Getting Snow/Ice OFF Your Trailers - IT'S THE LAW (in 12 Or More States)

Topic 29276 | Page 1

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Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

I was going to post this on one of the "Winter Driving Threads", but decided it really needed a post of it's own...

Something else to add to the "winter wonderland equation".

In many states - IT IS ILLEGAL TO RUN WITH SNOW/ICE PILED UP ON YOUR TRAILER.

Article From A Law Firm (yeah - I know, we hate them) about trailer ice: Flying Ice Chunks Can Kill

Some truck stops, yards and consignees in heavy snow areas have a "trailer snow removal device".

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Seriously though - we've all seen trailers with snow/ice flying off. And these chunks can be deadly if they come through a windshield (or someone makes an erratic move to dodge one).

In states where there's a law - cops CAN (and DO) pull trucks over and CITE THEM. If flying snow/ice from your trailer causes and accident (and GOD FORBID a death) - the DRIVER is held responsible.

Some people think the DRIVER should climb up on the trailer and remove the ice (yah, good luck with that). Probably many of the "truck stop hangarounds", make a "cottage industry" of climbing up on your trailer and shoveling the stuff off for you (for a small fee of course).

It's probably worth the extra few minutes and/or a couple of $$'s (check with dm/safety for reimbursement) - to get the stuff OFF your trailer.

That, and if you're close on weight - a foot of snow on your box can make you OVERWEIGHT.

Word to the wise - STAY SAFE...

Rick

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

Dm:

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.
Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Yes this is a ridiculous problem within the industry and in 5 years I have yet to see one in a truck stop....even in MT or ME. Customers don't want us using theirs and they are for their drivers only, including Walmart and a few meat places I go to.

I have seen and know drivers who climb up there....not happening. And have yet to see anyone offer to do so for me...even for a fee. Even truck washes refuse to melt it off with water.

This is a frustrating and ridiculous situation for drivers of any experience level. And doubly so for newbies.

JakeBreak's Comment
member avatar

Yeah this topic comes up every year and it sucks for the driver either way. We arent allowed to climb on top of the trailers, the van trailers especially dont have the support to allow someone to walk on it. Yet we are the ones that get fined for it. I understand the safety aspect of it but to me it seems like its just another way for the states to take money from us. If they are going to fine you for it they should be obligated to provide a way to fix it.

TCB's Comment
member avatar

Even if someone did offer to climb on top of your trailer and scrape off the ice for a fee, it would probably violate most company's policies.

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Even if someone did offer to climb on top of your trailer and scrape off the ice for a fee, it would probably violate most company's policies.

And open up huge lawsuits. If the govt really wanted to help...they could put these up in rest areas, service plazas and weigh stations..... But that would make sense.

PJ's Comment
member avatar

I am sure glad I do not have to deal with it. However Rick brought up a side point. The weight. I loaded a few winters ago and actually was loosing weight as they started loading me. Kinda mind boggeling at first thought.

I had driven through a area that was very cold and built up approx 2000 lbs of ice under the tractor and trailer. I was loading on a scale inside a very well heated building. The ice started melting and running off and down a drain. The loader said it happens every winter. That was the purpose of the drain under the scale. However once I left I had to be cautious because it was going to build up again. Thanfully that shipper planned for that type of situation and loaded me a little lighter than normal.

Some customers may not be as kind.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

midnight fox's Comment
member avatar

I see they sell roof shovels/rakes for semi trailers and RVs, but it also sounds like they're flimsy and break easily....

Rick S.'s Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Even if someone did offer to climb on top of your trailer and scrape off the ice for a fee, it would probably violate most company's policies.

double-quotes-end.png

And open up huge lawsuits. If the govt really wanted to help...they could put these up in rest areas, service plazas and weigh stations..... But that would make sense.

"I'm from the government, and I'm here to help" - nine words you never want to hear - Ronald Reagan

Simply trying to illuminate an issue.

I recall last winter, on a FB trucking group I'm in - where a driver was LIVID that he got cited for snow chunks flying off his trailer while he was tooling down the highway - and mainly because they had a law - AND NO MEANS FOR THE DRIVER TO ACTUALLY GET HIS TRAILER CLEANED OFF.

Yeah - you don't want to have some homeless truck stop dweller up on your trailer to fall off and sue - and probably against all companies policies.

Makes me think of a new "cottage industry" for next winter. Get a couple of guys with pickups - and a couple of portable rake devices. Set up outside of TS/Rest Areas and get - (what would be reasonable?) - $10/20 a pop to do a trailer drive-through? 50 a day X $20 = $1,000.

Hmmmmmmm - looking for INVESTORS...

I'm just trying to make folks here aware of a potential issue. Cops may well have "something better to do", during a snow emergency. But if they get hit - or see some car get nailed with a 100lb chunk - they will likely take the time to make the stop.

Rick

Navypoppop's Comment
member avatar

This is a real situation that has gone on for decades and yes it is a serious problem. There is no way any driver in his right mind would climb onto a trailer roof to clean it off. How many cars, pick-ups and mini vans to you see going down the road with a foot of packed snow on top and only the front windshield cleared but not the hood and the snow blowing back onto the windshield.

There should be "snow rakes" installed at every scale or rest area for snow removal. They can be installed and removed like those wooden snow drift fencing that some states put up to help with drifting. Don't expect any driver to climb up in the winter risking "life and limb" to clear a roof. I never have and never will.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Delco Dave's Comment
member avatar

I’m guessing the reason these trailer snow clearing devices aren’t widely available all comes down to $$$$. Someone would have to be onsite with a plow or skid loader to constantly clear the snow from under the device. Truck stops could charge a fee for the service to offset the equipment and employee payroll so it could work there but having someone just sitting and waiting at the highway rest stop would cost the states a small fortune.

Is the FMCSA working on a solution for this problem? Have companies and drivers been putting pressure on them to resolve this issue?

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

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.
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