FMCSA inspector outlines top hazards

| March 23, 2012

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration roadside inspector Carlos Saucedo named key problem areas for drivers, fleets and truck owners March 22 in Louisville, Ky.

Saucedo, a former driver, said the top five driver violations are:

  • Logbook issues – either not current or signed or otherwise incomplete
  • Driver’s record of duty status isn’t current
  • Driver isn’t in possession of a medical certificate
  • Driver doesn’t speak English
  • Fleet requires or permits driver to drive after 14 hours on duty

He said the top five out-of-service violations include the carrier requires or allows driver to drive after 14 hours on duty, false reports of driver record of duty status, no record of duty status, driver fails to retain logs for previous seven days and carriers requiring or allowing drivers to drive more than 11 hours.

Saucedo also identified top five vehicle violations:

  • No or defective lighting devices or reflective material, as required
  • Required lamps are inoperative
  • Tire tread depth of less than 2/32-inch
  • Inspection or repair and maintenance of parts and accessories
  • Oil or grease leaks

The top vehicle out-of-service violations are:

  • Inoperative turn signals
  • Flat tire or exposed fabric
  • Inspection or repair and maintenance of parts and accessories
  • Inadequate brake tubing and hoses
  • Stop lamp violations

Saucedo gave 10 pointers for passing roadside inspections, including being prepared; having a valid CDL; keeping current logs; driving within allowed hours of service; wearing a seatbelt; knowing the critical vehicle inspection items; having a professional attitude; keeping in mind BLT – brakes, lighting and tires; knowing the three P’s of hauling hazmat – papers, placards and packaging; and asking questions.

Saucedo said the critical vehicle inspection items are:

  • Fuel system
  • Brakes
  • Coupling devices (fifth wheel)
  • Lighting devices
  • Steer mechanism
  • Suspension
  • Frame and body components
  • Tires and wheels
  • Windshield wipers
  • Load securement
  • Rear view mirrors
  • Horn
  • Exhaust
  • Emergency equipment

After an inspection, Saucedo said, drivers or fleets should repair out-of-service defects before operating the truck again. If they can’t, get the truck towed, satisfy any driver out-of-service requirements before driving again, repair non-out-of-service vehicle defects and turn in the inspection report within 15 days.

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