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Vehicle definition change

Published (6/1/2010)
By Nick Busse
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Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed legislation that would have clarified the statutory definition of “motor vehicle.”

Sponsored by Rep. Mary Liz Holberg (R-Lakeville) and Sen. Don Betzold (DFL-Fridley), the bill would have added a cross-reference to a statute that deals with accidents involving vehicles being driven by someone other than the owner. Such an individual is called an “agent of the owner.”

Under the provisions, the definition of “motor vehicle” in regard to an agent of the owner would have been identical to the definition in the state’s no-fault automobile insurance law.

In his veto message, Pawlenty wrote that the revised definition would have included the trailer in a semi-tractor trailer as a “motor vehicle.” This would have made the owner of the trailer liable for the driver’s negligence in case of an accident. The governor argued that trailer owners “have little or no control over the driver and therefore should not be held responsible for their negligent acts.”

HF127/ SF251*/CH386

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