OOIDA defends truckers against Indiana overweight ‘assessments’

March 10, 2020

Mark Schremmer

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In defense of truck drivers who received letters informing them of penalties for overweight violations, OOIDA told the Indiana Department of Revenue that it is concerned the assessments are “improper, fundamentally unfair, and in some cases, unlawful.”

OOIDA members have reported receiving letters from the Indiana Department of Revenue to provide notice of “proposed assessments” related to alleged overweight violations noted during truck inspections. According to OOIDA, some of the incidents occurred months or even years ago.

The letter to truckers provides them with the options of either paying the proposed assessment, attempt to negotiate the amount of the penalty via email, or file a protest with the Indiana Department of Revenue.

On March 5, OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer wrote a letter to the Indiana Department of Revenue to question the assessments.

“Among our objections is that the delay between the purported offense and IDOR’s ‘proposed assessment’ is unfair and creates unnecessary complications in the driver’s or carrier’s maintenance of accurate books and records,” Spencer wrote. “The attachments that accompany IDOR’s letters are often unsigned, rendering the ‘proof’ presented by IDOR of insufficient evidentiary value to support the proposed assessment.”

Examples

OOIDA said all of the proposed assessments for penalties represent the maximum penalty permitted by law, demonstrating no consideration for the severity of the offense.

“In at least one case, there is no underlying citation whatsoever,” Spencer wrote. “In many cases, there is no acknowledgement by the driver that the vehicle was in fact overweight.”

The Association also informed the department of a case where the truck driver had been issued a permit. According to OOIDA, the IDOR refused to take the permit into consideration and refused a settlement offer of $500, which is the maximum penalty allowed when the driver commits a first offense.

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OOIDA also provided an example of a truck driver not being given the full 60 days to pay, settle, or protest the overweight assessment.

“If subjected to a court challenge, we believe that the overweight/oversize ‘proposed assessments’ currently being issued by Indiana would not pass constitutional muster and should be withdrawn,” Spencer wrote. “No fines should be issued and no tax should be assessed that are not proportional to the alleged offense, and there must be an offense to support any fine.”

More news about Indiana is available here.

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Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.