Recent efforts by the Truck Renting & Leasing Assn. (TRALA) to help eliminate drayage truck registry (DTR) stickers currently required by the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey (PANYNJ) is part of a larger effort by the leasing lobby to vastly reduce the number of stickers that can be slapped on commercial vehicles nationwide.

“For years, we’ve been trying to cut down on the number of stickers required to be placed on trucks,” Tom James, TRALA executive director, told Fleet Owner. “It just gets unwieldy when every state, port authority and locality mandates the use of certain stickers – and the Federal government agrees with our position, as Congress crafted legislation addressing this very point.”

TRALA submitted comments earlier this week to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in support of a petition filed by the New Jersey Motor Truck Association (NJMTA) to rule that the PANYNJ’s “sticker display” requirement is preempted by federal law and should not be allowed.

James noted that since October 1st of last year, the port authority had been requiring trucks entering marine terminal facilities to display a sticker showing compliance with its new DTR program – and that trucks not displaying the stickers were denied entrance to those terminals.

In response to an earlier NJMTA petition, the PANYNJ amended their requirements to say that displaying the sticker was solely a voluntary way of demonstrating compliance with the DTR and trucks that did not display a sticker would not be turned away. Despite this development, FMCSA still sought comments on whether or not this particular “sticker display” rule is preempted by federal law.

TRALA’s James pointed to Section 4306 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) that specifically prohibits states from requiring carriers to display in or on their trucks any form of identification other than those required by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Though some exceptions are provided, both TRALA and NJMTA believe that the PANYNJ rule is not one of them. And James stressed that TRALA’s opposition to such “sticker rules” does not necessarily mean the group opposes the many fees and taxes often associated with stickers. It just doesn’t believe the business of moving freight should be impeded simply because a truck lacks a locally mandated sticker.

“The reason we’re fighting this – and other ‘sticker rules’ like it – comes down to precedent,” he noted. “If PANYNJ is allowed to put this sticker requirement in place, there is no limit on the number of stickers that trucks could be required to display to satisfy similar requirements in ports, rail yards, and other locations across the country.”