Ask The Law – March 2022

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Questions about Drug Tests, ELDs, the Oilfield Exemption & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials

Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.  These interpretations were made on February 20, 2022.

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Q: I had a discussion with another driver about an FMCSA requirement for printers in trucks for drivers pulling only campers.  They do not use an actual ELD, but use the KeepTruckin app, or similar apps.  That driver said that if an officer requests a printed copy of a driver’s last seven days, the driver must be able to print a paper copy.  My understanding is that apps will lock any edits after the driver signs his logs.  Therefore, either showing the officer your phone/tablet or emailing the logs to the officer, should be all that is required.  Is this the case?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: The guidance is found in the Interpretation for Part 395, Question 28: May a driver use a computer, tablet, or smartphone (that is not an Automatic On-Board Recording Device) to create, electronically sign, and store the record of duty status (RODS)?  Guidance: Yes, a driver may make manual duty-status entries to a computer, tablet or smartphone program that is used to generate the graph grid and entries for the record of duty status (RODS) or logbook, provided the electronically generated display (if any) and output includes the minimum information required by 395.8 and is formatted in accordance with that section.  The driver must sign the RODS (manually or electronically) at the end of each 24-hour period to certify that all required entries are true and correct.  If electronic signatures are not used, the driver must print and manually sign the RODS daily.  The driver must have in his/her possession the printed and signed RODS for the prior seven consecutive days (if required on those days).  The driver should be given an opportunity to print and manually sign the current day’s RODS at the time of the inspection.  If RODS have been electronically signed, at the time of an inspection of records by an enforcement official, the driver may display the current and prior seven days RODS to the official on the device’s screen.  If the enforcement official requests printed copies of the RODS, the driver must be given an opportunity to print the current and prior seven days RODS (if required on those days).

Q: I was recently cited in Louisiana for driving over my 14 hours.  Does the off-duty Oilfield Exemption not apply to sand trucks?  I only used it at the oil well staging pad.  When did that law change?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Several years ago, FMCSA amended its interpretations on what was allowable under the Oilfield Exemption.  In its guidance in Part 395, FMCSA only allowed those individuals that operate specialized equipment to be able to claim the Oilfield Exemption.  Delivery of sand to an active well site was eliminated.  So, you are no longer able to claim the Oilfield Exemption when delivering sand to an active well site.

Q: I live in California and drive a dedicated run.  I personal conveyance (PC) 20 miles from my home to the distribution center (DC) to start work, then return to the DC to drop my trailer, and then PC home.  One day a week I get back to the DC with under 15 minutes left on my 11-hour clock, but still have over an hour on my 14 hours.  Is it legal to go off duty after dropping my trailer and PC home?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: The interpretation can be found in Part 395.8, Question #26.  It says that once you reach the motor carrier’s facility or a drop yard, you can use personal conveyance to travel to and from your residence.  In fact, that was in the language of the original interpretation: bobtail from motor carrier’s facility or drop yard to home and bobtail back to start your next trip.  So yes, you can drive home and back to the DC and log the trip using personal conveyance.

Q: Can you contest a drug test and be able to retake it if for some reason the testing person said they detected something?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: In Part 40 and 382 are the requirements for alcohol and drug testing.  DOT regulations require that once you submit a specimen of urine, the collecting agency seals the sample and sends it to the lab.  Once the testing lab receives the sample, they will split it.  The lab will run a test on the first sample to see if there are any traces of the NIDA Listed Banned Substances.  If traces are found, the lab will do a more detailed analysis of the second sample to see if any of the substances meet the DOT threshold.  If the second analysis shows a positive test for one of the banned substances, then the MRO (Medical Review Officer) reports the test as a positive test.  You can challenge the chain of custody to see if the sample you submitted failed to meet the chain of custody requirements.  If it meets the requirements, then I would say you are out of luck as far as getting a positive sample overturned.

Q: Do I need to have a CDL to pull campers around with either a Class 7 or Class 8 truck?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: A lot depends on whether you are operating as a commercial vehicle or whether you are operating as a private vehicle.  The difference is whether you are being compensated to transport campers or it is your own.  If you are being compensated to move the trailer, then the CDL applies if the GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) of the towing unit is more than 26,000 pounds and the towed unit is more than 10,000 pounds.  You would be required to have a Class A CDL.  If it was your personal combination, then you would be required to have a Class A non-CDL.  If the combination exceeds 26,000 pounds, you would be subject to DOT regulations if being compensated to move the trailer.  Again, a lot depends on whether you are a for-hire motor carrier or you are transporting the combination for personal use.

~ The “Ask The Law” program is an ongoing educational effort between Ol’ Blue, USA and commercial law enforcement agencies.  Ol’ Blue, USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to highway safety education and to improving relations between the motoring public, law enforcement and commercial drivers.  Ask the Law is a registered trademark of Ol’ Blue, USA.  This column is copyrighted by Ol’ Blue, USA.  Warning: The information contained within this column is provided for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The content contains general information and is not intended to and should not be relied upon or construed as a legal opinion or legal advice regarding any specific issue.  Be aware that the material in the column may not reflect current legal developments or information, as laws and regulations are subject to change at any time without notice.  Always check with the most recent statutes, rules and regulations to see if changes have been made.

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