Questions about Weird Tire Wear, Personal Conveyance & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on April 20, 2023.
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Q: In the past, I’ve found weird tire wear on drop and hook trailers where the tread was less than 2/32” – illegal as we both know – on different areas of the tire, as if the shocks were in need of replacement. I was told by the maintenance shop that the tires were “DOT legal.” This didn’t sound correct to me, but I took the trailer anyway, risking a state and CFR violation with an OOS on my CSA. What’s your take?
A: Provided by Trooper Brent Hoover, Indiana State Police: Yes, it is considered a DOT violation for anything less than 1/32” tread depth. However, it is not an Out of Service violation unless the tire next to it had a violation, as well, listed in the CVSA OOS Criteria for Tires.
Q: Can I get fuel while on personal conveyance?
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: No. If you look at the definition of on-duty not driving found in Part 395.2 On-Duty (2), time spent servicing a vehicle must be counted as on-duty not driving.
Q: A friend had an accident a little while ago. His truck caught fire under the hood while going down the highway and he didn’t know it. The fire heated up the front right tire, causing it to blow. The truck jerked to the right and hit a car that was abandoned on the shoulder. He ran off the highway and the truck and trailer burnt to the ground. When the police and fire department arrived, they tried to call his company, but there was no answer. A witness stopped and he tried to call my friend’s company, but also got no answer. The police and witness tried several more times, but no one answered. They even sent text messages but received no response. The police took my friend to a motel. The next morning, they came and picked him up and took him for a drug screen. Two hours before my friend left on this trip, his ex-wife gave him one hydrocodone. Naturally, it showed on his drug screen. He received a call from his company, and they canceled his lease. Doesn’t the law give him the option to go to drug classes and come back to work?
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Tell your friend he needs to challenge the drug test. In Part 382.303 you will find the requirements for a driver to be subjected to an alcohol and/or drug test. Based on what you explained, it did not meet any of the DOT required alcohol or drug tests. In Part 382.303 you will find the requirements for post-accident testing. (a) As soon as practicable following an incident involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce, each employer shall test for alcohol for each of its surviving drivers: (1) Who was performing safety-sensitive functions with respect to the vehicle, if the accident involved the loss of human life; or (2) Who receives a citation within 8 hours of the occurrence under state or local law for a moving traffic violation arising from the accident, if the accident involved: (i) Bodily injury to any person who, as a result of the injury, immediately receives medical treatment away from the scene of the accident; or (ii) One or more motor vehicles incurring disabling damage as a result of the accident, requiring the motor vehicle to be transported away from the scene by a tow truck or other motor vehicle. (b) As soon as practicable following an occurrence involving a commercial motor vehicle operating on a public road in commerce, each employer shall test for controlled substances for each of its surviving drivers: (c) The following table notes when a post-accident test is required to be conducted by paragraphs (a)(1), (a)(2), (b)(1), and (b)(2) of this section (look at the table under FMCSA’s regulations to see when a driver is required a test and when the employer is required to test the driver). Unless law enforcement had probable cause that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a test would have been immediately taken. With the test not being administered until the next day, it is not a legitimate test, and the driver needs to challenge the test as not meeting the requirements of Part 382.303.
Q: I have a 36-foot Class-A recreational vehicle (RV). Can I have beer on-board my RV as long as it has not been opened and is in a safe place? I know I would be in trouble if I was in a car.
A: Provided by Trooper Brent Hoover, Indiana State Police: Well, assuming this is a personal use RV and not one being delivered for payment (for hire), then yes, you can possess beer, as long as it is not in reach or open within the driver area. If stored in the refrigerator in the living area, that would be okay, too.
Q: I haul 8 loads a month from West Virginia to Indiana. The round trip is around 1,000 miles. For each load I spend one night out, with 10 hours in the sleeper birth, before returning to my home terminal. Since both days are over my 150 air-miles, is that considered two days OTR or does one load only count as one towards my eight? I was always under the impression that it counted as two, because you could not log the return trip as local. However, it is only one night out.
A: Provided by Trooper Brent Hoover, Indiana State Police: In this case, the “day” that you exceed the 150 air-mile radius must be logged. Therefore, if you make eight trips and have to log two days, then the total days logged would be 16 in the 30-day window, and you would be required to have an ELD device to track your hours.
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