RMV Changes to the MA State Markings Regulation 540 CMR 2:22

There has been a change to the Massachusetts State Markings Regulation 540 CMR 2:22 (regulation text below) that will take effect on September 1, 2018 for all commercial motor vehicles that weigh 10,001 lbs. or more used in Intrastate commerce. The RMV changes could affect customers that are written on a Massachusetts Auto Policy class 30 such as plumbers, carpenters, electrician, etc.

The updated regulation affects the type and placement of vehicle markings and will also require any vehicle used in intrastate commerce to have a US DOT number. Affected vehicles include those that are:

  • Engaged in intrastate commerce having a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds; or
  • Used in the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding; or
  • Designed to transport more than 15 passengers including the driver, used in intrastate commerce in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts State Police Truck team has been stopping people to let them know that by September 1, 2018, the USDOT numbers need to be filed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and visible on their vehicles. Click here for a copy of the notice that the State Police Truck Team is handing out.

The updated regulation language is as follows:

2.22: Markings on Commercial Vehicles

(1) Marking.

(a) Effective until August 31, 2018. The owner of every motor truck used for the transportation of goods, wares or merchandise for hire, gain or reward, shall have the owner’s name marked on the truck, to be plainly visible from each side or from the front and rear of the vehicle, provided that motor trucks operated under a lease of more than 30 days shall display either the name of the owner or the lessee, and may display both. For the purpose of 540 CMR 2.22(1), motor truck shall mean any motor vehicle specially designed or equipped to transport personal property over the ways of the Commonwealth and which has a maximum load carrying capacity of over 2,000 lbs., and which is not a Private Passenger Motor Vehicle under 540 CMR 2.05. To the extent there is any conflict between 540 CMR 2.22 and any federal regulation pertaining to markings on commercial motor vehicles, the federal regulation shall control.

(b) Effective September 1, 2018. The owner of every motor truck used for the transportation of goods, wares or merchandise for hire, gain or reward, shall have the owner’s name marked on the truck, to be plainly visible from each side, be in permanent letters that contrast sharply in color with the background on which the letters are placed; be readily legible during daylight hours from a distance of 50 feet while the motor truck is stationary; and be kept and maintained in a manner that retains the legibility required by 540 CMR 2.22(1)(b), provided that motor trucks owned or controlled by a farmer and used to transport agricultural products, farm machinery, and/or farm supplies to or from the farmer’s farm; not used in the operation of a common or contract carrier, and used within 150 air miles of the farmer’s farm need not be so marked; and motor trucks operated under a lease of more than 30 days shall display either the name of the owner or the lessee, and may display both. For the purpose of 540 CMR 2.22(1), Motor Truck shall mean any motor vehicle specially designed or equipped to transport personal property over the ways of the Commonwealth and which has a maximum load carrying capacity of between 2,000 lbs. and 10,000 lbs. and which is not a Private Passenger Motor Vehicle under 540 CMR 2.05. To the extent there is any conflict between 540 CMR 2.22 and any federal regulation pertaining to markings on commercial motor vehicles, the federal regulation shall control.

(2) U.S. DOT Number Assignment for Intrastate Carriers. Effective September 1, 2018, every motor vehicle engaged in intrastate commerce in Massachusetts having a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 or more lbs.; and every motor vehicle regardless of weight, engaged in intrastate commerce in Massachusetts and used in the transportation of hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placarding; and every motor vehicle designed to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, used in intrastate commerce in Massachusetts must be permanently marked with a USDOT number assigned in a manner conforming to the provisions of 49 CFR 390.21.

(3) Penalty. The penalty for a violation of 540 CMR 2.22 is set forth in M.G.L. c. 90, § 20.

Click here for more information on 540 CRM 2.22

 

12 Safety Tips for Recreational Boaters

As the weather warms up, many recreational boaters head to lake, river, or the ocean to fish, waterski, cruise, and relax onboard a boat, yacht or other personal watercraft. With nearly 12 million registered recreational boats in the U.S.*, it’s no wonder the waterways are a popular place to go. Before you head out with friends and family, take note of a few important safety tips.1. Make sure everyone wears a life jacket.
Victims drowned in approximately 80% of fatal boating accidents. Of those, 83% were not wearing a life jacket. Insist that your crew and guests all wear a life jacket that fits them well. This can help them stay afloat in rough waters, protect them against hypothermia, and in some cases, can keep their head above water.

 2. Use the right kind of life jackets for the situation.
Boats 16 feet and longer must be equipped with one Type I, II, III, or V personal floatation device (PFD) plus one Type IV throwable device. Boats that are 16 feet or less must have one Type I, II, III or V PFD for each person aboard. All boats must be equipped with one Type I, II, III, or V personal floatation device for each person aboard.  Boats 16 feet and longer must also be equipped with a Type IV throwable device. All PFDs should be in good condition and have a Coast Guard Approval Number.

  • Type I PFDs are often called off-shore life jackets. They provide the most buoyancy and are effective in all waters, especially open, rough, or remote waters where rescue may be delayed. They are designed to turn most unconscious wearers to a face-up position in the water.
  • Type II PFDs are near-shore buoyancy vests. They are intended for calm, inland water or waters where there is a good chance of quick rescue.
  • Type III PFDs are also called floatation aids. They are good for calm, inland water, similar to Type II.
  • Type IV PFDs are designed to be thrown to a person in the water and grasped and held by the user until rescued.
  • Type V PFDs are special use devices. They may be carried instead of other PFDs if used in accordance with the approved conditions designated on the label. They may be inflatable vests, deck suits, work vests, board sailing vests or hybrid PFDs.

3. Never drink alcohol and go boating.
Alcohol use is a leading contributor to fatal boating accidents, causing approximately 15% of the deaths each year. Stay sharp when you’re on the water by leaving the alcohol on dry land.

 4. Recreational boaters should take a boating safety course.
Only 13% of the boating deaths occurred on vessels where the operator had received a nationally approved boating safety education certificate. You may even qualify for a reduced insurance rate if you complete a safety course. Contact your local Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Power Squadron chapter or visit uscgboating.org for details.

5. Put down the cell phone.
One of the top five contributing factors to boating accidents is inattention. Just like distracted driving on our highways, talking, texting, and other use of cell phones while boating is a growing problem on the water. Don’t contribute to this problem. Keep your eyes on the water ahead and around you.

 6. Drive at a safe speed and follow all boating safety and navigational rules.
Excessive speed and improper lookout are two of the top contributing factors to boating accidents. Make sure you understand the local rules and laws of the waterway and follow them closely. Take note of visibility, traffic density, and proximity to navigational hazards such as shoals, rocks, or floating objects.

7. Check the weather forecast and be prepared for it to change.
A calm day can quickly turn ugly on the water. There were 41 deaths in 2016 attributed to weather conditions. Keep an eye out for changing weather conditions and stay on top of the forecast while boating.

 8. Take action before a storm hits.
Storm and hurricane forecasts and warnings are issued by the National Hurricane Center. Boaters can get information from VHF marine radios, commercial radios and television stations and newspapers. As a boater, you need to be aware of the types of advisories and take action before a storm hits. Warnings range from small craft advisories, with winds of 18 knots or less, up to hurricane warnings with winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or greater.

 9. Register for a free Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number and have a VHF radio equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) installed and connected to your GPS.
When in coastal and inshore waters, these preparations can help take the search out of search and rescue. DSC allows the VHF radio to transfer information digitally, and to instantly send a digital distress alert, which includes your exact position, to the Coast Guard upon activation of the emergency button. Part of the alert is the MMSI number, which will identify your vessel automatically.

10. Use a carbon monoxide detector.
All internal combustion engines emit carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can make you sick in seconds and kill in minutes. Remember, you cannot see, smell, or taste CO, so know the symptoms (similar to seasickness or alcohol intoxication).

11. File a float plan.
The U.S. Coast Guard recommends that you always tell a friend or family member where you plan to go and when you’ll be back. That way, the proper officials can be notified if you don’t return when expected.

 12. Get a free Vessel Safety Check.
Boats are complex machines and need regular maintenance to stay running smoothly and safely. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and U.S. Power Squadron offer Vessel Safety Checks at no cost, so let their certified vessel examiners check your boat’s equipment and provide you with safety information before you go out on the water. Check with your marina or yacht club to find one in your area.

Life Insurance for the Life You Want: Planning and Paying for Long-Term Care

Presented by:  June Duncan

Planning for long-term care — it’s one of those situations that no one wants to experience but everyone needs to be prepared for. As we age, it’s important that we get a plan in place, not just for our own security but for our loved ones, as well. Being a caregiver is a burden not many want to face unexpectedly. More importantly, you want to make sure you have access to the best possible care in your golden years.

That’s why planning for long-term care, which will assist you with everyday tasks like dressing and eating, is critical, even if the potential is a long way off. Doing so will also give you and your loved ones peace of mind about your future. Here are some ways to get started.

Tips on Planning for Long-Term Care

When you are ready to make decisions about your future care, you may feel anxious about the unknown or melancholy about aging. If you are in good health, you might convince yourself that planning for future care is unnecessary — putting the cart in front of the horse, so to speak. However, there are some good reasons to reconsider:

  • If you have a family history of dementia.
  • If you have dependents.
  • If your goal is to remain independent in your home for as long as possible.
  • If you want to ensure you have enough money to meet all your needs.

If you want to make sure you are able to maintain a certain lifestyle, then planning ahead gives you confidence in your future. When you plan for your future care, you are taking care of:

  • Your health, by exercising and eating a proper diet. Focusing on physical fitness will help you avoid health issues that may require a caregiver.
  • Your family, by planning ahead so everyone knows what to expect and understands your wishes. No one is burdened or surprised by taking on an unexpected caregiver role.
  • Your independence, by making sure your home is outfitted to accommodate accessibility needs. There are grants you can apply for when the time comes to make home modifications more affordable.
  • Your finances, by understanding what you can afford and how paying for care will affect your retirement. With a plan in place now you won’t be startled by sudden costs.

The lifestyle choices you are making now will most certainly play a role in your future care. This doesn’t just mean eat healthier and save more, but it could also mean downsizing your home, prioritizing mental health, and moving to be closer to family. Having a plan in place is the first step. A major component of planning for long-term care is understanding how you will pay for it.

Insurance and Paying for Long-Term Care

If you think setting aside funds for long-term care is a potential waste of money, think again. Paying for long-term care doesn’t have to dip into your savings or your retirement fund. You can make sure you are financially stable regardless of health concerns by knowing your options for paying for future care. Some ways to cover costs include tapping into investment dividends, purchasing long-term health insurance (the younger you are when you purchase it, the more money you save in the long run), and opening a health savings account. Also, if you have life insurance, you can sell that policy to help free up money for medical care and living expenses.

You might be asking, “Well, what about Medicare? Won’t that cover my needs?” The truth is, there are many circumstances where Medicare won’t cover the cost of long-term care. You may be able to purchase supplemental health insurance to cover these additional costs.

Planning for long-term care is almost as complex as understanding how to pay for it, which is why it’s important to start looking at these potential situations now. Start by having a conversation with your spouse or partner so you can plan your future together. If you plan now, you can enjoy your retirement with less stress about health and fewer worries about the future.

June is the co-creator of Rise Up for Caregivers, which offers support for family members and friends who have taken on the responsibility of caring for their loved ones. She is author of the upcoming book, The Complete Guide to Caregiving: A Daily Companion for New Senior Caregivers.