Questions about Logbooks, Locking Haz-Mat Loads in CA & More
Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of November 2011)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on October 12, 2011.
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THE LEGALITY OF A LOGBOOK
Q: My employer says a logbook is a legal document. They also say that when I am not required to fill one out, they have the option to make me fill one out. If this is true, then they have an arbitrary choice whether I am subject or not subject to the logbook laws. Is this correct? Please settle this question – Don in California
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: It’s safe to say any report, record, document or certificate specified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations will be considered a legal document. If you look in 49 CFR 390.35 you will find the regulations prohibit making any fraudulent or intentionally false statements on any documents required by the FMCSRs. To do so carries both civil and criminal penalties. A motor carrier does not have an “arbitrary choice” with regards to logbooks. 49 CFR Part 395 sets the requirements for the daily log. Per 49 CFR 395.8(f)(7), the driver’s signature certifies all entries made in the daily log are true and correct. And, 49 CFR 395.8(e) will make the driver and motor carrier liable for criminal prosecution for any false reports in connection with the daily log. 49 CFR 390.3 is the general applicability of the safety regulations with 49 CFR 390.3(d) addressing additional requirements. These rules state nothing in the regulations that shall prohibit an employer from requiring and enforcing more stringent requirements relating to safety of operation and employee safety and health; thus allowing motor carriers to establish company policies stricter than the safety regulations. In your case, this would be your employer’s requirement that you need to fill out a log even when not mandated by federal regulation.
LOGGING TIME/MILES FOR A MEETING
Q: When driving your personal vehicle from Ft. Worth to Houston for a paid mandatory safety meeting, do you have to log your personal miles to and from and will it go against your 70-hour reset? Thanks – Randy in Texas
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: There is an interpretation found in Part 395.2, Question #19, which states that the time a driver spends attending a safety meeting can be recorded as off duty if attendance is voluntary. If the attendance is mandatory, the driver must record all time as on-duty not driving, and yes it will have an effect on your 60/70 hours.
PADLOCKS ON TANKER HAZ-MAT LOADS
Q: I drive tankers and haul Haz-Mat loads in California. I always put padlocks on the caps that cover the liquid discharge lines. Is there a state or federal regulation that requires you to put padlocks on Haz-Mat loads? Thank you – Travon in California
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Great practice – I’d even secure any tanker control levers/devices inside the cab! However, neither federal nor state laws or regulations address securing the discharge lines on gasoline tankers. I know these ideas were discussed in California, after 9/11, between the CHP and several trucking associations, and that locking hazardous materials (H/M) loads is probably published in “Best Practices” for the H/M industry, but the powers that “were” and “are” must have bigger fish to fry. In California, 32001(5)(A) California Vehicle Code (CVC) only requires enclosed containers to be locked if the vehicle is required to display placards. Subsection (5)(C) of 32001 CVC specifically exempts cargo tanks and flatbed trailers from the securement requirement, but if you are hauling a H/M load in a van, it must be locked.
~ 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 October 12, 2011.