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Fmr. USDOT Special Agent

Topic 17616 | Page 1

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Andre D.'s Comment
member avatar

Greetings Gentlemen,

I have just recently separated from Federal Service as of Nov. as a USDOT Agent/Motor Carrier Safety Specialist. I've worked as an Investigator and Vehicle Inspector in Texas, Montana and California. Prior to this, I worked as a commercial vehicle inspector for the California highway patrol in San Onofre, CA. I have 10+ years experience inspecting you guys and it's very safe to say that I know my s!#$. You name it and I've done it when it comes to commercial enforcement. I used to enjoy reading the comments on here but was always unable to respond because of my position. Well, No More. I'm out on my own and starting up a consulting business for the motor carrier industry based in San Diego, CA where I currently reside. It's going to be called 'Trucking Consultants' truckingconsultants@gmail.com. Feel free to ask me some questions.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Clear up the "firearms in commercial vehicle" debate - or at least a few particulars.

Already know there is NO FMCSA REG that forbids a firearm/weapon specifically in a CMV. State laws pertaining to firearms in (all) vehicles, and federal interstate compact apply.

We've had a few members that have "been told by a DOT guy they know" - that weigh stations are considered "federal property" and you can't have a firearm in a truck on federal property.

Not looking to get any further into debates about 2A rights, or "how can the company I work for forbid me from being able to defend myself" - it is what it is.

All other things aside - if you are in lawful possession of the firearm (not a felon, etc.), and the firearm is either in a lawful location in the vehicle for that particular state - are you going to get "jammed up by a DOT guy", if you have one in the vehicle and get stopped for inspection?

You probably don't want to walk into the station carrying (as most state laws forbid carry in a courthouse, police station, etc - even with a carry permit).

Rick

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

The other can we seem to constantly kick down the road - pertains to LINE 5 PERSONAL CONVEYANCE (or LINE1 with a PERSONAL CONVEYANCE notation).

1 - there doesn't seem to be a "strict definition" on the FMCSA site of what constitutes UNLADEN for the purposes of using a CMV as "personal conveyance". Some folks opine BOBTAIL ONLY - others (myself included) think it means EMPTY TRAILER + NOT UNDER DISPATCH/NO BOL.

2 - the other "can" that we kick - there are some folks that think it's OK to move from a drop at a receiver, to a rest area (truck stop, roadside rest area) and use LINE 5 (or Off Duty/Personal Conveyance) if you haven't gotten a dispatch and are waiting for a load assignment. My "personal opinion" is that this is NOT the intent of the PC Exception, and that, while not under dispatch, but moving from a drop at a receiver to a place to go off duty for your 10 hour break (etc), is still LINE 3 On Duty/Driving. Once you get to the rest stop and go OFF DUTY (LINE 1) you can stay off duty (Line1 with a notation or Line 5 if your logging allows) to run to Walmart or a Restaurant, or any other non-duty-personal needs (laundromat, etc).

FMCSA's site seems REAL VAGUE on this - in both the rule itself - and the advice. We had a member that was doing an "empty move" after a drop to a rest area, as PC - and was cited by a trooper. He still had hours so he wasn't put OOS - but was cited for "Log Falsification" and claimed the company approved this type of PC usage.

Rick

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Andre D.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow what a question! I should charge you for this. Just kidding. The Firearm issue will depend on the State you're in at the time and their laws. I've had many a driver hand me a concealed handgun license along with their CDL here in CA from an outside State. While it may be fine depending on it's location in the vehicle, CA doesn't recognize out of state Concealed carry licenses so it would have been illegal to carry on him while walking around or have it next to him in the truck. Just keep it in a locked compartment in your rig and research the laws of the States you frequent.

Personal Conveyance, You're correct in the vagueness of that definition. It has caused confusion with many drivers and enforcement personnel. Remember that your CMV must not only be unladen but, this is the key... Neither you nor the vehicle at the time, can be involved in the FURTHERANCE OF A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE in any way. If your co-worker had just completed a delivery, was not under dispatch and was off duty while not being paid, then no violation occurred.

Of course, if it were me and your co-worker was being an ass or difficult in any way, I could stretch the regs and definition by saying that the movement of the commercial vehicle itself is a furtherance of a commercial enterprise or some nonsense like that.

Whew! Ok Rick That's enough for you. You're getting a bill next time!

Any other quick questions"

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

CMV:

Commercial Motor Vehicle

A CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business, is involved in interstate commerce, and may fit any of these descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards
Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks - no bills. I'm kinda the "rules & regs" jailhouse lawyer here.

On the PC - board member in question, was driving from a drop to a truckstop - had no dispatch, was going to wait for a dispatch. He got pulled for "speed too fast for conditions" by a VA Trooper - and got written for a "log falsification" after he explained why he was logged OFF DUTY.

It seems the vagueness of the rule - contributes to a lot of folks getting written up for a falsification - even though they were obeying the intent/letter of the rule.

Thanks.

Rick

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

How often have you come across a situation where a state might allow a certain amount of weight on an axle, like 20,000 on the steer axle, but the truck you're inspecting didn't have tires rated for that much weight? Is that a common occurrence?

Andre D.'s Comment
member avatar

Rick It's unfortunate that drivers have to go through that. Be familiar with Title 49, the Out of Service criteria and your State/local laws and if you believe that an enforcement official was wrong in taking action, by all means fight it. There are a bunch of ways to do that.

Then again, you can just hire me and I'll take care of it :)

Andre D.'s Comment
member avatar

Brett Aquila, you're reminding me of me old scale head days.. The States can never allow a "certain amount of weight" over what is rated by the manufacturer. Not for axle weight ratings, GVWR , GCVWR etc. Never, NEVER should any government entity allow a weight that is over the weight rating of the tires themselves. That is an out-of-service violation.

GVWR:

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating

GVWR is the maximum operating weight of a vehicle as specified by the manufacturer, minus any trailers.

GCVWR:

Gross Combined Vehicle Weight Rating.

The manufacturer's specification for the maximum weight that can be combined into one motor vehicle. (i.e. the truck and trailer).

Out-of-Service:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Never, NEVER should any government entity allow a weight that is over the weight rating of the tires themselves. That is an out-of-service violation.

Correct. I was just wondering if that was a common occurrence? There are a lot of states (California being one) that allow 20,000 on the steers but most steer tires are only rated at 6,000 - 6,600 pounds and most axles are rated at 12,000 - 14,000 pounds. So legally you could carry up to 20,000 on the steer but very few trucks have the axle or tires rated for that.

Is this something you've come across quite a bit out there or is it pretty rare to see someone go over the axle and tire ratings?

Out-of-Service:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Pat M.'s Comment
member avatar

Ok, on the personal conveyance what is your definition of unladen? Empty trailer or no trailer at all?

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