(a) As used in this Code section, the term “commissioner” means the commissioner of public safety.
(b) The Department of Public Safety shall be the state agency responsible for the administration of the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005, which includes participating in the development, implementation, and administration of the Unified Carrier Registration Agreement.
(c) Every foreign or domestic motor carrier, leasing company leasing to a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder that engages in interstate commerce in this state shall register with the commissioner or a base state and pay all fees as required by the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005.
(d)(1) Any intrastate motor carrier, leasing company leasing to a motor carrier, broker, or freight forwarder that engages in intrastate commerce and operates a motor vehicle on or over any public highway of this state shall register with the commissioner and pay a fee determined by the commissioner.
(2) No for-hire intrastate motor carrier shall be issued a registration unless there is filed with the commissioner a certificate of insurance for such applicant or holder, on forms prescribed by the commissioner, evidencing a policy of indemnity insurance by an insurance company licensed to do business in this state. Such policy shall provide for the protection of passengers in passenger vehicles and the protection of the public against the negligence of such for-hire intrastate motor carrier, and its servants or agents, when it is determined to be the proximate cause of any injury. The commissioner shall determine and fix the amounts of such indemnity insurance and shall prescribe the provisions and limitations thereof. The insurer shall file such certificate. Failure to file any form required by the commissioner shall not diminish the rights of any person to pursue an action directly against a for-hire intrastate motor carrier's insurer. The insurer may file its certificate of insurance electronically with the commissioner.
(3) The commissioner shall have the power to permit self-insurance in lieu of a policy of indemnity insurance whenever in his or her opinion the financial ability of the motor carrier so warrants.
(4) Any person having a cause of action, whether arising in tort or contract, under this Code section may join in the same cause of action the motor carrier and its insurance carrier.
(e) Before any intrastate motor carrier engaged in exempt passenger intrastate commerce shall operate any motor vehicle on or over any public highway of this state, the intrastate motor carrier shall register with the commissioner and pay a fee determined by the commissioner.
(f) Prior to the issuance of the initial registration to any intrastate motor carrier by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to subsection (d) or (e) of this Code section, that intrastate motor carrier shall furnish evidence to the Department of Public Safety that the intrastate motor carrier, through an authorized representative, has completed, within the preceding 12 months, an educational seminar on motor carrier operations and safety regulations that has been certified by the commissioner.
(g) In addition to any requirements under the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005, motor carriers required to have operating authority shall fulfill all applicable requirements for obtaining operating authority prior to any operation of a motor vehicle to which such requirements apply.
(h) The commissioner shall collect the fees imposed by this Code section and may establish rules and regulations and prescribe such forms as are necessary to administer this Code section and the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005. Notwithstanding the provisions of Code Section 40-2-131 , the commissioner shall retain and utilize such fees for motor carrier safety programs and enforcement and administration of this article.
(i) The commissioner, and persons he or she designates pursuant to Chapter 2 of Title 35, shall have the authority to perform regulatory compliance inspections under the provisions of Article 5 of Chapter 2 of Title 35 for purposes of determining compliance with laws and regulations, the enforcement and administration of which is the responsibility of the Department of Public Safety.
(j) Every officer, agent, or employee of any corporation and every person who fails to comply with this article or who procures, aids, or abets therein, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor violations of this article may be prosecuted, handled, and disposed of in the manner provided for in Chapter 13 of this title.
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