Section 40-17-350


Published: 2015

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Section 40-17-350

Section 40-17-350Transportation of motor fuel; inspections.

(a) Each person operating a refinery or terminal in Alabama shall prepare and provide to the driver of every highway vehicle receiving motor fuel at the facility a shipping document setting out on its face the destination state as represented to the terminal operator by the shipper or the shipper's agent. Failure to comply with this subsection may result in a department imposed penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), to be multiplied by the sum of the current violation plus prior violations of this subsection.



(b) Every person transporting motor fuel in Alabama in a highway vehicle other than in its supply tank shall carry on board a shipping document issued by the facility where the motor fuel was obtained. The shipping document shall set out on its face the state of destination of the motor fuel transported in the highway vehicle. Violation of this subsection constitutes a Class A misdemeanor. Failure to comply with this subsection may result in a department imposed penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), to be multiplied by the sum of the current violation plus prior violations of this subsection.



(c) Every person transporting in Alabama motor fuel received from a terminal operator or refiner shall provide the original or a copy of the terminal issued shipping document accompanying the shipment to the operator of the retail outlet to which delivery of the shipment was made. Knowingly violating or knowingly aiding and abetting another person in violating this subsection shall constitute a Class C felony. Failure to comply with this subsection may result in a department imposed penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), to be multiplied by the sum of the current violation plus prior violations of this subsection.



(d) Each operator of a retail outlet shall receive, examine, and retain the shipping document received from the transporter for every shipment of motor fuel that is delivered to each location, and retain the shipping document at the location for not less than 30 days. At the end of 30 days, the shipping document shall be maintained with the required books and records for a period of three years from the date of shipment. Knowingly violating or knowingly aiding and abetting another person in violating this subsection shall constitute a Class C felony. Failure to comply with this subsection may result in a department imposed penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), to be multiplied by the sum of the current violation plus prior violations of this subsection.



(e) No bulk end user, retail dealer, or wholesale distributor shall knowingly accept delivery of motor fuel into storage facilities in Alabama if that delivery is not accompanied by a shipping document that sets out on its face Alabama as the state of destination of the motor fuel. Knowingly violating or knowingly aiding and abetting another person in violating this subsection shall constitute a Class C felony. Failure to comply with this subsection may result in a department imposed penalty of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000), to be multiplied by the sum of the current violation plus prior violations of this subsection.



(f) The department shall provide for relief in a case where a shipment of motor fuel is legitimately diverted from the represented destination state after the shipping document has been issued by the terminal operator or where the terminal operator failed to cause proper information to be printed on the shipping document. These relief provisions shall include the requirement that the shipper or its agent provide notification as prescribed by the department before the diversion or correction is to occur.



(g) A terminal operator or bulk plant operator may rely on the representation made by the purchaser of motor fuel or the purchaser's agent concerning the destination state of the motor fuel. A purchaser is liable for any tax due as a result of the purchaser's diversion of motor fuel from the represented destination state.



(h) Every person hauling, transporting, or conveying motor fuel over any of the navigable waters of this state, during the entire time so engaged, must maintain possession of an invoice, bill of sale, or shipping document showing the legal name and physical address of the person from whom motor fuel was received, the legal name and physical address of every person or persons to whom deliveries of motor fuel will be made, and the number of gallons delivered. The person hauling, transporting, or conveying the motor fuel shall, at the request of any person authorized by law to inquire into or investigate these matters, produce and offer for inspection the invoice, bill of sale, or shipping document. Failure to comply shall be prima facie evidence of a violation of this section.



(1) No person shall haul, transport, or convey motor fuel in boats or barges over any of the navigable waters of the state except in boats or barges plainly visibly marked on both sides and above the water line thereof with the word "gasoline" or other name of the motor fuel being transported, in letters at least four inches high and of correspondingly appropriate width, together with the legal name and physical address of the owner of the boat or barge in which the gasoline is contained.



(2) This subsection shall not apply to boats transporting gasoline to be used solely for motive power of the boats.



(i) Every motor vehicle being operated by private and for-hire carriers of property must be marked as specified in this section if that vehicle is transporting hazardous materials including gasoline of a kind or quantity that requires the vehicle to be marked or placarded in accordance with Section 177.823 of the Hazardous Materials Regulations of the Department of Transportation and is operating under its own power, either alone or in combination.



(1) The marking shall display all of the following information:



a. The name or trade name of the private and for-hire carrier operating the vehicle.



b. The city or community and state abbreviation in which the carrier maintains its principal office or in which the vehicle is customarily based.



c. If the name of a person other than the operating carrier appears on the vehicle, the words "operated by" immediately preceding the information required by this section.



d. Other identifying information may be displayed on the vehicle if it is not inconsistent with the information required by this section.



(2) The marking must meet all of the following requirements:



a. Appear on both sides of the vehicle.



b. Be in letters that contrast sharply in color with the background.



c. Be readily legible during daylight hours from a distance of 50 feet while the vehicle is stationary.



d. Be kept and maintained in a manner that retains the legibility required by this section.



e. The marking may consist of a removable device if that device meets the identification and legibility requirements of this article.



(j) Willful violation of any of the provisions of subsection (h) or (i) shall constitute a Class C felony.



(k) The marking provisions of this section as to the word "gasoline" shall not apply to a vehicle transporting gasoline in the fuel tank supplied by the manufacturer with the vehicle, or carried in an auxiliary fuel tank, connected directly with the carburetor of the vehicle and used exclusively for propelling it, to vehicles transporting gasoline in quantities of not more than five gallons for delivery in response to emergency calls, or to gasoline being transported by common carriers in railroad cars.



(l)(1) The Director of the Department of Transportation may employ qualified employees to enforce this section. The employees shall be employed pursuant to the Merit System Act. The employees or agents shall be considered to be and shall be vested with the powers and authority of law enforcement officers, including the power to maintain public order, make arrests for all offenses and investigate the commission or suspected commission of those offenses, and investigate the commission or suspected commission of transportation, public safety, and revenue offenses, including, but not limited to, those offenses regarding gasoline tax and tax on motor fuels or any substitute thereof, licensing and registration of motor vehicles, and violations of Title 32 and this title. Transportation law enforcement officers so designated are authorized to issue or cause to be issued citations, tickets, complaints, subpoenas, and other process so as to commence and direct actions, prosecutions, and proceedings to be instituted to enforce the laws of this state in any county of the State of Alabama. The employees shall be and are hereby constituted peace officers of the State of Alabama provided they comply with the requirements set forth by the Alabama Peace Officers' Standards and Training Commission.



(2) Inspections shall be performed in a reasonable manner and at times that are reasonable under the circumstances, taking into consideration the normal business hours of the place to be entered. Inspections may be at any place at which taxable motor fuel is or may be produced or stored or at any inspection site where evidence of activities may be discovered. These places include, but are not limited to, any of the following:



a. A terminal.



b. A motor fuel storage facility that is not a terminal.



c. A retail motor fuel facility.



d. A state or local highway inspection station, weigh station, agricultural inspection station, mobile station, or other location designated by the commissioner or his or her designated agent to be used as a motor fuel inspection site.



(3) Officers or employees of the State of Alabama, or law enforcement officers of any county or municipality in the State of Alabama, may do any of the following:



a. Physically inspect, examine, or otherwise search any tank, reservoir, or other container that can or may be used for the production, storage, or transportation of motor fuel, fuel dyes, or fuel markers. Inspection may also be made of any equipment used for, or in connection with, production, storage, or transportation of motor fuel, fuel dyes, or fuel markers. This includes any equipment used for the dyeing or marking of diesel fuel, and shall include the inspection of related shipping documents.



b. Detain any vehicle, train, or boat for the purpose of inspecting its fuel tanks and storage tanks. Detainment may continue for any reasonable period of time, not to exceed one hour, necessary to determine the amount and composition of the motor fuel.



c. Take and remove samples of motor fuel in reasonable quantities necessary to determine its composition.



(4) Penalties.



a. Any person refusing to allow an inspection may be penalized one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each refusal. This penalty is in addition to any other penalties or tax that may be imposed upon that person or any other person liable for motor fuel excise taxes.



b. The following acts shall be subject to a civil penalty payable to the department:



1. Transporting motor fuel in a railroad tank car or transport truck without a shipping document or with a false or an incomplete shipping document.



2. Delivering motor fuel to a destination state other than that shown on the shipping document.



c. The penalty imposed under paragraph b. is payable by the person in whose name the conveyance is registered, tagged, or titled, or the lessee if the conveyance is a transport truck. If the conveyance is a railroad tank car, it is payable by the person responsible for the movement of motor fuel in that conveyance. The amount of the penalty shall depend upon the amount of fuel improperly transported or diverted and whether the person against whom the penalty is assessed has previously been assessed a penalty under this subsection. For a first assessment under this subsection, the penalty is twice the amount of excise tax payable on the improperly transported or diverted motor fuel. For a second or subsequent assessment under this subsection, the penalty is the greater of five thousand dollars ($5,000) or five times the amount of excise tax payable on the improperly transported or diverted motor fuel. The penalty imposed under this subsection shall be in addition to any fuel excise tax assessed.



d. It is unlawful to use dyed diesel fuel for highway use, with the exception of a city or county vehicle and those permitted under 26 U.S.C. § 4082. The operation of a motor vehicle on a highway with a supply tank containing dyed diesel fuel, the use of which is unlawful under this section, or the use of other motor fuel on which the tax imposed by the state has not been paid, shall constitute a Class A misdemeanor and may result in a civil penalty. The penalty is payable to the department by the person in whose name the motor vehicle is registered or the driver of the vehicle, or both. The penalty shall be the greater of one thousand dollars ($1,000) or ten dollars ($10) per gallon of the motor fuel involved. In the case of repeated violations, the penalty is to be multiplied by the current violation plus prior violations that have been imposed under this section in addition to any fuel tax assessed. A county or municipality shall be entitled to 25 percent of any penalty authorized by this section if law enforcement officers in its employment provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of any person violating this section or to the assessment and collection of the excise taxes from any person violating this section.

(Act 2011-565, p. 1084, §31.)