Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on July 14, 2015.
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WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN DALLAS
Please join our Ol’ Blue, USA “Safety Center”® at GATS (Great American Trucking Show) in Dallas, TX on August 27-29 in booths 23080 and 23084. We are pleased to announce that Lt. Monty Kea and his team from the Texas Highway Patrol will be joining us again in Dallas this year.
34-HOUR RESTART AT TRUCK SHOW
Q: Twice a month I do a dedicated run from Riverside, CA to Dallas, TX with 15-20 stops. At the end of this run, I go to Weatherford, TX to do my 34-Hour Restart because I’m out of hours. My question is, if I take my 34-Hour Restart in Dallas at the truck show (GATS) and not move my rig (take the shuttle to the show), will this still be considered my 34-Hour Restart? Thanks for your time and service – Roberto in California
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: Yes, you can. It’s your time and you can do whatever you want, as long as you do not meet the definition found in Part 395.2 of On-Duty Time. You cannot perform any work for the motor carrier, and this includes servicing the truck-tractor and/or semi-trailer.
ADDING EXTRA FOG LIGHTS TO A CMV
Q: I have looked through 393.24 and am unsure of a few items. I want to install a second set of auxiliary (fog) lights for driving on my class 8 truck this winter for safety going over Loveland Pass at night in heavy snow. I have a set of factory installed driving lights. Can I install another set of lights in the bumper and be legal? What are the specifications the lights must meet? Bulb wattage or candlepower? Is there a maximum size of the reflectors? Can these lamps be illuminated with only the truck and trailer marker clearance lamps or do I have to use them in conjunction with the low beam headlamps? Thank you – Colin in Colorado.
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Cars and trucks have been around since the early 1900s – the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) came into existence in 1966, hence lighting laws and regulations (regs) have been in state statutes and/or regs long before the USDOT. Yes, 393.24 of Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, does allow for the installation of auxiliary lights, but that’s as far as those regs go. Like California, the State of Colorado doesn’t limit the amount of auxiliary lights (e.g. fog lamps, passing lamps, spot lights) installed, but does limit the number of lights which can be illuminated at the same time. Additionally, if headlights are required to be illuminated then other auxiliary lights are not allowed to be substituted. I’ve cut and pasted Colorado’s statute here: Colorado Revised Statutes 42-4-219. Number of Lamps Permitted. “Whenever a motor vehicle is equipped with head lamps as required in this article is also equipped with any auxiliary lamps or a spot lamp or any other lamp on the front thereof projecting a beam of an intensity greater than three hundred candlepower, not more than a total of four of any such lamps on the front of a vehicle shall be lighted at any one time when upon a highway. Any person who violates any provision of this section commits a class B traffic infraction.” As far as specific engineering of lights, you need to make friends with a Society of Automotive Engineer (SAE) certified person. I can find many references to SAE Standard J581 from the year 2004, but I would have to pay more than $70 just for that document. Don’t get me started about having to buy an engineering article to comply with a law or regulation!
DEALING WITH A FAILED DRUG TEST
Q: Are there any companies that hire drivers with a failed drug test (over a year ago) or who don’t read DAC reports? Thank you in advance – Greg in Ohio
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: You’ll find the answer to your question in 49 CFR 391.23. Federal regulation requires that all motor carriers conduct investigations and inquiries with respect to each driver it intends to employ. As part of this investigation, the hiring motor carrier must contact a prospective driver’s previous employers to verify, among other things, if the driver has failed a drug/alcohol test. The hiring motor carrier must provide the previous employers with the driver’s written consent for the release of this information. However, if the driver refuses to provide this written consent, by regulation, the hiring motor carrier is prohibited from letting the driver operate any commercial motor vehicle, not just CDL vehicles. If you apply for a driving job but won’t give consent to the background check, the motor carrier can’t let you drive. If you can’t drive, they are not going to hire you. Simply put, if a prospective driver has failed a drug test or refuses to give consent to obtain that information, a motor carrier will not want to hire such a safety risk.
~ 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, 2015.