Questions about Scales, Spread-Axle Trailers,
CDL Permits & More Answered by Law Enforcement
Officials (as of February 2011)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on January 12, 2011
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SPREAD AXLE LAWS IN CALIFORNIA
Q: Can you have a 10’-1” spread on the trailer in California or do you have to run a closed tandem axle? Thank you – Rick in Ontario, Canada
A: Provided by Officer James Portilla, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, California: You would not need to run with a closed tandem. A 10’-1” spread axle is legal in California. The maximum weight allowed for a 10’-1” tandem would be 40,000 lbs.
INTERRUPTING A 10-HOUR BREAK
Q: I run the same route three times a week. My boss wants me to call on those days to let him know I will be at work. Can he make me call while I’m on my 10-hour break? Thanks – Garry in Texas
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, Texas: A lot is going to depend on what type of answer you want to hear. There is an interpretation (Question #30) found in Part 395.3 that deals with drivers having to constantly respond to satellite or similar communications while taking their rest break. The interpretation states that a driver has to be “on-duty not driving” to respond to those messages. There are also two other interpretations (Question #5 & #6) that deal with a driver having to contact or carry a pager/beeper to be able to contact the motor carrier during their rest break. Neither of these interpretations state that it breaks the driver’s rest period. Another way to look at the answer is from the eyes of the motor carrier. You do not make a run everyday and the motor carrier has a load that needs to be delivered. All they are asking is for you to make a telephone call to let them know if you are going to be able to make the run. If you cannot, then they need enough time to locate another driver to take your scheduled run. So, taking a minute or less to call the motor carrier would not interrupt your ability to obtain the required rest.
CONFLICTING SIGNALS AT A SCALE
Q: If an approaching scale has signs indicating that it is closed but my in-cab PrePass® unit provides a red stop signal anyway, should I stop at the scale or just drive on by? Thanks – Monty in Ohio
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant with Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Div, Lincoln, NB: The instructions for PrePass® say you are to follow the in-cab indication from your transponder, however, remember it is a system to legally bypass an open scale. If the highway signs are indicating the scale is closed, there isn’t a legal requirement for anyone to stop, so any indication from your transponder at this point is irrelevant. What probably happened is that when the officers closed their scale, they forgot to switch their PrePass® system to closed. You can find more information about PrePass® on their website at www.prepass.com.
BEHIND THE WHEEL WITH A PERMIT
Q: My CDL was suspended for three years because of a speeding ticket that I did not pay. I had to take all of the tests (both written and driving) all over again. I now have my CDL permit. Should my instructor (a CDL driver) log this as “on-duty not driving” or can he log in the sleeper? Thank you – Jerry in California
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Your instructor (a licensed CDL driver) must be in the “jump seat” at all times when you are behind the wheel. Also, a person possessing an Instruction Permit for a CDL would be required to log “on-duty – not driving” when performing any work for the motor carrier (such as doing a pre-trip inspection, etc.) or when sitting in the jump seat. You can only log sleeper berth time when you are actually in the sleeper.
~ The Ask The Law™ programs are an ongoing educational effort between Ol’ Blue, USA™ and commercial law enforcement agencies. Founded in 1986, Ol’ Blue, USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to highway safety education and to improving relations between the motoring public, law enforcement and commercial drivers. “Ask The Law” is a registered trademark of Ol’ Blue, USA. This column is copyrighted by Ol’ Blue, USA. Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on 01/12/11.