What does “out of service order” mean?
A.R.S. section 28-5241 defines “out-of-service order” (OOS order) as a “declaration by a specialty officer of the department or a law enforcement officer authorized pursuant to 28-5204 that a driver, motor vehicle or motor carrier is out of service pursuant to this chapter.” OOS orders can be issued for a variety of reasons. Some examples include: A driver might be placed out of service for violating the hours of service rules or for failing to keep a record of duty status. A motor vehicle might be placed out of service for a mechanical issue. A carrier might be placed out of service for operating vehicles that are operated without registration or beyond the scope of the existing registration.
Out-of-service orders in general
In Arizona, violations of OOS orders are governed by A.R.S. section 28-5241. Both drivers AND motor carriers can violate OOS orders. Quoting 28-5241(A) and (B):
A. A motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver:
1. To operate a commercial motor vehicle that is subject to an out-of-service order until all repairs required by the out-of-service order have been satisfactorily completed.
2. Who is subject to an out-of-service order to operate a commercial motor vehicle until the reason for the out-of-service order has been remedied.
B. A driver:
1. Shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle that is subject to an out-of-service order until all repairs required by the out-of-service order have been satisfactorily completed.
2. Who is subject to an out-of-service order shall not operate a commercial motor vehicle until the reason for the out-of-service order has been remedied.
What happens if a driver violates an OOS order?
A violation of an OOS order is a civil violation (28-5240(C)), but the fines can be substantial and the driver will be disqualified from driving for a period of time. In summary, fines for drivers range from $2,500 to $5,000, plus surcharges could potentially nearly double those fines. Fines for motor carriers can range from $2,750 to $25,000, and again surcharges and court fees can nearly double those fines. Disqualification periods can range from 180 days to 3 years. For more specifics, keep reading below.
According to 28-5240(D), if a driver and/or motor carrier is found to have violated an out of service order:
The court shall impose:
1. On a driver who violates or fails to comply with an out-of-service order a civil penalty of:
(a) At least two thousand five hundred dollars for an initial violation or failure.
(b) Five thousand dollars for a subsequent violation or failure.
2. A civil penalty of at least two thousand seven hundred fifty dollars and not more than twenty-five thousand dollars on a motor carrier who violates an out-of-service order or who requires or permits a driver to violate or fail to comply with an out-of-service order.
Further, “if a motor carrier or driver is found responsible for a violation of this section, the motor carrier or driver is subject to disqualification pursuant to section 28-3312.” Section 28-3312(B) provides that:
a person required to have a commercial driver license or a commercial driver license holder who is found responsible for violating an out-of-service order pursuant to section 28-5241 is disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle as follows:
1. For a period of one hundred eighty days if the person is found responsible for a first violation of an out-of-service order.
2. For a period of two years if the person is found responsible for a second violation of any out-of-service order during any ten year period arising from separate incidents.
3. For a period of three years if the person is found responsible for a third or subsequent violation of any out-of-service order during any ten year period arising from separate incidents.
If a driver is carrying hazardous cargo or driving a vehicle designed to carry 16 or more passengers, a second OOS violation results in a 3-year disqualification. See 28-28-3312(C).
What if you have a ticket for violating an OOS order?
Most drivers will want to fight this ticket because the consequences are severe if you are found responsible for the violation. This involves requesting a civil traffic hearing. If you hire an attorney, the attorney can typically appear for the driver at the hearing so the driver does not have to travel back to Arizona.