Questions about Lane Laws, Driver Testing, Overweight Tickets & More
Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of February 2013)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on January 14, 2013.
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CALIFORNIA LANE LAWS
Q: I recently received a citation for not moving right on a three-lane interstate after passing two semis. I informed the officer that the only reason I didn’t move right was the right lane ended in 5/10ths of a mile. What is the legal distance you can merge left when the right lane is ending? Thank You – Ron in Arizona
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 22348(c) requires truck and trailer combinations to travel in the right lane on highways with only three lanes in each direction. Section 22348(c) CVC permits a driver to overtake and pass another vehicle proceeding in the same direction by using the lane to the immediate left. Once the vehicle has been passed, a driver must move back to the right. There is no statutory exemption for traveling in the left lane after the pass is completed. On highways with four or more lanes in each direction, truck and trailer combinations must travel and pass each other only within the two right-hand lanes. A black and white regulatory sign with the words “TRUCKS OK” placed above a freeway lane does allow trucks to travel in that specific lane.
LOGGING DROP & HOOK INFO
Q: When making trailer changes, do you need to log “drop & hook” and include the trailer information on the flag for time, location and unit numbers in the logbook? Thanks – Joao in Florida
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: I cannot find any regulation or interpretation that requires a driver to mark trailer numbers on a flag in the logbook. Regulations do not require entries to be made in logbooks regarding drop and hooks, fueling, required inspections, loading, etc., however, many motor carriers do. Since there is another portion of the logbook to record a trailer number(s), I don’t remember seeing a trailer number flagged on any of the thousands of logbook pages I’ve reviewed. That said, a driver shall complete a Daily Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) for every vehicle operated during a shift. Therefore, when a driver drops a trailer, a post trip inspection must be completed (396.11a). Two trailers are allowed to be listed on a DVIR, but the trailer being picked up is not required to be entered on the DVIR until the end of the shift. Needless to say, a pre-trip inspection shall be completed on the trailer being “hooked” to. 396.11 Interpretations, Question 13: Must a DVIR carried on a power unit during operation cover both the power unit and trailer being operated at the time? Guidance: No. The DVIR must cover the power unit being operated at the time. The trailer identified on the report may represent one from the preceding trip.
CERTIFICATION OF DRIVING SKILLS
Q: Is there a requirement in the FMCSA rules for an annual driver re-certification for driving skills? Thanks – Len in Wisconsin
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX:If you are asking a question about the Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) for drivers who cannot qualify for a DOT Medical Certificate due to a missing limb, the requirements for the driver and motor carrier can be found in Part 391.49. As for how long the SPE is good for, the maximum is 2 years, and then the driver and motor carrier can re-apply 30 days prior to the expiration of a current SPE – see 391.49(h).
Q: can you be cited for being overweight from the use of a weigh in
motion scale and not being weighed on a static scale? Thanks for your time – Brian in Washington
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: I wish I could give you a definite answer, but I can’t. How truck weight limits are enforced are determined by the individual state’s laws, not by any federal regulation. So, if a state’s laws or regulations permit weights determined by a weigh in motion scale to be used for enforcement purposes, then it would be possible to be cited for overweight without being weighed on a static scale. However, from what I’ve been able to find, similar to Nebraska, most states use their weigh in motion systems to pre-weigh and presort trucks prior to the weigh station. Only those trucks potentially overweight are directed to the static scale, and if any enforcement action needs to be taken, it would be based on the weights determined from the static scale.
~ 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, 2013.