General Counsel

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Effective date: November 14, 2017

Proposal publication date: September 8, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 465-5665


CHAPTER 217. VEHICLE TITLES AND REGISTRATION

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (department) adopts amendments to Chapter 217, Vehicle Titles and Registration, Subchapter B, Motor Vehicle Registration, §217.45, Specialty License Plates, Symbols, Tabs, and Other Devices; and Subchapter I, Fees, §217.182, Registration Transaction, without changes in the proposed text as published in the September 8, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 4603). The rules will not be republished.

EXPLANATION OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS

Amendments to §217.45 and §217.182 implement House Bill 561, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which added Transportation Code, §551.452, License Plates for Package Delivery Vehicles, authorizing the department to issue a license plate for a vehicle operated by a motor carrier for the purpose of picking up and delivering mail, parcels, and packages.

The amendments add "Package Delivery" to §217.45(c)(3)(B) to the list of vehicles that are issued one plate.

The amendments add §217.45(k), package delivery vehicle, to establish the procedure and requirements to issue a "Package Delivery" license plate. The amendments include a department fee of $25 for each plate issued.

The amendments add §217.182(6) to include issuance of a package delivery plate to the list of transactions defined as a registration transaction for purposes of the processing and handling fee.

COMMENTS

No comments on the proposed amendments were received.

SUBCHAPTER B. MOTOR VEHICLE REGISTRATION

43 TAC §217.45

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under Transportation Code, §1002.001, which provides the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles with the authority to adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and the duties of the department under the Transportation Code; and more specifically, Transportation Code, §504.0011, which authorizes the board to adopt rules to implement and administer Transportation Code, Chapter 504; and Transportation Code, §551.452(b), which requires the department by rule to establish a procedure to issue license plates to be used only for operation in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 551, Subchapter G, Package Delivery Vehicles. The amendment to §217.182 is authorized by Transportation Code, §502.1911, which directs the department to collect a fee to cover the expenses of collecting registration fees for issuance of a license plate.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Transportation Code, Chapters 502, 551, and 663, and §643.001.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 25, 2017.

TRD-201704328

David D. Duncan

General Counsel

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Effective date: November 14, 2017

Proposal publication date: September 8, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 465-5665


SUBCHAPTER I. FEES

43 TAC §217.182

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under Transportation Code, §1002.001, which provides the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles with the authority to adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and the duties of the department under the Transportation Code; and more specifically, Transportation Code, §504.0011, which authorizes the board to adopt rules to implement and administer Transportation Code, Chapter 504; and Transportation Code, §551.452(b), which requires the department by rule to establish a procedure to issue license plates to be used only for operation in accordance with Transportation Code, Chapter 551, Subchapter G, Package Delivery Vehicles. The amendment to §217.182 is authorized by Transportation Code, §502.1911, which directs the department to collect a fee to cover the expenses of collecting registration fees for issuance of a license plate.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Transportation Code, Chapters 502, 551, and 663, and §643.001.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 25, 2017.

TRD-201704329

David D. Duncan

General Counsel

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Effective date: November 14, 2017

Proposal publication date: September 8, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 465-5665


CHAPTER 217. VEHICLE TITLES AND REGISTRATION

SUBCHAPTER G. INSPECTIONS

43 TAC §§217.141 - 217.144

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (department) adopts amendments to Chapter 217, Vehicle Titles and Registration, Subchapter G, Inspections, §217.141,Purpose and Scope; §217.142, Definitions; and §217.143, Inspection Requirements. The department also adopts new §217.144, Identification Number Inspection. Section 217.142 and §217.143 are adopted without changes to the proposed text as published in the July 21, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 3633). These rules will not be republished. Section 217.141 is adopted with changes to clarify the purpose and scope; and §217.144 is adopted with changes to correct the citation to Transportation Code, §501.0321, which defines the educational requirements for a person to perform inspections under §501.032. These rules will be republished.

EXPLANATION OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS AND NEW SECTION

Amendments to §217.141 broaden the purpose and scope of the subchapter, clarifying that it prescribes not only the policies and procedures related to inspection of street rods and custom vehicles, but also to accurately confirm the identity of any motor vehicle; and clarify the department approved training programs which if successfully completed qualify a person to conduct identification number inspections.

Amendments to §217.142 add a definition for "altered from the manufacturer's original design," and clarify the definitions of "custom vehicle" and "street rod" by referring to the statutory definitions in Transportation Code, §504.501. The amendments also result in a renumbering of the definitions.

Amendments to §217.143 change the section name to "Custom Vehicle and Street Rod Inspection Requirements" to clarify that this section pertains only to the inspection requirements for those types of vehicles. The amendments also clarify language pertaining to when a specific piece of equipment may be required on a custom vehicle or street rod.

New §217.144, Identification Number Inspection, implements a portion of Senate Bill 2076, 85th Legislature, Regular Session, 2017, which added Transportation Code, §501.0321, Identification Number Inspection. Section 501.0321(c) specifies that an inspection under the section may be performed only by a person who has successfully completed an appropriate training program as determined by department rule and who is one of the listed categories of persons authorized to conduct such inspections. The purpose of this new section is to ensure properly trained auto theft investigators currently authorized to conduct identification number inspections are able to continue doing so and identify the training available to individuals authorized to conduct identification number inspections in Senate Bill 2076. Section 217.144 specifies that a person is qualified to perform an identification number inspection if the person has completed (1) Intermediate or Advanced Motor Vehicle Burglary and Theft Investigator Training provided by the Texas Auto Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority; (2) Auto Theft School (Parts 1 and 2) provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety; or (3) the Auto Theft Course provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

SB 2076 also created an alternative identification number inspection to be established by department rule. The department intends to work with stakeholders to establish this process and identify transactions subject to this inspection type prior to proposing a new rule.

COMMENTS

The department received comments from W. (Bill) Smith, Chief, Special Investigations Unit, Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar Office, Harris County; Doug Clements, Commander, South Plains Auto Theft Task Force; Stan Davis; Fred Lohmann, National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB); Ricardo Porras, Jr., Auto Theft Task Force, Program Director/Unit Commander, El Paso Police Department; Scott Ellis, DPS-CID (Legacy MVTS); and Ismael Gomez, Auto Theft Unit, Reserve Investigator, San Patricio County Sheriff's Office.

COMMENTS: Several commenters expressed concerns that the department's proposed rule §217.144 allows inexperienced non-law enforcement employees and/or department personnel to perform VIN inspections pursuant to §501.032, Transportation Code. The commenters believe that only experienced auto theft investigator taskforce members, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and NICB agents are qualified to conduct the VIN inspections, and therefore, the department by rule should not expand the types of persons who may conduct VIN inspections.

RESPONSE: The department agrees with the commenters that only properly trained individuals should be authorized to conduct VIN inspections. However, no changes have been made to the rule since the rule does not expand who is authorized to conduct VIN inspections. In enacting SB 2076, 85th Texas Legislature, Regular Session, the Texas Legislature amended Chapter 501, Transportation Code, by adding new §501.0321(c)(1-4) which sets forth the persons who the Legislature believes, if qualified, may perform the VIN inspections pursuant to §501.032, Transportation Code.

In subsection §501.0321(c), the Legislature provided that an inspection under this section may be performed only by a person who has successfully completed an appropriate training program as determined by department rule. Those persons who successfully complete one of the appropriate training programs would be considered as qualified to conduct VIN inspections in Texas.

Thus, in furtherance of §501.0321(c), the department's sole purpose in proposing new rule §217.144 is to establish the appropriate training programs contemplated by statute. The new statute, not the department's proposed new rule, sets forth those persons who, if qualified, may conduct VIN inspections.

It is not the department's intent to erode the integrity of current VIN inspection processes, and the language of the proposed rule will not affect that existing system. Currently, the department does not have commissioned auto theft investigators, nor are there plans to provide training for department employees to conduct VIN inspections at this time. The department appreciates the concerns expressed by its law enforcement stakeholders. The department will continue to work with all stakeholders before expanding training to ensure that those persons contemplated under the statute are appropriately trained and that proper safeguards are in place to maintain the integrity of VIN inspections in Texas.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments and new section are adopted under Transportation Code, §1002.001, which provides the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles with the authority to adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and the duties of the department; and more specifically, Transportation Code, §501.0321.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Transportation Code, §§501.030, 501.032, 501.0322, and 501.033.

§217.141.Purpose and Scope.

This subchapter prescribes the policies and procedures necessary to protect the public by requiring inspection of street rods and custom vehicles, accurately identify the identity of a motor vehicle, and provides department approved training programs which if successfully completed qualify a person to conduct vehicle identification number inspections.

§217.144.Identification Number Inspection.

In addition to any other requirement specified by Transportation Code, §501.0321, a person is qualified to perform an inspection under §501.0321, Transportation Code, if that person has completed one of the following training programs:

(1) Intermediate or Advanced Motor Vehicle Burglary and Theft Investigator Training provided by the Texas Automobile Burglary and Theft Prevention Authority;

(2) Auto Theft School (Parts 1 and 2) provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety; or

(3) Auto Theft Course provided by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 25, 2017.

TRD-201704330

David D. Duncan

General Counsel

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Effective date: November 14, 2017

Proposal publication date: July 21, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 465-5665


CHAPTER 218. MOTOR CARRIERS

SUBCHAPTER E. CONSUMER PROTECTION

43 TAC §218.61

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (department) adopts amendments to Chapter 218, Motor Carriers, Subchapter E, Consumer Protection, §218.61, Claims, without changes to the proposed text as published in the June 23, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 3262). The rule will not be republished.

EXPLANATION OF ADOPTED AMENDMENTS

Amendments to §218.61 increase the protection for consumers and modify the language for consistency and clarity.

An amendment eliminates one of the two exceptions to the requirement for a household goods carrier to issue an acknowledgment letter to its consumer who files a claim. The acknowledgment letter includes important information to educate the consumer about the consumer's rights, the department's toll-free consumer helpline, the claims process, and deadlines regarding the claims process. The current exceptions to the requirement for the household goods carrier to issue the acknowledgment letter within 20 days after receipt of a claim are: 1) the claim has been resolved; and 2) the household goods carrier has initiated communication with the claimant regarding the claim. An amendment eliminates the exception for initiating communication. What constitutes "initiating communication" is often difficult to define and does not ensure that the consumer receives necessary information to protect the consumer's rights. For example, if the household goods carrier "initiates communication" by leaving a voice mail that says it called about the claim, this action provides no protection for the consumer and should not excuse providing the acknowledgment letter to the consumer.

COMMENT

The department received one comment from the Southwest Movers Association, stating that any amendments to §218.61 should have input from the Household Goods Rules Advisory Committee before moving forward.

RESPONSE TO COMMENT

Transportation Code, §643.155 states the Household Goods Rules Advisory Committee shall examine the rules adopted by the department under Transportation Code, §643.153(a) and (b) to make recommendations on modernizing and streamlining the rules. The proposed amendments to §218.61 primarily deal with the issue of consumer protection. Also, the department spoke to the executive director of the Southwest Movers Association about the amendments to §218.61, which the association was able to discuss at a recent meeting held by the association.

STATUTORY AUTHORITY

The amendments are adopted under Transportation Code, §1002.001, which provides the board of the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles with the authority to adopt rules that are necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and the duties of the department under the Transportation Code; Transportation Code, §643.003, which authorizes the department to adopt rules to administer Transportation Code, Chapter 643; and more specifically, Transportation Code, §643.153(a), which requires the department to adopt rules to protect a consumer using the service of a motor carrier who is transporting household goods for compensation.

CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE

Transportation Code, Chapter 643.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on October 25, 2017.

TRD-201704331

David D. Duncan

General Counsel

Texas Department of Motor Vehicles

Effective date: November 14, 2017

Proposal publication date: June 23, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 465-5665