Ask The Law – April 2022

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Questions about Window Tint, Inspections, Ag Exemptions & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials

Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.  These interpretations were made on March 16, 2022.

Brought to you as a public service by Ol’ Blue, USA and 10-4 Magazine.  Please submit questions to: question@askthelaw.org

Q: I use my personal truck to pull campers from Indiana factories to dealerships across the country. I was told that we cannot have window tint on the front windows or windshield.  Is this correct?  I see a lot of trucks and semis that have tinted windows.  Also, I have seen where people will put something over the window, such as a folder or cloth or something, to help block out the sun from beating in.  Is this legal or is there anything we can do to try and not get baked while driving?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: The answer can be found in Part 393.60(d). It states windshield or windows immediately to the left and right of the driver shall not have a luminous transmittance of not less than 70%.  This means 70% of the light has to pass through the window.  Most truck manufacturers will tint at 17%.  That means you can only add another 13%.  Placing any devices or screens that would block more than 70% would result in a violation on a roadside inspection.

Q: I work in Virginia.  Can I legally operate under the Ag Exemption while hauling logs?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: As long as the logs have not been processed, they are considered an agricultural product in its natural state and you would be entitled to use the Ag Exemption when traveling interstate. 

Q: I am new to the trucking industry and just started hauling honeybees. I get a lot of confusing information about HOS when hauling bees.  Some say I can use PC for the first and the last 150 air miles.  Others say I can run straight PC when loaded with bees.  Can you provide me clarity?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Apiary (bees) are considered agricultural.  You are therefore afforded the use of the current agricultural exemption.  Do not use Personal Conveyance.  Turn the ELD off.  Law enforcement will recognize bees as an agricultural commodity and will apply the 150 air-mile exemption.  Here is how the exemption works.  Turn off your ELD once you get within 150 air miles from the source where you are picking up the load.  Once loaded, if you go beyond the 150 air miles, stop and turn on the ELD and complete all required information.  Keep the ELD on until you get within 150 air miles of delivery location, stop and turn the ELD off, and make the delivery.  Keep the ELD off until you go outside 150 air miles from that location.  Then, stop and turn the ELD back on.  Once you get within 150 air miles of you next source, stop and turn off the ELD.  If the next source is within 150 air miles from your previous stop, you are not required to turn on the ELD while enroute to that location.  Examples: Your last delivery of bees is at location A.  Your ELD is off because you turned it off once you got within 150 air miles from location A.  Your next source (pickup) in located at B, 500 miles away.  You keep your ELD off until you go beyond the 150 air miles.  Stop, turn on the ELD and complete the required information.  Keep the ELD on for the next 200 miles, before stopping and turning the ELD off because you are now within the 150 air miles from the next source, location B.  Once you make your delivery at location B, your next source (pickup) is location C.  If it is within 150 air miles from location B, you are not required to turn on the ELD.  But if it is beyond 150 air miles, once again you need to stop and turn on the ELD once you go beyond 150 air miles from location B.

Q: Can a driver manually go to on-duty status when stopped on the road during stop-and-go traffic conditions when the stop time is long enough to stop the truck for multiple minutes each time the driver has to stop?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: A lot is going to depend on the ELD manufacturer your motor carrier has chosen to use.  Most ELDs are designed to detect a movement of a truck at a certain speed or GPS location change.  If you do not exceed the parameters, then the ELD will not make a duty status change.  However, under the definition of drive time found in Part 395.2, if you are required to be behind the wheel you are driving vs on-duty not driving.

Q: On the radio show, you talked about getting an inspection and being exempt from another inspection for 90 days.  As I understand it, if I got a Level 2 inspection, I could still be given a Level 1 inspection but not another Level 2.  Can you please refer me to that statute?

A: Provided by Trooper Brent Hoover, Indiana State Police, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement: It is not a statute.  In the CVSA guidelines, a truck with a current decal should be considered OK.  However, the truck can still be inspected if a vehicle violation or driver violation is observed.

Q: Can I use an Apportion-plated Class 8 Mack Tractor (based in Texas) for pulling a farm plated livestock trailer from Texas to Oklahoma, pick up cattle for personal use, and then travel back to Texas?  We will be outside of the 150 air-mile radius.  This will be considered a not-for hire load, all private, except the use of our company CMV.  Can we do this legally?

A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: How the truck is registered does not matter.  What the truck is being used for determines what applicability applies to you.  Under the current Agriculture Exemption, you are exempt the 150 air-miles from your starting point and 150 air-miles from the pickup point.  If it is less than 300 air-miles radius for the total trip, nothing applies to you.  Just make sure you have documentation to show that the cattle are yours and that you are not involved in a for-hire move.  Also, it will help if you have a letter from the motor carrier that states you are allowed to use the CMV 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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