Town of Delafield v. Central Transport Kriewaldt (Federal Preemption of Weight Limits)

In Town of Delafield v. Central Transport Kriewaldt (2017AP2525), the Court of Appeals District II held that federal transportation law does not preempt the town’s seasonal weight restriction on certain roads.

Delafield posted signs identifying a seasonal weight restriction prohibiting vehicles over six tons from driving on designated town roads. A Central Transport delivery truck over six tons was subsequently issued a citation for driving on one of the designated roads while making a delivery to a Delafield resident.

Federal law (U.S. Code Title 49 s. 31114(a) and Title 23 s. 658.19) requires towns provide “reasonable access” between the interstate and terminals. Central Transport argued that the federal transportation law preempts the town’s weight limit because it did not allow Central Transport reasonable access between the interstate and the place of delivery in the town.

The appeals court rejected Central Transport’s argument, stating that Delafield did allow reasonable access. Although the weight limit prohibited Central Transport from reaching the delivery location, the town had set up a permit process providing exceptions to the weight limit to companies who contact the town’s highway superintendent. The court said Central Transport was not denied reasonable access because it could have used the permit process. The court said being aware of the town’s weight limit and permit process is simply a “cost of doing business” for trucking companies.