Questions about Hours-of-Service, Flashing Your Lights & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of November 2018)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on October 4, 2018.
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HOURS-OF-SERVICE ACROSS THE BORDER
Q: We have a dedicated run 3 times per week from Chicago to Toronto. The driver lives in Canada and runs empty from Toronto to Chicago. On his way back to Canada with the load, he sometimes has delays that cause him to go over on his US hours of service (HOS) 11-hour driving limit. However, the Canadian HOS rules allow 13 hours of drive time, so he can finish his run legally, based on the county he is in at the time. Can the driver receive a citation when he goes back into the US if law enforcement sees he was driving for more than 11 hours a few days prior? Philip in Indiana
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Brent N. Hoover, Indiana State Police, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Indianapolis, IN: No, he would not. See Part 395.3 Interpretations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, which says: “Question 4: A Canadian driver is subjected to a logbook inspection in the US. The driver has logged one or more 13-hour driving periods while in Canada during the previous 7 days but has complied with all the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations while operating in the US. Has the driver violated the 10-hour driving requirement in the US? Guidance: No. Canadian drivers are required to comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Rules only when operating in the United States.
USING PAPER LOGS WHEN YOUR ELD FAILS
Q: The ELD in my tractor wasn’t operating for two days so I used a paper log. Now that the ELD is operating properly, do I need to record those two days’ HOS on the ELD? Thank you for your help – Lloyd in New York
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: From my understanding of the FMCSA’s requirements for ELDs, a driver cannot go back and edit any entry or make an entry once the day/time has passed. Therefore, in your situation, you cannot go back and record the hours that you recorded in the paper logbook while your ELD was not functioning. Keep the paper logs in your truck. If you are stopped and need to show your HOS, provide the paper logs. Once you arrive back at your motor carrier, turn in the log sheets or mail them in within 13 days of completion. The motor carrier can go in and edit your ELD.
FLASHING LIGHTS TO WARN OF SPEED TRAP
Q: While trucking in Kentucky, I was pulled over in a CMV for flashing my headlights at an oncoming CMV to warn the driver that there was a local city cop watching traffic ahead. At that time, headlights were not needed. I was pulled over by a KHP officer and was told flashing headlights to warn oncoming traffic of a police vehicle ahead is illegal. I always thought doing so was a common courtesy. Thank you – Adam in Kansas
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant with the Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: It varies from state to state as to whether flashing headlights is an illegal practice. 49 CFR 393.24(a) requires headlights on commercial vehicles to be steady burning. Therefore, it could be construed that headlights that flash would be a violation of federal safety regulations. However, I have a question for you. From my experience in law enforcement, I have found that truly professional drivers always drive within the limits of the law. So, why would it be necessary to warn someone who isn’t violating the law that there is a police officer ahead of them? If you were to look at it from the officer’s point of view, what you consider to be a common courtesy interferes with them trying to do their job.
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