For Law Enforcement Officers

Updated: September 19, 2016

Our firm has established a working relationship with various police departments and specialized reconstruction divisions with regard to commercial motor vehicle and trucking accidents. A police officer’s job is an honorable and often dangerous one. Attorney Joe Fried is a former police officer, and he knows firsthand that training budgets are tight, and getting the training you want and need is not always possible. Our firm sponsors a number of annual law enforcement-only training events. If you are interested in being invited to these training events, please contact us.

Outline of Content

  1. STOP – Don’t move the truck after the wreck until you read this!
  2. What is the definition of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV)? (a big pickup truck can be a CMV)
  3. How to get Information about Trucking Companies and their safety history (Safersys and Safestat)
  4. Bad Weather Accidents
  5. What information can you expect to obtain from downloading truck ECM, EDR, CDR (Blackbox) from a commercial vehicle
    a. Summary of data by engine manufacturer
  6. How to read a trucker’s log to see if they are in compliance with Hours of Service Regulations
  7. What information you should be sure to get from truckers at the scene
    a. Checklist for investigation of Truck Driver
  8. What you need to know about how trucking companies and their insurers investigate trucking collisions
  9. What you need to get from truck companies after a collision
    a. Checklist for investigation of Trucking Company
  10. FMCSA Field Operators Training Guide – standards for federal inspectors
  11. Key Federal Regulations (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) you need to know
  12. How to deal with victims and their lawyers

1. STOP – Don’t move the vehicles after the wreck until you read this!

When I was a police officer, I was trained that when I arrived at the scene of a traffic collision, unless it was a fatality, I was to get the roadway cleared as soon as possible. While this is generally good advice, you should be aware of times when moving a vehicle will potentially destroy evidence that could be very important to your investigation.

  • Before you move a vehicle, look around it to see if moving the vehicle will destroy physical evidence. If there is physical evidence that can be altered or destroyed, mark it and photograph it before moving the vehicle. Better safe than sorry.
  • If you think you might want to download any of the electronic data (ECM, CDR, EDR, ABS system, Blackbox), then you need to think twice about turning the ignition or moving a vehicle. Many of these systems overwrite data as soon as a there is a new ignition cycle, or the vehicle is moved. To request a paper on what you can expect to be able to retrieve from truck blackboxes and what information can be lost if the vehicle is moved, please click here.

2. What is the Definition of Commercial Vehicle?

You likely already know FMCSR, 49 U.S.C. §390.5 defines a commercial vehicle. This definition has been adopted in all states, but each state can exempt certain vehicles like ambulances, fire trucks, police vehicles, and certain farm and agricultural vehicles.

The definition goes beyond a standard tractor trailer. It includes all self propelled and towed vehicles used on a highway to transport passengers or property when the vehicle:

  1. Has gross vehicle weight rating or combined weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more;
  2. Is designed to transport more than 8 passengers including driver for compensation;
  3. Is designed or used to transport more than 15 people including the driver regardless of compensation; or
  4. Is used to transport hazardous materials.

Most states have state statutes or regulations that track this language for intrastate vehicles (vehicles that are not driven outside the boundaries of one state).

IMPORTANT: 10,001 pounds includes almost all delivery trucks, almost all pickup trucks with dual rear wheels, most landscaping and plumbing utility trucks and even large pickup trucks. All these vehicles should be treated as commercial vehicles and can be subject to federal and/or state commercial vehicle regulations.

IMPORTANT: A driver does not need a CDL unless the vehicle is over 26,001 pounds. For operating those vehicles, additional licensing and other regulations are applicable.

This is a highly technical area. If you have questions, direct them to your state commercial vehicle compliance division or feel free to e-mail us by clicking here.

3. How to get Information about Trucking Companies and their Safety History (Safersys and Safestat)

Most trucking companies and common carriers are required to register with the federal government and obtain a USDOT number. Information and data about these trucking companies is available through a series of websites and databases operated and maintained by the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

To access this information, go to www.safersys.org and follow these instructions:

  • Scroll down until you see three columns – the middle column is titled “FMCSA Searches”. The first link under that column is “company snapshot”.
  • Click on “Company Snapshot”
  • Enter either the USDOT number of the carrier or the name of the carrier. It is important to check the dot for either USDOT number or Name depending on how you are searching. Searching by USDOT number is more precise. If you search by name, you may have to pick from a large number of carriers with similar names.
  • Once you click on the USDOT number or name of the carrier, you will be taken to the Company Snapshot first page. You will find all of the demographic information about a company there including names, addresses, numbers or trucks and drivers and general classification of freight hauled. Scroll down and you will see a summary, for the past 24 months, of the number of and results of inspections (vehicle, driver and hazmat) and the number of accidents (fatal, injury, tow-away and total) in which the company’s trucks and drivers were involved. You will also see the rating for the company and the date of the last rating and review.
  • Scroll back up to the top of the page. In the upper right hand corner, you will see a blue box with a link to “SafeStat Results”. Click on that link and it will take you to the SafeStat database. Here you can access information about safety rating of the company and specific information about accidents, driver inspections, vehicle inspections and certain historical safety data. Click on the tabs on the top of the page to access each of these areas.
  • Note that under each tab you will find summary information but if you look carefully you will also see Icons that look like folders that say “view detail data”. Clicking on these folders will take you to more specific data. On those data pages, anything in blue is a hyperlink that if you click on will give you even more detail.
  • Note that under each of these tabs you also have the option of running reports (look for the pull down menus).
  • Once you finish getting the specific data you want, back track back to the safersys.org front page. In the same blue box in the top right hand corner where you found the link to the SafeStat database, you will find another link to the “Licensing & Insurance” database. Clicking here will take you a page where you can view insurance information about the carrier in either HTML or PDF form.
  • If you have any trouble navigating these sites, feel free to contact us by clicking here or 404-236-9050.


4. Bad weather truck accidents

Truckers going too fast for roadway conditions in bad weather has always been a serious cause of trucking accidents, but how do you define “bad weather” and what is the standard for trucker drivers who drive in adverse weather?

We have seen an increase in serious accident cases involving truckers driving in the rain, sleet and ice, so we have been studying this issue in detail. Here are a few things that I have learned:

There is a specific federal regulation – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation – that addresses this topic. FMCSR §392.14 says:

Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be operated safely.

This FMCSR sets a very high standard of care on professional drivers when operating in anything less than ideal conditions. This high standard is appropriate because of the dangers posed by trucks in adverse weather conditions.

This standard can be used as additional proof for a charge of driving too fast for conditions, a charge available to law enforcement in most states.

Another interesting source for information on what a truck driver is supposed to do in adverse weather conditions is the CDL manual. This is the manual all drivers have to study to get their CDL license. In the CDL Manual, it says:

Wet roads can double stopping distance. You must drive slower to be able to stop in the same distance as on a dry road. Reduce speed by about one-third (e.g., slow from 55 to 35 mph) on a wet road. On packed snow, reduce by a half or more. If the surface is icy, reduce speed to a crawl and stop as soon as you can safely do so.

We are continuing to study this issue. If you have questions, feel free to contact us by clicking here



5. Quick Guide to “Blackbox” Technology (EDR, ECM, SDM)

This guide is a quick reference to what information may be available to download from various cars and heavy trucks and where you can obtain additional information.

Cars:

For the most part, only later model cars are worth trying to download. Vetronix, now part of Bosch, makes the download software and it is available for General Motors, Chrysler, Ford, and some models of Isuzu and Saab. European cars are not supported. For a complete list of supported vehicles, click here: Supported Vehicles List.

Some vehicles that are not on the Supported Vehicles List still have EDRs that can under some circumstances be downloaded by the manufacturer. Dealerships do not usually have this information and it is necessary to contact manufacturers directly to find out. Sometimes reviewing an owner’s manual will give you a clue.

What information may be available on a download varies dramatically from manufacturer to manufacturer, from vehicle to vehicle and from year to year. Most often, the airbag module will record Delta V since that is often the trigger for the airbag system.

Effective for all new cars that have a EDR built after September 2012, NHTSA is requiring that the manufacturer release to the public the ability to read the EDR data within 90 days of the first sale of the vehicle. For the complete text of the rule, click here. www.nhtsa.gov.

Heavy Trucks

Most large truck engines have an engine control module responsible for monitoring and controlling important engine and vehicle parameters, such as speed, throttle, and braking. Commercial truck EDRs almost always record data when a truck rapidly decelerates at a rate that exceeds some pre-set threshold. The deceleration threshold varies from manufacturer to manufacturer (varying from 7-12 mph/second) and can often be set to customer requirements. These thresholds represent relatively aggressive braking, but can be met without braking if colliding with an object results in a deceleration that exceeds the threshold.

Many ECMs can record vehicle speed, clutch and brake status, and throttle position. Some ECMs record “last stop” data whenever the engine is turned off. The specific data that will be found on a given ECM will vary depending on the engine make, model and year.

You can get information about what ECM a particular vehicle has by calling an authorized service center for the truck make and giving them the VIN number for the tractor. They will tell you the engine make and model and the ECM series. Here is some information regarding specific engine makes:

Detroit Diesel and Mercedes

From 1987 forward, the Detroit Diesel Series 60 engine has been the most popular engine in the Class 8 truck world. After 2001, this engine began to lose some market share but is still popular, and can frequently be found in Freightliner trucks.

Prior to 1998, Most Detroit Diesel engines had a DDEC III ECM which did not store event data without an optional “Pro-Driver” module installed. After 1998, event data is stored by default. Mercedes engines will have similar data since Daimler Chrysler purchased Detroit Diesel in 2000.

The ECM, called a DDEC, is one of the most advanced in the world. In addition to a host of diagnostic data and engine run (hours of Service) data that can be obtained from downloading a DDEC, of particular importance are the following reports:

  • The last stop record is triggered when a vehicle is stopped for more than a predetermined length of time – factory set at 15 seconds. When triggered, the ECM will record activity from 1 minute 45 seconds before the stop through 15 seconds after the stop. When the vehicle is moved again, this data is overwritten and lost forever.
  • Hard brake report is triggered when the tractor decelerates at or above a certain pre-programmed rate. The factory default is 7 mph/second. Once triggered, the ECM will record activity for 1 minute before and 15 seconds after the threshold is met. Usually the last 2 hard brakes are recorded.
  • A diagnostic record is triggered when a serious fault such as very low engine coolant or oil pressure is detected. This condition may be the result of a collision or a non-collision event. A diagnostic record documents activity for 1minute before the fault is activated at five second intervals.

The Last Stop and Hard Brake records capture the following data in one second increments:

  • Wheel speed (mph)
  • Engine speed (rpm)
  • Engine load (percent
  • Throttle position (percent)
  • Brake status (on/off)
  • Clutch status (on/off)
  • Cruise control status (on/off)

Caterpillar

Used in many Peterbilt, Kenworth and International tractors.

Caterpillar engine ECMs have been able to record sudden decelerations (“quick stops”) since 1995, but the factory default is set to not record any such data. Some customers change this threshold but not many. For these engines, there is no way to determine with the data will be recorded without downloading the box.

Starting in 2007 the engines started being shipped with “quick stop” function set to “on.” This was the result of new environmental standards. The quickstop contains 45 seconds of data before the threshold is met and 15 seconds of data after the threshold is reached. The Quick Stop records:

  • Wheel speed (mph)
  • Engine load (percent)
  • Service brake status (on/off)
  • Clutch status (on/off)
  • Cruise control status (on/off)
  • Other parameters defined by end-user

Caterpillar engine ECMs will also record a report called a “snap shot” if the engine senses a critical fault in the engine such as dangerously low oil pressure. When triggered the ECM will capture about 9 seconds leading up to the fault and 3 seconds after the fault is triggered. This can be useful in timing a collision, but it is not nearly as helpful as a DDEC.

Cummins

Used in many Peterbilt, Kenworth and International tractors.

Very limited information was available from Cummins ECM until late 2005 because significant data such as panic stop data was only recorded if the engine had an optional “Road Relay” device. The vast majority of vehicles with Cummins engines didn not have this optional device. Since 2006, must Cummins engines do contain EDR data as follows in 1 second intervals:

  • Wheel speed (mph)
  • Engine speed (rpm)
  • Engine load (percent
  • Throttle position (percent)
  • Brake status (on/off)
  • Clutch status (on/off)
  • Cruise control status (on/off)
  • Lamp status (on/off)

You need two separate software set ups to download a Cummins engine ECM. Insight downloads the engine settings and maintenance data and Powerspec which downloads the sudden deceleration data.

A panic stop is triggered when deceleration meets or exceeds a certain pre-set threshold. The factory default is usually 9 mph/second. A panic stop documents one minute of data before the incident and 15 seconds of data after the incident. Up to three panic stops can be recorded.

Mack

Mack makes its own engines. Beginning in 1998, Mack engines began using electronic control systems known as the V-Mack. These EDRs will record two “incidents.” The threshold is preset to 10 mph/sec deceleration but this can be changed by the end user. Incidents can also be triggered by rapid acceleration.

Late model Mac engines will record one braking incident and one last stop incident (sometimes will only record if parking brake is activated). Mack incidents record 16 seconds of data before and after an incident, usually in .2 second intervals. Speed is rounded to nearest mph.

Mack incident report records:

  • Wheel speed (mph)
  • Engine speed (rpm)
  • Up to 8 switches usually including
  • Brake status (on/off)
  • Clutch status (on/off)
  • Cruise control status (on/off)
  • Key switch (on/off)

Mack has not made its software publicly available. To obtain a download, the ECU must be removed and sent to one of two authorized third parties:

East Coast: Time Cheek, PE, www.deltavinc.com

West Coast: John Steiner

Volvo

Volvo makes its own engines for its chassis, but will occasionally use a Cummins engine. Prior to 2007, Volvo engines did not provide any incident reports useful for accident analysis except data about engine parameters and faults. By some reports, engines built in 2007 have an incident report capabilities similar to those in Mack trucks, but this information has not been verified.

International/Navistar

These engines do not contain ECM data helpful to accident investigation or analysis.


6. How to read a trucker’s logbook – compliance with Hours of Service

Regulations

One thing that a good police officer will always do any time he or she interacts with a commercial truck driver (after a collision or at a traffic stop or inspection) is ask to see the driver’s log book.

Federal law requires that drivers keep a daily 24 hour log and that log book be current up to the last duty status change. There are limits to the number of hours a driver can drive without a rest and a limit to the number of hours a driver can work (driving or not) without a rest.

There are 4 duty statuses:

Off-Duty: Driver has no responsibility for truck or to the common carrier, equipment or cargo.

Sleeper Berth: Driver is resting in Sleeper Berth of truck

Driving: Includes all time at the driving controls of a motor vehicle

On Duty (Not Driving): Includes all time from the time a driver begins work or is required to be in readiness for work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work or being in readiness to work. On-duty time shall include:

  • All time at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless the driver has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;
  • All time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning any commercial motor vehicle at any time;
  • All driving time as defined in the term driving time;
  • All time, other than driving time, in or upon any commercial motor vehicle except time spent resting in a sleeper berth;
  • All time loading or unloadina commercial motor vehicle, supervising, or assisting in the loading or unloading, attending a commercial motor vehicle being loaded or unloaded, remaining in readiness to operate the commercial motor vehicle, or in giving or receiving receipts for shipments loaded or unloaded;
  • All time repairing, obtaining assistance, or remaining in attendance upon a disabled commercial motor vehicle;
  • All time spent providing a breath sample or urine specimen, including travel time to and from the collection site, in order to comply with the random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, or follow-up testing required by part 382 of this subchapter when directed by a motor carrier;
  • Performing any other work in the capacity, employ, or service of, a motor carrier; and
  • Performing any compensated work for a person who is not a motor carrier.

It is not always easy to read a truckers daily log. It is best to start at the time you take possession of the log and start to work back. Count the number of hours in each duty status. If you get to more than 11 hours of driving or 14 hours of on duty time before you get to 10 hour break, there is likely a violation.

It is even more difficult to check the 60/70 hour rules. It is best to seek help from a trained compliance officer. In case you want to dig through it yourself, however, below is a copy of the regulations.

395.3 Maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.

Subject to the exceptions and exemptions in §395.1:

(a) No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle:

(a)(1) More than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off-duty; or

(a)(2) For any period after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty, except when a property-carrying driver complies with the provisions of §395.1(o) or §395.1(e)(2).

(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after —

(b)(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or

(b)(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

(c)(1) Any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours; or

(c)(2) Any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours.

395.5 Maximum driving time for passenger-carrying vehicles.

Subject to the exceptions and exemptions in §395.1:

(a) No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle:

(a)(1) More than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty; or

(a)(2) For any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.

(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after—

(b)(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or

(b)(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

Driver’s record of duty status.

(a) Except for a private motor carrier of passengers (nonbusiness), every motor carrier shall require every driver used by the motor carrier to record his/her duty status for each 24 hour period using the methods prescribed in either paragraphs (a)(1) or (2) of this section.

(a)(1) Every driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall record his/her duty status, in duplicate, for each 24-hour period. The duty status time shall be recorded on a specified grid, as shown in paragraph (g) of this section. The grid and the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section may be combined with any company forms. The previously approved format of the Daily Log, Form MCS-59 or the Multi-day Log, MCS-139 and 139A, which meets the requirements of this section, may continue to be used.

(a)(2) Every driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall record his/her duty status by using an automatic on-board recording device that meets the requirements of §395.15 of this part. The requirements of §395.8 shall not apply, except paragraphs (e) and (k)(1) and (2) of this section.

(b) The duty status shall be recorded as follows:

(b)(1) “Off duty” or “OFF.”

(b)(2) “Sleeper berth” or “SB” (only if a sleeper berth used).

(b)(3) “Driving” or “D.”

(b)(4) “On-duty not driving” or “ON.”

(c) For each change of duty status (e.g., the place of reporting for work, starting to drive, on-duty not driving and where released from work), the name of the city, town or village, with State abbreviation, shall be recorded.

NOTE: If a change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, town, or village, show one of the following: (1) the highway number and nearest milepost followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, (2) the highway number and the name of the service plaza followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, or (3) the highway numbers of the nearest two intersecting roadways followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation.

(d) The following information must be included on the form in addition to the grid:

(d)(1) Date;

(d)(2) Total miles driving today;

(d)(3) Truck or tractor and trailer number;

(d)(4) Name of carrier;

(d)(5) Driver’s signature/certification;

(d)(6) 24-hour period starting time (e.g., midnight, 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m.);

(d)(7) Main office address;

(d)(8) Remarks;

(d)(9) Name of co-driver;

(d)(10) Total hours (far right edge of grid); and

(d)(11) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity.

(e) Failure to complete the record of duty activities of this section or §395.15, failure to preserve a record of such duty activities, or making of false reports in connection with such duty activities shall make the driver and/or the carrier liable to prosecution.

(f) The driver’s activities shall be recorded in accordance with the following provisions:

(f)(1) Entries to be current. Drivers shall keep their record of duty status current to the time shown for the last change of duty status.

(f)(2) Entries made by driver only. All entries relating to driver’s duty status must be legible and in the driver’s own handwriting.

(f)(3) Date. The month, day and year for the beginning of each 24-hour period shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.

(f)(4) Total miles driving today. Total mileage driven during the 24-hour period shall be recorded on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.

(f)(5) Commercial motor vehicle identification. The driver shall show the number assigned by the motor carrier or the license number and licensing state of each commercial motor vehicle operated during each 24-hour period on his/her record of duty status. The driver of an articulated (combination) commercial motor vehicle shall show the number assigned by the motor carrier or the license number and licensing state of each motor vehicle used in each commercial motor vehicle combination operated during that 24-hour period on his/her record of duty status.

(f)(6) Name of motor carrier. The name(s) of the motor carrier(s) for which work is performed shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s record of duty status. When work is performed for more than one motor carrier during the same 24-hour period, the beginning and finishing time, showing a.m. or p.m., worked for each motor carrier shall be shown after each motor carrier’s name. Drivers of leased commercial motor vehicles shall show the name of the motor carrier performing the transportation.

(f)(7) Signature/certification. The driver shall certify to the correctness of all entries by signing the form containing the driver’s duty status record with his/her legal name or name of record. The driver’s signature certifies that all entries required by this section made by the driver are true and correct.

(f)(8) Time base to be used.

(f)(8)(i) The driver’s duty status record shall be prepared, maintained, and submitted using the time standard in effect at the driver’s home terminal, for a 24-hour period beginning with the time specified by the motor carrier for that driver’s home terminal.

(f)(8)(ii) The term “7 or 8 consecutive days” means the 7 or 8 consecutive 24-hour periods as designated by the carrier for the driver’s home terminal.

(f)(8)(iii) The 24-hour period starting time must be identified on the driver’s duty status record. One-hour increments must appear on the graph, be identified, and preprinted. The words “Midnight” and “Noon” must appear above or beside the appropriate one-hour increment.

(f)(9) Main office address. The motor carrier’s main office address shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.

(f)(10) Recording days off duty. Two or more consecutive 24-hour periods off duty may be recorded on one duty status record.

(f)(11) Total hours. The total hours in each duty status: off duty other than in a sleeper berth; off duty in a sleeper berth; driving, and on duty not driving, shall be entered to the right of the grid, the total of such entries shall equal 24 hours.

(f)(12) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity shall be shown on the driver’s record of duty status.

(g) Graph grid. The following graph grid must be incorporated into a motor carrier recordkeeping system which must also contain the information required in paragraph (d) of this section.

(h) Graph Grid Preparation. The graph grid may be used horizontally or vertically and shall be completed as follows:

(h)(1) Off-duty. Except for time spent resting in a sleeper berth, a continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of time when the driver is not on duty, is not required to be in readiness to work, or is not under any responsibility for performing work.

(h)(2) Sleeper berth. A continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of time off duty resting in a sleeper berth, as defined in §395.2. (If a non-sleeper berth operation, sleeper berth need not be shown on the grid.)

(h)(3) Driving. A continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of driving time, as defined in §395.2.

(h)(4) On duty not driving. A continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of time on duty not driving specified in §395.2.

(h)(5) Location—Remarks. The name of the city, town, or village, with State abbreviation where each change of duty status occurs shall be recorded.

NOTE: If a change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, town, or village, show one of the following: (1) the highway number and nearest milepost followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, (2) the highway number and the name of the service plaza followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, or (3) the highway numbers of the nearest two intersecting roadways followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation.

(i) Filing driver’s record of duty status. The driver shall submit or forward by mail the original driver’s record of duty status to the regular employing motor carrier within 13 days following the completion of the form.

(j) Drivers used by more than one motor carrier. (1) When the services of a driver are used by more than one motor carrier during any 24-hour period in effect at the driver’s home terminal, the driver shall submit a copy of the record of duty status to each motor carrier. The record shall include:

(j)(1)(i) All duty time for the entire 24-hour period;

(j)(1)(ii) The name of each motor carrier served by the driver during that period; and

(j)(1)(iii) The beginning and finishing time, including a.m. or p.m., worked for each carrier.

(j)(2) Motor carriers, when using a driver for the first time or intermittently, shall obtain from the driver a signed statement giving the total time on duty during the immediately preceding 7 days and the time at which the driver was last relieved from duty prior to beginning work for the motor carriers.

(k) Retention of driver’s record of duty status. (1) Each motor carrier shall maintain records of duty status and all supporting documents for each driver it employs for a period of six months from the date of receipt.

(k)(2) The driver shall retain a copy of each record of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days which shall be in his/her possession and available for inspection while on duty.

NOTE: Driver’s record of duty status. The graph grid, when incorporated as part of any form used by a motor carrier, must be of sufficient size to be legible.

The following executed specimen grid illustrates how a driver’s duty status should be recorded for a trip from Richmond, Virginia, to Newark, New Jersey. The grid reflects the midnight to midnight 24 hour period.

Graph Grid (midnight to midnight operation).

NOTE: The driver in this instance reported for duty at the motor carrier’s terminal. The driver reported for work at 6 a.m., helped load, checked with dispatch, made a pretrip inspection, and performed other duties until 7:30 a.m. when the driver began driving. At 9 a.m. the driver had a minor accident in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and spent one half hour handling details with the local police. The driver arrived at the company’s Baltimore, Maryland, terminal at noon and went to lunch while minor repairs were made to the tractor. At 1 p.m. the driver resumed the trip and made a delivery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at which time the driver started driving again. Upon arrival at Cherry Hill, New Jersey, at 4 p.m., the driver entered the sleeper berth for a rest break until 5:45 p.m. at which time the driver resumed driving again. At 7 p.m. the driver arrived at the company’s terminal in Newark, New Jersey. Between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. the driver prepared the required paperwork including completing the driver’s record of duty status, driver vehicle inspection report, insurance report for the Fredericksburg, Virginia accident, checked for the next day’s dispatch, etc. At 8 p.m., the driver went off duty.

395.13 Drivers declared out of service.

(a) Authority to declare drivers Out of Service. Every special agent of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (as defined in Appendix B to this subchapter) is authorized to declare a driver out of service and to notify the motor carrier of that declaration, upon finding at the time and place of examination that the driver has violated the out of service criteria as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Out of Service criteria. (1) No driver shall drive after being on duty in excess of the maximum periods permitted by this part.

(b)(2) No driver required to maintain a record of duty status under §395.8 or §395.15 of this part shall fail to have a record of duty status current on the day of examination and for the prior 7 consecutive days.

(b)(3) Exception. A driver failing only to have possession of a record of duty status current on the day of examination and the prior day, but has completed records of duty status up to that time (previous 6 days), will be given the opportunity to make the duty status record current.

(c) Responsibilities of motor carriers. (1) No motor carrier shall:

(c)(1)(i) Require or permit a driver who has been declared out of service to operate a commercial motor vehicle until that driver may lawfully do so under the rules in this part.

(c)(1)(ii) Require a driver who has been declared out of service for failure to prepare a record of duty status to operate a commercial motor vehicle until that driver has been off duty for the appropriate number of consecutive hours required by this part and is in compliance with this section. The appropriate consecutive hours off-duty may include sleeper berth time.

(c)(2) A motor carrier shall complete the “Motor Carrier Certification of Action Taken” portion of the form MCS-63 (Driver-Vehicle Examination Report) and deliver the copy of the form either personally or by mail to the Division Administrator or State Director, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, at the address specified upon the form within 15 days following the date of examination. If the motor carrier mails the form, delivery is made on the date it is postmarked.

(d) Responsibilities of the driver. (1) No driver who has been declared out of service shall operate a commercial motor vehicle until that driver may lawfully do so under the rules of this Part.

(d)(2) No driver who has been declared out of service, for failing to prepare a record of duty status, shall operate a commercial motor vehicle until the driver has been off duty for the appropriate number of consecutive hours required by this part and is in compliance with this section.

(d)(3) A driver to whom a form has been tendered declaring the driver out of service shall within 24 hours thereafter deliver or mail the copy to a person or place designated by motor carrier to receive it.

(d)(4) §395.13 does not alter the hazardous materials requirements prescribed in §397.5 pertaining to attendance and surveillance of commercial motor vehicles.

395.15 Automatic on-board recording devices.

(a) Authority to use automatic on-board recording device.

(a)(1) A motor carrier may require a driver to use an automatic on-board recording device to record the driver’s hours of service in lieu of complying with the requirements of §395.8 of this part.

(a)(2) Every driver required by a motor carrier to use an automatic on-board recording device shall use such device to record the driver’s hours of service.

(b) Information requirements.

(b)(1) Automatic on-board recording devices shall produce, upon demand, a driver’s hours of service chart, electronic display, or printout showing the time and sequence of duty status changes including the drivers’ starting time at the beginning of each day.

(b)(2) The device shall provide a means whereby authorized Federal, State, or local officials can immediately check the status of a driver’s hours of service. This information may be used in conjunction with handwritten or printed records of duty status, for the previous 7 days.

(b)(3) Support systems used in conjunction with on-board recorders at a driver’s home terminal or the motor carrier’s principal place of business must be capable of providing authorized Federal, State or local officials with summaries of an individual driver’s hours of service records, including the information specified in §395.8(d) of this part. The support systems must also provide information concerning on-board system sensor failures and identification of edited data. Such support systems should meet the information interchange requirements of the American National Standard Code for Information Interchange (ANSCII) (EIARS-232/CCITT V.24 port (National Bureau of Standards “Code for Information Interchange,” FIPS PUB 1-1)).

(b)(4) The driver shall have in his/her possession records of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days available for inspection while on duty. These records shall consist of information stored in and retrievable from the automatic on-board recording device, handwritten records, computer generated records, or any combination thereof.

(b)(5) All hard copies of the driver’s record of duty status must be signed by the driver. The driver’s signature certifies that the information contained thereon is true and correct.

(c) The duty status and additional information shall be recorded as follows:

(c)(1) “Off duty” or “OFF”, or by an identifiable code or character;

(c)(2) “Sleeper berth” or “SB” or by an identifiable code or character (only if the sleeper berth is used);

(c)(3) “Driving” or “D”, or by an identifiable code or character; and

(c)(4) “On-duty not driving” or “ON”, or by an identifiable code or character;

(c)(5) Date;

(c)(6) Total miles driving today;

(c)(7) Truck or tractor and trailer number;

(c)(8) Name of carrier;

(c)(9) Main office address;

(c)(10) 24-hour period starting time (e.g., midnight, 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m.);

(c)(11) Name of co-driver;

(c)(12) Total hours; and

(c)(13) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity.

(d) Location of duty status change.

(d)(1) For each change of duty status (e.g., the place and time of reporting for work, starting to drive, on-duty not driving and where released from work), the name of the city, town, or village, with State abbreviation, shall be recorded.

(d)(2) Motor carriers are permitted to use location codes in lieu of the requirements of paragraph (d)(1) of this section. A list of such codes showing all possible location identifiers shall be carried in the cab of the commercial motor vehicle and available at the motor carrier’s principal place of business. Such lists shall be made available to an enforcement official on request.

(e) Entries made by driver only. If a driver is required to make written entries relating to the driver’s duty status, such entries must be legible and in the driver’s own handwriting.

(f)Reconstruction of records of duty status. Drivers are required to note any failure of automatic on-board recording devices, and to reconstruct the driver’s record of duty status for the current day, and the past 7 days, less any days for which the drivers have records, and to continue to prepare a handwritten record of all subsequent duty status until the device is again operational.

(g) On-board information. Each commercial motor vehicle must have on-board the commercial motor vehicle an information packet containing the following items:

(g)(1) An instruction sheet describing in detail how data may be stored and retrieved from an automatic on-board recording system; and

(g)(2) A supply of blank driver’s records of duty status graph-grids sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for the duration of the current trip.

(h) Submission of driver’s record of duty status.

(h)(1) The driver shall submit, electronically or by mail, to the employing motor carrier, each record of the driver’s duty status within 13 days following the completion of each record;

(h)(2) The driver shall review and verify that all entries are accurate prior to submission to the employing motor carrier; and

(h)(3) The submission of the record of duty status certifies that all entries made by the driver are true and correct.

(i) Performance of recorders. Motor carriers that use automatic on-board recording devices for recording their drivers’ records of duty status in lieu of the handwritten record shall ensure that:

(i)(1) A certificate is obtained from the manufacturer certifying that the design of the automatic on-board recorder has been sufficiently tested to meet the requirements of this section and under the conditions it will be used;

(i)(2) The automatic on-board recording device permits duty status to be updated only when the commercial motor vehicle is at rest, except when registering the time a commercial motor vehicle crosses a State boundary;

(i)(3) The automatic on-board recording device and associated support systems are, to the maximum extent practicable, tamper-proof and do not permit altering of the information collected concerning the driver’s hours of service;

(i)(4) The automatic on-board recording device warns the driver visually and/or audibly that the device has ceased to function. Devices installed and operational as of October 31, 1988 and authorized to be used in lieu of the handwritten record of duty status by the FMCSA are exempted from this requirement;

(i)(5) Automatic on-board recording devices with electronic displays shall have the capability of displaying the following:

(i)(5)(i) Driver’s total hours of driving today;

(i)(5)(ii) The total hours on duty today;

(i)(5)(iii) Total miles driving today;

(i)(5)(iv) Total hours on duty for the 7 consecutive day period, including today;

(i)(5)(v) Total hours on duty for the prior 8 consecutive day period, including the present day; and

(i)(5)(vi) The sequential changes in duty status and the times the changes occurred for each driver using the device.

(i)(6) The on-board recorder is capable of recording separately each driver’s duty status when there is a multiple-driver operation;

(i)(7) The on-board recording device/system identifies sensor failures and edited data when reproduced in printed form. Devices installed and operational as of October 31, 1988 and authorized to be used in lieu of the handwritten record of duty status by the FMCSA are exempted from this requirement.

(i)(8) The on-board recording device is maintained and recalibrated in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications;

(i)(9) The motor carrier’s drivers are adequately trained regarding the proper operation of the device; and

(i)(10) The motor carrier must maintain a second copy (back-up copy) of the electronic hours-of-service files, by month, in a different physical location than where the original data is stored.

(j) Rescission of authority.

(j)(1) The FMCSA may, after notice and opportunity to reply, order any motor carrier or driver to comply with the requirements of §395.8 of this part.

(j)(2) The FMCSA may issue such an order if the FMCSA has determined that—

(j)(2)(i) The motor carrier has been issued conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating by the FMCSA;

(j)(2)(ii) The motor carrier has required or permitted a driver to establish, or the driver has established, a pattern of exceeding the hours of service limitations of this part;

(j)(2)(iii) The motor carrier has required or permitted a driver to fail, or the driver has failed, to accurately and completely record the driver’s hours of service as required in this section; or

(j)(2)(iv) The motor carrier or driver has tampered with or otherwise abused the automatic on-board recording device on any commercial motor vehicle.



7. What information and materials you should get from truckers at the scene

To the degree that you get the following, it will be helpful to the thoroughness of your investigation:

  • IF THERE IS EVEN A CHANCE OF DOWNLOADING DATA FROM THE TRACTOR OR TRAILER, DO NOT MOVE VEHICLE OR RESTART VEHICLE UNTIL YOU DETERMINE WHAT TYPE OF SYSTEM IS ONBOARD. YOU COULD DAMAGE OR DESTROY DATA IF THE VEHICLE IS MOVED OR IGNITION IS CYCLED. SEE Quick Guide to “Blackbox” Technology (EDR, ECM, SDM)
  • Be wary of a company that tells you they will handle download and get you a copy of the data.
  • Original hours of service log book (and any duplicate or secondary logs)
  • All documents regarding the load being hauled (bills of lading, weight receipts, directions, etc. (this provides locations and times of pick up and intended delivery and weights)
  • Make note of any electronic equipment on driver such as cell phone, texting device, pager, radio, blue tooth device, GPS, IPOD, MP3 player, etc. For all phones, get the phone number and carrier and if possible (after asking for permission) look at the call register to see if the driver was on the phone or dialing the phone in the moments leading up to the collision. Most safety conscious companies prohibit talking on a cell phone while driving. Consider securing the phone as evidence if talking on the phone or texting is suspected. Also ask the driver in your interview about cell phone usage and policies.
  • Make note of all on board electronic equipment such as computer terminals, QUALCOM terminals and keypads, CB radios, GPS devices, Monitors, DVD players, Camera and Video devices, etc. If the truck or trainer has these devices, you may want to get additional information or printouts from these devices from the company.
  • Look specifically for an Eaton Vorad system and other lane departure warning devices. Look for exterior feelers and electric eyes. When present, these devices can be often be downloaded and can provide very important information about lane departures, vehicles ahead, braking, acceleration and other information very helpful to reconstruction and testing a driver’s story as being truthful.
  • Look for anything in the cab that could have been a driver distraction – photos, monitors, magazines, DVDs, partially eaten food, etc.
  • Look for anything that demonstrates trying to stay awake – no doz pills, red bull, coffee cups, energy drinks
  • If the collision occurred night time, ask if headlights were on high beam or low beam
  • Get a copy of the trucking company manual if in truck
  • Ask about last stops – locations, times, reasons – so you can check against logs.
  • Also ask for receipts to prove fuel purchases, food purchases, etc to check against logs if driver fatigue is an issue
  • Write down the names of EVERY truck company person who comes to the scene – get cards – find out who they work for and what they are doing there. Keep them away from driver until the driver is interviewed. If an attorney is on scene, make a note of who they are, what time they arrived and the like.
  • Be careful if other people who claim to be “investigators” arrive on the scene. They are either working for the trucking company, the insurance company or some unscrupulous plaintiff attorney. They do not have a right to interfere with your investigation. Trucking companies often deploy such people to “investigate” and even try to influence investigation.


8. What information and materials you should get from truck companies for your investigation

In addition to the materials from the driver, a thorough investigation might include requesting the following materials from the trucking company personnel. You can be assured that if the collision is serious enough, those personnel will be at the scene or will contact you shortly.

  • Copy of cell phone policy
  • Copy of log audits on driver
  • Copy of any additional documents they have to support the drivers hours of service logs (receipts, qualcom records)
  • Printouts of Qualcomm and other onboard communication and monitoring equipment
  • Printout of all ECM and CDR downloads
  • Printout of all Eaton Vorad and similar device downloads
  • Copy of all ABS and other data downloads
  • Copy of driver qualifications file
  • Copy of any internal investigation materials including statements
  • Copy of all photographs from the scene and of the vehicles
  • Copy of Driver post collision drug and alcohol testing results



9. What you need to know about how trucking companies and their insurers investigate trucking collisions

There are unscrupulous sorts on both sides of the accident equation. Trucking companies and their insurance companies often have immediate response task forces to respond to serious accident scenes. Their goal is not only to find out what happened, but more so to protect the driver and the company from criminal and civil liability.

It is not uncommon for company personnel to reach the scene even before the ambulances leave with the injured. Sometimes lawyers present themselves – you can always spot them. They insist on speaking to their client, the truck driver. Some companies employ retired or even off duty police from nearby agencies to assist them. They know these officers are likely to better be able to get information from local law enforcement than a non-police investigator. Be wary of these officers – they are working for one side or the other and are not necessarily after the truth.

The scene is your scene to protect. No one outside your investigative team should try to interfere or “help” you with your investigation.

Take notes of all people who come to the scene, who they are, what time they arrive and what they do. Get cards from them and include them in your report. Tell them that you intend to name them in the report – you will enjoy the reaction.

Be wary of promises by company personnel to provide you with information. Some will offer to download ECMs when they get back to the yard and get you a print out. This should never be done if at all possible. See Quick Guide to “Blackbox” Technology (EDR, ECM, SDM)Please see other pages on what to be sure to get from the driver and the trucking company. If you have questions and want honest feedback, feel free to contact us by clicking here


10. FMCSA Field Operators Training Guide: Inspections – Out of Service Criteria

If you have a question about the standards that truck drivers and trucking companies are required to meet for federal inspectors, this is a great reference. This is for when a truck is stopped and subjected to a roadside inspection. The guide also defines for you when the government deems a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations to be “critical.” If you have trouble downloading it, contact us by clicking here and we will send it to you by e-mail.


11. Key Federal Regulations (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations) you should know and how they are interpreted

Here is a list of federal regulations under Title 49 that you should know:

390.5 Definitions – defines commercial motor vehicle, disabling damage, Exempt Motor Carrier, and other key terms.

390.11 Motor Carrier to Require Compliance with Regulations – wherever the regulations put a duty on a driver, they also put a corresponding duty on the motor carrier to require compliance.

390.13 Aiding and Abetting – No person shall aid, abet, encourage, or require a motor carrier or its employees to violate the rules and regulations.

390.15 Assistance in Investigation – a motor carrier is required to make all records and information pertaining to an accident available to law enforcement.

390.17 Additional Equipment – Drivers are allowed to use items in truck unless they decrease the safety of operation of the commercial vehicle. This is where cell phones, testing devices and the like are prohibited/restricted.

391.11 Qualification of Drivers

391.13 Responsibility of Drivers –

391-15 Disqualification of drivers

 

We have included below in their entirety other federal regulations in Title 49 that are important:

392.2 Applicable operating rules.

Every commercial motor vehicle must be operated in accordance with the laws, ordinances, and regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is being operated. However, if a regulation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes a higher standard of care than that law, ordinance or regulation, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulation must be complied with

392.3 Ill or fatigued operator.

No driver shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, and a motor carrier shall not require or permit a driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle, while the driver’s ability or alertness is so impaired, or so likely to become impaired, through fatigue, illness, or any other cause, as to make it unsafe for him/her to begin or continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle. However, in a case of grave emergency where the hazard to occupants of the commercial motor vehicle or other users of the highway would be increased by compliance with this section, the driver may continue to operate the commercial motor vehicle to the nearest place at which that hazard is removed.

392.5 Alcohol prohibition.

(a) No driver shall—

(a)(1) Use alcohol, as defined in §382.107 of this subchapter, or be under the influence of alcohol, within 4 hours before going on duty or operating, or having physical control of, a commercial motor vehicle; or

(a)(2) Use alcohol, be under the influence of alcohol, or have any measured alcohol concentration or detected presence of alcohol, while on duty, or operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle; or

(a)(3) Be on duty or operate a commercial motor vehicle while the driver possesses wine of not less than one-half of one per centum of alcohol by volume, beer as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5052(a), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, and distilled spirits as defined in section 5002(a)(8), of such Code. However, this does not apply to possession of wine, beer, or distilled spirits which are:

(a)(3)(i) Manifested and transported as part of a shipment; or

(a)(3)(ii) Possessed or used by bus passengers.

(b) No motor carrier shall require or permit a driver to—

(b)(1) Violate any provision of paragraph (a) of this section; or

(b)(2) Be on duty or operate a commercial motor vehicle if, by the driver’s general appearance or conduct or by other substantiating evidence, the driver appears to have used alcohol within the preceding 4 hours.

(c) Any driver who is found to be in violation of the provisions of paragraph (a) or (b) of this section shall be placed out-of-service immediately for a period of 24 hours.

(c)(1) The 24-hour out-of-service period will commence upon issuance of an out-of-service order.

(c)(2) No driver shall violate the terms of an out-of-service order issued under this section.

(d) Any driver who is issued an out-of-service order under this section shall:

(d)(1) Report such issuance to his/her employer within 24 hours; and

(d)(2) Report such issuance to a State official, designated by the State which issued his/her driver’s license, within 30 days unless the driver chooses to request a review of the order. In this case, the driver shall report the order to the State official within 30 days of an affirmation of the order by either the Division Administrator or State Director for the geographical area or the Administrator.

(e) Any driver who is subject to an out-of-service order under this section may petition for review of that order by submitting a petition for review in writing within 10 days of the issuance of the order to the Division Administrator or State Director for the geographical area in which the order was issued. The Division Administrator or State Director may affirm or reverse the order. Any driver adversely affected by such order of the Division Administrator or State Director may petition the Administrator for review in accordance with 49 CFR 386.13.

§392.6 Schedules to conform with speed limits.

No motor carrier shall schedule a run nor permit nor require the operation of any commercial motor vehicle between points in such period of time as would necessitate the commercial vehicle being operated at speeds greater than those prescribed by the jurisdictions in or through which the commercial motor vehicle is being operated.

392.7 Equipment, inspection and use.

No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed:

Service brakes, including trailer brake connections.

Parking (hand) brake.

Steering mechanism.

Lighting devices and reflectors.

Tires.

Horn.

Windshield wiper or wipers.

Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.

Coupling devices.

§392.14 Hazardous conditions; extreme caution.

Extreme caution in the operation of a commercial motor vehicle shall be exercised when hazardous conditions, such as those caused by snow, ice, sleet, fog, mist, rain, dust, or smoke, adversely affect visibility or traction. Speed shall be reduced when such conditions exist. If conditions become sufficiently dangerous, the operation of the commercial motor vehicle shall be discontinued and shall not be resumed until the commercial motor vehicle can be safely operated. Whenever compliance with the foregoing provisions of this rule increases hazard to passengers, the commercial motor vehicle may be operated to the nearest point at which the safety of passengers is assured.

§392.16 Use of seat belts.

A commercial motor vehicle which has a seat belt assembly installed at the driver’s seat shall not be driven unless the driver has properly restrained himself/herself with the seat belt assembly.

Emergency signals; stopped commercial motor vehicles.

(a) Hazard warning signal flashers. Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section. The flashing signals shall be used during the time the warning devices are picked up for storage before movement of the commercial motor vehicle. The flashing lights may be used at other times while a commercial motor vehicle is stopped in addition to, but not in lieu of, the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Placement of warning devices—

(b)(1) General rule. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver shall, as soon as possible, but in any event within 10 minutes, place the warning devices required by §393.95 of this subchapter, in the following manner:

(b)(1)(i) One on the traffic side of and 4 paces (approximately 3 meters or 10 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;

(b)(1)(ii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic; and

(b)(1)(iii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction away from approaching traffic.

(b)(2) Special rules— (i) Fusees and liquid-burning flares. The driver of a commercial motor vehicle equipped with only fusees or liquid-burning flares shall place a lighted fusee or liquid-burning flare at each of the locations specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. There shall be at least one lighted fusee or liquid-burning flare at each of the prescribed locations, as long as the commercial motor vehicle is stopped. Before the stopped commercial motor vehicle is moved, the driver shall extinguish and remove each fusee or liquid-burning flare.

(b)(2)(ii) Daylight hours. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2)(iii) of this section, during the period lighted lamps are not required, three bidirectional reflective triangles, or three lighted fusees or liquid-burning flares shall be placed as specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section within a time of 10 minutes. In the event the driver elects to use only fusees or liquid-burning flares in lieu of bidirectional reflective triangles or red flags, the driver must ensure that at least one fusee or liquid-burning flare remains lighted at each of the prescribed locations as long as the commercial motor vehicle is stopped or parked.

(b)(2)(iii) Business or residential districts. The placement of warning devices is not required within the business or residential district of a municipality, except during the time lighted lamps are required and when street or highway lighting is insufficient to make a commercial motor vehicle clearly discernable at a distance of 500 feet to persons on the highway.

(b)(2)(iv) Hills, curves, and obstructions. If a commercial motor vehicle is stopped within 500 feet of a curve, crest of a hill, or other obstruction to view, the driver shall place the warning signal required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section in the direction of the obstruction to view a distance of 100 feet to 500 feet from the stopped commercial motor vehicle so as to afford ample warning to other users of the highway.

(b)(2)(v) Divided or one-way roads. If a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion or the shoulder of a divided or one-way highway, the driver shall place the warning devices required by paragraph (b)(1) of this section, one warning device at a distance of 200 feet and one warning device at a distance of 100 feet in a direction toward approaching traffic in the center of the lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle. He/she shall place one warning device at the traffic side of the commercial motor vehicle within 10 feet of the rear of the commercial motor vehicle.

(b)(2)(vi) Leaking, flammable material. If gasoline or any other flammable liquid, or combustible liquid or gas seeps or leaks from a fuel container or a commercial motor vehicle stopped upon a highway, no emergency warning signal producing a flame shall be lighted or placed except at such a distance from any such liquid or gas as will assure the prevention of a fire or explosion.

§392.33 Obscured lamps or reflective devices/material.

(a) No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven when any of the lamps or reflective devices/material required by subpart B of part 393 of this title are obscured by the tailboard, or by any part of the load or its covering, by dirt, or other added vehicle or work equipment or otherwise.

(b) Exception. The conspicuity treatments on the front end protection devices of the trailer may be obscured by part of the load being transported.

392.60 Unauthorized persons not to be transported.

(a) Unless specifically authorized in writing to do so by the motor carrier under whose authority the commercial motor vehicle is being operated, no driver shall transport any person or permit any person to be transported on any commercial motor vehicle other than a bus. When such authorization is issued, it shall state the name of the person to be transported, the points where the transportation is to begin and end, and the date upon which such authority expires. No written authorization, however, shall be necessary for the transportation of:

(a)(1) Employees or other persons assigned to a commercial motor vehicle by a motor carrier;

(a)(2) Any person transported when aid is being rendered in case of an accident or other emergency;

(a)(3) An attendant delegated to care for livestock.

(b) This section shall not apply to the operation of commercial motor vehicles controlled and operated by any farmer and used in the transportation of agricultural commodities or products thereof from his/her farm or in the transportation of supplies to his/her farm.

392.71 Radar detectors; use and/or possession.

(a) No driver shall use a radar detector in a commercial motor vehicle, or operate a commercial motor vehicle that is equipped with or contains any radar detector.

(b) No motor carrier shall require or permit a driver to violate paragraph (a) of this section.

393.1 – 393.209 – Equipment

§395.2 Definitions.

As used in this part, the following words and terms are construed to mean:

Adverse driving conditions means snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.

Automatic on-board recording device means an electric, electronic, electromechanical, or mechanical device capable of recording driver’s duty status information accurately and automatically as required by §395.15. The device must be integrally synchronized with specific operations of the commercial motor vehicle in which it is installed. At a minimum, the device must record engine use, road speed, miles driven, the date, and time of day.

Driving time means all time spent at the driving controls of a commercial motor vehicle in operation.

Eight consecutive days means the period of 8 consecutive days beginning on any day at the time designated by the motor carrier for a 24-hour period.

Farm supplies for agricultural purposes means products directly related to the growing or harvesting of agricultural commodities during the planting and harvesting seasons within each State, as determined by the State, and livestock feed at any time of the year.

Multiple stops means all stops made in any one village, town, or city may be computed as one.

On duty time means all time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. On-duty time shall include:

(1) All time at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless the driver has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;

(2) All time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning any commercial motor vehicle at any time;

(3) All driving time as defined in the term driving time;

(4) All time, other than driving time, in or upon any commercial motor vehicle except time spent resting in a sleeper berth;

(5) All time loading or unloading a commercial motor vehicle, supervising, or assisting in the loading or unloading, attending a commercial motor vehicle being loaded or unloaded, remaining in readiness to operate the commercial motor vehicle, or in giving or receiving receipts for shipments loaded or unloaded;

(6) All time repairing, obtaining assistance, or remaining in attendance upon a disabled commercial motor vehicle;

(7) All time spent providing a breath sample or urine specimen, including travel time to and from the collection site, in order to comply with the random, reasonable suspicion, post-accident, or follow-up testing required by part 382 of this subchapter when directed by a motor carrier;

(8) Performing any other work in the capacity, employ, or service of, a motor carrier; and

(9) Performing any compensated work for a person who is not a motor carrier.

Seven consecutive days means the period of 7 consecutive days beginning on any day at the time designated by the motor carrier for a 24-hour period.

Sleeper berth means a berth conforming to the requirements of §393.76 of this chapter.

Twenty-four-hour period means any 24-consecutive-hour period beginning at the time designated by the motor carrier for the terminal from which the driver is normally dispatched.

395.3 Maximum driving time for property-carrying vehicles.

Subject to the exceptions and exemptions in §395.1:

(a) No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle:

(a)(1) More than 11 cumulative hours following 10 consecutive hours off-duty; or

(a)(2) For any period after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty, except when a property-carrying driver complies with the provisions of §395.1(o) or §395.1(e)(2).

(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after —

(b)(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any period of 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or

(b)(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

(c)(1) Any period of 7 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours; or

(c)(2) Any period of 8 consecutive days may end with the beginning of any off-duty period of 34 or more consecutive hours.

395.5 Maximum driving time for passenger-carrying vehicles.

Subject to the exceptions and exemptions in §395.1:

(a) No motor carrier shall permit or require any driver used by it to drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, nor shall any such driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle:

(a)(1) More than 10 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty; or

(a)(2) For any period after having been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.

(b) No motor carrier shall permit or require a driver of a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle to drive, nor shall any driver drive a passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle, regardless of the number of motor carriers using the driver’s services, for any period after—

(b)(1) Having been on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week; or

(b)(2) Having been on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing motor carrier operates commercial motor vehicles every day of the week.

Driver’s record of duty status.

(a) Except for a private motor carrier of passengers (nonbusiness), every motor carrier shall require every driver used by the motor carrier to record his/her duty status for each 24 hour period using the methods prescribed in either paragraphs (a)(1) or (2) of this section.

(a)(1) Every driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall record his/her duty status, in duplicate, for each 24-hour period. The duty status time shall be recorded on a specified grid, as shown in paragraph (g) of this section. The grid and the requirements of paragraph (d) of this section may be combined with any company forms. The previously approved format of the Daily Log, Form MCS-59 or the Multi-day Log, MCS-139 and 139A, which meets the requirements of this section, may continue to be used.

(a)(2) Every driver who operates a commercial motor vehicle shall record his/her duty status by using an automatic on-board recording device that meets the requirements of §395.15 of this part. The requirements of §395.8 shall not apply, except paragraphs (e) and (k)(1) and (2) of this section.

(b) The duty status shall be recorded as follows:

(b)(1) “Off duty” or “OFF.”

(b)(2) “Sleeper berth” or “SB” (only if a sleeper berth used).

(b)(3) “Driving” or “D.”

(b)(4) “On-duty not driving” or “ON.”

(c) For each change of duty status (e.g., the place of reporting for work, starting to drive, on-duty not driving and where released from work), the name of the city, town or village, with State abbreviation, shall be recorded.

NOTE: If a change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, town, or village, show one of the following: (1) the highway number and nearest milepost followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, (2) the highway number and the name of the service plaza followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, or (3) the highway numbers of the nearest two intersecting roadways followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation.

(d) The following information must be included on the form in addition to the grid:

(d)(1) Date;

(d)(2) Total miles driving today;

(d)(3) Truck or tractor and trailer number;

(d)(4) Name of carrier;

(d)(5) Driver’s signature/certification;

(d)(6) 24-hour period starting time (e.g., midnight, 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m.);

(d)(7) Main office address;

(d)(8) Remarks;

(d)(9) Name of co-driver;

(d)(10) Total hours (far right edge of grid); and

(d)(11) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity.

(e) Failure to complete the record of duty activities of this section or §395.15, failure to preserve a record of such duty activities, or making of false reports in connection with such duty activities shall make the driver and/or the carrier liable to prosecution.

(f) The driver’s activities shall be recorded in accordance with the following provisions:

(f)(1) Entries to be current. Drivers shall keep their record of duty status current to the time shown for the last change of duty status.

(f)(2) Entries made by driver only. All entries relating to driver’s duty status must be legible and in the driver’s own handwriting.

(f)(3) Date. The month, day and year for the beginning of each 24-hour period shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.

(f)(4) Total miles driving today. Total mileage driven during the 24-hour period shall be recorded on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.

(f)(5) Commercial motor vehicle identification. The driver shall show the number assigned by the motor carrier or the license number and licensing state of each commercial motor vehicle operated during each 24-hour period on his/her record of duty status. The driver of an articulated (combination) commercial motor vehicle shall show the number assigned by the motor carrier or the license number and licensing state of each motor vehicle used in each commercial motor vehicle combination operated during that 24-hour period on his/her record of duty status.

(f)(6) Name of motor carrier. The name(s) of the motor carrier(s) for which work is performed shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s record of duty status. When work is performed for more than one motor carrier during the same 24-hour period, the beginning and finishing time, showing a.m. or p.m., worked for each motor carrier shall be shown after each motor carrier’s name. Drivers of leased commercial motor vehicles shall show the name of the motor carrier performing the transportation.

(f)(7) Signature/certification. The driver shall certify to the correctness of all entries by signing the form containing the driver’s duty status record with his/her legal name or name of record. The driver’s signature certifies that all entries required by this section made by the driver are true and correct.

(f)(8) Time base to be used.

(f)(8)(i) The driver’s duty status record shall be prepared, maintained, and submitted using the time standard in effect at the driver’s home terminal, for a 24-hour period beginning with the time specified by the motor carrier for that driver’s home terminal.

(f)(8)(ii) The term “7 or 8 consecutive days” means the 7 or 8 consecutive 24-hour periods as designated by the carrier for the driver’s home terminal.

(f)(8)(iii) The 24-hour period starting time must be identified on the driver’s duty status record. One-hour increments must appear on the graph, be identified, and preprinted. The words “Midnight” and “Noon” must appear above or beside the appropriate one-hour increment.

(f)(9) Main office address. The motor carrier’s main office address shall be shown on the form containing the driver’s duty status record.

(f)(10) Recording days off duty. Two or more consecutive 24-hour periods off duty may be recorded on one duty status record.

(f)(11) Total hours. The total hours in each duty status: off duty other than in a sleeper berth; off duty in a sleeper berth; driving, and on duty not driving, shall be entered to the right of the grid, the total of such entries shall equal 24 hours.

(f)(12) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity shall be shown on the driver’s record of duty status.

(g) Graph grid. The following graph grid must be incorporated into a motor carrier recordkeeping system which must also contain the information required in paragraph (d) of this section.

(h) Graph Grid Preparation. The graph grid may be used horizontally or vertically and shall be completed as follows:

(h)(1) Off-duty. Except for time spent resting in a sleeper berth, a continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of time when the driver is not on duty, is not required to be in readiness to work, or is not under any responsibility for performing work.

(h)(2) Sleeper berth. A continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of time off duty resting in a sleeper berth, as defined in §395.2. (If a non-sleeper berth operation, sleeper berth need not be shown on the grid.)

(h)(3) Driving. A continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of driving time, as defined in §395.2.

(h)(4) On duty not driving. A continuous line shall be drawn between the appropriate time markers to record the period(s) of time on duty not driving specified in §395.2.

(h)(5) Location—Remarks. The name of the city, town, or village, with State abbreviation where each change of duty status occurs shall be recorded.

NOTE: If a change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, town, or village, show one of the following: (1) the highway number and nearest milepost followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, (2) the highway number and the name of the service plaza followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation, or (3) the highway numbers of the nearest two intersecting roadways followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and State abbreviation.

(i) Filing driver’s record of duty status. The driver shall submit or forward by mail the original driver’s record of duty status to the regular employing motor carrier within 13 days following the completion of the form.

(j) Drivers used by more than one motor carrier. (1) When the services of a driver are used by more than one motor carrier during any 24-hour period in effect at the driver’s home terminal, the driver shall submit a copy of the record of duty status to each motor carrier. The record shall include:

(j)(1)(i) All duty time for the entire 24-hour period;

(j)(1)(ii) The name of each motor carrier served by the driver during that period; and

(j)(1)(iii) The beginning and finishing time, including a.m. or p.m., worked for each carrier.

(j)(2) Motor carriers, when using a driver for the first time or intermittently, shall obtain from the driver a signed statement giving the total time on duty during the immediately preceding 7 days and the time at which the driver was last relieved from duty prior to beginning work for the motor carriers.

(k) Retention of driver’s record of duty status. (1) Each motor carrier shall maintain records of duty status and all supporting documents for each driver it employs for a period of six months from the date of receipt.

(k)(2) The driver shall retain a copy of each record of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days which shall be in his/her possession and available for inspection while on duty.

NOTE: Driver’s record of duty status. The graph grid, when incorporated as part of any form used by a motor carrier, must be of sufficient size to be legible.

The following executed specimen grid illustrates how a driver’s duty status should be recorded for a trip from Richmond, Virginia, to Newark, New Jersey. The grid reflects the midnight to midnight 24 hour period.

Graph Grid (midnight to midnight operation).

NOTE: The driver in this instance reported for duty at the motor carrier’s terminal. The driver reported for work at 6 a.m., helped load, checked with dispatch, made a pretrip inspection, and performed other duties until 7:30 a.m. when the driver began driving. At 9 a.m. the driver had a minor accident in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and spent one half hour handling details with the local police. The driver arrived at the company’s Baltimore, Maryland, terminal at noon and went to lunch while minor repairs were made to the tractor. At 1 p.m. the driver resumed the trip and made a delivery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between 3 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at which time the driver started driving again. Upon arrival at Cherry Hill, New Jersey, at 4 p.m., the driver entered the sleeper berth for a rest break until 5:45 p.m. at which time the driver resumed driving again. At 7 p.m. the driver arrived at the company’s terminal in Newark, New Jersey. Between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. the driver prepared the required paperwork including completing the driver’s record of duty status, driver vehicle inspection report, insurance report for the Fredericksburg, Virginia accident, checked for the next day’s dispatch, etc. At 8 p.m., the driver went off duty.

395.13 Drivers declared out of service.

(a) Authority to declare drivers Out of Service. Every special agent of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (as defined in Appendix B to this subchapter) is authorized to declare a driver out of service and to notify the motor carrier of that declaration, upon finding at the time and place of examination that the driver has violated the out of service criteria as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Out of Service criteria. (1) No driver shall drive after being on duty in excess of the maximum periods permitted by this part.

(b)(2) No driver required to maintain a record of duty status under §395.8 or §395.15 of this part shall fail to have a record of duty status current on the day of examination and for the prior 7 consecutive days.

(b)(3) Exception. A driver failing only to have possession of a record of duty status current on the day of examination and the prior day, but has completed records of duty status up to that time (previous 6 days), will be given the opportunity to make the duty status record current.

(c) Responsibilities of motor carriers. (1) No motor carrier shall:

(c)(1)(i) Require or permit a driver who has been declared out of service to operate a commercial motor vehicle until that driver may lawfully do so under the rules in this part.

(c)(1)(ii) Require a driver who has been declared out of service for failure to prepare a record of duty status to operate a commercial motor vehicle until that driver has been off duty for the appropriate number of consecutive hours required by this part and is in compliance with this section. The appropriate consecutive hours off-duty may include sleeper berth time.

(c)(2) A motor carrier shall complete the “Motor Carrier Certification of Action Taken” portion of the form MCS-63 (Driver-Vehicle Examination Report) and deliver the copy of the form either personally or by mail to the Division Administrator or State Director, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, at the address specified upon the form within 15 days following the date of examination. If the motor carrier mails the form, delivery is made on the date it is postmarked.

(d) Responsibilities of the driver. (1) No driver who has been declared out of service shall operate a commercial motor vehicle until that driver may lawfully do so under the rules of this Part.

(d)(2) No driver who has been declared out of service, for failing to prepare a record of duty status, shall operate a commercial motor vehicle until the driver has been off duty for the appropriate number of consecutive hours required by this part and is in compliance with this section.

(d)(3) A driver to whom a form has been tendered declaring the driver out of service shall within 24 hours thereafter deliver or mail the copy to a person or place designated by motor carrier to receive it.

(d)(4) §395.13 does not alter the hazardous materials requirements prescribed in §397.5 pertaining to attendance and surveillance of commercial motor vehicles.

395.15 Automatic on-board recording devices.

(a) Authority to use automatic on-board recording device.

(a)(1) A motor carrier may require a driver to use an automatic on-board recording device to record the driver’s hours of service in lieu of complying with the requirements of §395.8 of this part.

(a)(2) Every driver required by a motor carrier to use an automatic on-board recording device shall use such device to record the driver’s hours of service.

(b) Information requirements.

(b)(1) Automatic on-board recording devices shall produce, upon demand, a driver’s hours of service chart, electronic display, or printout showing the time and sequence of duty status changes including the drivers’ starting time at the beginning of each day.

(b)(2) The device shall provide a means whereby authorized Federal, State, or local officials can immediately check the status of a driver’s hours of service. This information may be used in conjunction with handwritten or printed records of duty status, for the previous 7 days.

(b)(3) Support systems used in conjunction with on-board recorders at a driver’s home terminal or the motor carrier’s principal place of business must be capable of providing authorized Federal, State or local officials with summaries of an individual driver’s hours of service records, including the information specified in §395.8(d) of this part. The support systems must also provide information concerning on-board system sensor failures and identification of edited data. Such support systems should meet the information interchange requirements of the American National Standard Code for Information Interchange (ANSCII) (EIARS-232/CCITT V.24 port (National Bureau of Standards “Code for Information Interchange,” FIPS PUB 1-1)).

(b)(4) The driver shall have in his/her possession records of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days available for inspection while on duty. These records shall consist of information stored in and retrievable from the automatic on-board recording device, handwritten records, computer generated records, or any combination thereof.

(b)(5) All hard copies of the driver’s record of duty status must be signed by the driver. The driver’s signature certifies that the information contained thereon is true and correct.

(c) The duty status and additional information shall be recorded as follows:

(c)(1) “Off duty” or “OFF”, or by an identifiable code or character;

(c)(2) “Sleeper berth” or “SB” or by an identifiable code or character (only if the sleeper berth is used);

(c)(3) “Driving” or “D”, or by an identifiable code or character; and

(c)(4) “On-duty not driving” or “ON”, or by an identifiable code or character;

(c)(5) Date;

(c)(6) Total miles driving today;

(c)(7) Truck or tractor and trailer number;

(c)(8) Name of carrier;

(c)(9) Main office address;

(c)(10) 24-hour period starting time (e.g., midnight, 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m.);

(c)(11) Name of co-driver;

(c)(12) Total hours; and

(c)(13) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity.

(d) Location of duty status change.

(d)(1) For each change of duty status (e.g., the place and time of reporting for work, starting to drive, on-duty not driving and where released from work), the name of the city, town, or village, with State abbreviation, shall be recorded.

(d)(2) Motor carriers are permitted to use location codes in lieu of the requirements of paragraph (d)(1) of this section. A list of such codes showing all possible location identifiers shall be carried in the cab of the commercial motor vehicle and available at the motor carrier’s principal place of business. Such lists shall be made available to an enforcement official on request.

(e) Entries made by driver only. If a driver is required to make written entries relating to the driver’s duty status, such entries must be legible and in the driver’s own handwriting.

(f) Reconstruction of records of duty status. Drivers are required to note any failure of automatic on-board recording devices, and to reconstruct the driver’s record of duty status for the current day, and the past 7 days, less any days for which the drivers have records, and to continue to prepare a handwritten record of all subsequent duty status until the device is again operational.

(g) On-board information. Each commercial motor vehicle must have on-board the commercial motor vehicle an information packet containing the following items:

(g)(1) An instruction sheet describing in detail how data may be stored and retrieved from an automatic on-board recording system; and

(g)(2) A supply of blank driver’s records of duty status graph-grids sufficient to record the driver’s duty status and other related information for the duration of the current trip.

(h) Submission of driver’s record of duty status.

(h)(1) The driver shall submit, electronically or by mail, to the employing motor carrier, each record of the driver’s duty status within 13 days following the completion of each record;

(h)(2) The driver shall review and verify that all entries are accurate prior to submission to the employing motor carrier; and

(h)(3) The submission of the record of duty status certifies that all entries made by the driver are true and correct.

(i) Performance of recorders. Motor carriers that use automatic on-board recording devices for recording their drivers’ records of duty status in lieu of the handwritten record shall ensure that:

(i)(1) A certificate is obtained from the manufacturer certifying that the design of the automatic on-board recorder has been sufficiently tested to meet the requirements of this section and under the conditions it will be used;

(i)(2) The automatic on-board recording device permits duty status to be updated only when the commercial motor vehicle is at rest, except when registering the time a commercial motor vehicle crosses a State boundary;

(i)(3) The automatic on-board recording device and associated support systems are, to the maximum extent practicable, tamper-proof and do not permit altering of the information collected concerning the driver’s hours of service;

(i)(4) The automatic on-board recording device warns the driver visually and/or audibly that the device has ceased to function. Devices installed and operational as of October 31, 1988 and authorized to be used in lieu of the handwritten record of duty status by the FMCSA are exempted from this requirement;

(i)(5) Automatic on-board recording devices with electronic displays shall have the capability of displaying the following:

(i)(5)(i) Driver’s total hours of driving today;

(i)(5)(ii) The total hours on duty today;

(i)(5)(iii) Total miles driving today;

(i)(5)(iv) Total hours on duty for the 7 consecutive day period, including today;

(i)(5)(v) Total hours on duty for the prior 8 consecutive day period, including the present day; and

(i)(5)(vi) The sequential changes in duty status and the times the changes occurred for each driver using the device.

(i)(6) The on-board recorder is capable of recording separately each driver’s duty status when there is a multiple-driver operation;

(i)(7) The on-board recording device/system identifies sensor failures and edited data when reproduced in printed form. Devices installed and operational as of October 31, 1988 and authorized to be used in lieu of the handwritten record of duty status by the FMCSA are exempted from this requirement.

(i)(8) The on-board recording device is maintained and recalibrated in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications;

(i)(9) The motor carrier’s drivers are adequately trained regarding the proper operation of the device; and

(i)(10) The motor carrier must maintain a second copy (back-up copy) of the electronic hours-of-service files, by month, in a different physical location than where the original data is stored.

(j) Rescission of authority.

(j)(1) The FMCSA may, after notice and opportunity to reply, order any motor carrier or driver to comply with the requirements of §395.8 of this part.

(j)(2) The FMCSA may issue such an order if the FMCSA has determined that—

(j)(2)(i) The motor carrier has been issued conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating by the FMCSA;

(j)(2)(ii) The motor carrier has required or permitted a driver to establish, or the driver has established, a pattern of exceeding the hours of service limitations of this part;

(j)(2)(iii) The motor carrier has required or permitted a driver to fail, or the driver has failed, to accurately and completely record the driver’s hours of service as required in this section; or

(j)(2)(iv) The motor carrier or driver has tampered with or otherwise abused the automatic on-board recording device on any commercial motor vehicle.

396.7 Unsafe operations forbidden.

(a) General—A motor vehicle shall not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or a breakdown of the vehicle.

(b) Exemption—Any motor vehicle discovered to be in an unsafe condition while being operated on the highway may be continued in operation only to the nearest place where repairs can safely be effected. Such operation shall be conducted only if it is less hazardous to the public than to permit the vehicle to remain on the highway.

396.11 Driver vehicle inspection report(s).

Editor”s Note: §396.11(a) below is effective until June 17, 2009.

(a) Report required. Every motor carrier shall require its drivers to report, and every driver shall prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated and the report shall cover at least the following parts and accessories:

—Service brakes including trailer brake connections

—Parking (hand) brake

—Steering mechanism

—Lighting devices and reflectors

—Tires

—Horn

—Windshield wipers

—Rear vision mirrors

—Coupling devices

—Wheels and rims

—Emergency equipment

(b) Report content. The report shall identify the vehicle and list any defect or deficiency discovered by or reported to the driver which would affect the safety of operation of the vehicle or result in its mechanical breakdown. If no defect or deficiency is discovered by or reported to the driver, the report shall so indicate. In all instances, the driver shall sign the report. On two-driver operations, only one driver needs to sign the driver vehicle inspection report, provided both drivers agree as to the defects or deficiencies identified. If a driver operates more than one vehicle during the day, a report shall be prepared for each vehicle operated.

(c) Corrective action. Prior to requiring or permitting a driver to operate a vehicle, every motor carrier or its agent shall repair any defect or deficiency listed on the driver vehicle inspection report which would be likely to affect the safety of operation of the vehicle.

(c)(1) Every motor carrier or its agent shall certify on the original driver vehicle inspection report which lists any defect or deficiency that the defect or deficiency has been repaired or that repair is unnecessary before the vehicle is operated again.

(c) (2) Every motor carrier shall maintain the original driver vehicle inspection report, the certification of repairs, and the certification of the driver’s review for three months from the date the written report was prepared.

(d) Exceptions. The rules in this section shall not apply to a private motor carrier of passengers (nonbusiness), a driveaway-towaway operation, or any motor carrier operating only one commercial motor vehicle.

396.13 Driver inspection.

Before driving a motor vehicle, the driver shall:

(a) Be satisfied that the motor vehicle is in safe operating condition;

(b) Review the last driver vehicle inspection report; and

(c) Sign the report, only if defects or deficiencies were noted by the driver who prepared the report, to acknowledge that the driver has reviewed it and that there is a certification that the required repairs have been performed. The signature requirement does not apply to listed defects on a towed unit which is no longer part of the vehicle combination.


12. How to deal with victim and Plaintiff lawyers

Just like the fact that not all police officers are the same, not all plaintiff lawyers are the same. Some are worthy of trust and respect and are advocates for victims against dangerous drivers and trucking companies. Others are simply out for a paycheck. It is sometimes hard on the surface to tell the difference.

Our firm handles truck accident cases nationwide. Joe Fried is a former police officer and currently serves on a number of state and national safety organizations policing the trucking industry. Mr. Fried also serves on local committees that are charged with developing training programs for increasing safety while operating fire trucks and other large emergency vehicles. Buck Rogers serves as the chair of the GTLA trucking section and as an advocate for MADD. Michael Goldberg has a written a number of books and articles on trucking law and trains other attorneys in how to handle truck collision litigation. If we can assist you in any way in dealing with plaintiff’s counsel, please contact us. It would be our pleasure to be of help.

You should know that when good lawyers are trying to get information from you, it is because they need it to fully understand their case and adequately represent their clients. Often times, families of victims want information and feel very frustrated when they can’t get that information from law enforcement. If you take a moment to consider their state of mind, you will appreciate their need for information. Please provide the information if you can.

Plaintiff lawyers can be assets to you. Good attorneys with a strong knowledge of trucking regulations and lot of experience handling truck accident cases can be a great resource. They will have access to experts and information that may be difficult for you to obtain. If the goal is to find the truth, there should be no reason why information cannot be shared.