Truck Drivers Charged With Transporting Hazardous Material Inside 270The law firm of Harris and Engler gets telephone calls from many out-of-state truck drivers who were charged with Transporting a Hazardous Material Inside I-270 under Columbus City Code section 2551.06(a) and failure to obey a traffic control device under Columbus City Code section 2113.01(a). There are a lot of truck drivers who are cited for this offense - and all of them hate it and view it as a tax on truckers.
Tax on Truckers?The City of Columbus has its reasons for enforcing this municipal code so strictly. Generally, what 2551.06(a) prohibits is driving through the City of Columbus (cutting through I-270 instead of going around it) when transporting hazardous material. The reason this is strictly enforced is because there have been a number of hazardous material spills as a result of truck accidents that caused a lot of environmental damage and were very costly for the city to clean up in recent years. So now it is a frequent occurrence for police officers to stop any truck they see with hazmat placards driving inside I-270 along I-70 or I-71 to check their papers.
1st Degree Misdemeanor OffenseTruck drivers that are charged with a 2551.06(a) transporting hazardous materials inside 270 are charged with a 1st degree misdemeanor. A 1st degree misdemeanor is the most serious misdemeanor and it carries a maximum possible penalty of 180 days in prison and a fine of $1,000. Being charged with transporting a hazardous material inside 270 is actually an environmental crime - and the case is heard in environmental court. The charge is almost always accompanied by another charge under Columbus City Code 2113.01(a) for failure to obey a traffic control device. This charge is also brought because there are road signs along the interstates that go through I-270 warning truck drivers transporting hazardous material to go around I-270 unless they have a destination inside I-270. Truck drivers charged with transporting a hazardous material inside 270 are facing a 1st degree misdemeanor environmental crime and a traffic citation that carries 2 drivers license points. The City Code is provided below.
2551.06(a) - Transporting Hazard Material Inside 270The Columbus City Code provides as follows: "(a) Those portions of major thoroughfares which lie inside interstate 270 (the outerbelt) [such as interstate 70, 71, 670, U.S. route 33, state route 161, 315, Broad St., or High St.] are conclusively presumed to be routes which go through or near heavily populated areas, therefore, the use of said routes for the transportation of the materials specified in Section 2551.05 [materials which require a hazmat placard] is prohibited where there is neither a point of origin nor destination (delivery point) within the city."
The law basically prohibits truck drivers with a hazmat placard from entering inside 270 unless they started inside 270 or have a stop inside 270.