WI Supreme Court
Case Name: Town of Delafield v. Central Transport Kriewaldt
Case No.: 2020 WI 61
Focus: Statutory Interpretation – Surface Transport and Assistance Act – Seasonal Weight Limitation
When spring finally arrives in Wisconsin, and roadways begin to thaw from the long winter, many municipalities impose weight limitations on certain roads especially vulnerable to deterioration during this time. The Town of Delafield did just that in March 2016. However, the federal Surface Transport and Assistance Act (STAA), along with related federal regulations, limits how states may restrict road access between interstate highways and certain destinations. This case arose when Central Transport Kriewaldt received a citation for operating a tractor-trailer in violation of the Town’s seasonal weight limitation authorized by its ordinance. Central Transport contested the citation on the grounds that the limitation was preempted, and therefore disallowed, by the STAA.
We conclude that the STAA’s reach in this case mandates only reasonable access. The Town’s limitation did not need to be grounded solely in safety considerations, as Central Transport maintains, so long as reasonable access was provided. The record in this case reflects that a seasonal weight limitation is a normal restriction transport companies would be aware of, that adequate notice of the restriction was provided, and that a permit to travel the road was readily available. Put together, these facts show reasonable access was provided, and the Town’s seasonal weight limitation was not preempted by the STAA.
Affirmed and remanded
Concur: KELLY, J., filed a concurring opinion, in which REBECCA GRASSL BRADLEY, J., joined.
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Derek A Hawkins is trademark corporate counsel for Harley-Davidson. Hawkins oversees the prosecution and maintenance of the Harley-Davidson’s international trademark portfolio in emerging markets. [/box]