§ 32-6-27. Enforcement of load limitations.

CODE OF GEORGIA

Title 32. HIGHWAYS, BRIDGES, AND FERRIES

Chapter 6. REGULATION OF MAINTENANCE AND USE OF PUBLIC ROADS GENERALLY

Article 2. DIMENSIONS AND WEIGHT OF VEHICLES AND LOADS

Current through 2019-2020 Chapter 609

§ 32-6-27. Enforcement of load limitations

(a) Any person who violates the load limitation provisions of Code Section 32-6-26 shall be conclusively presumed to have damaged the public roads, including bridges, of this state by reason of such overloading and shall recompense the state for such damage in accordance with the following schedule:
(1) Five cents per pound for all excess weight over the allowed weight limitations, including any applicable variances;
(2) For the following vehicles, damages for excess weight shall be assessed at 125 percent times the rate imposed on offending vehicles operating without a permit:
(A) Where a vehicle is authorized to exceed the weight limitations of Code Section 32-6-26 by a permit issued pursuant to Code Section 32-6-28, the term "excess weight" means that weight which exceeds the weight allowed by such permit; and
(B) Where a vehicle is authorized to exceed the weight limitations of Code Section 32-6-26 by a permit issued pursuant to Code Section 32-6-28 as a superload permit or superload plus permit, the term "excess weight" means:
(i) Any single axle weight which exceeds any single axle weight allowed by such permit; and
(ii) All weight greater than 150,000 pounds when the gross weight of the vehicle and load exceeds the gross weight allowed by such permit or when any axle spacing is less than that specified by such permit; or
(3) Any vehicle that utilizes idle reduction technology shall have any penalty for violating Code Section 32-6-26, except for subsections (f) and (h), calculated by reducing from the actual gross weight, single axle weight, tandem axle weight, or the allowed weight on any group of two or more axles the manufacturer's certified weight of the idle reducing technology or 550 pounds, whichever is less. The operator of the vehicle shall present written certification from the manufacturer specifying the weight of the idle reducing technology and demonstrate that the idle reducing technology is fully functional at all times when so requested by any law enforcement officer or employee of the Department of Public Safety.
(a.1)
(1)
(A) The Department of Public Safety is authorized to issue a citation to the owner or operator of any vehicle in violation of a maximum weight limit on a county road which is a designated local truck route under subsection (f) of Code Section 32-6-26 and for which signs have been placed and maintained as required under paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of Code Section 32-6-50.
(B) The Department of Public Safety is authorized to issue a warning to the owner or operator of any vehicle in violation of a maximum weight limit on a county road which is a designated local truck route under subsection (f) of Code Section 32-6-26 but for which signs have not been placed or maintained as required under paragraph (2) of subsection (c) of Code Section 32-6-50 upon the first such violation and to issue a citation to such owner or operator for a subsequent such violation.
(2)
(A) The Department of Public Safety is authorized to issue a citation to the owner or operator of any vehicle in violation of a maximum weight limit on a bridge for which signs have been placed and maintained as required under paragraph (3) of Code Section 32-4-41 or subsection (a.1) of Code Section 32-4-91.
(B) The Department of Public Safety is authorized to issue a warning to the owner or operator of any vehicle in violation of a maximum weight limit on a bridge but for which signs have not been placed or maintained as required under paragraph (3) of Code Section 32-4-41 or subsection (a.1) of Code Section 32-4-91 upon the first such violation and to issue a citation to such owner or operator for a subsequent such violation.
(b) The schedules listed in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) of this Code section shall apply separately to:
(1) The excess weight of the gross load; and
(2) The sum of the excess weight or weights of any axle or axles; provided, however, that where both gross load and axle weight limits are exceeded, the owner or operator shall be required to recompense the state only for the largest of the money damages imposed under paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection.
(c)
(1) Within 30 days after the issuance of the citation, the owner or operator of any offending vehicle shall pay the amount of the assessment to the Department of Public Safety or request an administrative determination of the amount and validity of the assessment.
(2) The right to an administrative determination of the amount and validity of the assessment shall be granted only to the owner or operator of an offending vehicle.
(3) The party requesting an administrative determination of the amount and validity of the assessment shall deposit the amount of the assessment with the Department of Public Safety, within the time permitted to request such determination, before the determination will be granted. In the event the assessment is determined to be erroneous, the Department of Public Safety shall make prompt refund of any overpayment after receipt of a final decision making such determination.
(4) If an administrative hearing is requested, it shall be held in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," and the rules and regulations of the Department of Public Safety. The scope of any such hearing shall be limited to a determination of:
(A) The weight of the offending vehicle;
(B) The maximum weight allowed by law on the roadway upon which the offending vehicle was operated; and
(C) Whether the operator had in his or her actual possession a valid oversize or overweight permit issued by the Department of Transportation allowing the vehicle to operate in excess of the maximum weight otherwise allowed by law on the roadway upon which the offending vehicle was operated.
(5) Any person who has exhausted all administrative remedies available within the Department of Public Safety and who is aggrieved by a final order of the Department of Public Safety is entitled to judicial review in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50.
(6) If a party requests an administrative determination of the amount and validity of the assessment and fails to appear without first obtaining permission from the administrative law judge or does not withdraw the request in writing no less than five days in advance of a scheduled hearing, the party shall be deemed in default and the citation shall be affirmed by operation of law. The party shall be deemed to owe the sum of $75.00 in addition to the amount due on the citation, which sum shall represent hearing costs.
(d) All moneys collected in accordance with this Code section shall be disposed of as follows:
(1) All moneys collected for violations of the weight limitations imposed by this article shall be remitted to the general fund of the state treasury;
(2) All moneys collected for violations of the height, width, or length limitations imposed by this article, after the appropriate statutory deductions, shall be retained by the governing authority of the county wherein the violation occurred for deposit in the general treasury of said county;
(3) Hearing costs imposed pursuant to paragraph (6) of subsection (c) of this Code section shall be retained by the Department of Public Safety;
(4) Reissuance fees imposed pursuant to paragraph (4) of subsection (g) of this Code section shall be retained by the Department of Revenue; and
(5) Restoration fees imposed pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection (i) of this Code section shall be retained by the Department of Revenue.
(e) Any owner or operator of a vehicle which is operated on the public roads of this state in violation of the weight limitations provided in this article shall be required, in addition to paying the moneys provided in subsection (a) of this Code section, to unload all gross weight in excess of 6,000 pounds over the legal weight limit at the closest reasonable location.
(f) Any person authorized by law to enforce this article may seize the offending vehicle of an owner who fails or whose operator fails to pay the moneys prescribed in subsection (a) of this Code section and hold such vehicle until the prescribed moneys are paid. If the offending vehicle is not registered in this state, any person authorized by law to enforce this article may seize any vehicle owned or operated by an owner who fails or whose operator fails to pay the moneys prescribed in subsection (a) of this Code section and hold such vehicle until the prescribed moneys are paid. Any person seizing a vehicle under this subsection or subsection (e) of this Code section may, when necessary, store the vehicle; and the owner thereof shall be responsible for all reasonable storage charges thereon. When any vehicle is seized, held, unloaded, or partially unloaded under these subsections, the load or any part thereof shall be removed or cared for by the owner or operator of the vehicle without any liability on the part of the authorized person or of the state or any political subdivision because of damage to or loss of such load or any part thereof.
(g)
(1) Whenever any person, firm, or corporation violates this article and becomes indebted to the Department of Public Safety because of such violations and fails within 30 days of the date of issuance of the overweight assessment citation either to pay the assessment or appeal to the Department of Public Safety for administrative review, as provided for in subsection (c) of this Code section, such assessment shall become a lien upon the overweight motor vehicle so found to be in violation, which lien shall be superior to all liens except liens for taxes or perfected security interests established before the debt to the Department of Public Safety was created.
(2) Whenever any person, firm, or corporation requests an administrative review, it shall be held in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act." In the event that the administrative law judge finds in favor of the Department of Public Safety, the person, firm, or corporation shall pay the assessment within 30 days after that decision becomes final or, if judicial review is had in accordance with Chapter 13 of Title 50, then within 30 days after final judicial review is terminated. If the person, firm, or corporation fails to pay the assessment within 30 days, such assessment shall become a lien as provided for under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3) The Department of Public Safety shall perfect the lien created under this subsection by sending notice thereof on a notice designated by the commissioner of public safety, by first-class mail or by statutory overnight delivery, to the owner and all holders of liens and security interests shown on the records of the Department of Revenue maintained pursuant to Chapter 3 of Title 40. Upon receipt of notice from the Department of Public Safety, the holder of the certificate of title shall surrender same to the state revenue commissioner for issuance of a replacement certificate of title bearing the lien of the department unless the assessment is paid within 30 days of the receipt of notice. The Department of Revenue may append the lien to its records, notwithstanding the failure of the holder of the certificate of title to surrender said certificate as required by this paragraph.
(4) Upon issuance of a title bearing the lien of the Department of Public Safety, or the appending of the lien to the records of the Department of Revenue, the owner of the vehicle or the holder of any security interest or lien shown in the records of the Department of Revenue may satisfy such lien by payment of the amount of the assessment, including hearing costs, if any, and payment of a reissuance fee of $100.00. Upon receipt of such amount, the Department of Public Safety shall release its lien and the Department of Revenue shall issue a new title without the lien.
(h)
(1) The Department of Public Safety, in seeking to foreclose its lien on the motor vehicle arising out of an overweight motor vehicle citation assessed under this article, may seek an immediate writ of possession from the court before whom the petition is filed, if the petition contains a statement of facts, under oath, by the Department of Public Safety, its agents, its officers, or attorney setting forth the basis of the petitioner's claim and sufficient grounds for issuance of an immediate writ of possession.
(2) The Department of Public Safety shall allege under oath specific facts sufficient to show that it is within the power of the defendant to conceal, encumber, convert, convey, or remove from the jurisdiction of the court the property which is the subject matter of the petition.
(3) The court before whom the petition is pending shall issue a writ for immediate possession, upon finding that the petitioner has complied with paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection. If the petitioner is found not to have made sufficient showing to obtain an immediate writ of possession, the court may, nevertheless, treat the petition as one being filed under Code Section 44-14-231 and proceed accordingly.
(4) When an immediate writ of possession has been granted, the Department of Public Safety shall proceed against the defendant in the same manner as provided for in Code Sections 44-14-265 through 44-14-269.
(i)
(1) Whenever any person, firm, or corporation violates this article and fails within 30 days of the date of issuance of the overweight assessment citation either to pay the assessment or appeal to the Department of Public Safety for an administrative review as provided for under Chapter 13 of Title 50, the "Georgia Administrative Procedure Act," the Department of Revenue may act to suspend the motor vehicle registration of the vehicle involved. However, if the person, firm, or corporation requests an administrative review, the Department of Revenue shall act to suspend the registration only after the issuance of a final decision favorable to the Department of Public Safety and the requisite failure of the person, firm, or corporation to pay the assessment. Upon such failure to pay the assessment, the Department of Revenue shall send a letter to the owner of such motor vehicle notifying the owner of the suspension of the motor vehicle registration issued to the motor vehicle involved in the overweight assessment citation. Upon complying with this subsection by paying the overdue assessment and upon submitting proof of compliance and paying a $10.00 restoration fee to the Department of Revenue, the state revenue commissioner shall reinstate any motor vehicle registration suspended under this subsection. In cases where the motor vehicle registration has been suspended under this subsection for a second or subsequent time during any two-year period, the Department of Revenue shall suspend the motor vehicle registration for a period of 60 days and thereafter until the owner submits proof of compliance with this subsection and pays the $150.00 restoration fee to the Department of Revenue.
(2) Unless otherwise provided for in this Code section, notice of the effective date of the suspension of a motor vehicle registration occurs when the owner has actual knowledge or legal notice thereof, whichever first occurs. For the purposes of making any determination relating to the restoration of a suspended motor vehicle registration, no period of suspension shall be deemed to have begun until ten days after the mailing of the notice required in paragraph (1) of this subsection.
(3) For the purposes of this subsection, except where otherwise provided, the mailing of a notice to a person at the name and address shown in records of the Department of Revenue maintained under Chapter 3 of Title 40 shall, with respect to the holders of liens and security interests, be presumptive evidence that such person received the required notice.
(4) For the purposes of this subsection, except where otherwise provided, the mailing of a notice to a person or firm at the name and address shown on the overweight assessment citation shall, with respect to owners and operators of vehicles involved in an overweight assessment, be presumptive evidence that such person received the required notice.
(5) The state revenue commissioner may suspend the motor vehicle registration of any offending vehicle for which payment of an overweight assessment is made by a check that is returned for any reason.
(6) For the purposes of this subsection, where any provisions require the Department of Public Safety or the Department of Revenue to give notice to a person, which notice affects such person's motor vehicle license plate, the mailing of such notice and the name and address shown on the notice of overdue assessment citation supplied by the Department of Public Safety, as required by this subsection, shall be presumptive evidence that such person received the required notice.

Cite as OCGA § 32-6-27

History. Amended by 2017 Ga. Laws 256, §2, eff. 7/1/2017.

Amended by 2011 Ga. Laws 177, §2, eff. 7/1/2011.

Amended by 2010 Ga. Laws 460, §2, eff. 7/1/2010.

Amended by 2007 Ga. Laws 133, §2, eff. 7/1/2007.

Amended by 2006 Ga. Laws 453, §32, eff. 4/14/2006.

Amended by 2005 Ga. Laws 158, §2, eff. 7/1/2005.

Amended by 2005 Ga. Laws 68, §12-2, eff. 7/1/2005.

Amended by 2003 Ga. Laws 191, §1, eff. 7/1/2003.

Amended by 2002 Ga. Laws 462, eff. 4/18/2002.