Questions about Tire Checks, Contaminated
Brakes, Idling & More Answered by
Law Enforcement Officials (as of October 2011)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on September 12, 2011.
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TIRE CHECKS WITH HAZ-MAT LOADS
Q: I’m a tanker driver and I haul Haz-Mat loads. Since 2006, I’ve been doing tire checks every two hours. I was recently told that the law changed a few years ago and it’s no longer required to do tire checks every two hours. What is the current law about tire checks? Thank you – Travon in California
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA:Drivers that transport hazardous material loads must check the tires at the beginning of each trip and every time the CMV is parked. The current rules, under Title 49, CFR 397.17 Tires, says: (a) A driver must examine each tire on a motor vehicle at the beginning of each trip and each time the vehicle is parked. (b) If, as the result of an examination pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, or otherwise, a tire is found to be flat, leaking or improperly inflated, the driver must cause the tire to be repaired, replaced or properly inflated before the vehicle is driven. However, the vehicle may be driven to the nearest safe place to perform the required repair, replacement or inflation. (c) If, as the result of an examination pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, or otherwise, a tire is found to be overheated, the driver shall immediately cause the overheated tire to be removed and placed at a safe distance from the vehicle. The driver shall not operate the vehicle until the cause of the overheating is corrected. (d) Compliance with the rules in this section does not relieve a driver from the duty to comply with rules 397.5 and 397.7.
Q: What is the definition of contaminated brakes? How would one determine if brakes are contaminated? – Andy in Illinois
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX:When I was working, if the brake drum was not shiny, it was considered contaminated. I found lots of drums and brake shoes that were coated with wheel grease or rust. The seal would become defective and would leak grease onto the drum and brake linings or the brake linings would not touch the drum causing the drum to rust. I’ve also seen where a driver would have the seal replaced but the mechanic or shop wouldn’t wash the grease off the drum and brake linings – they would merely wipe the grease off and put the drum back on. The grease that was left on the drum or brake lining would cause the drum to have a dull look. This would still be classed as contaminated brakes. Part 393.47(a) is often used to cite a violation for contaminated drums, but it does not give much information about what exactly is considered to be contaminated brakes. The North American Out-of-Service Criteria uses several descriptions on what is considered contaminated brakes – they talk about oil, grease, brake fluid and rust.
PET EXEMPTION FOR IDLING IN CA
Q: I travel to and from California each and every week. It has been widely rumored that one way to beat California’s no idling law is to travel with a dog in the cab with you. Is this fact or fiction? Thank you – John in Texas
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Currently, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations do not provide an exemption for a pet in the cab. All diesel-fueled trucks operating in California are prohibited from idling longer than five minutes. CARB administers this regulation and is available to answer all questions relating to idling restrictions. Information regarding this, and other CARB regulations, can be found on their website (www.arb.ca.gov) or by calling (866) 634-3735.
~ 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 12, 2011.