Several Questions About Out-of-Service Orders & Logbook
Issues Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of December 2011)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on November 14, 2011.
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OUT-OF-SERVICE FOR INCOMPLETE LOG
Q: I was recently given a full vehicle inspection by a trooper at a weigh station. My logbook was filled out but the lines on the graph were not completed each day, according to the trooper. I thought I was doing it correctly. I was 90 minutes away from home when the trooper placed me Out-of-Service for ten hours, even though I proved I was only on the road that day for 3-1/2 hours. What is the law? – Jim in Michigan
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: In Part 395.8(a) it states that a Record of Duty Status (logbook) must be completed for each 24 hours. If a driver fails to complete their logbook each day, then the driver is in violation and subject to a citation and/or being placed Out-of-Service.
VIOLATING AN OUT-OF-SERVICE ORDER
Q: True or false – fines for violating an Out-of-Service order range from $2,500 to $5,000 for drivers and $2,750 to $25,000 for motor carriers? Thanks – James in Illinois
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Mostly true. The civil penalty for a driver who violates an Out-of-Service order cannot be less than $2,500. But, if the driver gets a second conviction, the penalty cannot be less than $5,000. On top of those amounts, depending upon the state in which a conviction is made, there could also be additional fines, including court fees (even if the case never sets foot inside a courtroom). Subpart D – “Driver Disqualifications and Penalties” says: “383.53 Penalties. (b) Special penalties pertaining to violation of Out-of-Service orders – (1) Driver violations. A driver who is convicted of violating an Out-of-Service order shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 for a first conviction and not less than $5,000 for a second or subsequent conviction, in addition to disqualification under 383.51(e). (2) Employer violations. An employer who is convicted of a violation of 383.37(c) shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $2,750 nor more than $25,000.”
PROPERLY SECURING A SPARE TIRE
Q: What is the proper tie down requirements for carrying a spare tire on our truck? California has stopped several of our trucks stating that rope, rubber straps and 2-inch straps are not proper. We are being put Out-of-Service for this and it’s killing our safety rating. Please help. Thanks – Monty in Ohio
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: In California, your spare tire must be secured to prevent the tire from coming loose and you cannot carry it on your tractor unless it’s in a carrier or space designed to carry tires. Pursuant to Title 13, California Code of Regulations (13 CCR), Section 1244(b), externally-mounted spare tires are required to “…be contained and supported by tire carriers or other means specifically designed for the purpose and secured to prevent accidental release of the tires.”
PENALTIES FOR NOT HAVING A LOGBOOK
Q: How often does a logbook need to be updated? Are there penalties if a driver is stopped and doesn’t have one? – Terry in New York
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: 49CFR395.8(f)(1) states: “Drivers shall keep their record of duty status current to the time shown for the last change of duty status.” 49CFR395.13 requires a driver failing to maintain a record of duty to be declared Out-of-Service. In addition to the Out-of-Service order, civil penalties may also be imposed by the FMCSA. You’ll probably also receive a ticket with fines being assessed by the state having jurisdiction. Typically, you don’t loose your CDL for not having a logbook, but if you violate the Out-of-Service order for not having a logbook and are convicted of the charge, your CDL will be disqualified. Additional fines and civil penalties can be assessed in addition to the disqualification. The federal safety regulations place the responsibility for compliance equally on the driver and the motor carrier.
~ 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 November 14, 2011.