Ask The Law – June 2021


Questions about Logbooks, ELDs, Pleading Down Tickets & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials

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

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

Q: If I am parked and off duty after doing my post trip inspection but want to drive a little ways to a restaurant, do I need to do a pre-trip or can I just go in drive mode there and back?  I have more than 10 hours off before my next pickup.  Thank you.  Randy in Colorado

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: If your carrier allows you to use the exemption for short movements while off duty, personal conveyance, found in the interpretations Question #26 in Part 395.8, you are off duty and nothing needs to be done until you go back on-duty.

Q: I haul autos on a 3-car wedge trailer.  How far can I travel without an ELD, and how many days a week, if I occasionally go out of the range, sometimes 2 or 3 days consecutively?  Michael in Missouri

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: As specified in the ELD rule, the following are not required to use ELDs (but carriers may choose to use ELDs even if they are not required).  Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.  Driveaway-towaway drivers (were the vehicle driven is the commodity) or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreational trailer (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported).  Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.  Drivers that stay within a 100 air-mile radius of their work reporting location and the motor carrier uses some type of log to record driver’s starting time, ending time and total time worked.  Drivers that do not work more than 12 hours.  Drivers that return to their starting location.

Q: I pull a flatbed trailer and often pick up cargo containers, loaded and empty, ranging in length from 10 to 40 feet.  I typically secure them with chains in both the front and rear, and with straps over the top of the container.  Do I need to strap and chain?  Jeff in California

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: You can find the answer to your question in Part 393.126 for load securement of cargo containers.  (c) Securement of loaded intermodal containers transported on vehicles other than container chassis vehicle(s).  (1) All lower corners of the intermodal container must rest upon the vehicle, or the corners must be supported by a structure capable of bearing the weight of the container and that support structure must be independently secured to the motor vehicle.  (2) Each container must be secured to the vehicle by: (i) Chains, wire ropes or integral devices which are fixed to all lower corners; or (ii) Crossed chains which are fixed to all upper corners; and (3) The front and rear of the container must be secured independently.  Each chain, wire rope or integral locking device must be attached to the container in a manner that prevents it from being unintentionally unfastened while the vehicle is in transit.  (d) Securement of empty intermodal containers transported on vehicles other than container chassis vehicle(s).  Empty intermodal containers transported on vehicles other than container chassis vehicles do not have to have all lower corners of the intermodal container resting upon the vehicle, or have all lower corners supported by a structure capable of bearing the weight of the empty container, provided: (1) The empty intermodal container is balanced and positioned on the vehicle in a manner such that the container is stable before the addition of tiedowns or other securement equipment; (2) The amount of overhang for the empty container on the trailer does not exceed five feet on either the front or rear of the trailer; (3) The empty intermodal container must not interfere with the vehicle’s maneuverability; and (4) The empty intermodal container is secured to prevent lateral, longitudinal, or vertical shifting.

Q: Are sun visor extenders legal?  There are some available online that you can add to an existing sun visor to make it longer, and others that can be attached to a vehicle’s windows.  Paul in Alabama

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: There are no prohibitions on adding to a truck’s sun visor.  The only prohibition is adding exterior shades that go below the AS1 line on the front windshield.

Q: I recently received a speeding ticket for 70 mph in a 55-mph zone.  The court in Knoxville, TN is willing to dismiss the ticket if I pay the court costs.  They say the ticket will not appear on my driving record.  However, my attorney thinks that it will still show up on my CSA score, and he is advising me to plead it down to 59 mph in a 55-mph zone.  He says that 15 mph above the limit is considered a serious violation and pleading it down is the way to go.  Is he correct?  Thanks for the help.  Dan in Utah

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: If the speeding citation was while you were operating a CMV, in Part 384.226, the court is prohibited from masking the violation.  384.226 – Prohibition on masking convictions: The state must not mask, defer imposition of judgment or allow an individual to enter into a diversion program that would prevent a CLP or CDL holder’s conviction for any violation, in any type of motor vehicle, of a state or local traffic control law (other than parking, vehicle weight, or vehicle defect violations) from appearing on the CDLIS driver record, whether the driver was convicted for an offense committed in the state where the driver is licensed or another state.  If a court chooses to disregard FMCSA Regulations, there is nothing FMCSA can do.  However, if the violation was issued as part of a roadside inspection, say a Level 2 or 3, the violation will still show up on the motor carrier’s CSA violation list.  As for the driver, the driver does not have a CSA score.  The only time violations will show up is when the driver submits an application to work for another motor carrier and that motor carrier gets your authorization to do a pre-employment screening, at which time all violations you have received over the last 3 years will show up.

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

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