Questions about Driving on Flat Tires, Singling Out Duals & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of June 2015)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on May 14, 2015.
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FOLLOW-UP ON MAY 2015 QUESTION
Q: I was out of hours and couldn’t find a place in the nearby truck stops. I was extremely tired and parked at the Mississippi scale on US 78. All around the curbs were signs saying “No Parking” so I pulled into the middle of the lot, into spaces marked for trucks. A DOT man woke me up five hours later and then wrote me and two other trucks tickets and made us leave, even though we had no hours. Is this legal? I thought the signs meant no parking along the curbs. Please help if you can! Thanks – Donna in Arkansas
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Shortly after submitting a somewhat vague answer last month because I had not been able to get in contact with anyone about this matter before our print deadline, I received a return telephone call from a Major with MDOT. According to the Major, the “No Parking” signs on the curbs surrounding the weigh station do apply to the whole parking lot.
CARRYING A SPARE TIRE IN CALIFORNIA
Q: Our company is now requiring us to carry a spare tire on our truck tractor. What are the proper tie-down requirements for this? California officers have stopped several of our trucks stating that rope, rubber straps and two-inch straps are not proper. We are being put out of service for this and it’s killing our safety rating. Please help if you can. Thank you – David in Arizona
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA:Pursuant to Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations (13 CCR), Section 1244(b) says, “Externally mounted spare tires shall be contained and supported by tire carriers or other means specifically designed for the purpose and secured to prevent accidental release of the tires.” This regulation can be found at http://ccr.oal.ca.gov. So, in California, your tire must be secured to prevent the tire from coming loose – and don’t carry your spare tire on your tractor unless it is in a carrier or a space designed to carry tires.
DRIVING ON A BLOWN-OUT TIRE
Q: One of our trailers recently blew a right outside tire. The driver called dispatch and, since he was only a few miles from where our repair work is contracted, was told to go into the shop. The driver got off the interstate so he could operate at a slower speed. Less than a mile from the repair shop, the driver was stopped. He immediately told the officer he knew the tire was flat and he pointed to the repair shop within sight. The officer put him out of service. Can I challenge this OOS, which earns us (the carrier) and the driver a hefty 10 points on our CSA score? Thanks – Kathy in Iowa
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: You can file a Data Q with the FMCSA on their website to challenge this out of service (OOS) but, quite honestly, I doubt if you’ll be successful. Operating a CMV on a blown-out tire (regardless of how far) is a violation of 49 CFR 393.75(a)(3). Although I know this is hindsight now, your dispatcher should have had someone from the shop go out to the truck. The blown tire should have been replaced with a spare as soon as the driver discovered it. In the case of dual wheels, it’s also permissible to simply “single out” the duals by taking the blown tire off and running on the inside wheel and tire, provided you don’t exceed the weight rating of the single tire.
SINGLING OUT A SET OF DUAL WHEELS
Q: I have on occasion “singled out” a set of duals due to a blown tire. This was done at the direction of my company. Is this legal to do? If so, does it matter if the wheel is on the inside or outside? Thank you in advance for the help – Victor in Ohio
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: If you choose to single out a dual due to a flat, the only prohibition is to make sure the other tire does not exceed the weight rating marked on the tire. In Part 393.75 Interpretation, Question #1 also answers your question. It states that a defective tire can be removed as long as the weight on the remaining tire does not exceed the weight rating marked on the side of the tire.
~ 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 May 14, 2015.