Human Trafficking Conference for Law Enforcement
One of the challenges of running an organization like the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association is determining where to set up boundaries as to what the association will get involved with. Law enforcement and trucking are both complex and have vast […]Read more
Interview with the Michigan State Police
The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association is all about partnership in Illinois…whether between police, the trucking industry, or the legal community. In mid-October, leadership from the ITEA had the great privilege to attend the Mid-America Association of State Transportation Officials annual […]Read more
Hurricane Sandy battered the eastern seaboard last week. As the region began to recover, it became readily apparent trucking into the New England states was of the highest priority. Without fuel, food and other vital goods, the work could not […]Read more
Employee Classification Act
Legislation is always a double-edged sword. In any given bill, there are good reasons behind the writingRead more
Nobody likes to be alone. In a world with a million ways to connect to others through social networking, cell phones, and computers, studies show people feel isolated now more than ever. Clubs, teams, and associations are difficult to build and maintain because isolation keeps people at bay. Isolation occurs because somewhere along the way, one has forgotten to learn how to trust others. Many problems facing the trucking industry and truck enforcement are caused by isolation…the good news is there is hope in community.
Shortly after the Illinois Truck Enforcement Association began, a local truck officer called with some questions. There’s no shame in that…truck enforcement is a complicated endeavor and the ITEA exists to help sort it out. The interesting part of the conversation came when the officer said why he was asking the questions.
Apparently there was a new judge hearing truck cases in the officer’s courtroom after the old judge was transferred. For several years, the officer had truck cases up before the old judge and he had the justice convinced his enforcement methods wer correct. Now with a new judge, the officer began second guessing his enforcement methods. Fortunately, the officer was in fact doing things right by the law.
What was really happening was the officer was out doing his own thing and was not involved in the truck enforcement community. His network of other truck officers was limited. He did not have authoritative places to go to seek information to make solid decisions. Shortly after the conversation, the officer joined the ranks of the ITEA and successfully passed through the ITEA certification process.Read more
One Plate, Two Plate
Each year, legislation is introduced in Illinois to allow only one license plate per vehicle. Several states only require one mounted plate on the rear of the vehicle, but Illinois has yet to succumb to the peer pressure. For various reasons people want this law changed. Maybe it would reduce the cost of registration. Others don’t like the appearance of the front plate. Those with sports cars sometimes do not have mounting bolts or a way to even secure the plate on the front bumper. There are exceptions to this rule though, and five out six of the exceptions apply to 2nd division vehicles…but unfortunately enforcement of this violation is no Dr. Seuss rhyme as the post title suggests.
Law enforcement groups have successfully beat back opposition of becoming a one-plate state by making it a case for identification. Having a plate on the front of the vehicle gives the police a fighting chance to identify a vehicle in motion that is suspect to a crime. A rear-plate only cuts the probability of proper identification in half.
Let’s look at the exceptions to the two-plate law in Illinois…most of this can be found in 625 ILCS 5/3-413(b):Read more
21st technology is upon us. The ability to accomplish more in less time, with less effort, is increasing exponentially. The sophistication and speed of computers in today’s modern world have opened up doors to productivity that were only dreamed about a decade ago. One of the biggest areas of technological advances is in the use global information systems, or GIS. The precise pinpoint location information beaming down from satellites is truly astounding…and the talent of programmers to harness that data is just as incredible. In the very near future, the Illinois Department of Transportation will be launching a revolutionary way for truckers to obtain permits.
Currently, the IDOT permit office offers online permitting for a small selection of the vast array of permits authorized by the Illinois Vehicle Code. With thousands of permit customers ordering over $14 million worth of permits on an annual basis, the time had come to modernize the system. The product IDOT will soon unveil will provide permits not just for routine movements, but also limited continuous and eventually superload permits…instantaneously. It is called ITAP, short for Illinois Transportation Automated Permits. Over the last 18 months, the Illinois Department of Transportation has put GIS to work by creating a highly sophisticated and cutting edge automated permitting system set to roll out on late October or early November 2012.
Like all new things, there is a learning curve. No new technological initiative works 100% the moment the switch is thrown. The system requires data from people who make mistakes, so there will be some hiccups while the trucking customers learn the new way of obtaining permits. To prepare for this, IDOT has conducted several in-person training seminars for the trucking industry in both Springfield and in Schaumburg. They have recorded a 90-minute webinar to train customers about the system. Prior to the launch date, IDOT will conduct a live webinar to clarify any last minute modifications. Several emails advising the permit customers to study up on the new system have been sent out. IDOT has done their due diligence…if you are a permit customer, have you done yours?Read more
It Doesn’t Pay to Disobey
We like to think police officers hold a higher value in society than traffic signs, but in reality they both share a common authority to regulate traffic. The human police officer is granted this authority in the Illinois Vehicle Code (625 ILCS 5/1-162). Traffic signs, officially called traffic control devices, also receive their authority to control traffic in the IVC (625 ILCS 5/1-154). Traffic control devices include signs, lane markings and signals as well. When it comes to truck enforcement, the two are vastly different.
Truckers are used to seeing regulatory signs to weigh. Whether it is a weigh station alongside the side of the interstate or a portable scale location, truckers know that when the signs are up, you have to weigh. It doesn’t take long for word to spread across the radio when the police have the scales open, and truckers will turn off to avoid the scales. Problem is they might bypass another traffic control device restricting commercial vehicles and find themselves in a totally different enforcement situation.
The question is what happens when a trucker drives past the regulatory sign to weigh? The answer is simple…he has disobeyed a traffic control device as stated in 625 ILCS 5/11-305(a). This is a moving violation and can have damaging effects on a CDL. But it’s just a moving violation. The assumption that there is a higher penalty or fine simply because trucks are involved is erroneous.
This situation is vastly different than when a police officer himself orders a truck to weigh. Police officers have the right to order a truck to the scales to weigh when they have reason to believe it is overweight. This could be overweight on axle, gross, registration, permit, or the federal bridge formula. Regardless of the officer’s suspicion, there is no right to refusal. The truck driver must weigh.Read more
DUIs, CMVs, & CDLs
Drunk driving. It doesn’t take any real effort to convince someone of the danger and waste of life caused by it. Each person is at least one relationship removed from someone who has had their life impacted by a drunk driver. Thankfully, over the last 30 years, the number of fatal crashes in Illinois due to alcohol has been on the decline…but every death or serious injury is still one too many. Seat belt usage, safer cars, education campaigns, and better engineered roads have all played a part in this. Enforcement, however, is the universal deterrent that keeps drunk drivers off the road and begins the justice process for the offense. When it comes to CDL holders drinking and driving, there is a lot of confusion.
The first thing to understand is the definition of a commercial motor vehicle as it pertains to DUI. Different arenas of truck enforcement have different definitions of a CMV, but as it matters to DUI, a CMV is any vehicle or combination of vehicles that requires a commercial driver’s license.
The second point to understand is that a CDL holder has in essence two different licenses…an operator’s license and a CDL. If the CDL holder is operating a non-CDL vehicle under the influence, he is in trouble and his operator license can be suspended or revoked, also known as a “stop”. A CDL holder cannot have a stop on his operator’s license and maintain a valid CDL simultaneously. If the base license is gone, so goes the privileged CDL. It is possible to have a CDL disqualified for reasons other than DUI and still maintain a valid operator’s license. But if a CDL holder gets a DUI while driving a CMV, both licenses will be stopped.
The real confusion lies in the understanding the difference between the criminal charge of DUI while operating a CMV and administrative penalties for having any blood alcohol level at all. The crime of DUI is the same regardless of vehicle (625 ILCS 5/11-501A2) and the per se BAC is .08 (625 ILCS 5/11-501A1). While it is possible to be convicted of the criminal charge of DUI with a BAC less than .08, it is rare.Read more
If you ever want to enter in to a heated debate with police officers, bring up the topic of discretion. From the moment a police officer steps foot in the academy and up until the day he retires, the parameters of his discretion are constantly being refined. This is primarily accomplished by the endless playing of “what if” scenarios with other officers. Last week we looked at the warning system police officers have at their disposal…this week we will look at the human side of what, when and who to cite.
Recently, a police officer member of the ITEA was giving a presentation to a large group of landscape contractors. Due to the size and configurations of vehicles landscapers typically operate, a portion of the presentation was spent on instruction about when commercial driver’s licenses are needed and when they are not. After some basic guidelines were taught, photos of different trucks and combinations were shown, and the audience was asked to call out what classification of license a driver would need. Midway thru the photo array, one of the attendees raised his hand and asked the presenter his personal opinion about CDL criteria.Read more