Newsletter of the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association – May 2018

Newsletter of the

Illinois Truck Enforcement Association

May 2018

Letter from President

It may not seem like it, but summer is just around the corner. Road projects will begin, and trucks will start operating in full force. This is a good time to remind drivers to check their trucks and loads, ensure they are complying with all safety measures and remind truck officers the key goal to any traffic enforcement is the safety of the motoring public.

Together we can make Illinois’ roads safer and show those who choose to operate unsafely that there is no place here for them. Education is the key and the primary function of the ITEA. A good truck officer will spend a little time with the truck he has stopped to help educate the driver on why they were pulled over and how to avoid it in the future.

Looking forward to May, our portable scale certification is scheduled for the 8th and 9th at Advanced Weighing Systems in Addison. Our basic class is scheduled in September and our advanced class will be held in October. More information on those events are below.

Stay safe…

Marc Fisher

President

 

Oxcart Company of the Month

Peter Baker & Son Company of Lake Bluff, IL has been selected as the April 2018 Oxcart Carrier of the Month! Peter Baker & Son Company specializes in the production and installation of bituminous asphalt materials for both public and private customers. The company was founded in 1915 and received a 100th Anniversary proclamation from Governor Bruce Rauner in August 2015.

Thank you, Peter Baker & Son Company, for your longevity as business in Illinois and being a leader in local oversize/overweight permit compliance. Enjoy your complimentary membership with the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association!

 

Scale Certification Dates

Advanced Weighing Systems has announced their next State of Illinois portable scale certification dates.

May 8th and May 9th

To schedule an appointment with Advanced Weighing Systems contact them at, 630-916-6179 or visit www.scaledealer.com

 

Basic and Advanced Truck Enforcement Officer Class

The College of DuPage Suburban Law Enforcement Academy will once again host the ITEA basic and advanced truck enforcement classes.

The basic class will be held September 24-28, 2018 and will include portable scale certification on the last day of class. This training is the best truck enforcement training in the state and we continue to keep it current and relevant to today’s laws.

The cost to attend is $295.00. To register click here.

The advanced class has been beneficial in helping certified officers extend their knowledge base and look deeper into the trucks they stop. The class teaches truck officers to better understand what it takes for a truck driver to operate in Illinois. The class will be held October 8-12, 2018.

The cost to attend is $295.00. To register clicker here.

 

ITEA 2018 Handbooks

We are excited to announce the availability of the ITEA handbook. This handbook is the resource for Illinois truck laws. Inside you will find cheat sheets for the bridge formula, a list of vehicles and their allowed weights, all the ITEA standards of Practice and more.

The books are available for $25.00 including shipping and can be purchased by clicking here.

 

Illinois State Police Update

Drivers Operating a CMV without an ELD Will Be Placed Out of Service

APRIL 1st, 2018

Starting April 1st, 2018, property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers operating their vehicle without a required registered electronic logging device (ELD) or a grandfathered automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD), will be placed out of service for 10 hours; passenger-carrying CMV drivers will be placed out of service for 8 hours.

Violations will be recorded on a roadside inspection report and the driver may be cited (e.g., issued a violation ticket or a civil penalty) for failing to have a required electronic record of duty status.

After 8 or 10 hours out of service, the driver may continue to their final destination, provided the driver has accurately documented their hours-of-service requirements using a paper record of duty status (e.g., log book, daily log or log) and has a copy of the inspection report and/or citation.

If the driver is stopped again before reaching his/her final destination, the driver must provide the safety official with a copy of the inspection report and evidence (e.g., bill of lading) proving that he/she is still on the continuation of the original trip.

After reaching their final destination, if the driver is re-dispatched again without obtaining a compliant ELD, he/she will again be subject to the out-of-service process outlined above, unless the driver is traveling back to the principle place of business or terminal empty to obtain an ELD.

All ELD violations will be counted against a motor carrier’s Safety Measurement System (SMS) score, which will drive selection for investigation within the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. FMCSA will determine appropriate action against non-compliant motor carriers.

Please note that motor carriers that installed and used an AOBRD prior to Dec. 18, 2017, may install and use additional ELD-capable devices with complaint AOBRD software after Dec. 18, 2017. These AOBRDs may be used until Dec. 16, 2019, and must meet the requirements of 49 CFR 395.15.

The ELD footnotes 11-14 in Part I of the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria are now in effect, which means that drivers operating CMVs with violations related to ELD compliance in those footnotes will be placed out of service for 8 or 10 hours, then permitted to continue, as outlined above.

Remember, the ELD mandate does not change the underlying hours-of-service requirements.

For more information, visit FMCSA’s ELD implementation website.

 

Advertisers wanted– interested in helping support the ITEA and obtain some brand recognition?

Already a member? You are eligible for free advertising on our social media platforms!

Contact Chris Maxwell at cmaxwell@illinoistruckcops.com for more information.

Place an ad in our monthly newsletter which reaches almost 1,000 people.

Contact Marc Fisher at mfisher@illinoistruckcops.com for more information

 

ITEA Board of Directors

Brian Cluever

Executive Director

cluever@illinoistruckcops.com

 

Marc Fisher

President

mfisher@illinoistruckcops.com

 

Jeff Moos

Vice President

moos@illnoistruckcops.com

 

Chris Maxwell

Secretary

cmaxwell@illinoistruckcops.com

 

Tom Hall

Treasurer

tom@illinoistruckcops.com

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ITEA April Newsletter

Newsletter of the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association

April 2018

Letter from President

The 2018 annual conference was a huge success! Many thanks to all the people involved in helping us put together what is the best training in Illinois for both truck cops and trucking companies.

The ITEA is excited to continue the tradition that started nine years ago of ensuring the government agencies that regulate truck laws in Illinois have an opportunity to speak directly with those tasked with not only obeying the laws, but also enforcing them. With well over 120 people attending, they were able to see firsthand how the Illinois State Police inspect a truck, hear about safety lane updates, obtain IDOT’s Traffic Incident Management certification and so much more.

The planning stages are in progress for next year and we would love to know what you would like to see and hear so we can continue providing top notch training.

Many thanks to Oxcart Permit Systems, Advanced Weighing Systems, The Illinois Farm Bureau, Midwest Truckers Association, Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Secretary of State and the Illinois Commerce Commission for making this event what it is.

Marc Fisher

President

Congratulations to the ITEA Truck Officer of the Year

Congratulations to Officer Scott Clark of the Mundelein Police Department for winning the Glenn Strebel Truck Officer of the year award. Scott’s dedication to the values of the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association have shown as he has worked with the industry in helping them understand Illinois’ complex truck laws. Scott isn’t afraid to reach out to other officers for assistance as well as offer assistance to officers new to the truck enforcement world. As always, it is difficult to pick a winner from the candidates. Congratulations Scott!

Oxcart March Carrier of the Month

Oxcart is proud to announce American Built Systems (ABS) of Plainfield, IL as the March Carrier of the Month award recipient! ABS was formed in 1997 and is a premier supplier of roof trusses, floor trusses and wall panels. They not only deliver hundreds of OSOW loads each year around the Chicago region, but also manufacture their own products onsite. Their commitment to excellence drives them to be compliant with all local regulations, including local permitting. Thank you ABS for doing your part, and enjoy your membership to the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association!

Scale Certification Dates – Advanced Weighing Systems, Addison

Advanced Weighing has announced their next State of Illinois portable scale certification dates.

May 8th and May 9th

To schedule an appointment with advanced weighing contact them at 630-916-6179 or visit www.scaledealer.com

Illinois State Police Update

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Road Check will take place June 5-7, 2018. Over that 72-hour period, commercial motor vehicle inspectors in jurisdictions throughout North America will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers. This year’s focus is on hours-of-service compliance.

“The top reason drivers were placed out of service during the 2017 International Road Check was for hours-of-service violations,” said CVSA President, Captain Christopher Turner of the Kansas Highway Patrol. “Thirty-two percent of drivers who were placed out of service during last year’s three-day International Road Check were removed from our roadways due to violations related to hours-of-service regulations. It’s definitely an area we need to call attention to this year.”

“Although the electronic logging device (ELD) rule that went into effect on December 18th, 2017, does not change any of the underlying hours-of-service rules or exceptions. The ELD mandate placed a spotlight on hours-of-service compliance,” said Captain Turner. “We thought this year would be a perfect opportunity to focus on the importance of the hours-of-service regulations.”

During the International Road Check, inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.

The vehicle inspection includes checking brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers. Additional items for buses include emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating.

Drivers are asked to provide their operating credentials and hours-of-service documentation and will be checked for seat belt usage. Inspectors will also be attentive to apparent alcohol and/or drug impairment.

If no critical inspection item violations are found during a Level I Inspection, a CVSA decal will be applied to the vehicle, indicating that the vehicle successfully passed a decal-eligible inspection conducted by a CVSA-certified inspector.

If an inspector does identify critical inspection item violations, he or she may render the driver or vehicle out of service if the condition meets the North American Out-of-Service Criteria. This means the driver cannot operate the vehicle until the vehicle and/or driver qualification violation(s) are corrected.

International Road Check is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with around 17 trucks and buses inspected, on average, every minute in Canada, the United States and Mexico during a 72-hour period. Since its inception in 1988, more than 1.5 million roadside inspections have been conducted during International Road Check campaigns.

International Road Check is a CVSA program with participation by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

Apportioned Registration Reminder

April 1st was the deadline! If you didn’t renew you Illinois registration plates, they expired on April 1st. Time to renew! Those certified ITEA truck officers will be out there checking! You can read an article about apportioned plates HERE!

Advertisers Wanted– Interested in helping support the ITEA and obtain some brand recognition?

Place an ad in our monthly newsletter which reaches almost 1,000 people!

Contact Marc Fisher at mfisher@illinoistruckcops.com for more information.

Already an ITEA Business member? You’re eligible for FREE advertising on the ITEA social media outlets!

Contact Chris Maxwell at cmaxwell@illinoistruckcops.com for more information or to schedule.

 

ITEA Board of Directors

Brian Cluever

Executive Director

cluever@illinoistruckcops.com

 

Marc Fisher

President

mfisher@illinoistruckcops.com

 

Jeff Moos

Vice President

moos@illnoistruckcops.com

 

Chris Maxwell

Secretary

cmaxwell@illinoistruckcops.com

 

Tom Hall

Treasurer

tom@illinoistruckcops.com

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ITEA March Newsletter

Newsletter of the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association
March 2018

Letter from the President,

Last month, we tackled some important issues for the trucking industry and law enforcement alike. Recently two bills were proposed in the Illinois Senate, SB3098 and SB2918. These bills will affect how the industry obtains their oversize overweight permits and the cost associated with them.

SB3098 takes permitting authority away from local agencies and gives total control to the Illinois Department of Transportation. While this may simplify the process for the industry, it will remove the ability to contact a local authority and make sure the safest route is being taken. There is also no recourse for local authorities to recoup the money from the permits to maintain their roads or ensure the trucking company is insured in the event of a crash or damage.

SB2918 forces local permitting to be at the same cost as IDOT permits. The Illinois Department of Transportation has not changed their rates in decades, and there is nothing to say that passage of this bill will keep those rates as they stand now. Each community should have the ability to set their rates as they see fit to maintain their roads.

A hearing was set for February 27th, 2018 for SB2918. As of this writing the outcome is unknown.

The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association has worked to be the middleman between truck enforcement and the trucking industry. Great strides have been made to simplify the permitting process in Illinois and help the industry move across the state with less police interaction. We believe we can continue the education we began nine years ago to make Illinois a truck friendly state. Thank you for your membership and support. Let’s keep working together to make Illinois’ truck laws work for every citizen in Illinois and not just create more bureaucracy.

Marc Fisher

President

Annual Conference Update

The ITEA is gearing up for the annual conference. Set to showcase:
DOT Inspections
IDOT Permit Section
Illinois Secretary of State CDL updates and more!

Lunch is included!

Pheasant Run Resort St. Charles, Illinois March 29, 2018 from 8am-4pm. You can purchase tickets HERE!

Oxcart Carrier of the Month

Oxcart Permit Systems is proud to announce Mil/Ron Trucking of Plainfield, IL was selected as the February Carrier of the Month!

Mil/Ron specializes in hauling of oversize loads, particularly pre-cast concrete, to many municipalities and projects throughout the Chicagoland region. Mil/Ron has shown exceptional compliance when it comes to obtaining local OSOW permitting.

This not only promotes the integrity of their company, but protects local public safety and infrastructure. Congrats Mil/Ron and enjoy your complimentary membership to the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association!

IDOT Permit Conference

The Illinois Department of Transportation will once again be hosting their customer conferences this month.

IDOT will host their meeting at the ITEA annual conference at Pheasant Run March 29, 2018. There is no cost to attend IDOT’s meeting, but why not purchase a ticket for the ITEA conference and be even more informed on all things truck law?

To sign up for the IDOT customer conference at any location click HERE!

Tuesday March 20, 2018 9 am-Noon Hanley Building Auditorium, 2300 South Dirksen Parkway, Springfield Illinois

Thursday March 22, 2018 9 am-Noon, State of Illinois Complex, Rooms 211 & 212, 1102 Eastport Plaza Drive, Collinsville Illinois

Illinois State Police Update

See the following bulletin in regard to portable electronic logging devices from our friends at CVSA.

http://cvsa.org/wp-content/uploads/Inspection-Bulletin-2017-05-Handheld-and-ELDs.pdf

Advertisers wanted– interested in helping support the ITEA and obtain some brand recognition?

Place an ad in our monthly newsletter which reaches almost 1,000 people and grows all the time!

Contact Marc Fisher at mfisher@illinoistruckcops.com for more information

ITEA Board of Directors

Brian Cluever

Executive Director

cluever@illinoistruckcops.com

Marc Fisher

President

mfisher@illinoistruckcops.com

Jeff Moos

Vice President

moos@illnoistruckcops.com

Chris Maxwell

Director of Public Information

cmaxwell@illinoistruckcops.com

Tom Hall

Treasurer

tom@illinoistruckcops.com

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Dumb (Proposed) Laws – SB3098

Vanity. It’s what makes something look good on the outside, but there is no guarantee what is on the inside isn’t completely revolting. A recent bill introduced in the Illinois Senate, SB3098, is exactly that. From a distance, the bill looks like it makes sense, but dig in a little to see how the legislation would play out in the real world, and it’s a nightmare. This bill is not good for the trucking industry and it’s a direct assault on the authority and autonomy of local government.

The bill is quite simple. In the year 2023, local government would lose all authority to permit oversize/overweight (OSOW) vehicles traveling on the very roads they own and maintain. Instead, the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) assume OSOW permitting authority for the biggest and heaviest vehicles on local roads which they do not own, do not maintain and do not take any liability for.

In fairness to the heavy haulers who travel in Illinois, obtaining local permits historically has been problematic. Every city, village, township and county has their own system to accept, review and issue permits. Due to this patchwork of regulation, the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (aka “CMAP”, a state agency), recently commissioned a $250,000 taxpayer funded study to recommend a solution to the problem of local permitting, thereby improving Illinois commerce.

The study began in 2014 and was completed in 2016. It was an incredibly thorough study, and included representatives from all levels of local government, state government and leaders from the trucking industry. The final report can be viewed HERE.

Many ideas and solutions were considered, including the idea of IDOT consolidating permit authority over local roads. But guess what? This idea was outright rejected. That’s right, the very solution this bill seeks to implement, was rejected by a committee of carriers and government officials.

What the study did recommend is for local government to participate in a cooperative, online permitting solution. Eventually, as many units of local government take advantage of the program, technology could be created to help integrate the IDOT permit system and the local system.

And guess what? The recommended solution from the CMAP study is being utilized by nearly 70 units of local government in Illinois today, mostly from the suburban Chicago area. Plans and conversations have already been conducted to begin preliminary data sharing between the local system and IDOT. It’s not permit utopia yet, but the local system is growing and evolving. Big things are on the horizon. The solution, as proposed in the CMAP study, is working.

Unfortunately, a bill like this comes along and threatens the very progress being made. It sounds like an easy and simple solution to “just let IDOT do it”. However, it’s not that easy.

First, this bill was not sponsored by IDOT. It was sponsored by one trucking association whose membership consists of a very small percentage of permit load carriers. Does IDOT even want to be responsible for permitting over local roads? Or would they rather participate in the cooperative effort described above?

Was this another piece of legislation dreamt up by people who have no idea how the impacted state agency functions? In essence, this state legislature bill creates an unfunded mandate for one of its very own state agencies!

In order for IDOT to effectively permit OSOW vehicles on local roads within their system, an incredible amount of engineering data most be collected. Data for every mile of local roads, for every bridge and box culvert, for every vertical clearance. For all 1400 municipalities, 1400 township and 102 counties. Plus they would need accurate, constantly changing road ownership data and annexation agreements.

Who is going to pay for all these local road studies? IDOT? The State of Illinois is broke. Local government? They’re broke too.

Don’t forget the Illinois legislature in 2018 robbed local government of revenues entitled to them through the Local Government Distributive Fund. To add insult to injury, the legislature then taxed local government 2% to keep their money! It’s insanity. The state pilfers local government to fund their own fiscal disaster. This impacts local services like police, fire, public works and local road projects.

Instead, this bill would force cash-strapped local governments and/or cash-strapped IDOT to pony up premium engineering funds to make this solution work. Don’t forget, it’s a solution which was rejected by leaders of the industry, local government and state regulatory agencies.

In return, the bill revokes the authority of local government to make decisions on the best way to route the biggest and heaviest vehicles on Main Street. Further, it revokes their ability to charge nominal fees for the very permits they could no longer issue. Instead, the state would charge a fee to permit trucks on local roads. More robbery from Springfield at the expense of local government and their citizens.

For those in the industry, you live in a local community. Ask yourself if you really want the state deciding if trucks could be routed on your local streets.

Will IDOT make sure OSOW trucks aren’t driving into parades and block parties? Will IDOT guarantee OSOW trucks aren’t traveling on roads when parents are dropping off or picking up their kids from school? Will IDOT assure trucks aren’t routed where the public works department is working on road repairs?

This is why local government exists. They know best about their community and how to protect it.

Again, no one knows IDOT’s position on this bill. However, is it unreasonable to look into a crystal ball and see a day when IDOT, if they had this authority, could push heavy trucks on local roads? Would it not be advantageous for the state (and disadvantageous to locals) to avoid routing OSOW on their own failing infrastructure?

Currently, IDOT recommends local routes, but does not give authority to carriers to move OSOW on local roads. Similarly, local government does not permit or give authority for OSOW moves on highways they do not own.

Simply saying “IDOT can permit on local roads” is not good enough. To think this bill, if passed, could withstand a constitutional challenge is ridiculous. The legislature, cannot with the stroke of a pen, revoke the authority of local government to protect the property they own. This is not eminent domain, rather it’s a blatant overreach of the legislature.

Call your local legislator and voice your opposition to SB3098.

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The Death of the Weekly Blog

In November 2011, the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association launched the first installment of weekly blog posts. This first article was titled “Dirty Lyle” and it set the tone for the next six years of blog posts: police officers and truckers must work together to keep Illinois safe and make trucking profitable. Now, after more than 220,000 words in 318 articles, the weekly blog is coming to an end on this last day of 2017. But don’t think for a second the ITEA is driving off the shoulder of the information superhighway…quite to the contrary. Read on to find out what is in store for the faithful readers in 2018.

First a little housekeeping. The blog, technically speaking, is not going anywhere. Every article will remain live and on the web for the eternity of this organization. These posts represent the lifeblood of the ITEA and will survive for reference, historical perspective and a good laugh.

In its place, the ITEA will begin marketing a monthly newsletter via email in January 2018. Each newsletter will contain smaller, condensed articles of news in the truck enforcement world. This will allow the ITEA to promote more content, in less space, than a weekly blog post. If you get the weekly email, you will automatically receive the monthly newsletter.

To speak technically again, the blog is not 100% dead either. There will be times when events impacting law enforcement or the trucking industry will need an extended article. It could be a new piece of legislation, a training event or a thorn needing to be pulled. It those times, the blog as you have known it may be resurrected for a specific purpose.

It’s been a good run! Through this blog and it’s many contributing authors, a ton of ground has been covered. Complex laws have been explained. Educational opportunities have been promoted. Misunderstandings have been straightened out. Precedents have been set.

The blog has not survived without its own controversies however. Rogue enforcement practices, incorrect teaching methodologies and general anti-police or anti-trucking sentiments have been exposed and extinguished.

Through a few adversarial blog posts, the ITEA lost some friends and made some enemies. It happens. Nobody said truth is an easy pill to swallow. The goal of the ITEA, using electronic communication mediums, has been to provide the facts no matter how much it hurts.

The ITEA will not focus on those the blog has alienated. Olive branches were always offered and refused. So be it. This organization will continue to fight the good fight and promote the positive results from professionally speaking truth.

Articles appearing on this blog have been reproduced in local, regional and national publications of various partner organizations. Law enforcement periodicals, trucking magazines and other governmental groups have duplicated the content in their own rags.

The best encouragement the ITEA has received is the never-ending appreciation from those readers from all different occupations. Every event ITEA leaders attend, anywhere in the nation, yields compliments from the thousands of readers who have found these articles in their inbox every Sunday morning. Not all articles apply to everyone, but each reader has found something beneficial from one post or another.

The ITEA would like to thank all the sponsors who have financially underwritten the cost of the blog each week. Mid-west Truckers Association, the Connolly Law Office, The Mulch Center, Advanced Weighing Systems, and Oxcart Permit Systems – thank you for making this happen. Your partnership with the ITEA has been nothing short of awesome.

See you in a few weeks! Until then, keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your…tail?

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What is the Measure of Your Success?

No matter what the occupation, there are procedures for the operation. Where there are procedures, there are always holes in the application of the job. No procedure can rightly legislate every possible scenario. Where there are holes in the application, there are interpretations on how best to complete the job. When there are interpretations, there is conflict and differences of opinion. When it comes to measuring axle spacings on trucks for enforcement purposes, the appropriate tools for measurement is one of these giant holes of interpretation.

A repetitive theme during the six years of this blog is investigating the difference between fact and fiction. Given the sheer volume of truck laws, the opportunity for procedural holes is great.

Recently, a police officer member of the ITEA posted a question in the members-only discussion forum about which devices are lawful for measuring the distance between axles. He had been told the law only allows the use of a steel tape. A fair question, one that has been asked of the ITEA many, many times.

Here is the lie: the law (both statutory and judicial case law) says a police officer can only use a steel tape to measure between axles.

Here is the truth: the law says nothing about what a police officer must use to measure between axles. Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Here is the application: there are several devices available for truck officers to use, each with their own pros and cons.

Steel Tape Measure

The law does not require a police officer to use this.

Pro – steel tapes will not stretch out over time.

Con – they rust. Sometimes it is snowy and raining in Illinois, and using a steel tape will ruin the device. A second con is it requires another person to hold one end. Truck officers are notorious for being independent workers, and there usually is not a second police officer around to assist. Having the trucker hold one end of the tape isn’t necessarily advisable either.

Cloth Tape Measure

The law does not require a police officer to use this.

Pro – they are lightweight and roll up easy.

Con – they do not respond well to moisture and will stretch out over time. Also, they require a second person to help like their steel cousin.

Walking Wheel

The law does not require a police officer to use this.

Pro – allows a police officer to work independently. The device is more resistant to weather.

Con – they need to be checked regularly for accuracy. Also, police officers need to make sure they are walking straight, and the wheel is not adding inches by skipping over road debris.

Lasers

The law does not require a police officer to use this.

Pro – if a police officer can come up with an affordable and practical way to make this technology work for truck enforcement, he’s a Jedi.

Con – probably is going to cost a lot of money.

Because statutory law and case law are both silent to what devices are required for police officers to use when measuring, a police officer is not wrong for using any of them. The police officer is only wrong when he knows he is using a device improperly, or in such a way that would unfairly lend to the favor of enforcement.

This is an integrity issue. Any competent defense attorney can surely pick apart the unreasonable use of one device, but at the end of the day the officer needs to measure with something. The ethical truck officer knows the rights and wrongs and chooses the appropriate tool for the job.

It’s the job of the defense to defeat the credibility of a police officer. This is an extremely high standard, one which cannot be simply reached by throwing a random “improper measuring device” dart in the dark.

Whether the police officer is measuring between axles to enforce legal weights under the Federal Bridge Formula, or measuring axle spacings for compliance with an overweight permit, the fines can be extraordinary. Just like unequal scales are an abomination in the eyes of the Lord, trumped up measurements are too.

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We Are All In This Together

At any major event people are seen wearing different hats while working together to accomplish the same goal. At sporting events, there are tickets takers, ushers, vendors and security all working in harmony to ensure the spectators have a fun experience. When a catastrophe hits, people come together from police and fire departments, and federal agencies all to keep citizens safe and begin the process of cleanup and rebuilding. In the world of truck enforcement, there are many organizations working together to keep the roads safe and the American economy rolling. So how do these people from different agencies work together?

At highest level is the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA establishes the rules and regulations which affect trucks crossing state lines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) are thorough and can be daunting. This is why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the Illinois Trucking Association, Illinois Farm Bureau and the Midwest Trucker’s Association work to provide their members information they need to stay legal and safe.

On the flipside of the regulatory coin is the Illinois State Police (ISP). In Illinois, ISP is the only agency allowed to enforce the FMCSR. These troopers are specially trained to inspect trucks and check logbooks among other things. No other organization in Illinois has this authority. When a local officer stops a truck, and see things he feels may not be safe, his course of action should be to reach out to his state police district and ask for help.

Over the years, the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association has worked hard to build a great working relationship with the Illinois State Police. Many troopers support what the ITEA is trying to accomplish. The ITEA’s ability to educate the carrier industry on state law, as well as using ISP as a resource in federal regulation education, has been noticed throughout the industry.

This past year, the ITEA annual conference was held with many representatives of the trucking industry in attendance. Some of the best feedback received reflected how well ISP presented relevant information. One of the big questions from a trucking company is about inspections and the willingness of ISP to present directly to the trucking industry. Their willingness to be available and to answer their questions proved meaningful.

As the ITEA grows, building relationships with agencies and organizations who believe in the same mission, will continue. This mission is to provide high quality information to the trucking industry so they can operate in a safe and legal manner as well as teach law enforcement the ethical way to enforce laws.

As you look at roads in Illinois, notice one thing: all state routes lead to a local road. Truck drivers, local police officers and state troopers are all working together to keep these roads safe. The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association will continue to collaborate with any agency whose goal is to keep America growing.

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Trucks are not Bicycles

Back in 1892, British songwriter Harry Dacre penned a little jingle about he and a woman named “Daisy” riding on a bicycle built for two, more commonly known as “tandem”. Ever seen a pair of horses pulling a trailer? Yep – a tandem. In truck world, a pair of axles is sometimes called a tandem, but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes a tandem is more than two axles. Either way, in the vast world of truck terminology misunderstandings, the tandem is not forgotten. This article will clarify the ongoing schism about tandems.

First, understand there are two kinds of tandems. The legal definition in the Illinois Vehicle Code, and the street version. The reader may use the term tandem to describe whatever he wants, but that does not mean he is statutorily correct.

In Illinois law, a tandem is two or more consecutive axles, with a minimum spacing on center of 40” and a maximum spacing of 96”. This can be found in 625 ILCS 5/1-204.3. Its plainly obvious in this definition that a tandem is not limited to only two axles.

If a vehicle manufacturer can cram three or more physical axles into the 40” to 96” window, all those axles are considered one tandem. In the weight laws of Illinois, this group of more than two axles will receive a maximum 34,000 pounds of weight (barring any special exceptions).

If two axles are so close together they do not have a minimum 40” between the two of them, they are not a legal tandem. Even though there are two physical axles (making it a tandem by the street definition), the maximum weight for the two axles is measured as a single axle, or 20,000 pounds. This is common on small landscaping trailers.

If two consecutive axles have more than 96” between them, they may very well be a street definition tandem, but again, they are not a legal tandem. They are instead two single axles, each receiving a maximum 20,000 pounds individually. Depending on their spacing, they may receive anywhere from 38,000 to 40,000 pounds under the Federal Bridge Formula.

Where the real confusion about tandems comes into play is on overweight permits issued by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and other local agencies.

For instance, a 9-axle mobile crane which weighs 187,000 pounds gross weight obtains a permit from IDOT and some local agencies. On the vehicle, there may very well be several sets of two consecutive axles with a spacing of 40”-96”.

The confusion comes in because the permit may list a tandem, but on the scale, these tandems have weights greatly in excess of 34,000. What the term tandem really means is a “group of axles”. This same 9-axle crane may have a group of two axles, then a group of four axles, then a group of three axles. On the permit, it may list each group as the first tandem, second tandem and third tandem.

Unfortunately, many enforcement agents have applied the legal tandem definition (and weight of 34,000 pounds) to these groups of axles and issued very costly overweight citations. This is erroneous for two reasons.

First, this display of the word tandem is an alternate version, not the legal version. Second, because it is overweight, the legal definition is a moot point anyhow. The permit authority has issued a higher weight for this group, and enforcement must honor those weights.

Words matter, and keen discernment recognizing the differences between legal definitions and street definitions is paramount to truck enforcement efforts. Police officers and truckers alike must be clear and detailed when explaining these situations to guarantee correct interpretations are applied. Loose and uneducated interpretations wrongly cost people a whole lot of time and money.

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Strap In and Haul Out

The federal government has spent billions of dollars over the past decade preaching the importance of a common sense task, required by law, for all drivers, in every type of vehicle, in all 50 states. All this money has been spent to reinforce the idea drivers should buckle their seat belts before traveling on the roadway. Local, state and federal government have spent countless hours enforcing occupant protection enforcement and education. One would think this task would happen naturally as a method of self-preservation, yet there are many who refuse to comply with this simple, statutory requirement, including truck drivers.

Over the years, much progress has been made encouraging motorists to comply with seat belt laws. The daytime seat belt usage rate has risen from 70.7% in 2000 to 90.1% in 2016, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) resources. These numbers represent a significant increase in compliance over a 16-year period.

The numbers seem encouraging on face value, but the same statistics scream 1 out of 10 people traveling in vehicles are not securing their seat belts. These statistics only represent those traveling in passenger vehicles.

When one begins to look at the compliance rate of the trucking demographic likely reading this blog, the rate quickly drops from 90.1% to 84.9%. In other terms, there is a 5% drop off in seat belt compliance from passenger vehicles to commercial vehicles traveling on US roadways. What this statistic says is professionals who operate heavy vehicles are significantly less likely to buckle up to save their lives and those in smaller, more maneuverable vehicles.

As further proof of the lack of compliance, driver safety belt violations were the fifth most common violation cited by officers conducting federal safety regulation inspections in 2016. Almost 60,000 violations were documented by officers. While this number itself is extremely high, it still doesn’t even include those cited by other law enforcement officers not conducting federal inspections.

Those in law enforcement have heard every excuse in the book from violators of safety belt laws. Some of those excuses are more reasonable than others, but almost none are a statutory exemption to safety belt requirements.

Drivers of commercial vehicles offer some of the more compelling arguments law enforcement will hear. Many have argued the belt is uncomfortable to wear for long periods while traveling over bumpy roads. Others have contended since their vehicle is bigger, they are less likely to be injured in a crash.

The fact remains that even commercial vehicles are bigger than others on the road, unrestrained drivers can still be seriously injured in a crash. Further, commercial vehicles are more likely to be involved in a roll-over situation than a passenger vehicle. In these cases, the size of the vehicle is not going to protect the driver from being injured, as the larger passenger compartment and its contents will serve as a potential centrifuge of injury or death.

If the risk of injury or death isn’t enough to encourage commercial vehicle operators to buckle up, perhaps the possibility of law enforcement intervention will serve as a deterrent. While it has been reported that only about 2% of law enforcement officers are likely to stop commercial vehicles, the chance of being stopped by the police increases exponentially when one chooses to disobey a law to which every patrol officer.

Many officers are not trained in the finer aspects of commercial vehicle enforcement, which many commercial vehicle operators rightfully worry about. Violations of size, weight, CDL or federal regulations are not often possessed in the average patrol officer’s repertoire. Seat belt violations, however, are something that every officer knows is illegal. Why draw attention police attention over such a futile disregard of the law?

Law enforcement nationwide has gone “all in” on the campaign to encourage motorists to “Click it or Ticket” and they will not back down from the crusade until there are zero fatalities. It takes everyone working together to make the roadways a safer place as the holidays approach. Secure safety belts and drive safely on the roads.

From all of us at the ITEA, have a happy and safe holiday season and remember to buckle up!

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All Fowled Up

The trucking industry is infatuated with the poultry industry. Ever seen a left lane chicken train speed past you? Ever said “cluck cluck chicken truck” when there’s a rooster cruiser feathered in chicken lights nearby? Even police officers get winged at weigh stations, or “chicken coops”. As the nation rounds out the Thanksgiving weekend, it’s apparent the turkey has been left out of the bucket of chicken…except, in Illinois.

Only in Illinois can legislation be introduced which is so bizarre it leaves a person hungry to read more. There, between the stuffing and cranberry sauce of pay-to-play bills in the 100th General Assembly, is draft legislation giving turkeys more “rights” under the law.

Apparently, turkey farms (like Big Jim’s Turkeys & Dumplings) in Illinois have been suffering financial losses each year. As people have begun to celebrate “Friendsgiving” at other moments during the year, this has hurt the November turkey market.

Also, other holiday dishes (such as the Turducken) have inspired Illinoisans to share the poultry market with duck, chicken and other assorted birds. What was once a monopoly for the turkey farms has slowly been eroded to a point of financial crisis.

To add insult to injury, cash-strapped Cook County is attempting to plug their never-ceasing and expanding $200 billion budget hole with the “Turkey Tax”. Of course it’s killing sales, except at grocery stores along the collar county borders. Even though Cook County has waged an expensive battle claiming the health risks of tryptophan, the napping public is well aware this is only an attempt to gather more gravy.

The turkey farmers like Big Jim are outraged, and rightfully so. Their product has been the wishbone of Illinois meals for decades. Shifting preferences and greedy local politicians should not be able to diminish their profits. This is not what the Pilgrims imagined at that historic first dinner with the natives.

In response, the incredibly powerful turkey lobby in Springfield has introduced SB6253 which is designed to help revitalize the turkey market. Here is a synopsis:

1.   The Governor, at anytime, may declare an emergency turkey harvest, exempting farmers from all size and weight laws on state highways. Locals may follow suit, but are not required.

2.   Outside of an emergency declaration, IDOT and local authorities are required to issue free-range permits for oversize/overweight turkey trucks, as turkeys are now considered non-divisible loads.

3.   The Commercial Distribution Fee is waived for all trucks owned, leased or brokered by turkey farmers.

4.   Cook County, and any other unit of home rule government, are prohibited from introducing taxes specifically aimed at the turkey industry.

5.   The turkey will replace the Northern Cardinal as the Illinois state bird, and the governor annually will issue a proclamation as such.

6.   The Apple iOS and Google Droid mobile platforms operating within Illinois are required to promote turkey emojis and disable other poultry graphics during the month of November.

7.   Local fire departments are prohibited from disseminating literature, whether in written or electronic form, exposing the dangers of turkey fryers.

8. Elementary school teachers are required to have each child create hand-turkeys or risk cuts to their State funding.

While these regulations may seem like legislators are talking tough, rest assured they are probably only talking turkey. There’s really no other way to carve it up.

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