Ask The Law – March 2021

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Questions about Various Hours-of-Service Issues, Carrying a Pistol & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials

Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.  These interpretations were made on February 20, 2021.

Brought to you as a public service by Ol’ Blue, USA and 10-4 Magazine.  Please submit questions to: question@askthelaw.org

Q: I recently went through a Roadside Inspection and I was given a warning for Improper Use of Seatbelt.  What is the right way to wear a seatbelt?  James in Texas

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: In Part 392.16, it requires the driver to be properly restrained by the seatbelt assembly.  If the CMV is equipped with a 3-point system (lap and shoulder), it must be properly worn across the lap and shoulder.  If the CMV is equipped with just a lap system, it must be properly worn across the lap.

Q: If I unload my freight and am just two hours from home, may I use Personal Conveyance to drive home?  Paul in Arizona

A: Provided by Trooper Brent Hoover with the Indiana State Police: According to the FMCSA Personal Conveyance Guidance, the answer is as follows: May a driver, who drops his/her last load at a receiver’s facility use personal conveyance to return to their normal work location (i.e. home or terminal)?  Guidance: No.  Returning home or to the terminal from a dispatched trip is a continuation of the trip, and therefore cannot be considered personal conveyance.

Q: Are there any restrictions or prohibitions about having a pistol in a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)?  Walking Eagle in New Mexico

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: FMCSA does not address any regulations about a driver having a pistol in a CMV.  However, for a driver to legally carry a pistol in their CMV, they must a have Conceal Handgun License/Permit.  They must also be in a state that has reciprocity with their home state.  If you travel into another state that does not have reciprocity, the driver needs to stop before entering the state, unload, and properly store the pistol out of the driver’s immediate reach.

Q: Can I move my personal property in my CMV, and if so, how do I need to log the trip?  Thank you.  Stormy in Virginia

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Under the current interpretation found in Part 395.8, Question #26, it does allow an operator of a CMV moving their own personal property to claim off-duty personal conveyance to move their property.  You can also look at the exemption found in Part 390.3(f) dealing with being exempt for the occasional transportation of personal property.

Q: I drive intrastate in Texas hauling automotive parts from El Paso to Laredo using hours for Intrastate (12 hours driving instead of 11 and 15 hours instead of 14 on duty).  A state trooper in Del Rio has been giving out warnings, saying we are out of compliance in our hours because the Bills of Lading show the address of the final destination.  From Laredo, the parts are loaded in containers and shipped by train to different destinations throughout the country.  I haven’t left the state of Texas in 10 years.  Can I no longer continue using Intrastate hours?  Jesus in Texas

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: When determining which set of rules are applicable to you, we look at the origin of the load and the final destination.  If at any time the load comes in from another state/country and is destined for another state, that’s an Interstate move, even though you may never leave the state.  Based on what you said, you are involved in moving freight to a rail center to be loaded into containers and sent to another state – that is considered to be Interstate freight.

Q: Can I use off-duty personal conveyance when I run out of hours and have not found a suitable place to park for my 10 hours of rest?  Thank you for your time.  Line Runner in Kentucky

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Under the current interpretation found in Part 395.8, Question #26, a driver who runs out of hours, 11 hours driving or 14 hours total duty time, cannot go off-duty and switch to personal conveyance and continue to drive, attempting to locate a suitable location to obtain their 10 hours of rest.

Q: While operating in adverse weather conditions, on my ELD, I have three options: switch to personal convenience and drive, switch to yard move on duty and drive, and keep in drive and be in violation on red.  There is no adverse weather conditions option.  What am I to do?  Thank you for your service.  Frank in California

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Option 1, switching to personal convenience (PC) is definitely out of the question.  You will get tagged with a False Log and placed OOS (out-of-service).  Option 2, switching to yard move, is also definitely out of the question.  Here again, you will get tagged with a False Log and placed OOS.  Use Option 3.  Keep driving and let the ELD show you in violation.  But please, make sure you make a notation in the remarks section on the ELD as to why you are still driving.  Be sure and make the notation as soon as you realize that you are affected by weather conditions that are going to keep you from reaching your destination within the 11 hours of allowable driving.  Also, make sure you do not exceed the total 14 hours.  That is a big no-no, even during adverse weather conditions.

Q: My operations manager is telling me it is okay to use a trailer with a welded leaf spring hanger.  I told him I won’t do that.  He said to show him where, in the regulations, it says this can’t be done.  Bob in Ohio

A: Provided by Trooper Brent Hoover with the Indiana State Police:  If the welds are free of any cracks, it is not a violation, nor does it meet the current CVSA Out-of-Service Criteria.

~ The “Ask The Law” program is an ongoing educational effort between Ol’ Blue, USA and commercial law enforcement agencies.  Ol’ Blue, USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to highway safety education and to improving relations between the motoring public, law enforcement and commercial drivers.  Ask the Law is a registered trademark of Ol’ Blue, USA.  This column is copyrighted by Ol’ Blue, USA.  Warning: The information contained within this column is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The content contains general information and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific issue.  Be aware that the material in the column may not reflect current legal developments or information, as laws and regulations are subject to change at any time without notice.  Always check with the most recent statutes, rules and regulations to see if any changes have been made.

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