Questions About Length Laws, Oversize Loads, Logbooks & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of May 2016)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on April 14, 2016.
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MAXIMUM LENGTH OF COMBOS IN CALIFORNIA
Q: I recently received a citation for VC35401(A). The officer said that the maximum length of a tractor and trailer is 65 feet. Most haulers use 53-foot trailers and a conventional tractor. Is the law really 65 feet? If so, most haulers should be getting citations. Please advise. Thank you very much – Cornels in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 35401(a) requires vehicle combinations to be 65 feet or less. However, Section 35401.5(a) of the CVC provides an exemption to the 65-foot limit for combinations consisting of a truck-tractor and semi-trailer on certain California truck routes. California’s truck routes are available at www.dot.ca.gov. Additionally, vehicle combinations that contain a trailer longer than 48 feet must maintain a king pin to rear axle setting of 40 feet or less.
FINES FOR VIOLATING AN OUT-OF-SERVICE ORDER
Q: True or false – fines for violating an Out-of-Service order range from $2,500 to $5,000 for drivers, and $2,750 to $25,000 for motor carriers? Thanks – James in California
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Mostly true. The civil penalty for a driver who violates an Out-of-Service order cannot be less than $2,500. But, if the driver gets a second conviction, the penalty cannot be less than $5,000. On top of those amounts, depending upon the state, there could also be additional fines, including court fees (even if the case never sets foot inside a courtroom). Subpart D – “Driver Disqualifications and Penalties” – says: “383.53 Penalties. (b) Special penalties pertaining to violation of Out-of-Service orders – (1) Driver violations. A driver who is convicted of violating an Out-of-Service order shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $2,500 for a first conviction and not less than $5,000 for a second or subsequent conviction, in addition to disqualification under 383.51(e). (2) Employer violations. An employer who is convicted of a violation of 383.37(d) shall be subject to a civil penalty of not less than $2,750 nor more than $25,000.”
PROPER LOGBOOK PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW
Q: What dictates whether a driver can use the 60 hour / 7 day or 70 hour / 8 day rule? Nothing I have found spells it out completely. Thank you in advance for your help – Tim in Ohio
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: You’ll find your answer in 49 CFR 395.3(b)(1) and (2). It states the 60 hour / 7 day rule applies to employing motor carriers that do not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week and the 70 hour / 8 day rule applies to employing motor carriers that do operate every day of the week. Guidance questions 1 and 2 to 49 CFR 395.3 further clarify this. The driver does not have the option to select the rule he/she wishes to use – it is the motor carrier’s daily operation that determines the rule and procedure to follow.
TICKET ISSUED TO TRUCKER FOR ESCORT VEHICLE
Q: I was recently pulled over in Oklahoma because my escort did not have the proper signs on his door. After the officer wrote the ticket, he issued it to me, and not the escort driver. His reasoning was that I am responsible for the load and the vehicle pulling the load. He said that the pilot car became an extension of my own truck and I am therefore responsible for making sure he has everything to be legal. I don’t fully understand how I am responsible, or why and how this is my ticket. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks – Jimmy in Texas
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: I tried to find Oklahoma (OK) state law dealing with oversize escort requirements, but all I could find is that effective in 2006, OK started requiring oversize loads to be escorted with an escort vehicle. I cannot find what the exact requirements are for the escort service vehicles, other than the typical insurance requirement. I would suggest that you contact the Oklahoma Highway Patrol directly by calling them at (405) 521-6060 or by visiting their website at www.ok.gov/ohpcmve.
~ 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 April 14, 2016.