Questions about State of Emergency Orders, Toll Roads & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of March 2017)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on February 14, 2017.
Brought to you as a public service by Ol’ Blue, USA and 10-4.
Submit your questions to www.askthelaw.org
DEFYING A STATE OF EMERGENCY WARNING
Q: When a state issues a “State of Emergency” order, what happens if a driver is caught violating that order? Thank you – Rick in Pennsylvania
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: A lot is going to depend on what the State of Emergency is issued for. If a state issues a State of Emergency warning drivers that it is unsafe to operate a vehicle due to weather conditions, then any operator caught running in that area could be subject to being issued a citation, especially if they are involved in a crash.
TEAM DRIVER IN SLEEPER BERTH
Q: I have two questions: 1) Even when they are married, as my wife and I are, do teams need bunk beds in order to log sleeper birth time at the same time? 2) When being DOT inspected, must I provide my wife’s information, even when she is on her ten off in the bunk? Thank you in advance for your help – Patrick in Texas
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Question 1: Federal regulations contained in 49 CFR 393.76 (Sleeper Berths) do not require more than one (1) bed in any sleeper berth. The regulations only require adequate bed clothing and blankets, and specify thickness for different types of mattresses, including regulations for liquid-filled beds (such as a waterbed). Question 2: A definition of “co-driver” doesn’t exist in either 390 or 395 of 49 CFR. A person who is behind the wheel, in the jump-seat, or in the sleeper berth is a “driver” if that person “operates any commercial motor vehicle” (390.5). If the name of your wife is legibly entered in your logbook, as required in 395.8(d)(9), an inspector shouldn’t have to ask for her information. Nothing prohibits an inspector from waking a “co-driver” but inspectors shouldn’t needlessly interrupt a person’s required rest period – especially if the “driver” can provide the needed information.
CALIFORNIA BRIDGE LAW INFORMATION
Q: What is the bridge law in California with a 48’ trailer? I was told it is 40’ king pin to rear axle (KPRA) if you are off the interstate. How long can my combination be with a 48’ trailer? Thanks – Ron in Arizona
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: California Vehicle Code (CVC) Section 35400(a) limits vehicle combinations to 65 feet in length. However, Section 35401.5(a) CVC provides an exception to the 65-foot limit. The exception allows unlimited combination length when traveling on the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (NSIDH). Most interstate highways are part of the NSIDH. Additionally, the exception extends to local roads identified by local jurisdictions as truck routes. In order for a driver to use this exception, the trailer must not be longer than 48 feet. If the trailer measures over 48 feet, but not more than 53 feet, the KPRA setting must not exceed 40 feet. There is no limit on the KPRA setting for semitrailers up to 48 feet in a vehicle combination over 65 feet. The KPRA distance is determined by measuring from the kingpin to the center of the trailer’s rear axle. It is important to know ahead of time the local truck routes when making deliveries at locations off an interstate highway. Maps of California truck routes are available at www.dot.ca.gov. This website also contains links to selected California cities and their truck routes.
PROPERLY LOGGING TOLL ROADS
Q: I recently was fired for not properly filling out my logbook. Where does it say in the federal motor carrier rules that we must log in our toll roads? I have been driving for 21+ years and I have never heard of anything like this before. Please help – Jerry in California
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: 49 CFR 395.8 specifies the requirements for your log. It lists the required information that must be entered in your log, and also includes the requirement that your log accurately reflects your activities. 49 CFR 395.8(f)(7) requires you, the driver, to certify the correctness of all entries by signing the record. Your signature certifies that all entries required are true and correct. If you drive on a toll road, your log must reflect that. Inaccuracies in a log are considered falsification, and 49 CFR 395.8(e) states doing so makes both the carrier and driver liable to prosecution. Taking it a step further, Guidance Question 10 to 49 CFR 395.8 clarifies which supporting documents must be maintained by the motor carrier. FMCSA requires the motor carrier to use these documents to verify the information recorded on the driver’s record of duty status (logbook). Of the numerous documents listed in the answer to the question, toll receipts and toll billing statements are specifically listed.
~ 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 February 14, 2017.