Don’t Let Eagle Ford Drivers Be Put “Out-of-Service”

Carriers Can Be Put Out of Service For Operating Beyond the Scope of Registration
Drivers Daily Vehicle Inspection Report

Drivers Daily Vehicle Inspection Report – Copyright Mike Byrnes & Associates, Inc | Click to Enlarge

In trucking, “out-of-service” criteria define a set of physical conditions under which a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) or commercial driver may be prohibited from operating. An out-of-service violation removes the driver and CMV from the roadway until the violation is corrected, which obviously means no work gets done and no one gets paid. In addition, out of service violations are sometimes punishable by fines.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is serious about getting unsafe trucks off our roads and penalizing drivers and owners who fail to follow the regulations. In recent years, there have been more trucking companies and passenger bus companies placed out of service than ever before. The MAP-21 highway funding law that went into effect doubled most fines for serious violations.

Sharing the Blame

New rules that went into effect Oct. 1, 2013, allows the agency to place an entire carrier out of service for operating vehicles “without or beyond the scope of registration,” according to the regulation, whereas previously only the unregistered vehicle itself could be placed out of service. Now both the carrier as well as the vehicle can be penalized. Carriers and drivers who fail to comply with the state and federal regulations can be more easily be prevented from operating.

You can imagine this puts an even greater emphasis on thorough vehicle inspections and preventive maintenance which would catch potential risks to safety before they can cause accidents. A diligently-performed daily vehicle inspection will disclose such potential problems as faulty brake systems and bald tires.

Out-of-service penalties can also be levied against drivers without proper licensing and training. A CMV driver without a CDL or one that has expired can be just a serious a safety liability as brakes that won’t hold or tires ready to blow.

Activity in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas has increased truck traffic tremendously and statistics show trucking related accidents are up 41 percent.

Keep Eagle Ford Roadways Safe

In November, 2013, Sergeant Villarreal with Corpus Christi Department of Public Safety (DPS) spoke at the National Association for Publicly Funded Schools Region 4 “Keeping Our Roadways Safe” Conference at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi. Sergeant Villarreal indicated that the top three violations DPS officers see when pulling a commercial vehicle over in the Eagle Ford Shale are:

  1. Vehicle Inspections performed improperly or not at all
  2. Log Book Violations
  3. Driving a truck without a valid CDL license.

Keep Eagle Ford Drivers Trucking

Now that carriers as well as vehicles can be put out of service, here are five tips to help keep drivers “in service” and safely on the road:

  • Repair broken equipment.
  • Hire qualified drivers that have been properly trained with a valid CDL.
  • Have a strict pre/post trip vehicle inspection policy and hold drivers responsible for conducting and reporting them.
  • Have a no tolerance policy on faulty log book violations.
  • Conduct weekly or monthly safety meetings and reward employees for good audit results and discipline drivers that do not.

Give Me Some Space! Trucks Need More Room

Sharing the Road With Large Vehicles

In July of 2013, the Houston Chronicle reported that 12 people had died in Eagle Ford Shale area traffic accidents, an increase of 12 times the number of fatalities reported to the Texas Department of Transportation. This past spring, the San Antonio Express reported that Texas Department of Transportation data showed a 40 percent increase in fatal traffic accidents in the Eagle Ford Shale region last year. [Read more…]

Riding the Hours of Service “Merry Go Round”

Keeping Track of Time in the Eagle Ford Shale Play, Part One
Running Clock

Hours of Service

In December of 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a final rule for hours of service (HOS) that is scheduled to go into effect on July 1st 2013 regardless of a pending lawsuit that was submitted by American Trucking Associations.

This is not the first time the FMCSA has changed HOS regulations and it’s not likely to be the last. How long drivers should work before taking a break is a bone of contention among several parties. Safety activists want shorter work periods and longer, more frequent rest breaks while those in the industry want to make the most of their time on the road. In an effort to arrive at the best solution, regulations have been changed only to be changed back. [Read more…]

Truck Drivers – Watch Where You’re Going!

Getting Around in the Eagle Ford Shale With Modern GPS Systems
Tanker Truck on the Highway

Click to Enlarge

Remember maps? Those huge sheets of paper had colorful graphic representations of geographic areas and showed the locations of cities, towns, highways, streets, mountains, bodies of water and a host of other information for the traveler. Using the map scale, a driver could estimate the distance and time needed for a journey and elect to choose a route that went around a busy city or one that didn’t climb a steep mountain range. (The one thing that few drivers couldn’t do with a map was get it refolded to its original convenient glove-box size.) [Read more…]

Training To Drive In The Eagle Ford – Part II

Part Two of Two
DMC Instructor & Student

DMC Instructor & Student | Click to Enlarge

Truck drivers with commercial driver’s licenses are in high demand in the Eagle Ford Shale Play. However, getting that CDL license could get much more difficult in the near future. If you’re planning on getting, or offering, training, you need to keep an eye on the proposed regulations for entry level driver training. (ELDT).

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding ELDT. If this becomes a final rule, all CDL training programs will have to meet those standards.

Last month we reviewed the long history of mandatory training standards proposals. What does the current NPRM mean for prospective drivers and for those in the training industry? [Read more…]

Training to Drive Trucks in the Eagle Ford Shale

Part One of a Two Part Series
Tanker Truck on the Highway

Click to Enlarge

Truck drivers with commercial driver’s licenses are in high demand in the Eagle Ford Shale Play. However, getting that CDL license could get much more difficult in the near future. If you’re planning on getting, or offering, training, you need to keep an eye on the proposed regulations for entry level driver training (ELDT).

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding ELDT. If this becomes a final rule, all CDL training programs will have to meet those standards.

[Read more…]

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