Questions about Air Brakes, Fenders on Dump Trailers & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of April 2014)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on March 14, 2014.
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ADJUSTING BRAKES ON A CMV
Q: In orientation, I was told and shown how to adjust slack adjusters. Can I do this or do I have to be certified? Thanks – Mike in Arizona
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: For an employee of the motor carrier to be able to inspect and/or adjust brakes, the motor carrier must certify the employee. The qualification for the brake inspector/adjuster can be found in Part 396.25. A driver is not required to carry the actual certificate on their person, but the motor carrier must have the certificate available for inspection during a Compliance Review.
DUMP TRAILER FENDER REQUIREMENTS
Q: I was recently told to put full fenders on my 3-axle truck because the mud flaps on my end dump fenders are a foot behind the mud flaps on the rear of the truck. The inspector said debris could fly over the truck’s mud flap and under the flap on the trailer. Can’t I just make the trailer’s mud flap longer? They already made me put half fenders on my truck and now they want me to get full fenders. Is this a made-up law or is it actually written in a book somewhere? Thanks in advance for your time – Richard in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Section 23114(b)(2) of the California Vehicle Code (CVC) outlines the fender and splash flap requirements for vehicles used to transport aggregate materials in California. Section 23114(b)(2)(D) of the CVC requires fenders starting at the splash flap with the front edge extending forward at least six inches past the center of the axle. The fender must cover the tops of tires not already covered by the truck or trailer body. Some trailers are already equipped with fenders mounted on the front and on each side. When these trailers are connected to a truck tractor, the fenders cover the tractor’s rear tires as required by California law. Installing longer mud flaps on the front of the trailer will not meet the truck’s fender requirements. For exact specifications, drivers should check with their individual state’s rules, regarding fenders and splash flap installation, when transporting aggregate materials.
LOGBOOK PAGE SEIZED BY OFFICER
Q: I had forgotten to bring my logbook current and got pulled over for speeding. When cited, the officer tore out that day’s original page from my logbook and kept it. Is it legal to confiscate a legal document without a warrant? Thanks – Brian in Arizona
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: The answer to your question is yes. Under the Best Evidence Rule, officers are allowed to confiscate the original page or pages of your logbook when issuing a citation with no warrant required. A record of duty status (logbook) is required to be possessed, kept up to current status, and required to be presented to law enforcement by a driver. FMCSA interpretation 395.8 says: “Question 9: May a duplicate copy of a record of duty status be submitted if an original was seized by an enforcement official? Guidance: A driver must prepare a second original record of duty status to replace any page taken by an enforcement official. The driver should note that the first original was taken by an enforcement official and the circumstances under which it was taken.”
LOGGING YOUR CORRECT STATUS
Q: If I am in the sleeper berth but logged as off-duty, would I be guilty of falsification? Thank you for your time – JR in New Mexico
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: Yes, you would be. If you are in the sleeper berth, the time needs to be logged as such. The FMCSA has an answer for you in their interpretation question #26 for Part 395.1: Hours of Service of Drivers. “Question 26: May a driver record sleeper berth time as off-duty time on line one of the record of duty status? Guidance: No. The driver’s record of duty status must accurately reflect the driver’s activities.”
~ 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 March 14, 2014.