Questions about DOT Inspections, Logbook Procedures and More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of November 2016)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on October 14, 2016.
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LOGBOOK RULES FOR SHORT HAUL DRIVERS
Q: I run for a sand and gravel company, hauling mainly around western Nevada, and occasionally short runs into California (just fifty miles or so). I was just informed by a coworker that we have to fill out a logbook entry on days we cross over into California. Is this correct? Our company does not require this – we normally only fill out a logbook entry on days we work twelve hours or more, or run outside of our 100-mile radius. Thank you for your help – Ben in Nevada
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: You and the company are fulfilling the hours of service requirements contained in federal and California regulations. A requirement to specifically maintain a logbook in order to cross a state line or national boundary (Canada or Mexico) does not exist. In other words, a “short haul” driver’s exemption like 395.1(e) does not change when crossing an invisible state or federal boundary.
IS A LOGBOOK A LEGAL DOCUMENT?
Q: My employer says a logbook is a legal document. They also say that when I am not required to fill one out, they have the option to make me fill one out. If this is true, then they have an arbitrary choice whether I am subject or not subject to the logbook laws. Is this correct? Please settle this question – Don in California
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: It’s safe to say any report, record, document or certificate specified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations will be considered a legal document. If you look in 49 CFR 390.35 you will find the regulations prohibit making any fraudulent or intentionally false statements on any documents required by the FMCSRs. To do so carries both civil and criminal penalties. A motor carrier does not have an arbitrary choice with regards to logbooks. 49 CFR Part 395 sets the requirements for the daily log. Per 49 CFR 395.8(f)(7), the driver’s signature certifies all entries made in the daily log are true and correct. 49 CFR 395.8(e) makes the driver and carrier liable for criminal prosecution for any false reports in connection with the daily log. 49 CFR 390.3 is the general applicability of the safety regulations, with 49 CFR 390.3(d) addressing additional requirements. It states nothing in the regulations that shall prohibit an employer from requiring and enforcing more stringent requirements relating to safety of operation and employee safety and health; thus allowing motor carriers to establish company policies stricter than the safety regulations. In your case, this would be your employer’s requirement, that you need to fill out a log even when not mandated by federal regulation.
DEALING WITH A DOT INSPECTION WARNING
Q: If a driver gets a DOT inspection and does not receive a ticket for violations, but receives a warning, does the bottom portion have to be mailed to the Motor Carrier Bureau? Thank you – Sue in Texas
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: Any time that a driver goes through a roadside inspection, regardless of whether the driver is issued a citation or just a warning, the inspection form must be signed by either a company representative stating that the repairs have been made or a mechanic outside the company who made the repairs, and then mailed back to DPS MCB in Austin. Before it’s mailed back in, make a copy of the inspection and carry it in the truck for the next 90 days, and if the driver gets pulled over within those 90 days, show the Trooper/Inspector, regardless of what state you are stopped in, that the driver/vehicle has already gone through an inspection. Sometimes they will tell the driver to continue without doing another inspection, unless they see something obviously wrong or if they are doing a higher level of inspection. Also, be sure and make a copy and place it in the truck’s maintenance file, as well.
FINDING THE CA VEHICLE CODES ONLINE
Q: How can I look up the California Vehicle Codes on my computer? Thank you for your help with this in advance – Jerry in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Access to the California Vehicle Codes (CVC) are available online at www.dmv.ca.gov. Additionally, Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations (T13 CCR) contains regulations, which further define the statutory laws found in the CVC. An online version of the T13 CCR regulations can be found at www.oal.ca.gov.
~ 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 October 14, 2016.