Questions about Tailgating, Adjusting Brakes, Logbooks
and More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of August 2012)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on July 14, 2012.
Brought to you as a public service by Ol’ Blue, USA and 10-4.
Submit your questions to www.askthelaw.org
WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN DALLAS
Please join our Ol’ Blue, USA “Safety Center”® at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, TX on August 23, 24 & 25. We are pleased to announce that Lt. Monty Kea and his team from the Texas Highway Patrol will be joining us in Dallas again this year. Visit our website at www.safetytour.org for more details.
LOGGING WAIT TIME AT MY COMPANY
Q: I have a set time each day when I start my dedicated run. If I walk in and my load isn’t ready and it’s going to be at least another hour before it is, do I have to log that hour if I do nothing that is company-related? Thank you in advance – Brian in Iowa
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: In the interpretation found in Part 395.2, Question #20 states that if the motor carrier requires its drivers to be available for call after their mandatory rest, the time waiting to be dispatched can be recorded as off-duty if the driver is not performing any work-related duties.
TAILGATING VIOLATIONS IN A CMV
Q: I am troubled by tailgaters – especially those who know better (Class-A drivers). Is there a nationwide law that makes tailgating a violation? Thanks – Sidney in Oregon
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: I can’t find a “following too close” (tailgating) law in 49 CFR, 300-399; however, I would bet that every state has a statute (generally an infraction) prohibiting following too close (FC). Agencies such as state police or highway patrols upload FC violations to the FMCSA and they record those uploads as violations of 392.2FC. FMCSA’s Analysis and Information website indicates violations of 392.2FC increased from 10,522 in 2007 to 13,464 in 2010, but I doubt local law enforcement agencies (Sheriffs and Police Departments) are inputting all of these violations into the system. California DMV recommends the “3 Second Rule” as the best way to make sure you are not following too closely.
ADJUSTING BRAKES ON A CMV
Q: Is it legal for drivers to adjust their brakes if they have self-adjusting slack adjustors? Thank you in advance – Darren in Michigan
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: In order to adjust brakes on a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) you must be a qualified brake inspector, required by 49 CFR 396.25 which states: (a) Motor carriers and intermodal equipment providers must ensure that all inspections, maintenance, repairs or service to the brakes of its CMVs, are performed in compliance with the requirements of this section. (b) For purposes of this section, brake inspector means any employee of a motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider who is responsible for ensuring that all brake inspections, maintenance, service, or repairs to any CMV, subject to the motor carrier’s or intermodal equipment provider’s control, meet the applicable federal standards. (c) No motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider may require or permit any employee who does not meet the minimum brake inspector qualifications of paragraph (d) of this section to be responsible for the inspection, maintenance, service or repairs of any brakes on its CMVs. (d)… It is the motor carrier’s responsibility to ensure that their brake inspector’s meet the qualification requirements specified in the regulations. If your employer has done so, then you may adjust your own brakes. Also, brakes must be adjusted per the manufacturer’s recommendations. You mentioned self-adjusting slack adjustors. From the literature I’ve seen, automatic slack adjusters should not need to be manually adjusted in service, nor should they have to be adjusted to correct excessive push rod stroke. The manufacturers caution that in the event a manual adjustment must be made, a service appointment and full brake component inspection must be conducted as soon as possible to ensure the integrity of the overall brake system.
~ 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 July 14, 2012.