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49 CFR 350: Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program
49 CFR 382: Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing
49 CFR 383: Commercial Driver's License Standards; Requirements and Penalties
49 CFR 391: Qualifications of Drivers
49 CFR 392: Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles
49 CFR 393: Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation
49 CFR 395: Hours of Service of Drivers
49 CFR 396: Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance
49 CFR 397: Transportation of Hazardous Materials; Driving and Parking Rules
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49 CFR 350: Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program

This regulation is in place to ensure that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), states and other jurisdictions work together to develop and implement unified programs to improve motor carriers, CMV, driver safety and establish a more efficient and safer transportation system. Arkansas has adopted Title 49 of the Federal regulations for trucks to engage in interstate travel and therefore the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Act and corresponding regulations have application on Arkansas highways and roads and govern all manner of Trucks involved in Interstate Commerce in Arkansas regardless of where they are registered.
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49 CFR 382: Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing

This regulation establishes programs to prevent accident and injuries caused by impairment from the use of alcohol or drugs by commercial truck drivers. This regulation is for all of those who drive a commercial motor vehicle in the United States and for their employers. However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, some states have the right to waive 49 CFR 382 for certain individuals including active duty personnel, active duty members of the National Guard and active duty members of the reserves. This is subject to the CDL requirements of 49 CFR 383 and the federal requirements in Mexico and Canada.

This regulation also requires that all commercial motor vehicle employers need be certain that all alcohol and drug testing complies with the procedures stated in Part 40 of this title. Commercial drivers whom are required to have a commercial driver's license under Part 383 must be tested if they drive a vehicle that meets any of the following:

  • The vehicle weighs more than 26,000 pounds and includes a towed unit weighing more than 10,000 pounds.
  • The vehicle has a gross vehicle rating of more than 26,000 pounds.
  • The vehicle is designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver.
  • The vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials requiring the vehicle to be placarded.

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49 CFR 383: Commercial Driver's License Standards; Requirements and Penalties

The purpose of this regulation is to reduce or prevent truck and bus accidents resulting injuries and deaths by requiring drivers of certain vehicles to get a single commercial motor vehicle driver's license and by disqualifying any driver whom operates commercial vehicles in an unsafe manner. Drivers must have a Commercial Driver's License if any or all of the following applies (with some exceptions):

  • The truck driver drives a vehicle weighing more than 26,000 pounds.
  • The truck driver transports themselves and 15 or more passengers.
  • The truck driver transports hazardous materials.

Commercial motor vehicle drivers can only have one commercial driver's license which is issued by the state where he/she lives and must adhere to the following rules:

  • Notification of Convictions: If a CDL driver is convicted of any motor vehicle violation (other than a parking violation) s/he must inform in writing within 30 days of the conviction, his/her employer as well as the state that issued his/her commercial driver's license. His employer must also be informed in writing of a suspended or revoked CDL before the end of the first business day post conviction.
  • Previous Employment: During any employment application process involving the use of a CDL the potential driver is required to supply his/her employment history for the 10 years prior which he operated a commercial vehicle.
  • Licensing Procedures: In order for a person to be issued a commercial driver's license he/she must pass a test involving knowledge and driving skills in a motor vehicle comparable to that of the vehicle he/she will be driving. The driver must also certify that he/she has no license suspensions, disqualifications or licenses from any other state.
  • Vehicle Groups: Commercial motor vehicles are divided into 3 groups: combination vehicles, heavy straight vehicles and small vehicles. Combination vehicles are defined as having a combined weight of more than 26,000 pounds or if the weight of the vehicle being towed is over 10,000 pounds. Heavy straight vehicles are defined as any one vehicle weighing over 26,000 pounds or a vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more towing a vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or less. Small vehicles are defined as a single vehicle or combination of vehicles that don't fall into the other vehicle types but are used to transport a placarded amount of material or used to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver. Some endorsements are required on licenses. Each license endorsement requires knowledge and behind the wheel testing.
  • Required Skills: All commercial vehicle drivers must be knowledgeable about the various procedures that help ensure safe vehicle operation and must be informed of the effects of being fatigued while driving, having poor vision, using alcohol and drugs and improperly using the lights, horn, mirrors and other emergency equipment. Commercial drivers must also have knowledge of the driver related elements of the regulations in Parts 391, 392, 393, 395, 396 and 397. Commercial vehicle drivers must also have a general understanding of all of the factors involved in driving the vehicle including shifting, backing, space management and everything else required to operate the vehicle and are to demonstrate their driving and inspection skills on the type of vehicle they intend to operate.
  • Testing Procedures: All testing within the state must be standardized and test administrators must first be trained to do so. States must have manuals available for lending including the procedures, requirements and skills needed to obtain a commercial driver's license and information relating to the CDL test.

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49 CFR 391: Qualifications of Drivers

If a driver is operating a tractor trailer or other commercial motor vehicle that weights more than 10,000 pounds, carries 16 or more passengers or transports hazardous materials that require the vehicle to be placarded, compliance with the following regulations ARE required.

Minimum Qualifications: Commercial motor vehicle drivers must:

  • Be 21 years old;
  • Speak English;
  • Be physically able to safely operate a truck;
  • Have a valid CDL;
  • Must never have been disqualified for driving while intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, committing a felony, leaving an accident scene, refusing to take an alcohol test, or any other reason;
  • Keep a record of the driver's violations;
  • Have a physical exam every two years and shouldn't have diabetes requiring insulin, have high blood pressure, poor vision, poor hearing, have a current diagnosis of being an alcoholic or use dangerous substances (including some over the counter and prescription medications). The specifics of when a person's medical condition prohibits him/her from driving are dependent upon a doctor's exam.

Disqualification: A driver can be disqualified from driving a commercial motor vehicle if any or all of the following apply:

  • S/he drives with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 or more
  • S/he drives under the influence of drugs
  • S/he commits a felony involving a commercial motor vehicle
  • S/he leaves the scene of an accident while driving a commercial motor vehicle
  • S/he transports, possesses or unlawfully uses drugs
  • S/he refuses alcohol testing
  • S/he fails to tell his/her employer before the end of the business day post revocation of a suspended, revoked or withdrawn permit or privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

  • Application for Employment: Applications from individuals applying for a job involving the operation of a commercial motor vehicle must contain the following:

  • Employer name and address;
  • Driver's name, address, date of birth and social security number;
  • Driver's previous addresses for the past 3 years;
  • Date of the application;
  • State, number and expiration date of driver's license;
  • List of all motor vehicle accidents and violations for the last 3 years;
  • Any driver's license suspensions or revocations;
  • List of all employers for the last 3 years, or an additional 7 years if the driver will operate a vehicle weighing 26,001 pounds or more, will carry more than 15 passengers or will carry hazardous materials that requires the vehicle to be placarded, and;
  • The driver's permission to contact previous employers.

Investigation and Inquiries: Employers are required to review a driver's driving record on a yearly basis to determine whether or not the driver meets the minimum requirements for safe driving. Employers must consider all driving violations including but not limited to: reckless driving, operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol and showing a disregard for public safety. When employers check a driver's record, as required, they are required to check for the past 3 years and the responses of each state agency. The driver's employment record for the last 3 years must also be checked and recorded in writing.

Record of Violations: A driver must fill out a form every 12 months that lists any violations which he/she has been convicted of, regardless of if the driver had any violations or not. Within 30 days of any violation or conviction a driver must inform his/her employer.

Road Test: Every driver must pass a road test while operating the same type of motor vehicle they will be driving for their employment. The road test must include the following: a pre-trip inspection, coupling and uncoupling, driving the vehicle using the controls and emergency equipment, passing other vehicles, turning, braking and slowing by means other than braking, backing and parking. While not required, it is acceptable for employers to require drivers to pass a road test, even if they product a valid driver's license or certificate issued by another carrier within the past 3 years. This rule does not apply if the driver will be operating a commercial vehicle which requires a doubles/triples endorsement or a cargo tanker.

Physical Qualification and Examinations: Commercial vehicle drivers are required to have a physical examination every 2 years and must carry a card documenting the exam at all times. Individuals are prohibited from driving a commercial motor vehicle if any or all of the following are true:

  • The truck driver has lost a limb or digit and the absence thereof interferes with him/her ability to drive;
  • The truck driver has diabetes controlled by insulin;
  • The truck driver has heart disease;
  • The truck driver has breathing problems;
  • The truck driver has high blood pressure;
  • The truck driver has any sickness which might interfere with driving;
  • The truck driver has mental problems;
  • The truck driver has poor vision;
  • The truck driver has poor hearing;
  • The truck driver has a drug problem or current clinical diagnosis of alcoholism.

Driver Qualification Files: Throughout the entirety of a driver's employment and for 3 year beyond, an employer must keep a driver's qualification files, with the exception of materials that need be reviewed and updated. Exemptions are limited for drivers who were regularly employed before January 1, 1971 under 391.61.

Casual or Occasional Drivers: Intermittent, casual or occasional drivers are defined as drivers that are used by multiple carriers in a period of 7 consecutive days. Such drivers must keep their medical certificate, road test, name, social security number and identification number in his/her driver qualification file. The carrier must keep this information for 3 years following the end of the driver's employment.

A commercial vehicle driver that is regularly employed by one or more carriers may be used by another carrier without the driver qualification file requirements as long as he/she: has a signed and dated certificate that displays his/her name, signature, indicates regular employment and driver qualifications, the date of his/her medical exam and certificate date and the driver must assume responsibility for the certificates accuracy. Under §393.67 there are a few exceptions for drivers whom operate farm equipment.

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49 CFR 392: Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles

In order to operate a tractor trailer, straight truck, tanker and any other commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate travel, the truck driver, the truck driver's company and anyone else responsible for the management, maintenance, operation or driving of commercial motor vehicles or the hiring, supervision, training, assigning or dispatching of commercial drivers must follow federal regulations.

A commercial driver must follow the following:

  • A truck driver must not drive while ill or fatigued;
  • Truck Drivers may not use drugs illegally, but may take medications under the advice of a doctor as long as it does not affect his/her ability to drive;
  • Truck Drivers must obey the speed limit;
  • Truck Drivers must load cargo safely;
  • Truck Driver must perform periodic inspections;
  • Truck Drivers must drive with extreme caution in hazardous situations;
  • Truck Drivers must use seat belts;
  • Truck Drivers must warn the public when a truck is stopped on the shoulder of a road;
  • Truck Drivers must be able to stop before reaching a railroad track, must stop at railroad tracks when carrying hazardous materials and must not shift when crossing tracks.

Ill or Fatigued Operator: Truck drivers must not drive if they are ill or fatigued to the point where it may cause him/her to be a danger to others on the road. If a truck driver is on the road when he/she realizes he/she is ill or fatigued they may continue to drive to the nearest safe place. Drugs and Other Substances: A truck driver may take prescribed medications if it does not have side effects that might result in unsafe driving, but may not take any drugs that might render him/her not able to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Alcohol Prohibition: While on duty, truck drivers are prohibited from drinking, possessing or being under the influence of alcohol and may not be under the influence of alcohol within 4 hours of going on duty. If a truck driver has used alcohol within 4 hours of going on duty, his employer must not permit or require him/her to drive and the truck driver must immediately be placed out of service for 24 hours. The truck driver must also report the incident within 30 days to the state where s/he holds a driver's license.

Schedules to Conform with Speed Limits: Truck drivers may not speed in order to keep a schedule.

Equipment, Inspections and Use: Truck drivers are responsible, before operating a vehicle to ensure that all brakes, the steering mechanism, the lights and reflectors, tires, horn, windshield wipers, mirrors, coupling devices and all emergency equipment are all in good working order.

Safe Loading: Status cargo must be inspected to make sure it is properly distributed and secured at the beginning of a trip, after the initial 25 miles traveled and depending on which comes first, every 3 hours or 150 miles of each change of duty.

Bus drivers need to make sure all passengers are behind the standee line and that baggage is store and secured in a safe manner preventing any restriction of movement by the driver and passengers. Rules in this section do not apply: if the cargo is sealed, impractical to inspect or if the driver was ordered not to inspect it.

Hearing Aids: Truck drivers who require a hearing aid to pass a physical must wear the hearing aid at all times while driving and must carry a spare battery.

Driving of Vehicles: All commercial motor vehicles when approaching railroad crossings must slow down enough so that if they had to they could stop before reaching the first rail, certain railroad crossings are exempt.
Commercial motor vehicles that are carrying hazardous materials or that have tank trailers must come to a full stop before the railroad tracks and may not shift while driving over the tracks.

Hazardous Conditions: Truck drivers must use extreme caution and drive to the nearest safe place and only resume driving when the hazardous condition clears when operating in hazardous conditions like snow, fog, sleet, mist, rain, dust or smoke.

Seat Belts: Truck drivers are required to wear seat belts if the vehicle is equipped with them.

Stopped Vehicles: Within ten minutes of a commercial motor vehicle stopping on any part of the highway, hazard warning lights must be on and warning devices must be placed in the appropriate locations. The following are guidelines for proper warning device placement:

  • A warning device should be placed about 10 feet from the truck on the traffic side in the direction of approaching traffic.
  • A warning device should be placed in the direction of approaching traffic about 100 feet from the vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder where the truck stopped.
  • A warning device should be placed next to the device that is 100 feet away but in the opposite direction, facing away from approaching traffic.
  • If a truck is stopped in an obstructed view, such as 500 feet from a curve or hill, in addition to the above devices a warning device should be placed in the direction of the obstruction 100-500 feet from the truck.
  • If a truck is stopped in the travel portion of the shoulder on a divided or one way highway, a warning device should be placed in the center of the lane or shoulder where the truck is stopped 200 feet away and another warning device should be placed 100 feet away in the direction of approaching traffic.
  • A warning device should also be placed within 10 feet of the rear of the truck on the traffic side.

Lamps and Reflectors: Lamps and reflectors should be clean and not covered by any part of the load.

Fueling Precautions: Truck drivers must turn off the truck's engine and not smoke while fueling. Truck drivers are forbidden from carrying extra fuel in gas cans. Bus drivers cannot put fuel in their vehicle while in a closed building or with any passengers on board.

Prohibited Practices: Drivers of commercial motor vehicles cannot use radar detectors or open flames for any reason while the vehicle is in motion. Commercial drivers cannot drive if they've been affected by carbon monoxide poisoning and may not transport anyone without permission of their employer aside from fellow employees, accident victims or livestock attendants. Unless there is an accessible exit from the inside of a trailer, drivers may not allow anyone else to ride in the trailer.

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49 CFR 393: Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation

The goal of this section in the federal regulations is to ensure that no commercial motor vehicle company employer or employee drives a vehicle or causes or permits a vehicle to be driven unless it is in accordance with the requirements and specifications listed herein. Additional equipment and accessories may be used as longs as they do not decrease the vehicle's safety and operation as specified in 49 CFR 393.3.

Lighting Devices and Reflectors: To view a table of required commercial vehicle lighting equipment
Click here.

Brakes: Tractor trailers, buses, trucks and combination vehicles must have the following:

  • A service brake system that applies and releases brakes when the pedal is used during normal driving;
  • A parking brake system that applies and releases the parking brakes when the parking brake control is used; and
  • An emergency brake system that uses parts of the service and parking brake systems to stop a vehicle if a brake system failure occurs.
  • 49 CFR 393.41-393.52 specifies parts and brake system specific applications.
  • Brake Performance: Brake performance and criteria for testing must be strictly adhered to.
  • Tires: Any commercial motor vehicle with the following must not be driven:
  • Has tires with exposed material through the tread or sidewall;
  • Has tires with tread or sidewall separation;
  • Has flat tires or an audible leak;
  • Has tires with less than 2/32 tread depth (except front tires which must have 4/32 tread depth);
  • Buses must not be driven if their front tires have been recapped, retreaded or regrooved.
  • Emergency Equipment: All commercial vehicles including buses, trucks, tractor trailers and combination vehicles must carry the following:

** A fire extinguisher;
** At least one spare fuse for each kind that is not a reset type;
** Either 3 liquid burning emergency flares, 3 emergency reflectors or 3 emergency triangles.
Commercial motor vehicles used for transporting flammable liquids, compressed gas or Class A or B explosives is not allowed to carry flame producing devices, regardless of if the trailer is empty or not.

Shifting or Falling Cargo: While transporting cargo all trucks, tractor trailers, tractors, combination vehicles, full trailers and pole trailers must be loaded and equipped to prevent from shifting or falling.

Securment Systems: Securement systems are needed to meet particular standards of strength as discussed in this part of the federal regulations. For example:

  • Tie down assemblies must be at least ½ times the weight of the article and have the total static breaking strength of the tie down assemblies used to secure any article from moving in any direction;
  • The strength of load binders and hardware must be equal to or greater than the minimum specified for tie down assembly;
  • A hook, bolt, weld or other tie down assembly of the vehicle, the mounting place and the means of mounting must be at least as strong as the tie down assembly when that connector is loaded in any direction where the tie down assembly may load it;
  • Fasteners mounted to a vehicle including anchorages of winches must have a combined tensile strength equal to or greater than the strength of the tie down assembly. All of these devices are imperative to be designed, constructed and maintained so the driver is able to tighten them in transit.

Blocking and Bracing: All cargo must be protected from any movement by being blocked or braced against the sides, sideboards or stakes of the vehicle unless it is already secured by devices that meet the requirements in 49 CFR §393.100 to protect it from lateral movement. For longitudinal movement protection cargo must be secured so that when the vehicle decelerates at the rate of 20 feet per second the cargo will remain on the vehicle and not penetrate the vehicle's front end structure. Front-End Structure: All commercial motor vehicles, with the exception of a few vehicles manufactured before January 1974, must have a headboard to prevent load shifting, penetration or the crushing of the driver's compartment.

Frames: Bus, truck and tractor trailer frames cannot be cracked, loose, broker, sagging nor have loose, broken or missing bolts or brackets securing the cab or body of the vehicle to the frame. Frame rail flanges cannot be between the axles that are bent, cut or notched or holes drilled into the top or bottom rail flanges (except when specified by the manufacturer).

Cab and Body Components: Commercial motor vehicle doors must not be missing, broken or sagging to a degree that they cannot be properly opened or closed. Bolts and brackets which secure the cab should not be loose, broken or missing. The truck hood and seats must all be secured. The trucks front bumper must not be loose or protruding.

Wheels: Commercial vehicle wheels including axles, leaf springs, coil springs and torsion bars must not be cracked, loose, broken or out of position. The trucks air suspension must be level with minimal leakage.

Steering Wheel Systems: Commercial motor vehicle steering systems must be secured, including a securely fastened steering column and must not contain cracked or missing spokes. The steering gear box must not have any cracks or have mounting bolts that are loose or missing. The steering gear's output pitman arm must not be loose and the steering wheel itself should turn freely. Commercial motor vehicle's power steering must be in operational condition with no loose or broken parts and belts should not be frayed, cracked or slipping and should not leak and have enough fluid.

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49 CFR 395: Hours of Service of Drivers

This part regulates hours of service to all drivers of commercial motor vehicles and motor carriers. Under 49 CFR 395.1 there are a few exceptions to this part including: drivers operating vehicles that carry more than 15 people, vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds or vehicles that transport an amount of hazardous material that requires placards.
On duty time is referred to as the time a driver begins work until they are relieved from all responsibility for being involved in the work. On duty time includes all of the following:

  • Time spent at a loading or unloading facility, terminal or on a public or private property waiting to be dispatched
  • Time involved in the inspection process;
  • All driving time;
  • Time spent in a commercial vehicle, even if not driving, except for the time spent resting in the sleeper;
  • Time spent repairing the vehicle or receiving assistance repairing the vehicle;
  • Miscellaneous time spent including travel time for drug and alcohol testing;
  • Time performing any work in the service or employment of a common or private motor carrier;
  • Time spent performing any work you are compensated for in any non motor carrier business.

Adverse Driving Conditions: If hazardous weather conditions arise such as rain, snow, fog or any other unusual road and traffic condition the driver can drive up to 2 hours longer than the regulations allow if he normally could have completed the run in no longer than 10 hours of driving and provided that dispatch was unaware of the hazardous conditions at the time of dispatch. Drivers are however prohibited from driving more than 12 hours after 8 consecutive hours off or if the driver has been on duty for 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off. If hazardous conditions arise, a driver is allowed to finish his/her run without being in violation of this part if the run could have been completed in a reasonable amount of time without the hazardous condition.

100 air mile radius drivers are not required to fill out a log if:

  • They drive within a 100 air mile radius of the place where they report to work;
  • They return to the place they reported for work within 12 consecutive hours;
  • They have had 8 consecutive hours off duty in between each 12 hours on duty;
  • They don't drive more than 10 hours following 8 hours off duty; and
  • Their employer keeps time records for 6 months showing: the time the driver reports for duty and the time he is released, the total hours on duty from day to day and the total time on duty for the past 7 days if the driver is used for the first time or intermittently.

Under these rules there are a few special provisions for the deliveries of driver salespeople, oil field operations and retail stores.

To accumulate the required 8 hours of consecutive off duty time drivers may use their sleepers. Drivers may also use 2 separate time periods totaling 8 hours, as long as neither period is less than 2 hours.

This regulation also states special duty status provisions for drivers: from Alaska and Hawaii, of agricultural operations, ground water well drilling operations, which transport construction materials and equipment, and utility service vehicles.

Maximum Driving Time: A commercial motor vehicle driver is forbidden to drive more than 10 hours or for any period after being on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Regardless of the number of motor vehicle carriers using the driver's services, a motor carrier cannot require or permit a driver to drive for any period after being on duty 60 hours in any 7 consecutive days if the employing carrier does not operate during the week. Commercial motor vehicle drivers are also prohibited after being on duty 70 hours in any period of 8 consecutive days if the employing carrier operates motor vehicles every day of the week.

Driver's Record of Duty Status: This part states that within 13 days following completion of the form commercial motor vehicle drivers must either submit or forward by mail the original driver's record of duty status to the regular employing carrier and must also retain a copy of and have them readily available for inspection while on duty, each duty status record for the previous 7 days.

Retention of Driver's Record of Duty Status: Every motor carrier is required to maintain their duty status records and any supporting documentation for a period of 6 months. To view a sample driver's journey log Click here.

Drivers Declared Out of Service: If a driver has neglected to keep up his duty status he/she will be considered out of service. Out of service drivers are prohibited from operating commercial motor vehicles until he/she has had 8 consecutive hours off duty. Within 15 days such documentation must be sent to the employer.

Automatic On-Board Recording Devices: Drivers must at all times keep duty status records for the previous 7 days. This part indicates is permissible to use on board recording devices in place of a log book as long as the information is retrievable and instructions on the recording system are kept inside the vehicle. If a recording device is not working the duty status record for the current and past 7 days that is missing must be handwritten until the recording device is once again properly operating.

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49 CFR 396: Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance

Drivers of commercial motor vehicles which carry more than 15 people, weigh over 10,000 pounds or transport enough hazardous materials to require a placard, as well as motor carriers, their officers, agents, representatives and employees directly concerned with the motor vehicle's inspection and maintenance are required to follow this part.

Unsafe Operations Forbidden: A driver is forbidden to operate a motor vehicle that is in poor working condition and is likely to breakdown or cause an accident.
Inspections of Motor Vehicles in Operation: Drivers must not drive motor vehicles that are placed out of service until all needed repairs are completed.

Driver Vehicle Inspections Report: Commercial motor vehicle drivers must inspect their vehicle both at the beginning and end of each day and must report any defects. The next driver of the commercial vehicle is required to review the previous driver's post trip inspection report and if anything in the report is likely to affect the vehicle's safety, the driver must sign the report indicating the employer certified the problems were fixed. If the employer has not certified the problems were fixed the drive must not sign the report
. At the end of each work day when drivers complete and sign written vehicle inspection reports for each vehicle they operated that day they must be sure to document their inspection of: all brakes, the steering mechanism, all lighting devices and reflectors, tires, the horn, windshield wipers, rear vision mirrors, coupling devices, wheels and rims and all emergency equipment.

Driver Inspection: During inspections of motor vehicles, the driver must carefully review the previous driver's vehicle inspection report. If the driver reported vehicle defects and the problems were all corrected the new driver must sign the report. This part is in place to ensure that drivers are always entirely confident that the vehicle he inspected is in safe operating condition.

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49 CFR 397: Transportation of Hazardous Materials; Driving and Parking Rules

This regulation applies to all commercial motor vehicle drivers whom transport hazardous materials that must be marked or placarded in accordance with §177.823 and to all motor carriers who are involved with the transportation of hazardous materials and each employee of the carrier who performs supervisory duties related to hazardous material transportation. All of those involved must know and obey all of these regulations. Parts 390-397 regulate hazardous materials that must be marked or placarded.

Attendance and Surveillance of Motor Vehicles: If a commercial motor vehicle driver is hauling explosives he/she may not leave his vehicle unattended unless it is parked on either the shipper or receiver's property or a safe haven (any place that commercial vehicles can be left unattended that is approved by local, state or US government officials) or if the truck has less than 50 pounds of explosives it can remain on a survey or construction site. Commercial drivers must be certain that the explosives recipient knows what they are and what to do in case of an emergency. If the truck is left unattended it must remain in clear view of the truck driver. Commercial vehicles carrying hazardous materials aside from Class A or B explosives and is located on a public street or highway must be attended at all times by the truck driver, unless the truck driver is forced to leave the vehicle to perform duties that are necessary to resume driving.

Parking: Drivers that are carrying explosives must obey the following:

  • Drivers may not park on or within 5 feet from any roadway;
  • Drivers may not park on private property without permission;
  • Drivers may not park within 300 feet of a bridge, tunnel, house or any place where people congregate unless impossible to park elsewhere.

If carrying any kind of hazardous materials drivers must stop at least 5 feet from the traveled part of the highway except for short periods of time when the vehicle must be parked and it is impossible to park elsewhere.

Fires: A driver transporting hazardous materials must not park within 300 feet of a fire or drive anywhere near an open fire unless precautions are taken to ensure safe passage.

Smoking: No one is allowed to smoke within 25 feet of a motor vehicle carrying explosives, oxidizing or flammable materials or an empty trailer which was used to transport placarded flammable liquids in the past.

Fueling: While a commercial motor vehicle is being refueled the engine must be turned off and someone must always be in attendance.

Tires: At the beginning of a trip, whenever the vehicle is parked and either every 2 hours or 100 miles whichever comes first, all tires must be inspected. Tires that are overheated must be removed and taken away from the vehicle to cool and must not be driven again until the cause of overheating is discovered and corrected.

Instructions and Documents: Drivers carrying Class A or Class B explosives need to know what type of explosives he/she is transporting and also what emergency steps need to be taken if an emergency like a fire, accident or leak were to occur. Drivers are required to carry a copy of the rules in Part 397 as well as documents instructing him/her on what to do in the event of an accident tor delay.

Routing of Non-Radioactive Hazardous Materials: When transporting non radioactive hazardous materials drivers must plan routes carefully avoiding heavily populated places where crowds gather, tunnels or alleys. Drivers transporting Class 1, Division 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 explosives must have a written route planned before leaving the terminal, but if the trip does not begin at the terminal the driver can product a handwritten route plan.

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