Questions About Logbooks, California Vehicle Codes & More
Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of May 2012)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on April 14, 2012.
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FINDING THE CA VEHICLE CODES ONLINE
Q: How can I look up all of the California Vehicle Codes online? Thank you – Jerry in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Access to the California Vehicle Codes (CVC) is available online at www.dmv.ca.gov. Additionally, Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations (T13 CCR) also contains regulations, which further define the statutory laws found in the CVC. An online version of T13 CCR is available at www.oal.ca.gov.
WHO CAN ASK TO INSPECT MY LOGBOOK?
Q: Are we required to show our logbook to any officer that requests to see it? I have been told that the only officers we are required to show our logbook to is either a certified CVSA officer or a Federal Marshall. Thank you – Steve in Utah
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: You have to remember, in addition to all of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, the states also have their own laws requiring logbooks. The states can simply adopt the federal safety rules, or write their own, provided the state rules are similar to the federal rules. Since I don’t know all the law enforcement agencies authorized to enforce these rules, if someone wearing a badge and a gun asked for my logbook, I think it would be wise for me to give it to them. For example, special agents of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have the authority to enter upon, to inspect, and examine lands, buildings, and equipment, and to inspect and copy records and papers of carriers and other persons, in performance of his/her duties under the Department of Transportation Act, related acts, and regulations of the Department. Likewise, Nebraska State Patrol Troopers may, upon demand, inspect the accounts, records, and equipment of any carrier or shipper. For the purpose of enforcement, Nebraska State Patrol Troopers also have the authority of special agents of the FMCSA. This authority varies from state to state. Even some county and local jurisdictions have the authority to inspect trucks. But trust me, you’ll never have a US Marshall ask to see your logbook. Their primary responsibilities are to protect the federal judiciary, apprehend federal fugitives, and operate the Witness Security Program.
PROPER DEFINITION OF A LADEN CMV
Q: I would like to request a more detailed definition of what would be considered a “laden” and an “unladen” CMV. After I am relieved from dispatch and motor carrier responsibilities, am I allowed to drive to the nearest truck stop/rest area with an empty trailer being off duty or does that only apply to the tractor by itself? Thanks – Alan in Texas
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: You have asked a good question. Nowhere in the DOT regulations does it define what a laden vehicle is. There are some examples of what a driver can and cannot do if the vehicle is laden, but those examples are limited to a vehicle being loaded with hazardous materials. There are those in the enforcement community that say a vehicle is ladened if you have a trailer, regardless of whether the trailer is loaded or empty, while others say that a trailer is ladened only if it is loaded. Whose definition is right or wrong remains the interpretation of the trooper/inspector who has you stopped. There is one interpretation, found in Part 395.8 Question #26, which says that a driver is allowed to drop their trailer and bobtail to various locations (food, entertainment, or shopping) while en route or once the driver reaches a location and drops their trailer and bobtails home and back to the location of their trailer before starting their next trip. But, another interpretation, found in Part 395.2 Question #1, states that all time spent at the controls of a CMV are to be recorded as driving time from the last stop to home. So, based on not being able to find a definition of what a ladened vehicle is and with the two examples used, I cannot give you an answer that is going to be fool proof. What I mean is, I cannot give you an answer that’s going to keep you from possibly getting written up for moving from your last drop to the nearest truck stop or rest area.
~ 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 April 14, 2012.