Ask The Law® – August 2017

Questions about Personal Use of a CMV, Gauges Not Working & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of August 2017)

Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on July 14, 2017

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WE HOPE TO SEE YOU AT GATS IN DALLAS

Please join our Ol’ Blue, USA “Safety Center”® at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, TX on August 24-26 in booth 17053 and 18053. We are pleased to announce that Lt. Monty Kea and his team of troopers from the Texas Highway Patrol will be joining us again this year.

RULES REGARDING PERSONAL USE OF A CMV

Q: If a driver is just using a CMV at the beginning and the end of the day for personal conveyance and they do not use the CMV at any other time during the day, are they required to take a 30-minute break before they are able to use the vehicle to drive home? Thank you – Bob in Maryland.

A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: I would first question what type of work you are doing in between the beginning and ending of the day. The only time you would be required to take a 30-minute break is if you are required to complete a RODS (Record of Duty Status/Logbook). Drivers using the exemption from completing a RODS are not required to take a 30-minute break. See Part 395.3(a)(3)(ii), which exempts drivers who comply with Part 395.1(e)(1).

ABS TRAILER LAMP NOT WORKING ON A CMV

Q: Is a malfunctioning ABS indicator light on a trailer considered to be a “major defect” which means it must be fixed before going onto the highway, or is it considered to be a “minor defect” that can wait? Thank you for your help – Arthur in Canada

A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: The rules for the exterior ABS malfunction indicator lamp on a trailer are found in 49 CFR 393.55 – Antilock brake systems. Paragraph (e) states “Exterior ABS malfunction indicator lamps for trailers. Each trailer (including a trailer converter dolly) manufactured on or after March 1, 1998, and subject to the requirements of paragraph (c)(2) of this section, shall be equipped with an ABS malfunction indicator lamp which meets the requirements of FMVSS No. 121 (49 CFR 571.121, S5.2.3.3).” Although this is not an “Out-of- Service” violation if discovered during a roadside inspection, operating the trailer when either the ABS malfunction lamp fails to turn on when power is applied to the ABS or when the lamp turns on and then stays on is a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the defect must be repaired prior to operating on the highway.

TACHOMETER NOT WORKING ON A CMV

Q: First off, I love your column in 10-4! Anyways, a friend of mine got pulled over by WSP (Washington State Patrol) and his tachometer didn’t work during the inspection. The officer said that he could put my friend out-of-service for that, but would only write a fix-it ticket. Can they do this? Thank you – Hayden in Washington

A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Was your friend driving an old REO Comet, a Diamond T, a Brockway or a Diamond Reo? Both the current Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) are silent concerning “tachometers” in trucks. The State of Washington adopted FMVSS. The FMCSRs do require a working speedometer (393.82), but I don’t even remember an out-of-service standard for speedometers, much less a tachometer. If you meant to say “tachograph” (which records hours-of-service), then the answer may be completely different!

COLOR BLINDNESS RESTRICTIONS ON A CDL

Q: It is my understanding that a person that is color blind can no longer drive more than 4 axles, is this correct? Thanks – Debbie in California

A: Provided by Sergeant Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Section 391.41(b)(10) of the FMCSRs requires a person to have the ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green and amber. The term “ability to recognize the colors of” is interpreted to mean if a person can recognize and distinguish among traffic control signals and devices showing standard red, green and amber, he or she meets the minimum standard, even though he or she may have some type of color perception deficiency. However, Section 390.3(d) of the FMCSRs does allow employers to have more stringent medical requirements for people who are color blind. Therefore, an employer could prohibit a person with a CDL, who is color blind, from operating company vehicles with more than four axles.

~ The Ask The Law™ programs are an ongoing educational effort between Ol’ Blue, USA™ and commercial law enforcement agencies. 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 July 14, 2017.

About Ol' Blue, USA TM

Ol’ Blue, USATM is a non-profit organization dedicated to highway safety education and to improving relations between the motoring public, law enforcement and commercial drivers. The Ask The LawTM programs are an ongoing educational effort between Ol’ Blue, USA and commercial law enforcement agencies. “Ask The Law” is a registered trademark of Ol’ Blue, USA. This column is copyrighted by Ol’ Blue, USA.