Article 10.

Transportation in General.

62-200.  Duty to transport household goods within a reasonable time.

(a)        It shall be unlawful for any common carrier of household goods doing business in this State to omit or neglect to transport within a reasonable time any goods, merchandise or other articles of value received by it for shipment and billed to or from any place in this State, unless otherwise agreed upon between the carrier and the shipper, or unless the same be burned, stolen or otherwise destroyed, or unless otherwise provided by the Commission.

(b)        Any common carrier violating any of the provisions of this section shall forfeit to the party aggrieved the sum of ten dollars ($10.00) for the first day and one dollar ($1.00) for each succeeding day of such unlawful detention or neglect, but the forfeiture shall not be collected for a period exceeding 30 days.

(c)        In reckoning what is a reasonable time for such transportation, it shall be considered that such common carrier has transported household goods within a reasonable time if it has done so in the ordinary time required for transporting such articles by similar carriers between the receiving and shipping stations. The Commission is authorized to establish reasonable times for transportation by the various modes of carriage which shall be held to be prima facie reasonable, and a failure to transport within such times shall be held prima facie unreasonable. This section shall be construed to refer not only to delay in starting the household goods from the station where they are received, but to require the delivery at their destination within the time specified: Provided, that if such delay shall be due to causes which could not in the exercise of ordinary care have been foreseen or which were unavoidable, then upon the establishment of these facts to the satisfaction of the court trying the cause, the defendant common carrier shall be relieved from any penalty for delay in the transportation of household goods, but it shall not be relieved from the costs of such action. In all actions to recover penalties against a common carrier under this section, the burden of proof shall be upon such carrier to show where the delay, if any, occurred. The penalties provided in this section shall be in addition to the damages recoverable for failure to transport within a reasonable time.

(d)       This section shall not apply to motor carriers of passengers. (Code, s. 1964; 1899, c. 164, s. 2, subsecs. 2, 7; 1903, c. 444; c. 590, s. 3; c. 693; 1905, c. 545; Rev., ss. 1094, 2631, 2632; 1907, cc. 217, 461; C.S., ss. 1053, 3515, 3516; 1933, c. 134, s. 8; 1941, c. 97; 1963, c. 1165, s. 1; 1995, c. 523, s. 11; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, s. 33; 1998-128, s. 9.)