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Month: August 2017

10 Reasons Why You’re Getting Pulled Over

According to Mark Abrahamson, a 27-year veteran of the Wisconsin State Patrol states, “The following are driving behaviors or situations that “stood out” from the norm. Not every violation mentioned below necessarily results in a citation, but it will, at a minimum, be a reason for a traffic stop and a possible warning.”

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  1. Following too close

Reaction time for a driver is less than 2 seconds for driver to see, acknowledge, and act by steering or braking to avoid a crash. When trucks are following less than a truck length behind another. More distance is needed to just fulfill the perception and reaction time, and to meet most states’ following distance laws.

  1. Speeding

Speed is typically linked to following to close. If the driver “gave reason” for the traffic stop, it’s now an opportunity to review the driver’s credentials and the vehicle’s equipment.

  1. Lane deviations

Significant deviations raise concerns relating to the driver’s possible illness, fatigue, or impairment. Typically, once it’s observed that it was not simply a “push of the wind,” officers will initiate a traffic stop for deviation.

  1. Inattentiveness

Observation of a truck that is approaching a lane closure or traffic stop at a high speed and the driver takes an aggressive crash avoidance action. These drivers are of high concern to be stopped for illness or fatigue. They demonstrate a threat to themselves or others.

  1. Improper load securement

When equipment is loaded on a flatbed, it’s clearly in plain view, and securement methods, number of devices, and general condition can be freely observed. Any observed deficiency will result in a traffic stop.

  1. Use of handheld phone

If this action is observed you will be pulled over. The concern relates back to attentiveness and the driver’s ability to respond quickly if crash avoidance is required.

  1. Lighting violations

Lighting violations would be avoided with a proper pre-trip and post-trip inspection. The frequent observation of lighting devices and replacement lenses/bulbs carried on the trucks would reduce chances of being pulled over.

  1. Improper registration or credential display

This is a reason to initiate a traffic stop. A CMV officer will at a minimum conduct a Level 3 inspection in this situation. As an officer is walking back and forth, he or she is taking a close look at the equipment, and if a violation is observed it will be upgraded to a Level 2 inspection.

  1. Overweight

With the increase of mainline high-speed virtual weigh-in-motion systems, the efficiency of this enforcement strategy has increased carrier contacts for violations. The system screens CMVs and highlights violators.

  1. Failure to obey official traffic signs or signals

Related to overweight violations is overlooking posted signs for weight limitations. Penalties will be implemented if postings are disregarded, misread or misjudged. Also, failing to follow a state’s lane restriction guidance such as “all trucks use right lane.”


House Bill Targets to Refine Independent Contractor Status

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A bill recently proposed in the House would change the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to modify the classification of employers and employees.

“Currently, it is difficult and overly complicated for businesses to use independent contractors, which limits companies’ growth and individuals’ work,” said Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN), who introduced H.R. 3396 on July 25. He added that this legislation “provides clarity and guidance for businesses so they know they are properly classifying independent contractors without fear of IRS penalties.”

The contents of the bill are not available yet, but the Customized Logistics and Delivery Association, an advocate of the bill, said the legislation would provide benchmarks for defining a worker’s employment status.

“This bill provides much-needed clarity and guidance for businesses that partner with independent contractors to provide the flexibility of their workforce they need to meet customer needs,” said John Benko, CLDA president. He noted that in a recent survey, over 89% of CLDA members said that their ability to use independent contractors was important to their business success.

“Independent contractors are the backbone of our industry,” Benko added, “allowing us to be responsive and flexible enough to meet changing customer demands. This bill brings clarity and transparency to the definition of an independent contractor, enabling all industries that depend on them to remain in compliance and to properly classify them.”

The association clarified that back in 1978, Congress authorized Section 530 of the Revenue Act of 1978 to provide a safe-harbor for organizations with respect to the employment classification of individuals. “This came as a result of inconsistent employment tax audits where the definition of ‘employee’ was unclear. Congress affirmatively acted to make the Section 530 Safe Harbor permanent in 1982. However, this issue wasn’t included in tax reform in 1986 and therefore was not codified as part of the Internal Revenue Code.”


How to avoid getting a ticket during a roadside inspection

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Private Motor Truck Council of Canada (PMTC) hosted an educational seminar on March 29 at the Tim Hortons Distribution Centre in Guelph, Ont. Kerri Wirachowsky of the MTO spoke to attendees about what fleets and drivers can do to avoid getting ticketed during inspections.

She shared that there are many ways to get out of and avoid what Wirachowski called “simple violations” and offered advice to the audience.

Keep your attitude in check:

 Wirachowski highlighted, drivers that are honest and that don’t give an attitude to officers, often do better during a roadside inspection because the process is smoother.

“When I’m interviewing a driver and all of his stuff is in a row, the inspection tends to go well…but when I’m asking him where he’s coming from and where he’s going and he doesn’t want to tell me anything, things go sideways,” she said.

As soon as the driver hints that he/she is not going to be cooperative in the inspection, Wiraskowski said it sets the tone for how the rest of the (now) lengthy inspection will go.

Be prepared and organized:

 Drivers who know where to find the needed documentation and present it to inspectors in a neat, organized binder often do well in an inspection.

Not being organized is one of the main reasons why violations are issued, according to Wirachowski. She stressed when an officer asks for documents like insurance cards and CVOR certificates that it is presented in an organized binder, all valid documentation is accessible, and that the operator name is the same on all documents (log book, CVOR, insurance card.

“What we’re seeing more of, is the operator name is similar, but they’re all slightly different on each document…and then we’re on the side of the road trying to figure out which name is the legal entity,” she said. She also warned about presenting faded trailer registrations. A rule to remember is: if it’s not legible, it is a chargeable offence.

Get technical:

Knowing the truck you’re driving is paramount during an inspection, added Wirachowski.

“Make sure your drivers are familiar with the truck,” she said. “When I’m standing there with a driver and he’s telling me he did his pre-trip today and he didn’t know how to hit the lights or didn’t know where the horn was or he didn’t know how to pop the hood…I’m thinking how good of a trip inspection did you do? Trust me that is a signal to me that he doesn’t know that truck at all.” Educating drivers that they should know how each and every truck they are driving works will help you avoid charges, she added.

As well, with more fleets adopting ELDs comes a whole new set of problems. Wirachowski stressed that drivers should know how to use the EOBR once your fleet decides to adopt them.


Understanding why some Tanker Trailers have Baffles/ bulkheads and others do not?

To help you understand why some Tanker Trailers have Baffles/ bulkheads and others do not?

I like to introduce you to something some call Liquid Surge or others “The sloshing effect” In Tanker Trailers.

The sloshing effect results from the movement of the liquid in partially filled tanks. This movement can have bad effects on handling. For example, when coming to a stop, the liquid will surge back and forth. When the wave hits the end of the tank, it tends to push the truck in the direction the wave is moving. If the truck is on a slippery surface such as ice, the wave can shove a stopped truck out into an intersection. The driver of a liquid tanker must be very familiar with the handling of the vehicle.

Image Curtesy of: – Liquid motion in Tank trailer without Baffles/bulkheads

If you’ve ever pulled a tanker trailer, you’ve experienced the sloshing effects. This aspect of hauling liquid loads can be very intimidating at first for the driver. Some tankers have Bulkheads(internal compartment dividers)  or baffles(internal compartment dividers) and some don’t

  • Bulkheads – use a solid divider to divide a liquid tanker into several smaller tanks. When loading, and unloading the smaller tanks, the driver must pay attention to weight distribution for the dividers are solid. Putting too much weight on the front or rear of the vehicle will cause adverse effects.
  • Baffles are bulkheads that have holes in them to let the liquid flow through. The baffles help control the forward and backward liquid surge. In these trailers, the internal movement of the product is minimal.

Image Curtesy of: – Liquid motion in Tank trailer with Baffles/bulkheads

However, in a tanker without baffles (sometimes called “smooth bore” tanks), where there’s just one liquid product, it’s a completely different story. A tanker without baffles handles differently than any other trailer. have nothing inside to slow down the flow of the liquid. Therefore, forward-and-back surge is very strong. non-baffled tanks are usually those that transport food products (e.g., milk). (Most sanitation regulations forbid the use of baffles because of the difficulty in cleaning the inside of the tank.)

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