Questions About Logbook Procedures, Length Laws in CA & More
Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of February 2012)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on January 14, 2012.
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REVISED HOURS-OF-SERVICE RULES
On December 23, 2011 the FMCSA issued revised Hours-of-Service rules. In light of these changes, we have received several questions. Next month, after our team has muddled through all of the 212 pages of these changes and revisions, the most popular questions will be answered pertaining to these new rules.
MAXIMUM COMBO LENGTH IN CA
Q: I recently received a citation for VC35401(A). The officer said that the maximum length of a tractor and trailer in California is 65 feet. Since most haulers pull 53-foot trailers with conventional tractors, how can the law be 65 feet? If so, most haulers would be getting citations. Please advise on this matter – Cornelis in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 35401(a) requires vehicle combinations to be 65 feet or less. However, Section 35401.5(a) CVC provides an exemption to the 65-foot limit for combinations consisting of a truck tractor and semitrailer on certain truck routes in California (these California truck routes can be found at www.dot.ca.gov). Additionally, vehicle combinations that contain a trailer longer than 48 feet must maintain a king pin to rear axle setting of 40 feet or less.
60 HR / 7 DAY VERSUS 70 HR / 8 DAY
Q: What dictates whether a driver can use the 60 hour/7 day rule or the 70 hour/8 day rule? Nothing I have found seems to spell the answer out completely. Thank you in advance for your help – Tim in Ohio
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE:You’ll find your answer in 49 CFR 395.3(b)(1) and (2). This regulation clearly states that the 60 hour/7 day rule applies to employing motor carriers that do not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week and that the 70 hour/8 day rule applies to employing motor carriers that do operate every day of the week. Guidance questions 1 and 2 to 49 CFR 395.3 further clarify this. The driver does not have the option to select the rule he/she wishes to use; it is the motor carrier’s daily operations that determines the rule.
PROPERLY LOGGING OIL FIELD WORK
Q: I haul water for the oil fields in Pennsylvania. We stay local and have been running time sheets, but now the customer wants us to run a log (most of our runs are 20 to 30 miles back and forth). My question is: can we run our complete shift on line 4 on-duty not driving? If so, do we still need a time sheet or any other documents? Thank you – Jamie in Pennsylvania
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: I would check with your motor carrier. They are the ones who determine how the driver will record their hours and not who the motor carrier hauls for. If the motor carrier chooses to follow the shipper’s request, then the drivers have no choice but to complete a logbook. Check with your motor carrier and see how they want your log to be completed. The DOT regulations do allow drivers to complete logs in several ways, depending on what the driver does. The motor carrier is not required to allow the driver to use those alternatives – it is their choice.
COMPANY CHANGED ACCIDENT STATUS
Q: Is it legal for a company to change a non-preventable accident into a preventable one upon termination? Thanks – Tim in Ohio
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: I’m presuming you’re talking about a DAC report provided under the auspices of Hire Right, since FMCSA’s Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) doesn’t take information from a company. Hopefully, Hire Right required your old employing motor carrier to provide documentation to amend a non-preventable accident to a preventable accident. While Hire Right is required to abide by laws such as the Fair Credit Reporting Act and other federal and state regulations, I do not know the specific scope of rules Hire Right uses. You may contest any information in your DAC report by filing a dispute form found at www.hireright.com.
~ 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 January 14, 2012.