Friday, March 9, 2012

Could Ohio lump truckers with traffickers?

An effort underway at the Ohio statehouse to get tough with drug trafficking is drawing a lot of attention. Check that. It is drawing a lot of ire from truck drivers who feel like they are being lumped with traffickers, and losing another personal freedom in the process.

At issue is a bill to target hidden compartments in vehicles, including large trucks and trailers. The legislation is part of an anti-drug trafficking effort outlined by Gov. John Kasich.

Vehicles found to include hidden compartments, with or without drugs, could result in severe consequences for the person behind the wheel, and the owner. Offenders could face up to 18 months in jail and $5,000 fines.

On the list of no-no’s the bill appears to address are safes, lockboxes and other compartments retrofitted to vehicles to protect possessions. At this time, it is important to note that only compartments added after the vehicle leaves the factory are targeted.

That clarification does little to soothe truckers who travel Ohio roads.

The authority given to law enforcement could cause a lot of trouble for truckers who rely on such “hidden compartments” to protect their valuables, such as cash needed to operate their business.

Since I wrote about the bill, I have received numerous emails from professional drivers about concerns such as what would be classified as a compartment, about privacy rights being violated, and about this push representing yet another instance of the government being overzealous in trying to control the trucking industry.

It will be interesting to see how Ohio lawmakers massage the issue in an effort to garner support in the months ahead. There certainly are a lot of concerns that are not going to be eased by simply trying to reassure the public that such action is needed to help the state win the drug war.

In addition to the valid concerns voiced to this point, you must also question the effect such a rule would have in stemming the flow of drugs in and through Ohio. However, there is little question about the hassle and harassment that truckers could soon experience traveling into the state.


  1. win the drug war? anyone with a bit of sense knows that it is a war that cannot be won yet we continue to pour tax dollars down the drain fighting it. just another way to fleece taxpayers and harrass truckers

  2. I heard you and Reed Black talk about this on Land Line Now and a lot of excellent points were made such as what if you buy a used vehicle that has a hidden compartment that you don't know about?

    I've contacted my state senator and state rep here in Ohio and I hope other Ohio members do the same.

  3. I for one will not renew my ohio permits & will not travel in a state that can & will fine you & put you in jail just for having a place to put money or for that matter anything legal to have in my Trucks & or trailers. IF EVERYBODY DOES LIKE-WISE THE PEO[PLE IN OHIO WILL GET TIRED OF HAVING TO GO TO ANOTHER STATE JUST TO SHOP & BUY FOOD ! ! ! ! !
    Rick Oyler Ceo & owner
    Tatoke Xpress inc.

  4. if this law is passed, we as truckers need to boycott the state.

  5. This is more than just about secret compartments.Kay-Sick and his Commie Patrol wants the right to search every truck (without-cause) regardless of the situation to circumvent our rights to privacy and such.Just one more reason why Nobody like to deal with the Buckeye.

  6. And when are they going to start fining and jailing people in their own homes for having safes, hidden spots to hide their valuables? Because if its in my bunk, that is considered my home! Even in California's Supreme Court!

  7. Little by little the US is becoming a police state if we let it.

  8. I am going to assume that the refrigerator that I installed in an existing cabinet would not be considered a 'hidden compartment' under this law, but what about the space behind the refrigerator? The refrigerator does not fill the cabinet completely and the space is not easily accessible. I think this could reasonably be considered a 'hidden compartment' and an unreasonable law like this would make me a criminal.

  9. Why does there have to be a law to allow the searching of a hidden compartment? Wouldn't this be covered by a reasonable vehicle search? If Ohio DOT needs to know where mine is, I will tell them. If they find something illegal there, then shame on me. Laws like this are plain stupid, purposed by some legislative dumb ass that thinks they need to make a freaking law for everything.

  10. If this law is passed, my trucks will definitely not be going through Ohio again. This idea is ridiculous. I can only imagine how Ohio law enforcement would use this to their advantage to intimidate and harass truckers, especially given their track record on doing so in the past. Now that they have raised the speed limit to a reasonable speed and closed down most of their weigh stations, therefore virtually eliminating their decades long seatbelt scam, they will need another source of income from the truck driver. I for one, and my trucks, will not be a new source for their income.

  11. Every trucker or motor vehicle operator should have the right to customize there vehicle in any way as long as it does not affect the safety of the vehicle or endanger anyone on the road.


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