Roadside Inspection and Traffic Stop Tips:
1. Be cordial. Be a gentleman to law enforcement. That will help you at the end in court. When negotiating your "overweight," the first thing the Officer mentions is that you were a "bad guy." I tell the Officer that I "read you the riot act" and you will behave in the future. That places me on the defensive when I apologize and puts you at a strategic disadvantage for reducing your penalty. I typically achieve a better outcome when the Officer says: "He was a good guy."
2. Quarreling and aggressive conduct will get you locked up. The Officer decided long before he approached that you committed some sort of violation or traffic offense.
3. Keep your hands where the Officer can see them and follow all directions. Keep your logbook and documents organized and in one easily retrievable location or folder. Most directions are for your safety.
4. On a Level I Inspection, the Officer will request a CDL, logs, Bills of Lading, Medical Card, Second Division Registration and related ministerial information. Cooperate. On a traffic stop or roadside inspection, most Officers employ a specific protocol that does not involve you "confessing" or giving self-incriminating statements. Don't be a diesel dummy and say, "The government wants its money." That statement will set a negative tone for the inspection. "Volunteering" that the dispatcher is an idiot or that the company doesn't give a hoot about safety does not ingratiate the Officer or help your cause. If the Officer requests a statement (unlikely) or if the stop is trending toward criminal conduct or asking about company policy and procedures, politely tell the Officer that my attorney told me to talk to him first. Put the onus on me. Trucking enforcement Officers are seasoned veterans and understand that.
5. WARNING CDL holders: If you are ticketed for a traffic offense committed while operating a private automobile, do not enter a guilty plea in court or "simply" attend traffic school OR JUST SIGN THE TICKET BACK and pay a nominal fine without first consulting an attorney. You could be DQ'ed or DISQUALIFIED.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Admin.
Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)
-Intervention and Enforcement-
If you or the company are issued a Warning or Enforcement letter for violations of the BASICs (Behavior Analysis Safety Improvement Categories) call me prior to responding. Don't be a hero. For a few hundred dollars in attorney fees, you can enjoy peace of mind. Remember, your job is to grow your business and generate cash flow.
What are BASICs? It's the Safety Management System that affects BOTH carriers and drivers and in weighted categories, measures
1. Unsafe Driving
2. Fatigued Driving (Hours of Service)
3. Driver Fitness.
4. Controlled Substances/Alcohol
(illegal drugs and misuse of
prescription and OTC medications)
5. Vehicle Maintenance
6. Cargo loading/securement
emphasizing hazardous materials.
7. Crash History.
All inspections, even if they result in no violations and are clean, will be included in the CSA's SMS analysis. All drivers should request a written copy of the inspection report, even a clean one.