Ask The Law – July 2018

Questions about ABS Lights, Legal Trailer Tire Wear & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of July 2018)

Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on June 15, 2018.

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CLASS C COMMERCIAL LICENSE IN CA

Q: I’ve heard that the California DMV has started issuing Class C commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) with endorsements other than Hazmat. What is this all about? Thank you for your help in advance – Alan in California.

A: Provided by Officer David Kelly, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: California licensed drivers operating a vehicle meeting the definition of a tank vehicle per California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 15210 (r) will now be required to obtain a tank endorsement. Prior to the DMV’s ability to add this endorsement, a tank vehicle driver, who otherwise would not require a CDL due to a gross vehicle weight rating of less than 26,001 pounds, was not required to obtain a tank endorsement. This change does not affect the operation of vehicles less than 26,001 pounds – not otherwise requiring a CDL with endorsements – which are equipped with air brakes. An air brake restriction would only apply for the operation of vehicles which require a CDL with endorsements to operate.

MALFUNCTIONING ABS SYSTEM LIGHT

Q: I’m relatively new to trucking. I recently picked up a trailer and the trailer ABS status indicator light on the dash didn’t go out once I began driving. I know this indicates a malfunction in the ABS system. If, before I can get the trailer into a shop, I get stopped for a roadside inspection and the officer notices this issue, what will be the consequences to me? Thanks for all you do – Ben in Arizona.

A: Provided by Senior Trooper Brent N. Hoover, Indiana State Police, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Indianapolis, IN: Anytime an ABS light or dash light is on, it will be considered a violation only and not an Out of Service. Unfortunately, it will give the driver and the company CSA points. If you hook up to a trailer and get an ABS light, it is best to stop and unplug the trailer and attempt to reset it. If this does not work, you will need to get the issue fixed as soon as you can.

TREAD WEAR DEPTH ON A TRAILER TIRE

Q: I’d like some clarification on tire depth wear. Suppose you have a trailer tire that has four groves where you would check the tire depth with a gauge. The outer grove is wearing down and, on parts of it, the depth is legal, but on a small section it is below 2/32nds of an inch. Would this tire be considered a “legal” tire? Thank you – Victor from Ohio.

A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant with the Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: For trailer tires, if the measurement anywhere in a major tread groove is less than 2/32nds of an inch, then no, the tire does not meet the requirements. You’ll find the answer to your question in FMCSA 49 CFR 393.75(c), as noted here: “393.75 Tires. (a) No motor vehicle shall be operated on any tire that: (1) Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall. (2) Has any tread or sidewall separation. (3) Is flat or has an audible leak. (4) Has a cut to the extent that the ply or belt material is exposed. (b) Any tire on the front wheels of a bus, truck or truck tractor shall have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 4/32nds of an inch when measured at any point on a major tread groove. The measurements shall not be made where tie bars, humps or fillets are located. (c) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, tires shall have a tread groove pattern depth of at least 2/32nds of an inch when measured in a major tread groove. The measurement shall not be made where tie bars, humps or fillets are located.”

~ The “Ask The Law” program is 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: The information contained within this column is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The content contains general information and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific issue. Be aware that the material in the column may not reflect current legal developments or information, as laws and regulations are subject to change at any time without notice. Always check with the most recent statutes, rules and regulations to see if any changes have been made.

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.