There is a long list of reasons why your truck could be placed out of order. The vast majority of FMCSA violations can be avoided, but sometimes, even the most responsible drivers and trucking companies are found in violation. Here are 5 reasons you need to be particularly mindful of or your temperature-controlled items may not make it to their final destination on time, or at all.

Reason #1 No ELD Or Compliant AOBRD

It’s been on the way for quite some time, but as of April 1, 2018 drivers found without a certified ELD or grandfathered in AOBRD (purchased and installed prior to December 2017) will be put on a 10 hour out of service – 8 hours if transporting passengers. Once the delay is up, as long as HOS has been verified—the driver can continue on to their final destination. It is important to keep the inspection report and the bill of lading after the out of service because if the driver is stopped again, the safety officer will need to see a copy. The inspection report is only valid if heading to the original final destination.

Reason #2 Insufficient Proof Of HOS After An ELD Out Of Service

During the 8 or 10-hour ELD out of service, the driver must provide paper proof of their hours of service. If the driver cannot provide a log book, then they will remain out of service. There is no way around this one. The driver will not be allowed back on the road, and a replacement driver will need to be found. In most cases, due to logistics, this is not a quick fix.

Reason #3 If Found Driving Somewhere Other Than The Final Destination After An ELD Violation

Drivers may continue on to their final destination, but they are not to continue on with their pickups and deliveries until an ELD is installed. On that note, the driver may return to their home base or to a designated location to where the ELD is installed. Again, keep the inspection report nearby in case proof of the initial out of service is required. Keep in mind, all ELD violations will be counted against a motor carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) score, which may increase the likelihood of an investigation by the FMCSA. This means that if a company has not installed ELDs in their fleet or has a large percentage of trucks without ELDs—it’s time to have them installed. Be sure to install them in the backup trucks too.

If a driver is found heading to a second delivery destination after the initial violation, the out of service procedure will commence again with an 8-hour or 10-hour hold.

Reason #4 Overweight Trucks

Temperature controlled items typically aren’t the heaviest of cargo, but since many delivery trucks are smaller—it is essential that drivers understand their weight restrictions. As a best practice, aim to weigh in at least a hundred pounds underweight, as not all weigh stations or loading stations are properly calibrated. If your truck is found to be overweight, it will have to be towed to a destination where some of your cargo can be offloaded.

Reason #5 Safety Violations

There is a long and growing list of safety violations that may place your truck out of service. Most of these violations are 100% avoidable, although some will occur without a driver realizing, such as a recent leak in the exhaust pipe. A few other safety violations include:

  • Roadworthy damages—lights, tires, bolts, couplings, visible suspension conditions, exhaust leak, visible mechanical concerns, etc.
  • Driver-specific violations—an expired commercial driver’s license, concerns for their health or ability to drive, apparent drug or alcohol use, etc.
  • Insufficient paperwork required for passing the North American borders

Know How Your Truck’s Refrigeration Works

Every type of cargo has special needs that drivers must familiarize themselves with. In terms of transporting cargo, temperature control must be top of mind. Trucks that are insulated often drive short distances, but drivers must understand how long their load will remain at temperature if they are delayed. If placed out of service, there is a good chance that an insulated load will go bad. Refrigerated trucks are either self-driven, operating whether or not the engine is running, or engine-driven, only operating when the truck’s engine is on. It is crucial that driver knows how to check that refrigeration is running properly and that they understand how long the truck can be off before the temperature is compromised. In addition, drivers must understand the load best practices that help to maintain airflow and keep their load at the appropriate temperature.

There are many more reasons that drivers can be placed out of service, but the most recent changes are the ELD out of service that went into effect on April 1, 2018. There was a lot of notice prior to this change, and even an extension beyond the original December 2017. Those who have yet to comply are likely to find it far more expensive if they have yet to install their ELDs—and they may lose a few of their accounts due to severe delays or compromised deliveries.

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