Avoiding Receiving Road/Truck Infractions When Hauling a Load
There is nothing a trucker hates worse than being stopped for a road/truck infractions. Offshoots of the FMCSA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), are the CSA(Compliance, Safety, Accountability), HOR (Hours on the Road) and SMS (Safety Measurement System. These agencies seem to be implementing rules so rapidly that it is difficult to keep up. One of the things that have been implemented is a database on all truck drivers and companies. There is presently a dispute regarding what goes on this database as it can cause problems by minor infractions appearing on the truckers driver’s record which is not necessarily their fault. This not only provides a bad reputation for the driver but problems with DOT as well.
It would appear that the best key is to manage things so that, with the exception of regular truck inspection stops, there are no stops at all. The things that will call attention to a truck driving down the highway area are:
Improper loading which is obvious to the viewer
Random Inspections (4%)
This means that it is important that you make sure a load is properly secured and not overweight prior to leaving the company lot, and following highway rules. The Federal Bridge Formulas should be referred to regarding the weight allowed. It limits the weight on how many axles a truck has and how far it is between these axles. Every driver should know these weight allowances by heart.
There is nothing you can do about the random inspections. However, they will not matter if there is nothing wrong and your logbook is current.
Truck safety is a major goal with FMSCA. Violations on this subject can be avoided if you:
Do not follow too closely
Use your seat belt
Do not speed
Do not fail to yield to a traffic control device
HOS (Hours of Service) violations
14 hours on duty
Logs are not current
And how you are acting (sleepy, cranky, etc)
Note: New rules go into effect in July 2013 regarding these rules.
With today’s electronic age and the attachment of various tracking devices on trucks, it seems that your every move is viewed by someone. However, if common sense is used in making sure the load is correctly secured and not overloaded that will eliminate part of the problem. Sometimes things will happen that are beyond your control, such as a turn light going out. However, when checking the vehicle prior to going on the road checking lights should be just as important as checking brake lines, tires, connectors, and other things. If something is wrong, it should be corrected prior to ever leaving the departure point.