MODULE 2 DOT Licensing and Driving Requirements
Introduction Drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to deliver propane must meet all of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) licensing and driving requirements. Before driving a CMV, employees must obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL) and additional required endorsements from their state driving agency. Propane delivery vehicle drivers must also be aware of other driving requirements and restrictions, including rules prohibiting drug and alcohol use. After completing this module, you will be able to: • Identify DOT CMV licensing and driving requirements for propane delivery drivers. • List CDL requirements, classifications, and endorsements. • Describe drug and alcohol restrictions and testing requirements.
LESSON 1 General DOT Driver Qualifications
Personal Qualifications As a CMV driver, 49 CFR requires that you are: • At least 21 years old. • Able to read and speak English well enough to converse with the general public, understand highway traffic signs and signals, and respond to official inquiries. • Experienced and trained to safely operate the type of CMV you drive. For example, you must complete hazardous materials (hazmat) training within your first 90 days of employment if you drive a placarded vehicle. Until you complete this hazmat training, you can only perform safety-sensitive functions when you are under the direct supervision of a qualified person. • Physically qualified to drive a CMV. • Not limited by any conditions that would disqualify you from driving a CMV.
Documentation Requirements DOT requires all employers to keep a driver qualification file for each employee who drives a CMV. A driver qualification file must contain current copies of: • Application for employment • Previous employment record • Driving record • Annual driver’s certificate of violations • Annual review of driving record • Driver’s road test certificate or equivalent • Medical examination certificate
Other Requirements Federal regulations and NFPA 58 require that drivers transporting and unloading propane understand the properties and characteristics of propane, and know how to respond in the event of an emergency. CMV drivers must conform to Hours of Service Regulations, unless exempted while operating under a DOT-declared emergency or written exemption. Current Hours of Service Regulations require the following: • A driver may drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Note: Many bobtail drivers operate under the 100 mile radius exemption. • A driver may not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty. • A driver may not drive after being on duty for 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days. A new 60 or 70-hour period begins after the driver takes at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. MORE
Other Requirements cont. 100 mile radius exemption Many bobtail drivers operate under the 100 mile radius exemption and are exempt from the requirements of Sec. 395.8 if: • The driver operates within a 100 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location. • The driver, except a driver salesperson, returns to the work reporting location and is released from work within 12 consecutive hours. • A property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver has at least 10 consecutive hours off duty separating each 12 hours on duty. • A property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver does not exceed 11 hours maximum driving time following 10 consecutive hours off duty. • The motor carrier that employs the driver maintains and retains for a period of 6 months accurate and true time records showing the time the driver reports for duty each day, the total number of hours the driver is on duty each day, the time the driver is released from duty each day, the total time for the preceding 7 days in accordance with Sec. 395.8(j)(2) for drivers used for the first time or intermittently.
LESSON 2 CDL Information
CDL Requirements In addition to the basic DOT driver requirements, you must also have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive a CMV. Only a state regulatory agency that meets DOT regulations can issue your CDL. Furthermore, only the state in which you have permanent residence can issue your CDL. State agencies may suspend or revoke your CDL if you violate DOT requirements or have an unsafe driving record.
CDL Classifications Your CDL must have the correct classification for the type of vehicle you operate. CDLs are classified by the following vehicle groups: • Class A (Combination Vehicle): Any combination of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 lb or more, provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is in excess of 10,000 lb. • Class B (Heavy Straight Vehicle): Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 lb or more, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 lb GVWR. • Class C (Small Vehicle): Any single vehicle or combination of vehicles that does not meet the definition of Class A or Class B, but is either designed to transport 16 or more passengers including the driver, or is placarded for transporting hazardous materials. MORE
CDL Endorsements Drivers who operate special types of CMVs must pass additional tests to obtain special endorsements on their CDLs. An air brake restriction is added to a CDL if either or both of the following conditions are met: The applicant fails the air brake component of the knowledge test or the applicant performs the skill test in a vehicle that is not equipped with air brakes. Note: If a driver has an air brake restriction on their license, then the driver may not operate a vehicle with air brakes. The different CDL endorsements include: • H: Hazardous materials endorsement • N: Tank vehicles endorsement • T: Double/triple trailers endorsement • X: Combination tank vehicle (N) and hazardous materials (H) endorsement
Hazardous Materials Endorsement The Transportation Security Administration requires commercial drivers who want to apply for, renew, or transfer a hazardous materials endorsement (H) on their state-issued CDL to undergo a security threat assessment. This assessment includes a/an: • Fingerprint-based FBI criminal background check • Security/terrorism check • Immigration status verification This requirement became effective for new hazmat applicants on January 31, 2005. Note: As of May 31, 2005, individuals who want to renew or transfer an existing hazmat endorsement must submit personal information and fingerprints with their hazmat application.
LESSON 3 Drug and Alcohol Awareness
Drug and Alcohol Restrictions CMV drivers are prohibited from: • Using marijuana, narcotics, amphetamines, or any other controlled substance. • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or while impaired in any way. • Operating a CMV after consuming any alcohol at a minimum of four hours before reporting for work. If you consume a lot of alcohol the night before reporting for duty, be aware that you may still be impaired even if four hours have passed. It is important to note that in some situations, drivers may be unaware that they are actually impaired to drive. For example, some prescription and over-the-counter drugs may cause side-effects such as drowsiness or hypertension. CMV drivers who are on prescription or over-the-counter medication should inform their doctor about their responsibilities as a driver. Drivers should also inform their supervisor that they are taking a medication.
Drug and Alcohol Testing All CMV drivers not currently enrolled in a recognized drug testing program are required to pass pre-employment drug tests, as well as random drug and alcohol tests. Employers are required to test for drugs and alcohol if there is reasonable suspicion that the driver has reported to work while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Your company may have additional drug and alcohol testing policies and procedures.
Post-Accident Drug and Alcohol Testing DOT requires that drivers of CMVs receive post-accident testing when: • The accident results in someone’s death, regardless of whether or not you are issued a citation. • A citation is issued to the CMV driver and someone is injured in the accident and must receive medical treatment away from the scene. • A citation is issued to the CMV driver and any motor vehicle involved in the incident sustains damage requiring it to be towed from the scene.
Summary Some important points to remember from this module are: • The employer and employee have a shared responsibility to keep all driver qualification records up-to-date and accessible. • Propane delivery drivers must have a valid CDL to drive a placarded CMV or a CMV over 26,001 lb gross vehicle weight. • Drivers who operate special types of CMVs must pass additional tests to obtain special endorsements on their CDL. The different CDL endorsements include types H, N, T, and X. • CMV drivers are prohibited from using illegal drugs or any other controlled substance or operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. Drivers must take the appropriate measures to avoid any situations in which they would become impaired to drive. • DOT requires post-accident drug and alcohol testing whenever an accident results in someone’s death, a citation is issued and the accident results in personal injury, and/or one of the vehicles must be towed from the scene.