The Project – Part II

Last week, this blog began to tell the tale of a municipality struggling to accommodate a band of citizens armed with complaints regarding a new industrial development. Their concerns revolved around a potential, yet unseen, problem involving trucks using residential roads and neighborhoods to access the jobsite. This week’s article provides the conclusion as the ITEA trained police department investigates the legitimacy of the complaints.

The findings from the study were exactly what veteran law enforcement professionals had expected: there was no significant commercial vehicle traffic on these residential streets. All was not lost, however. One officer was able to ascertain helpful information in the future decision making about addressing commercial vehicle traffic on the road.

It was discovered a popular “trucker GPS” system had listed a residential street as a “truck route.” While those familiar with commercial vehicle enforcement know GPS devices often display inaccurate information (see the ITEA article G.P.(B)S.), it initiated conversations about the new industrial construction and other drivers following these erroneous GPS directions.

The study results were brought to the police and village administration. While the findings seemed conclusive, they knew these findings would not alleviate the concerns of the apprehensive residents. It was time to take a preemptive strike to appease the citizens, empower the officers patrolling the area, and most importantly, be fair to the trucking industry.

To complete this task, officers went to the drawing board developing a reasonable ordinance to restrict truck traffic on local roads, but allow commercial vehicles to pickup and deliver goods to residents and businesses located within this residential area.

To avoid the proverbial “reinvention of the wheel,” the officers again utilized resources from the ITEA to pinpoint an appropriate resolution. They knew from previous ITEA classes and blogs, the Illinois Vehicle Code allows local jurisdictions to restrict the weight of vehicles on roadways they own and maintain. This particular section of the law does not specifically require local government to exempt pickup and deliveries vehicles, but the officers had the interests of both the residents trucking industry in mind. They knew certain exemptions had to be included in the ordinance.

Those working on the project also wanted to give officers a simple, effective method of enforcement which was fair to the truck drivers. Again, their experience with the ITEA reminded them of horror stories of towns where officers issued citations to drivers who violated local weight restriction without developing probable cause to do so.

In these cases, the local weight restriction only restricted the actual gross weight of vehicles. The signs were often misinterpreted by officers to mean the standard was the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or registered weight. Similarly, truck drivers often misunderstood the meaning of these signs as well.

Using language written by other ITEA members as a template, the officers developed an ordinance which fit the needs of the village, the residents and the trucking industry. This particular ordinance clearly defined the restriction to be measured by either actual gross weight, GVWR, GCWR and registered weight of vehicles travelling on the restricted roads. It also provided an exemption for local pickup and delivery of goods or services.

The ordinance required signs be posted along the restricted roadways, with the weight restriction clearly displayed. This provided truck drivers fair warning of the restricted weight. With the collaborative effort of the residents, village administration and the police department, all seemed well in the village. But the story does not end there.

As can happen with projects of good intention, pondering minds can ruin a good thing. In this instance, certain members of the village administration began to question the authority to issue overweight permits on the restricted roads. This is a legitimate question for those who are unfamiliar with the finer points of commercial vehicle law.

Accompanying this epiphany was the thought of issuing overweight citations to those who exceed the newly constituted weight restrictions as opposed to the uniform weight laws mandated by the Illinois Vehicle Code. The village administration was not the first to believe the local weight restriction allows for overweight citations and permitting.

However, this administration was not like so many others in Illinois. They went back to their ITEA certified officers and asked about the authority to enforce these regulations with permits. The officers quickly informed the administrators that overweight violations could not be written, nor could overweight permits be issued for vehicles violating the local weight restrictions.

Further, the officers pointed out the very same statute which allowed the village to restrict commercial vehicles on local roads also provides a specific fine. Another potential disaster was averted thanks to the knowledge and training received from the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association.

These conversations happen daily in local Illinois government when officials have to deal with a new problem involving trucks. However, the ending is vastly different from those who do not act as this village did.

Communication, education and accountability all came into play during this project. These are things the ITEA preaches and expects of its member agencies. Remember, this exact situation could happen in any Illinois municipality at any given time. Who do you want behind the wheel of a project like this?

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The Project – Part I

Recently, in a village not so far away, potential trouble was brewing for commercial vehicle operators who traveled through this jurisdiction as the people of the village were in an uproar about a perceived problem.  A recent decision to construct an industrial building with access from a road in a large residential area resulted in unhappy people. In fact, the people were so upset they formed a small committee to discuss the impact of commercial vehicle traffic on their residential streets. What happened next serves as an example of how local government should work to address the needs of its people while still considering all other stakeholders.

While gathered, the people recalled another “hot spot” for trucks had recently been built in close proximity to their homes. While the previous location was constructed along a state highway opposed to a residential road, the group complained of increased truck traffic since the construction. It wasn’t long before the group made their fears known to those of power within the village.

Instead of making a hasty and uninformed decision, the village administration utilized its resources to create a resolution satisfactory to all. Members of administration opened a dialogue with the local police department and learned there were officers within the agency well versed in commercial vehicle law. These individuals so happened to be members of the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association.

The officers met with village officials and reviewed the complaints of the concerned citizens. The officers determined the roadways of concern were non-designated local highways which had an overall length limit of 55 feet for combinations of vehicles soon to be increased to 65 feet on January 1st, 2018. It was also discovered that “No Trucks” signs on these local roads were not enforceable due to the absence of a local ordinance authorizing the restriction.

At this point, two important things had taken place. First, the village administration did not do as many other towns have done. They did not aggressively approach the police department and demand the issue be resolved through relentless enforcement.

Second, the police administration consulted with their subject matter experts about the problem. These are two extremely important steps which should, but are rarely, taken when dealing with complicated issues such as commercial vehicle enforcement and regulation.

Failure to do these could have resulted in a blitz on commercial vehicle traffic. Officers could have been ordered to conduct strict enforcement on a series of unauthorized regulation. The potential outcome could have been expensive for unsuspecting truck drivers and resulted in severe civil litigation for the village.

With these issues exposed, the focus was placed on how to address the concerns of the citizens. The village needed to find out if there was even a legitimate concern about truck traffic or if it was simply a misconceived, emotional response to the planned construction.

The police department assigned officers to conduct extra watches and to document any commercial vehicle traffic on those roadways. This assignment was given with direction as to what type of enforcement, if any, should be taken if officers saw commercial vehicles traveling on these roadways.

Using the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association’s “Maximum Dimensions” resource document, officers were educated on length violations and proper citations. Further, officers were informed any driver issued a citation would require the vehicle to be properly measured. No citations would be based on an assumption of length. While this may seem like common sense, the ITEA officers knew these mistakes are often made by those not familiar with commercial vehicle enforcement. Most importantly, all officers were instructed to exercise extreme discretion.

With newly acquired knowledge, the officers took to the streets to address the concerns of the citizens they were sworn to serve. For two weeks, officers vigorously patrolled the streets in question and documented their findings.

Stay tuned for Part II next week!

 

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Avoiding the Pilot Car Patchwork

In 2013, Illinois was the last State in the Union to pass a law to allow concealed carry of firearms. While the debate runs hot as to the rights and wrongs of gun control, it exposed a regulatory issue not uncommon in truck world: a lack of reciprocity. Commercial vehicle regulations across the nation are mostly unified in things like fuel tax and registration fees. In recent years, there has been a new movement gaining steam in specialized transportation circles – pilot car certifications. The article this week will discuss this movement, how it’s applied across the states and high quality training being offered right here in Illinois!

Big Jim is a responsible person and gun owner (kind of a big fella too with long hair). He believes in broad rights to carry firearms concealed nationwide. He’s not a criminal and means nobody any harm. He only wants to protect his family and double-wide trailer in Kentucky when he finally moves there.

Jim has spent the time and money to obtain concealed carry licenses in several states from those which provide reciprocity in other states. For instance, he purchased a Florida concealed carry license which is honored in many other southeastern states.

By obtaining a few licenses, he can carry in forty-nine states, except Illinois. Go figure. In concealed carry world, Illinois is the donut-hole. The only state which does not honor other state’s concealed carry. No reciprocity.

What reciprocity means is this: even though each state may have its own concealed carry regulations which may not be 100% identical to other states, they understand the interstate difficulties of gun-toting Americans. Each state’s program might not hit all the same marks, but they are close enough to say, “hey, if you are good in FLA, you are good in our state too.” That’s reciprocity. Again, not Illinois.

So what does this have to do with pilot cars? Pilot cars are critically important as they escort the biggest and heaviest loads along the highways of the United States. Like all professions, there are those who are good at what they do, and then there are those who are scabs.

The problem is that any goof can throw some signs and a yellow light on their vehicle and voilà – they are a pilot car! Is this lawful? In many states, yes. Is this a good idea? No.

There’s more to being a pilot car operator than driving forward or aft of a permit load. The best pilot car services have high quality vehicles. They carry a high level of liability insurance. They provide higher education to their operators.

See the important word? That’s right. “high”. The best are not fly-by-night operations. They are professional services which dedicate their craft to providing safe passage of monster loads sharing the roads with unsuspecting and ignorant drivers. They raise the bar.

What’s raising the bar is pilot car certification. This is a training program designed to teach and train operators on best practices to perform their trade safely.

Because of the success of this movement, several states have adopted regulations requiring pilot car operators to be certified. The standard for training is Washington State. Their training program has been offered reciprocity in more than a dozen states, with even more states considering this model.

Specialized transportation already struggles with a disproportional number of harmonization issues when crossing state lines. Pilot cat certification is too important an issue to risk states creating isolated regulations which impedes commerce. What Illinois is to concealed carry, the State of New York is to pilot car certification. It’s damaging to the industry.

Adopting a pilot car certification is certainly an encouraged and welcome method to improve highway safety. The key for state’s is too honor quality programs like the Washington State model and provide reciprocity.

Guess what? The Washington State pilot car training is coming to Illinois in October 2017! Whether you are a pilot car service, or a carrier who has their own operators, the best training is being hosted locally.

Pit Row Pilot Car Services from Lincoln, Alabama is a nationally recognized pilot car service and member of the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association. Here are the dates/locations when Pit Row is offering their training in Illinois:

October 23rd  – Willowbrook, IL
October 25th – Springfield, IL
October 27th – Troy, IL

Reserve your seat now by calling (844) 474-8769. Be part of the solution.

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An Ode to the Truck Driver

Look around right now. What do you see? A phone, computer, lights maybe a chair. What do all these things have in common? They were all delivered by a truck. Every product in the world at some point spent time on a truck. Those trucks were driven by talented men and women, who for one week every year get recognized. That week in 2017 was September 10th through the 16th. This may be a couple weeks late, but the ITEA would like recognize all the hard-working drivers out there.

The history of trucking in the United States started around 1910. In 1913, the first state weight limits for trucks were introduced, with the highest being 28,000 pounds. The weight limits were due to the tires being solid rubber which caused extensive damage to early gravel and dirt roads.

During World War I, the military began using trucks to move equipment and soldiers more efficiently. Due to railroad capacity maxed out for the war, trucks became another way to move goods across the land. The pneumatic tire was soon created and cross-country travel with heavier loads became a common use for the truck.

After World War I, trucks became commonplace with more than one million vehicles operating nationwide by 1920. The invention of the diesel engine made truck transportation more efficient, along with advancements in steering and brakes. Soon came the birth of the fifth wheel as well as standards for truck sizes. By 1933 all states had begun to regulate truck weight.

During the 1930s, the federal government began to regulate the industry, including hours of service rules. As trucking progressed, trucking business exploded as a means to get goods anywhere in the nation quickly and safely. In 1935, the Motor Carrier Act was signed into law which created rules for the trucking industry to follow.

By 1956, the interstate highway system was created and a national, uniform gross weight limit was enacted: 73,280 pounds. Intermodal shipping was created the same year to move goods from ships to trains to trucks. The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) was initiated and studies on the impact weight were conducted for pavement and bridges. This study led to the creation of the federal bridge formula based on axle spacings.

Fast forward to 1974 and the 73,280 gross weight limit was increased to 80,000 pounds. Citizen’s Band, or “CB” radios were all the rage. The truck driver anthem “Convoy” was released in 1976. Truck driving was in its heyday in the 70’s with the movie “Smokie and the Bandit” released in 1977 and the movie “Convoy” released in 1978.

The trucking industry lost some of its glamour when the Motor Carrier Act of 1980 partially deregulated the industry. This led to a disruptive increase in the number of trucking companies. By 2006, over twenty-six million trucks hauled approximately nine billion tons of freight across the United States.

So, there it is, a brief history of some of the most important cogs in the machine that is American business. Without trucks and truck drivers, Americans would be sitting on earth, in the dark, with no way of reading the weekly blog from the ITEA.

The ITEA salutes you Mr. Truck Driver and all you do to support the economy. And we will continue to assist you in understanding the complex truck laws so that you can stay safe and operate more efficiently.

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Defense Highways

Regardless of personal politics, the United States of America boasts a government which serves its people like none other. One such service provided is an incredibly complex, expensive and comprehensive interstate highway system. What the people of this great nation forget is that this road network is on loan. It’s open for public use for a limited time, which has an incredible impact on the carrier industry. This week’s article will look at the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (NSIDH) and the peculiarities it bestows upon Illinois truck law.

There are many road networks going by even more names out there. There are honorary highways and historic highways. Texas has Farm Road and Ranch Roads. Illinois has Class I, II and III highways along with the sub-varieties of designated and non-designated highways. The federal government manages the National Network, which is not to be confused with the NSIDH.

The NSIDH was not built primarily for civilian use, but for the military. Long before World War II, Nazi Germany established a system of highways to move their military across the nation in the event war came to their soil. It did, they lost, but General Eisenhower learned a valuable lesson from the enemy. The biggest public works project in the history of this nation came under his leadership after being elected President post-war.

The truth is the federal government can shut down or severely restrict the amount of civilian traffic on the interstate system if a conflict came to the homeland. The purpose of the highways are to move our military machine across the nation efficiently.

Because the NSIDH is operated and regulated by the federal government, a uniform system of rules applies nationwide. States are given autonomy to govern the interstate highways within their borders, but there are guidelines and limitations to this authority.

As regulatory agencies like the United States Department of Transportation debate and create rules and federal statutes for the NSIDH, the final product is applied to the road system. However, the rules do not apply to road systems not under federal oversight.

In recent years, there has been spirited debate on increasing the length of semi-trailers, double-bottoms and the weight of certain combinations. If these new maximums were to become federal law, they would apply only to interstates in Illinois. Illinois would be free to adopt identical regulations for the rest of the highways in the state, but would not be required to do so.

Changes such as these were seen in the MAP-21 bill, more recently the FAST Act and certainly there will be more to come. The issue which arises is an inversion philosophy. What happens when states want to create laws for trucks operating on their interstates, but the federal statutes do not allow it?

For instance, Illinois has a “Special Hauling Vehicle” (SHV) status for certain 5-axle semi-tractor trailer combinations (625 ILCS 5/15-111-A-10). This law provides higher than normal weights than allowed by the mandated federal bridge formula for the NSIDH. When Illinois created this law in the mid-1980’s, the federal government allowed Illinois to do this, but it could not be a permanent exception on their road.

Hence, the provision allowing “shorty dumps”, or “bombers”, to be 72,000 pounds gross on all highways in Illinois, expires every 10 years. It expired in 1994, 2004, 2014 and now 2024. Each decade legislation is introduced and passed to keep this temporary exception, well, permanent.

The same benefit is not extended to other SHV vehicles though. Hogstaubers (sewer cleaning and jetting vacuum trucks, 15-111-A-8), 3-axle cement mixers (15-111-A-7.5) and 4-axle concrete mixers with split axles (15-111-A-9) do not get the same treatment on the NSIDH as their 5-axle semi cousins.

In fact, these vehicles lose their SHV status when operating on the NSIDH. Instead of exercising protections for extra weight while operating on all other Illinois roads, they only receive legal weights when on the NSIDH!

There are also configurations which have weight exceptions in Illinois that are not required to be registered as SHVs. However, they do not receive the higher weights on the NSIDH either. These include rendering trucks (15-111-A-6) and 3-axle garbage compactors/roll-off trucks (15-111-A-7).

General Eisenhower probably didn’t conceptualize the intricacies of future Illinois weights law when the NSIDH was born, but it is what it is until Uncle Sam shuts it down, of course.

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The Case for ITEA Training

Knowledge is power. When it comes to Illinois truck law, the more one knows and understands, the more power they have. With volumes of Illinois laws and regulations, coupled with even more federal laws and regulations, it is hard to stay on top of all the changes. The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association has worked hard to provide the knowledge to more than two-dozen local police officers this past week.

The ITEA hosted a week of basic truck enforcement from September 11th through the 15th. During this 40-hour class, police officers were instructed by many veteran officers who instructed them on enforcement of commercial vehicles. The students spent their mornings in the classroom learning from as many as five different instructors throughout the week.

The afternoon portions of the class were spent receiving a hands-on education at a local state scale. During this block on instruction, even more veteran truck officers come out to help the students learn the basics of weight, dimensions, driver’s licenses and registration enforcement. The volume of trucks which came through the scale during this portion of the class is like no other truck enforcement class in Illinois.

Twenty-four police officers from across the state took the pledge to up truck enforcement accountability. These officers are the next generation of improved community relations between the police and the public they serve. As more officers are trained by the ITEA to ethically conduct truck enforcement, Illinois will benefit greatly.

A hot topic across the nation is police-public relations. The ITEA teaches future truck officers that it is not about creating revenue or making it hard for a business to make a profit, but instead about keeping roads safe. These officers are shown how to fairly interpret the laws and educate drivers on how to better stay safe.

These officers were taught discretion and sound decision making skills. Not every driver of every truck which breaks the law is a lawbreaker. Most are hardworking people who made a mistake. These drivers may have to be written citations for their mistakes, but ITEA truck officers will explain why they received the violation and how to correct it in the future.

During the afternoon hours of the ITEA class, the students watched truck after truck roll over a state scale. Many of the drivers showed they supported our efforts by adding their own enforcement experiences to help these officers understand what they see. Most police officers do not have a background in trucking, so learning on the job is the only (and best way) to learn about industry particulars. The classroom has so many limitations.

The students in the class built a network to continue their learning. They have a new peer group to support their efforts. The ITEA is the graduation resource available to answer questions throughout their career as a truck enforcement officer. This cooperative effort is being undertaken throughout Illinois to ensure trucking companies are being treated uniformly.

The ITEA will always be at the forefront of Illinois truck enforcement for both police and industry. If the police are writing tickets to second division vehicles, the ITEA will be there to help them understand the laws and enforce them properly. The real fun comes next month at the ITEA’s signature Advanced Truck Officer class. Police officers will be in the driver’s seat of a semi-truck to see what life is like when the flashing lights are in their rear-view mirrors!

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Acronyms

When a person conveys an intended meaning from one to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules, they are communicating effectively. Communication uses words, sounds and behaviors to express or exchange information to successfully share an idea, thought or feeling. As the communication process of human beings continuously evolves, so does the efficiency. Sometimes communication methods break down, and the article this week will address one issue which generates much confusion in both the police and trucking communities.

One way to streamline communication and make it more efficient is to use acronyms. Acronyms are nothing new to the English language. Although the use of acronyms did not become commonplace until the beginning of the 20th century, some literature suggests acronyms were used in ancient Rome. While there are no universal standards for the structure of acronyms and their orthographic stylings, they are littered across the law enforcement and trucking communities.

The ITEA (an acronym, by the way) has written many articles about topics which are an acronym themselves. A reader may recognize some of them as IFTA, SHV, ITEA, COP, OTR, LTL and so on. The article this week will discuss an acronym used less frequently, but is quite important.

HVUT. This is an acronym for “Heavy Vehicle Usage Tax”. Most truckers and those responsible for renewing the registration of fleets have seen this acronym before. The HVUT is a fee assessed annually on heavy vehicles operating on public highways at registered gross weights equal to or exceeding 55,000 pounds.

A common misconception about HVUT in Illinois needs to be clarified. When carriers register vehicles with Illinois flat weight plates, the physical registration card lists HVUT status on the same line as Special Hauling Vehicle status. Sometimes the word “suspended” is printed next to HVUT/SHV. This does NOT mean the vehicle’s SHV is suspended. Police officers must contact the Illinois Secretary of State, Commercial and Farm Truck Division to obtain the legitimacy of an SHV before taking enforcement action. The term “suspended” means the IRS is exempting the carrier from having to pay the HVUT.

In short, any vehicle with a registered weight of 55,000 pounds or more is subject to this federal tax. And the tax is different depending on your registered weight category. Vehicles registering up to 75,000 pounds pay a flat fee of $100.00, then $22.00 for each increment of one-thousand pounds above 55,000 pounds. Vehicles registering for 75,000 pounds or more pay a flat fee of $550.00.

Like all things truck law, there are exceptions and exemptions to the rules. Groups like federal, state and local government, the American Red Cross, fire departments, mass transportation authorities and so on do not pay this tax. Certain vehicle types such as agricultural vehicles traveling less than 7,500 miles a year, any commercial vehicle traveling less than 5,000 miles a year and qualified blood collection vehicles also do not pay this tax.

So why is HVUT important? HVUT helps to level the playing field for those who pay taxes to help fund road maintenance projects. The US Department of Transportation, in its most recent highway cost allocation study, estimated light single unit trucks, operating at 25,000 pounds or less, pay 150 percent of their road costs while the heaviest tractor-trailer combinations only pay 50 percent.

The HVUT also levels the playing field by ensuring that operators of heavy trucks pay a little more for the highway network relative to the motorists and light trucks who also meet their responsibility through other forms of taxes (e.g., registration fees, motor fuel taxes), but do less damage to the highway infrastructure.

The highways of this nation need funding. The HVUT is a significant source of transportation funding. HVUT generates more than one-billion dollars every year. While that may seem like a lot, it represents less than five percent of the total funds generated annually for highway maintenance by the USDOT.

Like all things truck law, a question which comes up routinely is whether or not local police officers have authority to enforce HVUT. The answer is no, but the secondary effects of failing to pay HVUT fees does create an enforcement scenario for all Illinois police officers.

The Illinois Secretary of State will not register any vehicle until the HVUT tax has been paid. Failure to obtain valid registration to carry weight on Illinois highways can result in an overweight on registration citation.

Like all things taxes, the IRS expects their HVUT payments. Be sure to fill out IRS Form 2290 when renewing and applying for new plates!

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A Word is Worth $1,000 (or more)

About a year ago the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association wrote an article on this blog regarding misconceptions of what constitutes a combination of vehicles versus a single vehicle. While sometimes the language of truck law appears straightforward, it becomes distorted when mixed with street vocabulary. The consequence of not knowing what the legal definition of a word means, compared to the common definition, is felt in the wallet when fines are levied. The article this week will discuss the erroneous descriptions of vehicles and loads when applying for oversize/overweight (OS/OW) permits.

Many local (municipal/township/county) jurisdictions require permits for vehicles exceeding legal weights and dimensions mandated in the Illinois Vehicle Code. A permit to travel OS/OW is obtained upon application, and the application is methodology for gathering information.

Many locals, similar to the OS/OW permit application used by the Illinois Department of Transportation, want to know the how and why of the load itself. One such question, or field of information, asks a carrier to declare one of three things:

Is the OS/OW load actually “loaded” on another vehicle?
Is the OS/OW load being “towed” behind another vehicle?
Or is the OS/OW load moved on its “own power”?

These terms may sound simple enough, but the reality is many carriers make the wrong choice. This delays the time it takes to receive an approved permit or the carrier may flat out get denied. In an effort to help understand the differences between these three choices, and to help expedite the permit process, here’s a closer look at what each term truly means.

Loaded
This is probably the most straight forward of the three. The word “loaded” could very well be interchanged with the term “carried”. A carrier should only select this choice when they are transporting an object on top of the highway vehicles. Think of movements of construction equipment, pre-cast concrete or roof trusses.

Towed
This is where things start to get sideways. Imagine a lowboy trailer is hauling a piece of construction equipment. Is the load being towed? Well, yes, but it’s also be carried. In the case of the lowboy or flatbed, the correct option is “loaded”. The trailer alone is most likely not OS/OW.

A towed OS/OW load is when a trailer is being pulled behind the power unit, and the trailer itself is OS/OW. Examples of this would be manufactured housing or tub grinders.

Own Power
Do semi-tractors move under their own power? Yes. Do straight trucks move under their own power? Yes. Does this mean when the OS/OW permit is applied for, and the vehicle is a power unit, the applicant should select “own power”? No. All permits loads require power to travel.

However, “own power” means the OS/OW load is the vehicle itself. The most common “own power” permit loads are mobile cranes. Other representations sometimes include concrete conveyors, well-drilling rigs and heavy wreckers.

When it comes to truck law, words matter. While it’s cool to talk truck slang with boys at the shop, there’s nothing fun about the tickets which may result in a lack of understanding.

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Challenge Yourself

On Wednesday, August 16th 2017, traffic safety professionals from across the state gathered in Tinley Park for the annual Illinois Traffic Safety Challenge awards Banquet. Scores of officers, government officials and members of traffic safety associations spent the morning celebrating the traffic safety successes of law enforcement agencies in 2016. Many of these law enforcement agencies are long-time members of the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association.

The Illinois Traffic Safety Challenge is a program coordinated by the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police Traffic Safety Committee, which allows agencies in Illinois to compare traffic safety programs to other agencies of a similar size. It is more than a friendly competition, it is a way to constantly learn and improve on traffic safety practices throughout the state. The ITEA is an honorary sponsor of the Illinois Traffic Safety Challenge and has board members that serve as judges for the Challenge’s submissions.

In order to compete in the Challenge, law enforcement agencies must submit a lengthy publication highlighting their yearly efforts in traffic safety policy, officer training, awards and recognition, public education and enforcement. The submission must also include a section, which documents the overall effectiveness of their efforts, and how it has affected their patrol jurisdiction. In addition, the Challenge offers specialty awards for departments who excel specifically in impaired driving enforcement, occupant protection, distracted driving awareness, pedestrian and bicycle safety, railroad crossing safety, speed awareness and, of course, commercial vehicle enforcement.

For those in the trucking industry, don’t get the wrong idea. The Challenge isn’t about which department writes the most tickets. It is about having an effective overall traffic program, which deters traffic violations, educates the public and reduces crashes. While enforcement numbers do play a small role in the Challenge, the other aforementioned categories are more significantly weighted.

What this program does specifically for the trucking industry is encourage agencies to take a proactive approach in educating those who operate or own commercial vehicles. Many of the participating police departments actively seek out businesses within their jurisdiction to conduct traffic safety training related to commercial vehicles. The great part about this type of training is that it addresses concerns on a local level by the officers who enforce truck laws in that area. It also allows creates a point of contact for local drivers.

In addition to educating members of the trucking community, the Challenge also demands there are sound operating procedures and policies in place when it comes to enforcement of certain laws. The goal of this demand is to create consistency in the enforcement operations of police departments throughout Illinois. Anyone who has read any of the ITEA’s literature, or attended ITEA training, knows fairness and consistency are our most sacred values. These values are shared by the administrators of the Traffic Safety Challenge.

Finally, and most importantly, the Challenge requires participating agencies to produce results. The judges want to see how impactful a police department’s traffic safety program actually is. The impact of a program is primarily measured by the number of crashes which occurred throughout the year.  Judges want to see what is being done to preserve the life and property of those who reside or travel through a given jurisdiction.

If the appropriate amount of enforcement, education and engineering is utilized, the result should be a decrease in overall crashes and injuries. Overall, it reinforces the concept that all traffic enforcement is done for one specific reason – to keep people alive!

Here is the ITEA’s challenge to all of our law enforcement members: Take the time to create a traffic safety program which can run with the best of them. Any department of any size can have a successful program if they identify what traffic issues reside within their borders. Fair and consistent enforcement, coupled with educating the members of your community and training your officers is all it takes to be a champion.

Members of the trucking industry, don’t feel left out. You too can play a significant role in traffic safety. Reach out to local government and see if you can offer anything to help better educate the officers in your area. It could be as simple as inviting them to one of your company’s safety meetings. Give the officers a chance to teach you the fine points of the law. In return, offer to teach them something about your industry. You may be surprised at how eager police officers are to learn about your industry.

Traffic safety is not just the job of the police. We must all challenge ourselves to make the roads of Illinois safer to travel.

To learn more about the Illinois Traffic Safety Challenge, visit: www.iltrafficchallenge.org/

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The World’s Largest Truck Convoy

Law enforcement and Special Olympics go together like peanut butter and jelly. The partnership between the truck industry and the police is a little more like cats and dogs. There are times when they get along great, and others times when the dog is always chasing the cat. The Special Olympics truck convoy is a great time for both police and the trucking industry to get together and have a good time.

For years police officers have participated in various fundraisers to help support Special Olympics and the athletes who participate. Cop on Top at Dunkin Donuts, Butterburgers and Badges at Culver’s, the Plane Pull, the Polar Plunge and much more.  All these fundraisers have helped numerous Special Olympics athletes compete throughout Illinois.

The purpose of Special Olympics is to help those with disabilities find confidence and fulfilment through sports. The program is international with more than 4.9 million athletes in over 172 countries. The fundraisers held in Illinois help Illinois athletes compete at the state level and beyond.

So how does the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association come into play? Well, as an organization of both police and truckers, we sponsor the World’s Largest Truck Convoy. On August 26th, 2017, it kicks off at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

Registration begins at 8:00 am, and the convoy rolls out around 10:00 am. Heading west on I-90 to the Huntley interchange and back, the trucks will be seen for the entire 30-mile route. After the convoy, enjoy lunch and raffle prizes. This is a great event for the kids to come out and see some cool trucks and cool police cars.

Police cars? In a convoy? You heard that right, Oxcart Permit Systems sponsors the #squadhaul program as part of the convoy. Have your local police department put their squad car on a trailer and enter a contest to win $1,000.00 cash for the coolest truck/police car combination. The police cars stay on the trailer for the whole convoy.

If you can’t make it to the August 26th convoy date, Special Olympics is hosting two more convoys. September 9th, 2017 from 5:30 pm in the evening to 8:00 pm, CIT Trucks in Troy, Illinois will be hosting a convoy. This convoy travels down I-55 and 270 for about 25 miles. There is no #squadhaul for the Troy convoy.

October 7th, 2017 in Tinley Park is the last opportunity in 2017 to participate. The hours are from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm starting at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater and runs from I-80 and I-57, about 25 miles. This convoy will be similar to the one at the Sears Centre, and offers the opportunity to participate in the #squadhaul.

These events are a great opportunity to raise funds for the Special Olympics program. But they serve more than that purpose. The convoy is also an opportunity for kids to see some cool trucks up close, as well as an opportunity for police officers and the communities they serve to get together on good terms.

You can register for any of the convoys by clicking here.

Please consider participating in one of the convoys, or just come out to one of the events to meet some cool cops, cooler truck drivers, and support the Special Olympics of Illinois.  Help bring the cats and dogs together for a good cause.

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