Questions about Post-Trip Inspections, Sleeper Bedding & More
Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of June 2012)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on May 14, 2012.
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WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN LAS VEGAS
Please join our Ol’ Blue, USA “Safety Center”® at the Great West Truck Show in Las Vegas, NV on June 14, 15 & 16 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center (this is a new location). We are pleased to announce that Trooper Elmer Johnson and his team from the Nevada Highway Patrol will be joining us in Las Vegas again this year. Visit our website at www.safetytour.org for more details.
POST-TRIP INSPECTION REPORTS
Q: Are we required by law to have a copy of the previous day’s pre-trip inspection with us in the truck? Thanks – Lyn in Arizona
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Regulations contained in 49 CFR, Parts 396.11 and 396.13 were amended in 1998. Effective July 20, 1998, neither Part 396.11 nor Part 396.13 require a motor carrier to keep a copy of the previous day’s DVIR in the power unit (truck). In addition, both sections are silent regarding “copies” of DVIR’s. The word “copy” does not exist in either 396.11 or 396.13. However, the requirement for a driver to review the previous day’s DVIR remains in effect. Therefore, a motor carrier can require a copy of the DVIR to be maintained in the truck, can keep an original (or copy) on file in the terminal for a driver to review, can maintain an electronic copy for review, etc.
THE TRUTH ABOUT WHITE SHEETS
Q: I’ve been hearing a rumor for some time now that we are required to have white sheets in the bunk but have been unable to find anything in the regulations. Is this a requirement or just one of those “old trucker tales” that aren’t really true? Thank you – Michael in California
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: You guessed right, this is one of those old trucker tales. I remember during my DOT training an instructor saying a sleeping bag with a proper air mattress would be sufficient to meet this regulation. 49 CFR 393.76 gives you the requirements for a sleeper berth, but says nothing about white sheets – it only refers to bed-clothing and blankets. In addition to shape and size, the regulation specifies required equipment. Paragraph (e) of 49 CFR 393.76 states: Equipment. A sleeper berth must be properly equipped for sleeping. Its equipment must include: (1) adequate bed-clothing and blankets; and (2) either: (i) springs and a mattress; or (ii) an innerspring mattress; or (iii) a cellular rubber or flexible foam mattress at least four inches thick; or (iv) a mattress filled with a fluid and of sufficient thickness when filled to prevent “bottoming-out” when occupied while the vehicle is in motion. Where you can run into problems is if you are claiming sleeper berth time on your log and the sleeper isn’t properly equipped for sleeping (such as no mattress or blankets), or it is being used to haul freight.
AFFIXING PLACARDS ON A TRAILER
Q: I haul hazmat shipments on a fairly regular basis. If the trailer I am pulling is loaded with hazardous materials but does not have sufficient placard holders, is it legal for me to affix placards with tape? If it is legal, are there any restrictions? Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated. Thanks – Don in Vermont
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: HMR Part 172.516(c) states that the placards must be securely attached or affixed thereto or placed in a holder thereon. So, if the semi-trailer does not contain a placard holder, then the use of tape to affix the placard is acceptable. No interpretation (at this time) can be found to further clarify this regulation. But a word of caution – if for any reason the placard comes off or does not remain properly affixed to the semi-trailer and you are stopped, a citation and/or violation could be issued.
~ 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 May 14, 2012.