Questions about Camera-Phones, Axle Lengths, Logbooks & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of August 2014)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on July 14, 2014.
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USING A CAMERA-PHONE IN A CMV
Q: My question is about using a camera on a cell phone while driving. I’ve read the federal law, but it’s mainly about texting and talking – camera phones and MP3 players seem to be left out. Can I use these devices while driving? Thank you in advance – Gary in Pennsylvania
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: If you look at Part 392.82 it prohibits the use of a hand-held mobile telephone. If you were using a mobile device that has a phone, a camera, and a music player all in one, then, per the regulation, you would be in violation. If your device has only a camera or MP3 player, then Part 392.82 would not be applicable.
LOGGING TIME WAITING FOR A LOAD
Q: I am being told not to start my on-duty time while I am sitting waiting for a load (they will have me sit for 5 hours and then expect me to run for 14 hours). If I am required to be available and waiting for my load, by law, shouldn’t I be on-duty? Thanks – Jeff in Ohio
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: “On duty time means all time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. On-duty time shall include: (1) All time at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless the driver has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier” (emphasis added). If a motor carrier (MC) requires you to be at a place waiting for the load, then you are required to log that time as “on-duty – not driving.” If the MC allows you to leave for those five hours and be “on-call” then the time may be recorded as “off-duty.”
MAXIMUM AXLE LENGTHS IN CALIFORNIA
Q: Can you please tell me the maximum legal axle lengths for 53’ trailers in California? Thank you – Craig in Arizona
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Section 35401.5(a)(1) of the California Vehicle Code describes the proper King Pin to Rear Axle (KPRA) setting for 53-foot trailers. For trailers equipped with one axle, the maximum KPRA distance is 38 feet or less. For trailers equipped with two axles, the maximum KPRA distance is 40 feet or less. This distance is determined by measuring from the kingpin to the center of the trailer’s rear axle. There is no difference between a trailer equipped with spread axles or one equipped with fixed tandem axles. The KPRA setting is determined in the same manner for both types of trailers.
PENALTIES FOR NOT UPDATING LOGS
Q: How often does a driver’s logbook have to be updated? Are there penalties if a CDL driver is stopped and doesn’t have one at all? Thank you for your time and help – Jim in New Jersey
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: 49CFR395.8(f)(1) states: “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 be declared Out-of-Service. In addition to the out-of-service, 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 do not 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 be assessed in addition to the disqualification. The Federal Safety Regulations place the responsibility for compliance equally on the driver and motor carrier.
~ 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, 2014.