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.

Must-Know Items for Truck Drivers in the Eagle Ford

Invest in Adequate Driver Training

Earlier this year we wrote a series of stories about the federal government’s efforts to regulate the training of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operators. For 28 years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has attempted to standardize training requirements for entry level drivers (ELDT). [Read more…]

Truck Driving in the Eagle Ford Shale Play

Is it a good career move?
Mission Well Services Frac Spread

Hundreds of trucks used in oil & gas operations | Click to Enlarge

Even those who are not in the trucking industry have an inkling of an idea about the driver shortage. Ads for jobs for holders of commercial driver’s licenses pepper the newspaper classifieds. Recruitment ads fill television and computer screens not to mention the Job Board on this site, suggesting to even the casual viewer that drivers are in demand. [Read more…]

South Texas Truck Driver Shortage Spreading Across the U.S.

Drivers with a Class A CDL make as much as double in the oilfield
Oil Tanker on the Highway

Photo Provided by Mike Byrnes & Associates | Click to Enlarge

The South Texas truck driver shortage isn’t alone. The American Trucking Association estimates the industry is short as many as 30,000 drivers across the country. The problem is compounded by high turnover rates: 70-90% a year. In South Texas, the high turnover rate is probably the only reason oil companies have been able to hire as many drivers as they have. It is school systems who can’t hire bus drivers and local distributors who don’t compete in pay that are struggling to find qualified personnel.

[Read more…]

Hot Shot Drivers Are In Demand in the Eagle Ford Shale

The Eagle Ford Shale has brought a lot of opportunities for the oil and gas industry. There is plenty of work for everyone – especially Hot Shot truck drivers. Hot Shot drivers in South Texas are called by oil and gas companies to pick up loads from the drilling rig and deliver them somewhere else, or to bring much needed supplies to the rig to keep drilling and fracking productive. If a tool breaks, the crew is forced to stop drilling or producing until another one is delivered. Time is money and a crew sitting around waiting for a tool is not productive, so Hot Shot drivers that are reliable are a crucial part of the business. Good drivers build great relationships with crews to ensure they get more loads to keep busy.

Hot Shot Drivers Have Unpredictable Schedules [Read more…]

Eagle Ford is Drawing Truckers South of San Antonio

Truck drivers from all across the state and country are flocking to South Texas where there are hundreds of open Eagle Ford jobs. The economic boom creates a lot of opportunity for all professions.

One unintended consequence is many drivers are moving out of cities like San Antonio for higher wages in the oil field. With signing bonuses and higher rates for workers in the Eagle Ford, it is very difficult attract drivers in other areas. [Read more…]