Questions about Required Markings on CMVs, HOS Regulations & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on February 20, 2023.
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Q: I have a simple question. What are the required markings or labels that must be on the side of a commercial motor vehicle?
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: The only required markings on the side of the truck are found in Part 390.21 – Nature of marking. The marking must display the following information: (1) The legal name or a single trade name of the carrier operating the self-propelled CMV, as listed on the Form MCSA-1, the URS online application, or the motor carrier identification report (Form MCS-150), and submitted in accordance with 390.201 or 390.19, as appropriate. (2) The identification number issued by FMCSA to the motor carrier or intermodal equipment provider, preceded by the letters “USDOT.” (3) If the name of any person other than the operating motor carrier appears on the CMV, the name of the operating carrier must be followed by the information required by paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of this section and be preceded by the words “operated by.” (4) Other identifying information may be displayed on the vehicle if it is not inconsistent with the information required by this paragraph. Nothing else in the DOT Regulations require any additional markings to be on a commercial motor vehicle.
Q: There are times when I pick up a trailer and the registration is missing. My dispatcher sends an email with the registration. Does that mean I am operating legally, or do I have to have the actual paper with me to avoid getting a ticket or a violation? Thanks for your help.
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Most enforcement officers will cross reference the VIN number to determine if the trailer has valid registration. If the company sends an email and it has the VIN number and plate, that will help. The most serious violation you could receive would be operating a vehicle without a license plate. The violation is not a violation that will count against the carrier’s profile. It would be a violation of State Law only. It would not add points to your CDL.
Q: I have a split break situation that I did and my ELD company violated me. I have done this before, and I think am correct in doing so. I ran all day with plenty of hours. I stopped at the end of the day, and I had 2 hours 38 minutes left on my clock to work within my 14 with 1 hour 18 minutes of time still left to drive. I did a five minute post trip inspection and went off duty for just under three hours. I came back to the truck, pushed in the pop up for split, and then drove 50 minutes home, which is also my home terminal. I went off duty, walked to my house, and slept. I did not sleep well and did not get out of there before it started raining. I pull a dump trailer and this particular product cannot be loaded in the rain. I was off duty for 12 hours and they violated me because they said I took too much time off. They said I did a full break and that violated the split break rule. They said I should have gone back on duty within 8 hours, or at least under 10 hours. I would like your opinion on this. Thank you.
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: For a split sleeper berth to work, you have to have two periods in the sleeper berth that total 10 hours. If you only have one hour, the time spent in the sleeper berth counts against your total duty hours. That is why the ELD and motor carrier showed you were in violation.
Q: My wife and I own a truck, trailer, all the contents inside, and all the equipment. We have all authority and DOT MC numbers and insurance. In the event we are hauling indoor tropical plants for our business that we have purchased in full and own outright, does the HOS within the FMCSA guidelines apply? We pick up in North Central Florida and travel to our facility in East Texas. We operate as not for hire to Florida to pick up.
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Any time you are operating a commercial motor vehicle in commerce, regardless of whether the product being transported is for hire or privately owned, or traveling to pick up a load, you are subject to all DOT Regulations, Parts 40, 382, 393 and 390-399. The only exemptions provided is if you are transporting your personal belongs, moving from one location to another.
Q: I have a question about the 16-hour rule. I understand the basic requirements of start and stop at the same place every day. This does not increase the 11-hour drive time, only available once per the 34-hour reset. As long as I am eligible, am I allowed to use the extra two hours at my discretion, or do I need an excuse, such as a delay of some sort?
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: In Part 395.1(o) is where you will find the uses for the 16-hour rule. You must have started and stopped from the same location during the previous five days. This cannot be used during the previous six consecutive days unless you are starting a new seven or eight consecutive day period with the beginning of any 34 consecutive hours off duty. There is no reason/excuse needed to use the 16-hour rule. A property-carrying driver is exempt from the requirements of 395.3(a)(2) if: (1) The driver has returned to the driver’s normal work reporting location and the carrier released the driver from duty at that location for the previous five duty tours the driver has worked; (2) The driver has returned to the normal work reporting location and the carrier releases the driver from duty within 16 hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty; and (3) The driver has not taken this exemption within the previous six consecutive days, except when the driver has begun a new seven or eight consecutive day period with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours.
~ The “Ask The Law” program is 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: The information contained within this column is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. The content contains general information and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific issue. Be aware that the material in the column may not reflect current legal developments or information, as laws and regulations are subject to change at any time without notice. Always check with the most recent statutes, rules, and regulations to see if changes have been made.