Strategies, Challenges, and Answers

The Nevada Legislature Can Constitutionally Regulate Commercial Carriers, Even If The Only Reason They Are Doing It Is To Raise Money

It’s amazing how the government finds ways to expand its reach.  You give them an inch and they take a mile.  The case of Ex Parte Iratacable, 55 Nev. 263, 30 P.2d 284 (1934) is a perfect example.  In that case, the Nevada Supreme Court was asked to consider whether it was constitutional for the legislature to require motor carriers operating in the State of Nevada to be licensed.  It is hard to imagine a day when the government was not breathing down the neck of the trucking industry.  But this case, decided when automobiles were still a novelty and the interstate highway system was just a dream, reminds us that there was a day long ago when truck owners were responsible for their own safety and oversight.

Nevada Trucking Lawyers, Mills & Associates, Nevada Trial Lawyer, Nevada Court System, Nevada Motor Transport Association, Nevada Appellate Lawyer 702-240-6060 In this case, the police stopped a driver working for the Nevada Packing Company.  The driver was cited for operating his commercial vehicle in the State of Nevada without obtaining a motor carrier license.  Apparently, the legislature had recently passed a law that required intrastate commercial motor carriers to get a certificate of convenience from the Public Service Commission, pay all license fees and file an indemnity bond.

In order to justify the state’s intrusion into the operation of commercial vehicles, the State of Nevada argued that licensing was necessary to protect “safety”.  The Nevada Supreme Court was not persuaded.  The Court saw the law for what it was, a tax, plain and simple.  The Court said:

The clear purpose of the act is to raise revenue, and the provisions of a regulatory character are merely incidental, and it is clear, too, just what motor vehicle operators are sought to be compelled to contribute to the maintenance of the public highways, and they are the ones who cause the greatest wear and tear.

55 Nev. at 263.

The Supreme Court went on to find that even though the safety aspects of the law were secondary, the law was not unconstitutional and the State of Nevada could require intrastate motor carriers to be licensed.  With decisions like this, it is easy to see how the role of government expands and the scope of its involvement just grows and grows.

Mills & Associates Nevada Trucking Lawyers 702-240-6060