Motor Vehicle Enforcement

History of Motor Vehicle Enforcement

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The need for specialized law enforcement related to large trucks on Iowa’s roadways was recognized very early in our transportation history. By 1941, MVE’s role in protecting Iowa’s roads and bridges and promoting the safe interaction of commercial and noncommercial motor vehicles on the transportation system began when Iowa State Highway Commission (the predecessor to the modern Iowa Department of Transportation) developed a plan to regulate the size and weight of motor vehicles to protect public safety and integrity of the roads and bridges.

The Highway Commission recommended legislation that authorized it to designate employees as peace officers to enforce size and weight regulations, and that legislation was signed by Gov. George A. Wilson and became effective July 1, 1941.

The Iowa legislature brought together several transportation agencies in 1975 forming our current Iowa Department of Transportation. As part of our agency, MVE was formed at the same time from a combination of size and weight enforcement officers from the Highway Commission, motor vehicle investigators from the Iowa Department of Public Safety, and peace officers from the Iowa State Commerce Commission.

In 1975, the MVE officers were given the “authority of a peace officer to control and direct traffic and weigh vehicles, and to make arrests for violations of the motor vehicle laws relating to the operating authority, registration, size, weight, and load of motor vehicles and trailers and registration of a motor carrier’s interstate transportation service with the department.”

Since then, the responsibilities of MVE officers have evolved as the needs of a modern transportation system evolved and federal regulations regarding commercial motor vehicles, carriers, drivers, and loads were established and grew. Significant additions to responsibilities included full state peace officer authority/duties, adoption of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the federal Hazardous Materials Safety Regulations, traffic operations, and a full service onsite training program to assist motor carriers, commercial drivers, and general public in our pursuit of safety across Iowa.