Article 1. General Provisions And Definitions of California Public Utilities Code >> Division 2. >> Chapter 7. >> Article 1.

This chapter may be cited as the "Household Goods Carriers Act."
(a) The use of the public highways for the transportation of used household goods and personal effects for compensation is a business affected with a public interest. It is the purpose of this chapter to preserve for the public the full benefit and use of public highways consistent with the needs of commerce without unnecessary congestion or wear and tear upon those highways; to secure to the people just, reasonable, and nondiscriminatory rates for transportation by carriers operating upon the highways; to secure full and unrestricted flow of traffic by motor carriers over the highways that will adequately meet reasonable public demands by providing for the regulation of rates of all carriers so that adequate and dependable service by all necessary carriers shall be maintained and the full use of the highways preserved to the public; and to promote fair dealing and ethical conduct in the rendition of services involving or incident to the transportation of household goods and personal effects.
  (b) To achieve the purposes of subdivision (a) the commission shall do all of the following:
  (1) Prioritize the timely processing of applications and hold "application workshops" for potential applicants around the state.
  (2) Enable electronic filing of applications, reports, and fee payments.
  (3) Dedicate staff to answering telephone calls, mailings, and electronic inquiries from carriers.
  (4) Prioritize the timely processing of consumer complaints.
  (5) Implement electronic case tracking of complaints and their disposition.
  (6) Implement a process for appropriate and timely enforcement against illegally operating carriers, including by performing staff-driven investigations and performing enforcement through sting operations and other forms of presence in the field.
  (7) Maintain relationships with, and implement outreach and education programs to, local law enforcement, district attorneys, and airports, and coordinate with law enforcement agencies pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 1046, subdivision (d) of Section 5317.5, and subdivision (d) of Section 5417.5.
  (8) Meet with carrier trade associations at least annually.
  (9) Implement a consolidated case tracking system that integrates each of the transportation program core functions and data collection, administrative compliance details, complaints, and investigations.
Unless the context otherwise requires, the definitions and general provisions set forth in this article govern the construction of this chapter.
In construing and enforcing the provisions of this chapter relating to penalties, the act, omission, or failure of any officer, agent, or employee of any person or corporation, acting within the scope of his official duties or employment, is the act, omission, or failure of the employing person or corporation.
"Corporation" includes a corporation, a company, an association, and a joint stock association.
"Person" includes an individual, a firm, or a copartnership.
"Public highway" includes every public street, road or highway in this State.
"Motor vehicle" means every motor truck, tractor, or other self-propelled vehicle used for transportation of property over the public highways, otherwise than upon fixed rails or tracks, and any trailer, semitrailer, dolly, or other vehicle drawn thereby.
"Household goods carrier" includes every corporation or person, their lessees, trustee, receivers, or trustees appointed by any court whatsoever, engaged in the permitted or unpermitted transportation for compensation or hire as a business by means of a motor vehicle or motor vehicles being used in the transportation of used household goods and personal effects over any public highway in this state. A broker, as defined in Section 5110.7, shall be considered a household goods carrier.
With respect to a motor vehicle used in the transportation of property for compensation by a household goods carrier, "owner" means the corporation or person who is registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles as the owner of the vehicle, or who has a legal right to possession of the vehicle pursuant to a lease or rental agreement.
"Broker" means a person engaged by others in the act of arranging, for compensation, the intrastate transportation of used household goods by a motor vehicle over the highways of this state for, or on behalf of, a shipper, a consignor, or a consignee.
This chapter shall not be construed as a regulation of commerce with foreign nations or among the several states, except insofar as such regulation is not prohibited under the provisions of the Constitution and the acts of the Congress of the United States.
The regulation of the transportation of used household goods and personal effects in a motor vehicle or motor vehicles over any public highway in this state shall be exclusively as provided in this chapter. Any provision of the Public Utilities Act in conflict with the provisions of this chapter does not apply to a household goods carrier.
The transportation of used household goods and personal effects in any truck or trailer for compensation over any public highway in this state is a highly specialized type of truck transportation. This chapter is enacted for the limited purpose of providing necessary regulation for this specialized type of truck transportation only, and is not to be construed for any purpose as a precedent for the extension of such regulation to any other type of truck transportation not presently so restricted.