Questions about Sleep Apnea, Updating Logs, Length Laws & More
Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of March 2013)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on February 14, 2013.
Brought to you as a public service by Ol’ Blue, USA and 10-4.
Submit your questions to www.askthelaw.org
A WELL-DESERVED THANK YOU
Q: I asked a question back in September 2012 regarding the personal use of a CMV. Ret. Trooper Monty Dial answered my question (see below). I just wanted to say that after showing the answer to several other drivers, I now know why so many get ticketed for personal use of a CMV – the officer has the final say, and it is not black and white. I just wanted to say “thanks” and I will stay with my instincts of not using my CMV for personal use unless I am operating it under legally-logged HOS rules. Thanks – Lyle in Wisconsin
A: (reprinted) Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX (as seen in the November 2012 edition of 10-4 Magazine): In the DOT regulations, there is an interpretation that has been issued dealing with use of a CMV for personal conveyance, but it is not found in the small pocket version of the regulations. You either have to have the big Management Edition, which has the interpretations printed in it, or you need to use a computer to access the FMCSA website (www.fmcsa.dot.gov). The interpretation is found in Part 395.8, Question #26. In this interpretation it gives two examples on when a driver can use their vehicle for personal conveyance. The first example has to do with use while you are in route with a load (you drop the loaded trailer and then use the tractor to go shopping, to a movie, to get something to eat, or go to a motel for rest). The second example deals with a driver dropping a trailer at a yard or terminal and using the tractor to drive home, then returning to the dropped trailer to start the next trip. Most Troopers/Inspectors will question a driver extensively when the driver has a different starting point from their prior ending point when not operating as a team. So, when you use the vehicle to drive home from your last drop and then start your next trip from a different location, some Troopers/Inspectors will cite you for having a false log.
PENALTIES FOR NOT UPDATING LOGS
Q: How often does a logbook have to be updated? What are the penalties if a CDL driver is stopped and doesn’t have a logbook? Thank you – John in New York
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: 49CFR395.8(f)(1) says: “Drivers shall keep their record of duty status current to the time shown for the last change of duty status.” 49CFR395.13 requires a driver failing to maintain a record of duty to be declared out of service. In addition to the out-of-service order, civil penalties may also be imposed by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and you’ll probably receive a ticket with fines being assessed by the state having jurisdiction. Typically, you don’t lose your CDL for not having a logbook, but if you violate the out-of-service order for not having a logbook and are convicted of the charge, your CDL will be disqualified. Additional fines and civil penalties can also be assessed in addition to the disqualification. The Federal Safety Regulations place the responsibility for compliance equally on the driver and the motor carrier.
SLEEP APNEA TESTS FOR DRIVERS
Q: Does a CMV driver have to have a Sleep Apnea test to be able to haul Hazmat? Thanks for your time – Jack in Kentucky
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Currently, there is no regulation or USDOT/FMCSA policy requiring any driver to take a Sleep Apnea test at this time. However, the FMCSA is looking hard at sleep deprivation and Sleep Apnea. You can go to their website at www.fmcsa.dot.gov and search for “Sleep Apnea” to track FMCSA’s progress.
LENGTH LAW FOR TRUCK & TRAILER
Q: I just purchased a 40-foot RV with a 10,000-lb. ball-hitch. Can I pull my 24-foot boat or my 24-foot toy hauler behind it? My overall length would be 69 feet. Thank you in advance – Alex in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Section 35401(a) of the California Vehicle Code limits a combination of vehicles coupled together, including attachments, to a total length of 65 feet or less. At this time, there is no exemption for a recreational motor home towing a boat or trailer. The vehicle combination you described above would not be legal in California because it would exceed the 65 foot overall length limit.
~ 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 February 14, 2013.