Ask The Law ® – October 2017

Questions about ELD Enforcement, Fire Extinguishers & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of October 2017)

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

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SOME ELD ENFORCEMENT PUSHED BACK

On August 25, 2017, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) decided to push back some enforcement of the upcoming federally-mandated Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) for commercial vehicles from December 18, 2017, to April 1, 2018. In a letter to Daphne Jefferson, the Deputy Administrator of the FMCSA, Collin B. Mooney, Executive Director of the CVSA, wrote: “..In order to ease the transition and to help those motor carriers that have not prepared for the ELD requirement, CVSA has elected to begin applying the Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC) associated with the ELD mandate on April 1, 2018. Setting a new April 1, 2018 effective date for applying the ELD out-of-service criteria (OOSC) will provide the motor carrier industry, shippers and the roadside enforcement community with time to adjust to the new ELD requirement with minimal disruption to the delivery of goods. However, on April 1, 2018, non-compliant drivers will be placed out-of-service. CVSA member jurisdictions have used this phased-in approach in the past when implementing a significant change in regulatory requirements. The CVSA Board of Directors, in consultation with FMCSA and the motor carrier industry, agreed that the phased approach to implementation of the ELD requirements outlined in the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria will help promote a smoother transition to the new ELD requirement. CVSA works to closely monitor, evaluate and identify potentially unsafe transportation processes and procedures as well as to help facilitate and implement best practices for enhancing safety on our highways. Commercial motor vehicle safety continues to be a challenge and we need the involvement of all affected parties to help us to better understand these issues and put into place practical solutions. We appreciate the agency’s commitment to safety and stakeholder involvement.”

FIRE EXTINGUISHER DID NOT WORK

Q: My truck would not start one morning, so my girlfriend called a tow truck company for a jump-start. After they got it started, it caught fire and the tow truck company’s fire extinguisher did not work. Now, my truck is a total loss. Is the tow truck company responsible for not having a working fire extinguisher? If the tow company had a fire extinguisher that worked, we could have got the fire out and suffered only minimal damage instead of a total loss. Thank you in advance – Ronnie in California

A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Sorry for your loss. The tow company’s trucks are required to be equipped with, and are required to also maintain, fire extinguishers (27700 (a)(3) CVC). That said, if a fire extinguisher is found to be defective, on the side of the road, a “fix-it” ticket is generally issued. An infraction can be issued if an officer determines any sort of “neglect” by the tow company. You could file a citizen’s complaint against the tow company, but this course of action won’t bring your truck back to life. The fire could have started for several reasons, including hooking up the cables incorrectly, defective battery, and/or a spark igniting volatile fumes in the engine or battery compartment. At this point, I advise you to consult an attorney, since I cannot provide legal advice

UNDERSTANDING THE EOBR RULES

Q: Concerning the electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs), I am under the understanding that drivers have a 15-minute window to play with to get to a “Safe Haven” for their 10 hours off. Currently, I exit the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Ephrata to drive to our yard in Leola, which is 15 minutes away. Even though there is no “Safe Haven” between these two points, I am not allowed to drive home? We now have paper logs. Your thoughts? Thank you for your time – Rick in Pennsylvania

A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: One of the things that will be allowed after 12/19/17, when using an ELD, is the use of a CMV for personal conveyance, if the motor carrier will allow the driver to do so. The same goes for the current usage of the AOBRDs (automatic on-board recording devices). Just remember, you must start your next duty status from the yard in Leola. If not, you must show driving from the yard in Leola to your home. See Part 395.8, Question #26.

~ 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 September 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.