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K is for Kilo, King…and Intrastate?

LOL. LMAO. TTFN. IKR. Long before kids started texting as their primary form of communication using acronyms meant to befuddle their parents, police officers were already doing it. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, law enforcement began instant messaging in their squads from car-to-car using primitive mobile data terminals. It was there many officers learned that “K” was short speak for “okay”. The letter “K” discussed in this article has absolutely nothing to with that though. This “K” is about a seldom used restriction about to be placed on 123,000 Illinois CDLs, effective May 21st, 2014. Throughout the calendar years of 2012 and 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Illinois Secretary of State, trucking associations and law enforcement alike did everything in their power to get the word out about the CDL medical merge process. Thankfully, only 5% of Illinois CDL holders had their CDLs cancelled on January 31st, 2014 for failure to certify. Every CDL holder in America had to make a choice prior to January 30th, 2014. Were they interstate or intrastate drivers? Each of those two designations had two subcategories, those who were excepted from possessing a medical examiners certificate, and those who were not. Under the Federal law, those who certified as non-excepted interstate, or “NI”, were required to show a valid medical certificate to their state licensing agency. Many drivers who were indeed “NI” did just that and presented their medical certificate. However, many drivers who should have certified as “NI” did not. Why? Maybe because they did not have a medical certificate or could not pass the physical exam. Maybe they did not understand the four designations. Or maybe they listened to their expert truck driver friend at the local bar who told them not to. The possibilities are endless. These drivers instead certified as one of the intrastate exemptions, either “EA” or “NA”. While many drivers who are truly intrastate drivers certified correctly, there is no doubt there were many interstate drivers just trying to buy some time. The bell now tolls for those who incorrectly certified as intrastate, purposefully or not. Effective May 21st, 2014, all states are required to notate as a restriction on each CDL of those who claimed “NA” or “EA”. Illinois will be notating this restriction with the letter “K”. Other states will have their own version, but the restriction will be listed on the either the actual plastic license or the CDL hit through NLETS. Enforcement of this restriction is a whole ‘nother issue though. The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association will soon be releasing a Standard of Practice addressing proper enforcement of this restriction. Until this time, it was relayed to Illinois law enforcement that any out-of-state CDL holder operating a commercial motor vehicle, requiring a CDL, with an “intrastate only” restriction should be enforced under the misdemeanor statute of “No CDL When Required”, 625 ILCS 5/6-507(a).  After much discussion with state regulatory agencies and the trucking associations, it was decided the best practice was for all Illinois law enforcement to cite out-of-state drivers under the petty offense of the “Violation of Restriction” statute, 625 ILCS 5/6-113(e). The reality is many states are struggling with application of the medical merge law as far as reporting and documentation of driver certifications. To enforce a strict misdemeanor offense on drivers involved in interstate commerce while there is still such confusion is unreasonable. After May 21st, the Illinois Secretary of State will begin placing the “K” restriction on all Illinois CDL holders who certified as “EA” or “NA”. The restriction will appear on the LEADS/NLETS hit when police officers run the status of the CDL, and this response takes precedence over what is on the actual CDL. However, the actual “K” will not be placed on the plastic CDLs until such a time that the driver is required to report to the SOS to replace a license, upgrade, change address, renew, retest, etc. If a local Illinois police officer should stop an Illinois CDL holder operating in Illinois with a “K” restriction, it is greatly discouraged that any enforcement action be taken, even under the Violation of Restriction section. Determining whether or not a load (not the truck or the carrier) is involved in an interstate operation is complex and requires special training…there’s more than meets the eye than just a bill of lading. This type of enforcement encroaches on federal motor carrier authority reserved only for the Illinois State Police. K? K.

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