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Oregon Truck Safety

What's New


Physicians are required to be listed on the National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

After May 21, 2014, physicians who offer physicals to commercial motor vehicle drivers must be listed on the National Registry of certified Medical Examiners. 49 CFR, Part 390, Subpart D describes the requirements to be listed in the National Registry. For more information check out the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) or the Oregon Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV). 



Truck and bus drivers banned from using hand-held phones person holding cell phone

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) have issued their long-awaited final rule prohibiting interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones. Read the final rule.

Read some frequently asked questions and answers about the ban. 

Drivers who violate the restriction face civil penalties up to $2,750 for each offense and disqualification from operating a commercial motor vehicle for multiple offenses. Commercial truck and bus companies that allow their drivers to use hand-held cell phones while driving face a maximum penalty of $11,000. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates that about four million commercial drivers will be affected by the final rule.

FMCSA has noted that while driver distraction studies have produced mixed results, its own research shows that using a hand-held cell phone while driving requires a driver to take several steps beyond what is required for using a hands-free phone, including searching and reaching for the phone. Commercial drivers reaching for an object like a cell phone are three times more likely to be involved in a crash, a near-crash, or lane departure and dialing a hand-held cell phone makes it six times more likely.

Texting involves a combination of visual, cognitive, and manual distraction from the driving task. Research shows that during 6-second intervals immediately before a crash, near-crash, or lane departure, texting drivers took their eyes off the road an average of 4.6 seconds. Other research has found that truck drivers who send text messages are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or near-crash than drivers who keep their eyes on the road. In January 2010, FMCSA banned commercial truck and bus drivers from text messaging and PHMSA later followed with a companion regulation banning texting by intrastate hazardous materials drivers.

To view the record in this rulemaking, go to www.regulations.gov and type in Docket Number FMCSA–2010-0096 or PHMSA-2010-0227.

Oregon lawmakers took their own action earlier in 2011 to further tighten a two-year old law banning all drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving. ORS 811.507 completely banned text communications (texting) and removed a problematic exemption that allowed a person driving in the scope of employment to use a hand-held cell phone if it was necessary for the person’s job. The provision was intended for people like truck drivers who routinely use a phone on the job. But police and judges complained that all types of drivers were using the exemption as an excuse.

Oregon’s law makes it a Class D traffic violation, for talking or texting on a hand-held cell phone. The ban does not apply to drivers using a phone equipped with a hands-free device, although motorists younger than 18 cannot drive with a hand-held or hands-free phone.

Under ORS 811.507 the ban on the use of cell phones does not apply to:

  • A tow truck or roadside assistance vehicle operator or operators of vehicles owned or contracted by a utility for installing, repairing, maintaining, operating, or upgrading gas, electricity, water, telecommunications, or other utility service.
  • A person summoning medical or other emergency help if no other person in the vehicle is capable.
  • A person using a mobile communication device for farm or agricultural operations.
  • Ambulance or emergency vehicle operators.
  • A person 18 years of age or older who is using a hands-free accessory.
  • Public safety services or emergency services workers.
  • Firefighters and police officers.
  • A person activating or deactivating a mobile communication device or a function of the device.
  • A licensed amateur radio operator.
  • A person operating a two-way device that transmits on a citizens or family radio service band frequency.
  • A person using a device for only one-way voice communication while in the scope of employment, providing transit services, or participating in public safety or emergency services activities.


CSA -- Separating fact from fiction

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) launched its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) Safety Measurement System in December 2010 and since then there’s been no shortage of questions about it. Despite FMCSA’s best efforts to dispel myths and clear up misperceptions, there’s still plenty of confusion among motor carriers and truck drivers. That was confirmed this year when ATRI, the American Transportation Research Institute, conducted a survey of 4,555 drivers.

“CSA remains a controversial topic among truck drivers,” the ATRI study concluded. “And, while drivers who took an active interest in CSA and expressed overt approval or disapproval knew more about the program than those who had not yet formulated opinions, no group of drivers could be described as experts on the topic. Based on the general (lack of) understanding . . . of the regulatory program, CSA is, in fact, relatively poorly understood by drivers.”

A good deal of the confusion is centered on two associated parts of CSA – the Driver Safety Measurement System and the Pre-Employment Screening Program. To separate fact from fiction about all this, here are some frequently asked questions, with answers as well as notes from the ATRI driver survey:

What is the Driver Safety Measurement System?  The Safety Measurement System (SMS) assesses a carrier’s safety performance based on its roadside violations and crashes. The Driver Safety Measurement System (DSMS) is a tool within the SMS that enforcement staff use to identify which of a motor carrier’s drivers should be examined during a safety compliance review. This tool uses a subset of violations to evaluate an individual driver’s safety performance across employers.

The ATRI survey found most truck drivers don’t understand SMS and 87% falsely believed that all drivers’ traffic tickets and convictions are part of the calculations. In fact, tickets or warnings that drivers receive while operating their personal cars are State citations and do not count in the measurement system. SMS only uses safety-based violations of FMCSA regulations documented during roadside inspections and in State-reported crashes.

The survey also found that 78% of drivers incorrectly believed that a motor carrier inherits the past violations of its newly hired drivers. Actually only those inspections that a driver receives while driving under a carrier’s authority can be applied to a carrier’s SMS record.

Who can see the Driver Safety Measurement System results?  Only enforcement staff have access to the DSMS results for use during safety investigations. They’re not available to carriers, drivers, or the public. While some third party vendors are developing and marketing CSA driver scorecards, they don’t have access to full driver violation histories in FMCSA databases and the agency has not and will not validate any vendors’ scorecards or data.

The ATRI survey found 98% of drivers did not know that enforcement staff are the only group of people who can access official driver scores.

What is the Pre-Employment Screening Program – PSP?  PSP is a voluntary FMCSA program that’s designed to help motor carriers assess an individual driver’s safety performance as part of the hiring process. PSP is completely separate from CSA. It contains three years of inspection reports and five years of crash reports – the same data that the DSMS and enforcement staff use during motor carrier investigations – but PSP does not provide a rating, score, or formal assessment of any kind.

Drivers are encouraged to obtain and review their PSP report before applying for new jobs and request a review of potentially inaccurate data through FMCSA’s DataQs system. PSP got its start in May 2010 and in its first year 323,929 users searched the site for inspection and crash records, while over 19,000 called into the system. For more information – http://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov.

Will FMCSA use CSA to revoke a driver’s Commercial Driver License?  No, CSA does not give FMCSA authority to revoke a CDL. The CDL program is completely separate from CSA and only state agencies responsible for issuing a CDL have the authority to suspend or revoke it.

The ATRI survey found 72% of drivers falsely believed that FMCSA can revoke a CDL as a result of CSA.

FMCSA has developed and issued standards for the testing and licensing of CDL holders. These standards require states to issue CDLs only after the driver has passed knowledge and skills tests related to the type of vehicle the driver expects to operate.

The data kept by a state –  tickets, citations, written warnings, convictions – and the data kept by the federal government and used in the DSMS – violations from roadside inspections and crash reports – are separate. Drivers can review the state’s data kept by requesting their Motor Vehicle Record. Drivers can review the federal data through the Pre-Employment Screening Program. They can dispute that data through the FMCSA’s DataQs system.

Will FMCSA use CSA to remove drivers from their jobs?  CSA will not be used to remove drivers from their jobs, but FMCSA continues to hold motor carriers responsible for the safety performance of the drivers they employ. All inspections and crashes that a driver receives while under the authority of a carrier will remain part of the carrier’s SMS data for two years unless overturned through FMCSA’s DataQs system, even if the carrier terminates the driver.

The ATRI survey found much less confusion about this point. Fully 83% of drivers understood that a carrier cannot remove violations from its CSA record simply by firing the responsible driver.

Can the public view any carrier’s percentile ranks for all seven of the Behavior Analysis & Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs)?  No, the public can view any carrier’s BASIC percentile ranks for only five of the seven: Unsafe Driving, Fatigued Driving / Hours-Of-Service, Controlled Substances / Alcohol, Driver Fitness, and Vehicle Maintenance. The public cannot view a carrier’s rank for Cargo Securement or Crash History.

The ATRI survey found almost all drivers (99%) could not correctly identify which five carrier BASIC scores are publicly available.

Anyone can see where a carrier stands in five of the Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories of the safety measurement system by visiting – http://ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/sms – and entering the carrier’s U.S. DOT number.

Have any federal safety regulations changed as a result of CSA?  No, FMCSA regulations have not changed as a result of CSA, although FMCSA is advocating for a future rule change to alter the carrier safety rating process for determining whether a carrier is fit or unfit.

The ATRI survey found 59% of drivers falsely believed that federal motor carrier safety regulations have changed as a result of CSA.

FMCSA’s CSA Web site -- http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov -- is the official resource for information.

Drivers and all stakeholders are encouraged to sign up for regular e-mail updates -- http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/stay_connected.aspx


Ticket Aggressive Cars & Trucks -- TACT

The Oregon Department of Transportation is periodically coordinating with police to conduct enforcement exercises aimed at stopping aggressive driving around trucks.   

As part of Oregon's Ticket Aggressive Cars and Trucks (TACT) campaign, many exercises have been held in the past four years in the Albany, Eugene, Portland, and Salem areas. During the operations, officers ride in trucks looking for car and truck drivers doing the kinds of dangerous things that cause crashes. The officers are often helped by unmarked police cars.

TACT exercises are accompanied by media campaigns so motorists hear radio public service announcements and see posters, highway signs, and brochures with safety messages. One key TACT message motorists see over and over again is – LEAVE MORE SPACE when driving around big rigs.

In the last 10 years, 3 out of 4 people who died in these collisions were riding in the cars. In fact, in crashes involving a car and truck, the car occupants are 15 times more likely to be killed than truck occupants. Here are the key messages that the TACT campaign will emphasize:
  • Don't cut off trucks. For safety sake, it's recommended that car drivers maintain one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
  • Don't tailgate. Unlike cars, trucks have large blind spots behind them. Also, car drivers who tailgate trucks can't see traffic ahead. If the truck brakes suddenly, the car driver has no time to react and no place to go.
  • Allow trucks plenty of room. Both car and truck drivers must be especially careful when entering a highway or merging with traffic.
  • Don't speed. Speed is the leading cause of all crashes in Oregon.

“Research shows that most truck vs. car crashes could be avoided if drivers knew how to steer clear of unsafe situations,” said McKane. “With this campaign, we hope to increase awareness, encourage safer driving practices, and make a positive change in the risky driving behaviors of motorists. All of which will lead to fewer crashes, fatalities and injuries on Oregon’s roadways.”

Motorists on I-5 in the Portland area were the first to be introduced to TACT in May 2008. During that five-day operation, police pulled over 362 drivers and issued 351 tickets and 97 warnings. The two most common violations were unlawful lane change and tailgating. The next two-day exercise during rush hour on I-5 near Salem and Albany led to police issuing citations to 34 car drivers and four truck drivers. Oregon State Police, Marion County Sheriffs, and Salem Police worked together then, with help from above by patrol aircraft and on the road by unmarked vehicles. Haney Truck Line, Charlie's Produce, Pepsi Northwest Beverages, and Cascade Express participated by providing trucks and drivers.

Read a TACT Fact Sheet.

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Laws & Rules

logo of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Summary of all Safety Regs

All Federal Regulations 

Separate Regulations:
Part 380  - Special Training Requirements
Complete Part 380 Regs /   Part 380 Summary
Part 382 - Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing
Complete Part 382 RegsSummary  
Part 383 - CDL Standards, Requirements, and Penalties
Complete Part 383 RegsSummary
Part 384 - State Compliance with CDL Program
Complete Part 384 Regs
Part 385 - Safety Fitness Procedures
Complete Part 385 Regs
Part 387 - Minimum Levels of Financial Responsibility
Complete Part 387 RegsSummary
Part 390   - General Safety Regulations
Complete Part 390 RegsSummary
Part 391  - Qualification of Drivers
Complete Part 391 RegsPart 391 Summary
Part 392 - Driving of Motor Vehicles
Complete Part 392 RegsSummary
Part 393 - Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation
Complete Part 393 RegsSummary /  FMCSA Cargo Securement Rules Summary
Part 395 - Hours of Service of Drivers
Complete Part 395 RegsSummary
Part 396  - Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance
Complete Part 396 RegsSummary
Part 397 - Transportation of Hazardous Materials; Driving and Parking
Part 398 - Transportation of Migrant Workers
Complete Part 398 Regs
Part 399 - Employee Safety and Health Standards
Complete Part 399 Regs 

Oregon safety staff

Inspection reports online, inspection follow-up requirements

Oregon Traffic Accident and Insurance Report - Paper Form
(includes Motor Carrier Crash Report Form on pages 6-7)
Online Accident Report Form - Electronic Reporting

Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety

Truck drivers must be able to read and speak English to drive trucks in the U.S. Read a summary of federal safety regulations governing drivers. 

Questions? Call 503-378-6963 or find more information through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration´s Education & Technical Assistance Program


Driver Hours of Service Rules


Intrastate truck driver hours-of-service rules
Oregon drivers, in some cases, are allowed additional hours to drive. 

Intrastate operators hauling property are allowed an additional hour of driving time per day - 12 hours instead of the 11 allowed for interstate operators. Also, intrastate operators may not drive after the 16th hour after coming on duty, instead of the 14th hour allowed for interstate operators. (The allowed 16 hour period ends at the 16th hour after the driver starts his/her duty day. If someone logs off-duty for an hour for lunch, that hour still counts towards the 16 hour total.) 

Additionally, operators are allowed to drive until they have been on-duty 70 hours in any seven consecutive days or 80 hours in any eight consecutive days - instead of the 60 hours in seven days and 70 hours in eight days allowed for drivers. A driver may "restart" the 70 hour or 80 hour period if he/she takes 34 consecutive hours off duty, as long as the 34-hour period contains two periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. A driver may use the "restart" only once a week. 

Drivers hauling in intrastate commerce who are required to keep a log book are subject to the same rest break requirements as interstate drivers. A driver may not drive if more than eight hours have passed since the last off-duty or sleeper period of at least 30 minutes.

Drivers hauling in intrastate commerce who are required to keep a log book are subject to the same rest break requirements as interstate drivers. A driver may not drive if more than eight hours have passed since the last off-duty or sleeper period of at least 30 minutes.

The additional hours discussed above are not allowed for drivers carrying hazardous materials requiring placards and those drivers carrying passengers.

Interstate truck driver hours-of-service rules
Interstate property-carrying commercial vehicle drivers are limited to a maximum of 11 hours behind the wheel in a 14-hour work day, after 10 consecutive hours off duty. They are prohibited from driving after being on duty 60 hours in a seven-day period or 70 hours in an eight-day period. They have a 34-hour "restart" provision, which allows them to refresh their weekly work periods by taking 34 consecutive hours off duty, provided the 34-hour period includes two periods between 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. The 34-hour "restart" may only be used once per week. 

Under sleeper berth provisions, when drivers use sleeper berths for rest they must obtain the rest in two periods. One period must be at least eight consecutive hours long in the sleeper and the second must be two consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

Short haul drivers
Short-haul drivers are required to follow the hours of service, except - (1) those drivers who stay within a 100 air-mile radius of their work reporting location and are released from duty within 12 hours are not required to maintain a log book; (2) those drivers who don't need a Commercial Driver License, operate a property-carrying vehicle within a 150-air-mile radius of their normal reporting location, and return home each night are not required to maintain a log book, and the two days a week they can drive up to the 16th hour after coming on duty, rather than the 14th hour. In both cases, employers are required to maintain time cards for these drivers. Time cards must include time start work, time stop work, and total hours worked each day.

Short haul drivers are not required to take the 30 minute rest break.

Passenger-carrying drivers must comply with the hours-of-service limitations specified in 49 CFR 395.5.

Visit the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website for more about the hours-of-service regulations
New carrier entrant audits look for “deadly sins”

All new interstate motor carriers are considered a new entrant for 18 months after they register with the FMCSA and receive a U.S. DOT number. New carriers are required to pass a safety audit within this period of time. A carrier who fails an audit is notified within 45 days and given 60 days to correct the problem or lose its operating authority. Passenger carriers and hazmat haulers are given only 45 days to correct violations. Once the FMCSA revokes the authority and issues an out-of-service order, the new entrant must wait 30 days before again applying for authority and starting the process all over.

New carrier entrant audits are usually conducted at the carrier’s place of business, although group audits can be arranged. It takes 2-4 hours as auditors ask 72 safety-related questions, including 19 related to hazardous materials. They check compliance with requirements related to insurance, accident records, equipment and maintenance records, driver qualifications, CDL license standards, driver records of duty status, drug and alcohol testing, and hazardous materials, if applicable.

The new entrant audit was originally designed to stress education before enforcement. In the past it was a pass/fail audit that very few failed. If an auditor found critical safety problems it triggered a formal Safety Compliance Review. A carrier could still pass, for example, even if it did not have a drug and alcohol testing program or had not implemented random testing. Under the new rules a carrier automatically fails if an auditor finds a single occurrence of these violations.

FMCSA looked back at audits conducted in a recent five year period and estimated that 47.9% would have been failures under the new rules. Since about 40,000 audits are done each year, that means more than 19,000 new entrants could now fail annually. “One would not necessarily expect such a high failure rate to persist after the rule is implemented,” FMCSA noted in a December 2008 Federal Register notice. “Upon implementation of this rule, many carriers will take the appropriate action to pass the stricter new entrant safety audit, and the actual failure rate will be significantly lower.”

Motor Carrier New Carrier Education

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Safety Action Plans

trucks on freeway

Guide to the 2015 Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan
The Oregon DOT, Motor Carrier Transportation Division has been producing an annual Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan since 1984, when Oregon started receiving Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program (MCSAP) federal funds. The Plan is now required by Oregon law, ORS 825.248. For several years the Division has been producing a special guide to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan and distributing it to all state safety inspectors.

The new Summary of Oregon Truck Safety and Guide to the 2015 Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan is now available. It provides information about truck crash totals, crash causes, crash rates, safety inspection totals, and a summary of key problems and objectives that includes state-specific problems as well as national program activities.

Safety Action Plan to Reduce Truck-at-Fault Crashes
In 2007, the Motor Carrier Transportation Division produced a special publication called the 2007-09 Safety Action Plan to Reduce Truck-at-Fault Crashes. This Action Plan sought to raise awareness about truck-at-fault crashes in Oregon and the various ways to prevent them. It included a summary of Oregon’s 2008 Commercial Vehicle Safety Plan and much more information about the state's truck safety efforts.

In 2008, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) announced that Oregon's Safety Action Plan had earned the first Highway Safety Award for Commercial Vehicles. AAMVA and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created the award to annually recognize a jurisdiction, agency or person who has made significant contributions to improving highway safety involving commercial vehicles and their drivers. The award was presented to Oregon at AAMVA's 2008 Annual International Conference.

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Hotline 1-800-248-6782

pic of red hotline phone
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Public Education / Awareness

The Motor Carrier Transportation Division maintains a Truck Safety Hotline to take reports from motorists who see some kind of truck safety problem while traveling in Oregon. Anyone who spots problems, such as a truck speeding, tailgating, changing lanes unsafely, or spilling its load, can relay information about the incident by either calling the toll-free number or completing a form online:

Call  1-800-248-6782  or report an incident online.

The truck safety hotline is NOT for emergencies.  Emergencies should be reported using 911.
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Chains & Traction Tires

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Load Securement

Calls to the truck safety hotline are recorded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The online form is, of course, also available at all hours.  Regardless of how reports are made, if enough information is received about an incident the Motor Carrier Transportation Division will send a letter to the truck company responsible.  An ideal report would include time, location, a description of the incident, and the license plate number (including State) or the company name and truck ID number on the cab. Because truck trailers are often leased, the trailer ID number may not be enough information to identify the company using the trailer.

Letters are sent to the companies responsible asking them to look into each complaint.  Many reports involve speeding or careless/reckless driving.  Those two bad driving habits are among the most common causes of truck-at-fault accidents.  Another common complaint of motorists relates to trucks making unsafe lane changes.

In the majority of cases, companies respond to the reports by counseling or reprimanding the driver involved.  Sometimes companies will deny the allegation, report that certain information is simply inaccurate, or offer an explanation for the incident.  Most truckers are professionals who drive safely and courteously.  The Safety Hotline allows the public to help identify those few who cause problems.
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Trailer Lights & Markings

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Hazardous Materials

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Drug & Alcohol Testing

pic of truck wreck

Safety-Related Public Service Announcements
Be ready, be buckled! (mp3)
Granny Trucker says, Chain Up! (mp3)


Study examines causes of truck crashes

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) study of truck crashes finds that those involving a truck and a car are more likely to be caused by the car driver than the truck driver. “For two-vehicle crashes involving a truck and a passenger vehicle, trucks were assigned the critical reason in 44% of the crashes and passenger vehicles in 56%,” the study concludes.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, released as a Report to Congress, was mandated by the federal legislation that created the FMCSA — the Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999. Researchers worked for 33 months examining a nationally-representative sample of large-truck fatal and injury crashes in 17 States. Each crash involved at least one large truck and resulted in at least one fatality or injury.

The study’s general conclusions included the following:
  • In all crashes, driver recognition and decision errors were the common type of driver mistakes noted by crash investigators or law enforcement officials.
  • Driving too fast for conditions and fatigue were important factors cited for both drivers.
  • Speeding was noted more often for truck drivers.
  • Among truck drivers, prescription drug use was an “associated factor” in 28.7% of all crashes sampled and over-the-counter drugs were an associated factor in 19.4%.
  • Car drivers were more frequently linked to both driving performance errors and non-performance problems (e.g., asleep, sick, incapacitated).
  • Fatigue was noted twice as often for car drivers.
  • Brake problems were a factor for almost 30% of trucks but only 5% of cars.
  • Roadway problems were present in 16% of the two-vehicle crashes and adverse weather conditions were present in approximately 13%.
  • Interruption in the traffic flow (previous crash, work zone, rush hour congestion, etc.) was a factor in almost 25% of the two-vehicle crashes.

All study data is now available to the public so that other agencies, universities, private groups, and individuals can conduct more analysis about truck crash factors.

Public Education / Awareness

The Motor Carrier Transportation Division has produced three safety-related brochures to draw motorists' attention to blind spots around trucks and to draw truckers' attention to dangerous downgrades on Oregon's highways.

Truck Zone - Learn about safely sharing the road with trucks. There are four “No Zones” that every truck has and that every automobile driver should avoid:
• Left side just behind the cab
• Right side just behind the cab
• Too close in front
• Too close in back

Your car is invisible in the “No Zones.” That means trouble if the truck driver does not know you are there and tries to change lanes or has to stop suddenly. To stay out of these four “No Zones,” make your car visible -- either pull ahead or drop back so the truck driver can see you. Remember, if you cannot see the truck driver’s mirrors, he or she probably cannot see you.

Siskiyou Pass - The Siskiyou Pass, commonly called “The Siskiyous,” is a very hazardous part of Interstate 5 in Southern Oregon. The summit is at an elevation of 4,310 feet and going down involves losing about 2,300 feet of that in six miles at a 6% downgrade. There are sharp curves and this area is plagued by fog and chilly temperatures that make for some of the most hazardous visibility and road surface conditions in Oregon. More than 13,000 vehicles travel this stretch of highway daily and trucks are involved in about half of all accidents that occur here.

Emigrant Hill - Emigrant Hill, commonly called “Cabbage Hill,” is a very hazardous part of Interstate 84, west of La Grande in Eastern Oregon. This hill experiences some of the most changeable and severe weather conditions in the Northwest. Visibility is often limited and road surfaces are often icy. To get down Cabbage Hill, truckers lose about 2,000 feet of elevation in six miles and twist through a double hair pin turn at a 6% downgrade. More than 90% of the Cabbage Hill crashes involve out-of-state motor carriers! 

Operation Safe Driver -In October 2007, safety officials across the country marked the first Operation Safe Driver week and joined together for various activities to shine a spotlight on commercial driver safety. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), sponsored the event and set “Increasing Driver Performance through Enforcement and Education” as the theme. It's all part of ongoing efforts to improve commercial and non-commercial driver behavior and performance through enforcement, education, and awareness strategies. CVSA notes that in the 141,000 truck crashes examined in FMCSA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, commercial vehicle performance, recognition, and decision factors accounted for 88% of the critical reasons for the crashes.

Here are some safe driving tips from an Operation Safe Driver brochure:

What car drivers need to know about trucks and buses
Truck and bus drivers will tell you many stories about being cut-off or passed by a car and the car driver proceeds to put on their brakes or dash to the next exit. You never hear of the near misses, accidents that ALMOST happened, on the local or national news – yet EVERYONE has their own story about this. And it’s not what you drive around big trucks and buses that matters, it’s HOW you drive.

If we could put every member of the public in a truck or bus for a day, there would be a lot more awareness and a lot less crashes. But since we can’t do that, get familiar with the following eight keys to keeping safe around big rigs. One or all of these could save your life.

  1. Never cut in front of a truck. A fully loaded truck can take 400 feet (more than the length
    of a football field) to stop and the odds are that you or someone driving next to you
    could be killed as a result of your driving.
  2. Keep a safety cushion around trucks. Try to leave a 10-car length gap when in front of a truck and 20-25 car lengths when behind a truck. An average passenger car traveling at 55 miles per hour takes about 130 to 140 feet to stop.
  3. Never linger alongside a truck. Cars can momentarily “disappear” from view due to blind spots.
  4. Pass trucks quickly to increase visibility and reduce dangers associated with lingering beside a truck.
  5. Only change lanes when you can see both of the truck’s headlights in your rearview mirror.
  6. If possible, pass a truck on the left, not on the right, because the truck’s blind spot on the right runs the length of the trailer and extends out three lanes.
  7. Check a truck’s mirrors. If you are following a truck and you cannot see the driver’s face
    in the truck’s side mirrors, the truck driver cannot see you.
  8. Allow trucks adequate space to maneuver. Trucks make wide turns at intersections and
    require additional lanes to turn.

What truck drivers need to know about car drivers
As a professional driver you face a lot of stress and pressure each day just trying to do your job, maneuvering through congested highways with aggressive car drivers darting around you and everyone in a rush to get where they're going because time is money.

It may make you want to gamble a bit by taking unnecessary risks. But your risk goes up exponentially for each violation you receive. The seriousness of violations is more than monetary, unless you’re willing to pay with your life. And we’re not just talking about your life. When you gamble, you're also gambling your family’s future and the future of many innocent others. Don’t take that gamble; it’s just not worth the risk.
  1. Pre-inspect the condition of your vehicle before and check for load securement. Maximize the vision around your truck with properly adjusted mirrors. Be sure your mirrors are properly set and clean.
  2. Get in a safe mindset!
  3. Buckle up! It is your last line of defense!
  4. Obey speed limits and traffic signs. Excessive speed reduces your ability to avoid a crash, extends your vehicle’s stopping distance, and increases the severity of a crash when it occurs. Slow down in bad weather and at construction zones.
  5. Maintain a safe following distance. Follow other vehicles at a safe distance (3-5 second rule).
  6. Make only safe and necessary lane changes. Pick a lane and stay in it for as long as possible. Lane changes increase one’s risk of an accident.
  7. Focus on your driving, not the distractions! Avoid or minimize in-truck distractions such as cell phone use, changing CDs, eating, or other activities that can remove your attention from the road.
  8. Never drive under the influence! Watch out for other motorists whose driving behavior suggests they may have been drinking.
  9. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation and fatigue can cause lapses in attention, slowed awareness, and impaired judgment.

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Inspection Info

pics of chain and traction tire warning signs

There are no specific dates in Oregon state law declaring when truck chain requirements start and end because no one knows when winter conditions will start and end for the varied climates throughout the state. Chains are required in Oregon whenever winter conditions exist and SNOW ZONE signs are posted advising drivers to carry or use them. But regardless of whether road and weather conditions appear favorable at any moment, truck drivers are advised to always carry chains during the Fall and Winter months in Oregon. One can never be sure when conditions may suddenly change. Enforcement officers have the discretion to issue a $160 citation for failure to carry chains.

Visitors to ODOT’s TripCheck Web site — TripCheck.com/ — can view information about each of the SNOW ZONES on state highways where chains or traction tires must be carried or used. The Detailed Information pop-up box for these SNOW ZONES changed this year so that now visitors always seeing the following message:

Minimum Chain Restriction: Carry chains or traction tires regardless of conditions.

Winter Travel in Oregon
Oregon Chain Laws and Minimum Chain Requirements are posted on the Internet at ODOT's TripCheck Web site (look for Winter Travel links in lower left corner of TripCheck home page).

The TripCheck site also features Road Cams with regularly-updated camera images of highways around the state.

For road and weather information by phone, dial 511 or 1-800-977-ODOT (within Oregon) or 503-588-2941 (outside Oregon).

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Inspection Reports -- Online

General Rules

Cargo load securement rules apply to trucks, truck tractors, semitrailers, full trailers, and pole trailers. Each commercial motor vehicle must, when transporting cargo on public roads, be loaded and equipped, and the cargo secured, to prevent it from leaking, spilling, blowing or falling from the vehicle. Cargo must also be contained, immobilized or secured to prevent shifting upon or within the vehicle to such an extent that the vehicle´s stability or maneuverability is adversely affected. Read more about the rules at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Web site.

There are two paragraphs within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) that give general guidance on how to secure cargo. They are 393.106 and 393.110.

FMCSR 393.106 says you cannot use damaged securement systems (e.g. straps with cuts or chains with bent links). You cannot use tiedowns that contain knots. And, if a tiedown is used on cargo with sharp edges you must use some type of edge protection between the tiedown and the cargo. Additionally, cargo that is likely to roll must be restrained by chocks, wedges, a cradle, or other means to prevent rolling. And, articles placed beside each other and secured by transverse tiedowns must either be placed beside each other, or be prevented from shifting towards each other while in transit.

In addition to the above general rules, 393.106(d) says the aggregate working load limit of all the tiedowns used to secure an article or group of articles against movement must be at least one-half times the weight of the article or group of articles.

The aggregate working load limit is the sum of:

• The full working load limit for each tiedown that goes from an anchor point on the vehicle, through, over, or around the article of cargo, and then attaches to another anchor point on the other side of the vehicle.

• One-half the working load limit of each tiedown that is attached to an anchor point on the vehicle, passes through, over, or around the article of cargo, and is then attached to an anchor point on the same side of the vehicle.

• One-half the working load limit of each tiedown that goes from an anchor point on the vehicle to an anchor point on an article of cargo.

FMCSR 393.110 says that in addition to meeting the working load limit requirements above, the number of tiedowns is determined by the length of the load.

For articles blocked to prevent movement in the forward direction, refer to paragraph 393.110(c). Each article must be secured by at least one tiedown for every 10 feet of article length, or fraction thereof.
For example, an article 10 feet long must have at least one tiedown; while an article 12 feet long must have at least two tiedowns.  An article 20 feet long must have at least two tiedowns; while an article 21 feet must have at least three tiedowns.  And so on, as the article gets longer. 
If an article is 10 foot or more in length and not blocked to prevent movement in the forward direction, add one additional tiedown to the formula above. Place the additional tiedown within the first 10 feet. Articles less than 10 feet in length, not blocked, might need one tiedown or two depending on the length and weight of the article. See FMCSR 393.110(b) for specifics.
Remember, calculate the number of tiedowns based on the weight of the cargo, then calculate again for the length of the cargo. Whichever calculation requires the greater number of tiedowns, use that number.

There are 11 commodities that require very specific, or “commodity specific” securement requirements.  Those commodities are:  logs; dressed lumber or similar building products; metal coils; paper rolls; concrete pipe; intermodal containers; automobiles, light trucks and vans; heavy vehicles, equipment and machinery; flattened or crushed vehicles; roll-on/roll-off or hook lift containers; and large boulders.  See FMCSR 393.116 through 393.136 for specific requirements for each of these commodities.

Metal Coil Securement – Eyes crosswise, temporary exemption (2011-2015)

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has granted an additional two-year exemption from FMCSR Part 393.120 to motor carriers transporting metal coils with eyes crosswise. Carriers who use the temporary exemption must meet the securement requirements below.

If the coils are loaded to contact each other in the longitudinal direction and relative motion between coils and between coils and the vehicle is prevented, then the coils may be secured:
  1. The front coil must be blocked in front with a timber at least 4x4 inches. The timber must be at least 75% of the width of the coil, or row of coils if two or more coils sit side by side.
  2. The rear coil must be blocked in the rear with a timber at least 4x4 inches. The timber must be at least 75% of the width of the coil, or row of coils if two or more coils sit side by side.
  3. The first coil must be secured with a tiedown to prevent movement in the forward direction.
  4. The last coil must be secured with a tiedown to prevent movement in the rearward direction
  5. Each additional coil in the row must be secured with at least one tiedown.
The aggregate working load limit of all the tiedowns must be at least one-half times the weight of all the coils.

Below are two examples of methods of securement to comply with this exemption. These are not the only possible configurations.

Log Securement – Clarification for Oregon OSHA
Many log trucks require only two tiedowns (wrappers) to satisfy the cargo securement requirements in FMCSR Part 393.116. However, to meet OSHA standards the load may require more than two. If you're hauling logs, check with OSHA for their particular standards.

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Inspector Training

Trailers and the rear of truck tractors need to be marked with red and white reflective material to make them visible to other drivers at night.

Since 1993, manufacturers have been outlining trailers with red and white reflective tape or hard plastic reflector strips. In 1999, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ordered all older trailers to be retrofitted to the new standards. But old trailers that were already marked with colors other than red and white were given until June 2009 to get refitted with red and white material.

The requirements apply to all trailers and semi-trailers with an overall width of 80 inches and a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more. The only exceptions are pole trailers, trailers transported in a driveaway-towaway operation (when the trailer itself is the cargo or is being towed for repair), and trailers used only as offices or dwellings.

The federal regulations are in Part 393.13.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Transport Canada have posted a useful guide to trailer lights and markings.

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Crash Reports & Stats

pic of Dangerous hazardous material placard

The Oregon Department of Transportation, Motor Carrier Transportation Division, regulates the transportation of hazardous materials in the state by adopting Federal Hazardous Materials Regulations, Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations for both carriers and shippers. Visit the U.S. DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration site to access information about transporting hazardous materials.

Oregon Hazardous Materials Office 3930 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem OR 97302-1166
Hazmat Specialist - Jess Brown, Phone: 503-378-6336  Fax: 503-378-3567
Office hours - 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.


Notice to Carriers Hauling Hazardous Materials in Portland
Federal safety regulations, Part 397.67, specify that a motor vehicle that contains hazardous materials must be operated over routes which don't go through or near heavily populated areas, places where crowds are assembled, tunnels, narrow streets, or alleys, except where the motor carrier determines that there is no practicable alternative, a reasonable deviation is necessary to reach terminals, points of loading and unloading, facilities for food, fuel, repairs, rest, or a safe haven, or a reasonable deviation is required by emergency conditions, such as a detour that has been established by a highway authority, or a situation exists where a law enforcement official requires the driver to take an alternative route. Operating convenience is not a basis for determining whether it is practicable to operate a vehicle in accordance with this rule.

Since 1994, the Portland / Vancouver area has prohibited hazardous material transportation on certain routes. View a HazMat flyer for the Portland area. The routes were selected after thorough study by motor carrier representatives and public safety officials familiar with the Portland/Vancouver area.
Prohibited Route:
US26 between I-405 and OR217

Alternate Route:
I-5 and OR217. Local deliveries within the prohibited area
must be routed with the least impact to the closure and
CANNOT travel through the Vista Ridge Tunnels or
Jefferson Street (PGE / Canyon Road) exit / on-ramp (Exit 73).

Not all hazardous materials shipments present a risk requiring routing. Shipments affected by the Portland route prohibitions are:
  • Bulk cargo tanks requiring placarding.
  • Any amount of hazardous materials required to be marked or placarded in accordance with 177.823.  Also see FMCSR 397.1 and 397.67
    Explosives Class: 1.1, 1.2, & 1.3
    Poison Gases: 2.3 – Zone A or B
    Dangerous When Wet: 4.3

Oregon Department of Transportation, Motor Carrier Enforcement – 503-378-3667
Portland Office of Emergency Management - 503-823-4375
Informational Recording -  503-823-1300


Notice to Carriers Hauling Radioactive Materials in Oregon
Motor carriers transporting radioactive materials in and through Oregon are subject to all related safety laws of the U.S. DOT and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In addition, carriers transporting radioactive materials that require placards must complete an Oregon Radioactive Materials Transport Permit Application, obtain an Oregon permit, and carry a copy of the permit in the transport vehicle. Return the completed application by mail to: ODOT Motor Carrier Transportation Division, Safety Technical Services, 3930 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem OR 97302-1166.

One condition of the Radioactive Materials Transport Permit is that drivers stop at the first Oregon Port of Entry upon entering the state and provide basic information about each radioactive placarded shipment. It's the carrier's responsibility to ensure their drivers are aware of this requirement. Each Port of Entry provides RAM clipboards with a supply of Oregon Radioactive Materials Shipment report forms located both inside and outside the Ports in an easily accessible place visible to drivers. Overlaying the forms on the clipboard is a clear sheet with red lettering identifying the forms. A driver with a placarded RAM shipment must complete one of the numbered sections on the form with details about the shipment. The forms then remain on the clipboard for the next driver to complete.

Permit fees are established by the Oregon Department of Energy. Carriers pay $70 for each placarded shipment, with the exception of those hauling well-logging material, radiopharmaceuticals, or radiographic material, who pay an annual fee of $500 or $70 per shipment, whichever is less. Carriers may request a different fee schedule from the Department of Energy, as described in administrative rules OAR 345-060-004. Other rules related to the transportation of radioactive materials are contained in Chapter 740, Division 110 (see 740-110-0060, -0070, -0080, and -0090).

Notice to Carriers Hauling Spent Fuel and Highway Route Controlled Quantities
Motor carriers with shipments of spent fuel and Highway Route Controlled Quantities must provide advance notice in writing or by phone. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time, contact the ODOT Motor Carrier Division, Safety Technical Services, 3930 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem OR 97302-1166. Phone: 503-373-0982. FAX: 503-378-3567. Notice of a shipment must be made as soon as practicable, but not later than 48 hours before it´s transported in Oregon. When, as a result of conditions beyond the carrier´s control, it´s not possible to meet the 48-hour minimum notification requirement, notice must be made immediately by phone or no later than the next working day. Carriers must report any route changes, shipment cancellations, or schedule changes if an inspection is required and the carrier will arrive at the inspection site two or more hours early or late.

Drivers with shipments of spent fuel and Highway Route Controlled Quantities must stop at the first Oregon Port of Entry upon entering the state and provide basic information about the placarded shipment. It's the carrier's responsibility to ensure their drivers are aware of this requirement. Each Port of Entry provides clipboards with a supply of Oregon Radioactive Materials Shipment report forms located both inside and outside the Ports in an easily accessible place visible to drivers. Overlaying the forms on the clipboard is a clear sheet with red lettering identifying the forms. A driver with a placarded radioactive shipment must complete one of the numbered sections on the form with details about the shipment. The forms then remain on the clipboard for the next driver to complete.

Notice to All Carriers of Radioactive Material

  • Report accidents immediately --  all accidents, regardless of whether radioactive material was damaged or dispersed. Also, immediately report the loss of any radioactive material, situations in which tampering is suspected, and situations in which shipments are delayed unexpectedly. Report accidents and incidents by calling 800-452-0311 (within Oregon) or 503-378-4124 (outside Oregon).
  • Avoid dangerous road and weather conditions. For road and weather information dial 511 or 1-800-977-ODOT (within Oregon) or 503-588-2941 (outside Oregon).

Questions? Call the Motor Carrier Transportation Division in Salem at 503-373-0982. More technical questions? Call Jess Brown, 503-378-6336, at the Motor Carrier Transportation Division, or Ken Niles, 503-378-4906, at the Nuclear Safety Division, Oregon Department of Energy. Visit the Department of Energy´s Web site to learn more about the transportation of radioactive materials in Oregon.

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Truck Safety Corridors

pic of drug testing

Drug and alcohol testing is a fact of life in trucking today. Drivers with a commercial driver license (CDL) are subject to it, as are truck owner-operators with a CDL, and motor carriers who employ drivers with a CDL must have a testing program. Carriers bear the ultimate responsibility for assuring drivers are in compliance with rules found in federal regulations, Title 49, Part 382. Questions? Call the ODOT Motor Carrier Transportation Division, 503-373-1979 or 503-378-5983.

Legislation passed in 1999 strengthened testing requirements and made it more difficult for a commercial driver to hide positive drug tests. Oregon law, ORS 825.410, requires that when carriers register to operate in the state or renew registration they must certify that they meet drug and alcohol testing requirements. (Go to Certification Form.) The penalty for not maintaining a testing program is $1,000 per violation. Oregon law also requires that information about an Oregon commercial driver´s positive drug test must be entered on the driver´s employment driving record.

Pre-employment Controlled Substances Tests
Motor carriers cannot allow a driver to perform safety-sensitive duties until the driver has received a negative result from a controlled substances test. FMCSR, Part 382.301

Random Tests
Carriers must conduct random controlled substances and alcohol tests throughout each year. The controlled substances tests must involve enough drivers to equal at least 50 percent of the average number of driver positions. The alcohol tests must involve enough drivers to equal at least 10 percent of the average number of driver positions and they must be performed immediately prior to, during, or immediately after a driver is on duty. All drivers must have an equal chance of being selected and must be selected throughout the year using a scientific method. FMCSR, Part 382.305

Post-Accident Tests
Carriers must conduct both controlled substances and alcohol tests on any driver involved in an accident that results in a fatality. Both tests are also required when the driver is cited for a moving traffic violation resulting in an accident in which a person requires immediate medical treatment away from the scene, or when a vehicle is towed away. These rules apply regardless of who is at fault in the accident.

Test must be taken as soon as practicable after the accident. Alcohol tests should be taken within two hours of the accident, but no later than eight hours. Controlled substances tests must be taken within 32 hours of the accident. The post-accident testing rules are not intended to delay the provision of necessary medical attention to an injured person and they don´t prohibit a driver from leaving the scene of an accident for a period of time needed to obtain medical assistance.

Drivers must remain available for testing or they may be deemed by the employer to have refused testing. A refusal is considered the same as a positive test. The responsibility for testing remains with the employer, and failure to conduct post-accident testing can lead to penalties in a civil enforcement action.

Federal and state rules hold the employer responsible for conducting post-accident testing of the driver (see below). The requirement also applies to drivers who are individual owner/operators. FMCSR, Part 382.303

Post-Accident Testing Responsibility - FMCSR, Part 382.303(c)

Employer IS responsible for performing post-accident test
• If accident involves a human fatality, regardless of whether the driver of the commercial vehicle is issued a citation.
• If accident involves bodily injury with immediate medical treatment away from the scene AND a citation is issued to the driver of commercial vehicle.
• If accident involves disabling damage to any motor vehicle requiring tow away AND a citation is issued to the driver of commercial vehicle.

Employer is NOT responsible for performing post-accident test
• If accident involves bodily injury with immediate medical treatment away from the scene AND no citation is issued to the driver of commercial vehicle.
• If accident involves disabling damage to any motor vehicle requiring tow away AND no citation is issued to the driver of commercial vehicle.

Reasonable Suspicion Tests
Drivers must submit to a controlled substances and/or alcohol test whenever a properly-trained motor carrier official or supervisor observes or documents behavior indicating controlled substances or alcohol use.   FMCSR, Part 382.307

Return-to-Duty Tests
Carriers must follow certain steps before allowing a driver to return to work after failing a test, or after refusing to take a test. First, the carrier must ensure the driver passes an alcohol test with a result indicating an alcohol concentration of less than .02 or a controlled substances test indicating a negative result (whichever is applicable). Second, the driver must be evaluated by a substance abuse professional to determine what else may be needed.  FMCSR, Part 382.309

Additional Requirements
In addition to the testing summarized above, motor carriers must provide drivers with educational materials that outline the requirements and the carrier´s policy regarding alcohol misuse and controlled substances abuse. Carriers can administer their own testing programs or they can enroll drivers with consortiums or third-party administrators who manage testing programs. Final responsibility for compliance lies with the carrier, however.   FMCSR, Part 382.601

Oregon Law - Summary - 
 ORS 825.410
Legislation passed in 1999 made two major changes in Oregon law related to motor carrier drug and alcohol testing and the employment driving record of commercial drivers.

First, the legislation strengthened the existing federal requirement that motor carriers must maintain their own drug and alcohol testing program for drivers, or participate in a testing program maintained by a consortium. Oregon state law requires that carriers certify they meet drug and alcohol testing program requirements at the time they initially register to operate in the state, and again each time they renew registration. Carriers who participate in a testing program maintained by a consortium must provide the names of the persons operating the consortium. (Go to Certification Form.) Federal drug and alcohol testing requirements are contained in 49 CFR, Part 382. A "consortium" is defined in 49 CFR, 382.107.

The penalty for not maintaining a testing program, or not participating in one, is a maximum $1,000 per violation. Administrative rules, OAR 740-300-0060, provide that offenders are first subject to a Finding of Violation (Level I), then subject to a $500 per violation penalty if they offend a second time within five years of the first offense (Level II), and a $1,000 per violation penalty if they offend a third time within one year of the second offense (Level III).

Second, Oregon law requires that information about an Oregon commercial driver´s positive drug test must be entered on the driver´s employment driving record. When any driver with an Oregon Commercial Driver License (CDL) tests positive for drugs, the medical review officer conducting the test must report the result to Oregon’s Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division (DMV) so it can be entered on the driver’s employment driving record. When a medical review officer reports a positive drug test, DMV notifies the driver and advises him or her of the right to a hearing. If a hearing is requested, no entry will be made on the driver´s commercial driving record pending the outcome of the hearing. Once information about a drug test has been entered on a commercial driving record, DMV will release that information only with the written permission of the driver.

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FAQ about Farm Trucking

pic of truck inspection

Truck Safety Inspection Stats for 2013

Number of truck and/or driver safety inspections conducted in Oregon:  52,564 

Of the total inspections, number conducted by ODOT Motor Carrier Division staff:  36,099

Of the total inspections, number conducted by state law enforcement officers and county weighmasters under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program:  16,465

Rate at which truck inspections occur in Oregon:  1 every 10 minutes

If each truck was 60 feet long, distance all trucks inspected in 2013, parked end to end, would extend:  597 miles

Distance from Salem to Reno:  531 miles

Inspections conducted using laptop computers:  73%

Average violations per inspection of Oregon-based trucks:  1.69

Of the vehicles inspected in Oregon last year, percent that were placed out-of-service for a critical safety violation:  30.7%

Current national rate of vehicles placed out-of-service:  20.72%

Of the truck drivers inspected in Oregon last year, percent that were placed out-of-service for a critical safety violation:  12.9%

Current national rate of drivers placed out-of-service:  5.51%

Most common mechanical violation found in inspections:  brakes -- 11,424 violations

Second most common mechanical violation:  lighting -- 10,186 violations

Number of truck drivers caught falsifying log books or keeping inaccurate logs:  5,689

Types of truck safety inspections conducted throughout North America
— A complete inspection that includes a check of the driver´s license, medical examiner´s certificate (and waiver, if any), alcohol and drugs, hours of service, seat belt, vehicle inspection report, brake system, coupling devices, exhaust system, frame, fuel system, turn signals, brake and tail lamps, headlamps, lamps on loads, load securement, steering, suspension, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels and rims, windshield wipers, emergency exits on buses and hazardous materials requirements, as applicable.  Oregon inspectors completed 9,837 of these truck and driver inspections in 2011. Motor Carrier Transportation Division (MCTD) staff accounted for most of this activity, including 8,879 inspections by safety compliance specialists and 209 by motor carrier enforcement officers.

LEVEL II — A "walk-around" inspection that includes a check of each of the items in a Level I inspection but not items that require the inspector to physically get under the truck.  Oregon
inspectors completed 21,603 of these truck walk-around and driver inspections in 2011. This activity is ideally suited for roadside stops, which is why law enforcement officers specialize in it. Oregon State Police completed 10,256 of the inspections last year, with another 4,265 completed by other officers working under the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. MCTD staff completed the remaining 7,082 inspections.

LEVEL III — An inspection of just the driver-related items in a Level I inspection.  Oregon inspectors completed 13,129 of these driver inspections in 2011. MCTD staff accounted for most of this activity, including 10,251 inspections by safety compliance specialists and 2,510 by motor carrier enforcement officers.

LEVEL IV — A special inspection, typically a one-time examination of a particular item for a safety study or to verify or refute a suspected trend.  MCTD staff conducted 190 of these special inspections during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Operation Airbrake week in September 2011.

LEVEL V — An inspection of just the truck-related items in a Level I inspection.  MCTD staff conducted 1,060 of these truck inspections in 2011.

LEVEL VI — An inspection of a shipment of highway-route-controlled quantities of radiological material. A Level VI inspection includes an enhanced check of each of the items in a Level I inspection.  MCTD staff conducted 1 of these inspections in 2011.

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Partnership for Passenger Safety

pic of truck safety inspector

One feature of Trucking Online lets companies use a home or office computer to view Oregon safety inspection reports and make sure they’ve met all inspection follow-up requirements. The service can be especially helpful to companies with large fleets because it’s not uncommon for a driver to take his copy of an inspection report and then forget to turn it in to his boss. The oversight can lead to enforcement actions that ultimately include a $1,000 penalty and a five-day suspension of Oregon operating authority. Now safety managers can stay on top of things and independently check inspection reports.

When an inspection finds a safety violation, companies are required to sign and return the inspection form within 15 days to verify that they fixed the mechanical problems and/or addressed the driver violations. Yet companies regularly fail to meet the requirements. Last year, 16,476 forms were returned late to the Motor Carrier Transportation Division and 1,826 were never returned at all.

The new Trucking Online feature lets companies view all truck and driver safety inspections from the past 24 months. Inspection reports marked with a “T” need to be signed and returned, the ones marked with a “C” have been returned and certified, and there’s no return required for the ones marked with an “N.”

The feature also lets companies view just the outstanding inspections that have not yet been signed by a company official and returned to MCTD. For those inspections, companies can choose to generate a letter just like the one they would get in the mail if they fail to respond to the inspection. After confirming that they’ve fixed the problems found in the inspection, they can print the letter, sign it, and fax it in.

Currently, the Motor Carrier Division pursues enforcement actions against companies that fail to return inspection forms for Level 1 or Level 2 inspections that found an out-of-service violation.  It also pursues enforcement actions against companies that fail to return three inspection forms within a 12 month period. In 2005, after sending warning letters and providing 30 days to respond, the Division issued 236 Cease and Desist Orders documenting that a company did not meet the requirements. Another 42 companies were subject to a civil complaint action assessing a $1,000 penalty and suspension because they already received such a Cease and Desist Order and then within 12 months failed again to meet the requirements.

Inspection follow-up requirements date back to the early 1980s when states began adopting federal safety regulations and conducting inspections in a uniform manner nationwide. Today, inspection follow-up requirements are spelled out in Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Part 396.9. Any state receiving safety-related federal grant funds must enforce the requirements and ensure the “timely and appropriate” correction of violations found in inspections.

Inspection Follow-Up Requirement
Every truck and/or driver safety inspection performed by state transportation officials or law enforcement officers, results in the driver receiving a copy of the inspection form.  When violations are found in an inspection, correct all violations and have a company official sign the inspection form

If violations or defects are found as a result of an inspection, the company must certify that any vehicle-related problems have been repaired by sending a signed copy of the inspection to the state where the inspection occurred. The motor carrier's signature on the returned inspection form confirms that the problems have been addressed. See Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Part 396.9.

The form must also be signed by a repair person if a vehicle had a critical safety violation which resulted in the vehicle being placed out-of-service until repairs were made. 

If violations are related to the driver (speeding, logbook, etc.), the company official´s signature certifies that action was taken to assure future compliance with regulations.

Oregon Enforcement - Inspections with out-of-service violation(s) 
1st time a carrier fails to return an inspection form for a Level 1 or Level 2 inspection:  50 days after the inspection, a Cease and Desist order is sent to the carrier establishing failure to meet inspection follow-up requirements.

2nd time, within 12 months of a Cease and Desist order, that a carrier fails to return an inspection form:  A civil complaint action may be filed assessing a $1,000 penalty and seeking a five-day suspension of Oregon operating authority. At that point, the carrier may admit the failure to meet requirements, agree to remedy the problem, and seek settlement, or deny the violation and request a hearing before an administrative law judge.

Oregon based inspection, sign and return the inspection form by mail within 15 days to: Oregon Department of Transportation,
Motor Carrier Transportation Division,
3930 Fairview Industrial Drive SE Salem OR 97302-1116, or
FAX the form to: (503) 373-7481 

Records Requirement -- Keep a copy of each truck and driver safety inspection for 12 months.

Contact Us
Questions? Carriers can call the Motor Carrier Transportation Division -- (503) 373-0982 -- if unable to meet requirements within 15 days of an inspection, or for questions about a safety inspection.

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