Road safety is everyone's responsibility

Discussion in 'ELD Forum | Questions, Answers and Reviews' started by RomTon, Feb 27, 2024.

  1. RomTon

    RomTon Bobtail Member

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    Hi all.

    Our Texas company's 2003 Dodge Ram 2500 was involved in an accident in New York State. No one was injured in the accident, but what happened after the accident while transporting our pickup truck in Cleveland, Ohio still bothers me to this day. October 31, 2023 evening, a severe snowstorm began in Cleveland. The DOT inspector, instead of getting me through Cleveland in good weather, put me out of service for 10 hours, during which time I was caught in a snowstorm. I wrote an appeal about this incident and want to hear the opinion of respected drivers. Here is part of my appeal.

    October 30, 2023, I loaded our pickup truck onto our trailer and drove it home to Texas, hooking the trailer to a Ford F150 I had tooken by carsharing app Turo. Our company signs with DOT and MS numbers were still on the doors of our pickup truck Dodge Ram and were clearly visible.

    I planned to drive from New York State to Texas as safely as possible, driving only during the day and in good weather. The next day, October 31, 2023, in the morning the weather could be called favorable for driving a car, but in the afternoon it began to snow lightly. When I reached the city of Cleveland, Ohio, I was stopped by an DOT officer. I told the officer that I had slept well and felt great. Slept on the rest area from October 30 to 31, 2023 and started moving at 10 am. Was stopped by an DOT officer by 2 pm and therefore traveled no more than 6 hours in total from the loading site.

    Not far from Cleveland, a 30-minute break was taken at the rest area where photographs were taken 36 minutes before the start of the recording of the report. The officer demanded to show him the look book, medical certificate, as well as registration documents and insurance for the car I was driving. But I couldn’t show the lookbook because I didn’t keep notes in the lookbook. I replied that I do not do commercial transportation, but transport my own equipment and therefore cannot be considered a carrier. I spent the night at the rest area and after I had a good rest, I started moving at 10 o’clock in the morning. The distance from the place where our equipment was loaded, that is, from the place where the movement began to the place where the DOT officer stopped, was 383 miles, and the navigator determined the total travel time to be less than 6 hours. The officer also pointed out to me that there was no visible DOT, MS numbers and company sign. In response, I opened the Turo application on my mobile phone and showed all the documents requested by the officer for the car I was driving. I said that the phone contains all the information he asks for. The officer took the phone from my hands and scrolled the images with the Turo app open up and down for 3-4 seconds and then handed it back to me. I did not notice that the officer began to look at my phone for commercial insurance and other documents photographs of which were on the phone. He just asked where I came from. During the conversation, I could not remember the name of the locality and therefore replied that I had picked up my equipment from the state of New York from a towing company near the city of Elmira. The officer did not demand to name the exact loading location. Then at about 2 o'clock in the afternoon the officer ordered me to follow him and led me under the bridge where he handed me a violation report. I recorded the presentation of the protocol of violations under the bridge on my mobile phone for a better understanding of everything that the officer told me. The officer listed my violations and told me that I could not leave this place for 10 hours due to the lack of a medical certificate. In response, I objected that I did not consider myself a carrier; I had already shown all the documents requested by the officer on my mobile phone. Although by that time I had given the officer my mobile phone with pictures of documents, the officer said that I refused to show him these documents. Then I turned off the video recording, opened my medical certificate in my phone and handed it to the officer. The officer looked at the phone with the medical certificate open for at least one minute, scrolled up and down the image several times and zoomed in and out, after which he handed me back my phone and then drove away without comment. I could not find on the official website fmcsa.dot.gov any information requiring limiting the driver’s driving time during personal trips. That is, there is no limit to the maximum distance or time during which a driver can use personal transport. Although off-duty drivers should get adequate rest, there is no specific time for rest or driving time.
     
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  3. RomTon

    RomTon Bobtail Member

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    Feb 27, 2024
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    After staying under the bridge in the car until midnight, I drove to a nearby gas station, filled out a paper lookbook, and continued on my way home to Texas. By that time, the snowfall had intensified and the air temperature had dropped to the point of freezing water. At night, the snow that fell on the road began to freeze, forming a slippery ice crust. Driving a car became especially difficult at night from October 31 to November 1 in icy conditions, the car briefly lost control several times during the night. As I approached southern Ohio, the snow and ice on the road disappeared, so the weather and road surfaces were once again favorable for safe driving, with the exception of reduced visibility at night. Luckily, the accident was avoided that night and I was able to get home safely to Texas.
    Upon arriving home, my wife and I decided to cease operating the company as a carrier and filed applications with the appropriate government authorities as well as the insurance company. Now the company Rom and Ton LLC no longer transports cars.
    Misunderstandings
    The website https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ourroads states that Traffic Safety is everyone's responsibility. I believe that nothing in the current legislation and regulations or current instructions for organizing safe traffic can be interpreted as denying or diminishing the responsibility of everyone to organize traffic as safely as possible. Whatever the actions, or inactions, words, gestures or demands of road users or government authorities authorized to monitor road safety. Nothing and no one, either directly or indirectly, should create a threat to road safety, and especially no actions or inactions should lead to an accident or create conditions for the occurrence of an accident. Nevertheless, as paradoxical as it may sound, it was the actions of the DOT officers called upon to monitor road safety that led to road accident and also created the conditions for road accidents to occur. This is not just a misunderstanding due to a language barrier. There is evidence of a lack of understanding of the proactive nature of the process of identifying and resolving security problems and preventing security problems before they occur.
    Considering the following incident, it is impossible to imagine that an officer in Cleveland did not notice the deteriorating weather with ice forming on the road surface. However, against my will, the officer deprived me of the opportunity to travel the dangerous section of the route due to weather conditions between the loading point and my house in good weather. As can be seen in the photo taken on October 31, 2023 at 12:39 PM (4) at the rest area on Route I90 between Geneva and Cleveland, Ohio, the weather was clear with moderate clouds with no visible signs of snowfall. The road surface is clean and dry with no signs of ice or snow. As can be seen in the video posted on YouTube by Live Storms Media (5) on the evening of the same day, October 31, on the same section of the road between Geneva and Cleveland, weather conditions were no longer favorable for driving in a car. Due to heavy snowfall, visibility was greatly reduced, the road became covered with snow and ice began to form on the road. In addition, the officer could not help but notice the Texas license plates of the pickup truck I was driving, the Texas license plates on the trailer and the pickup truck being transported after an accident. My license also says my Texas home address, and I told the officer that I was from Texas and was going home. I guess Texans are notoriously bad at driving in icy conditions. Typically, for a resident of northern latitudes, such as a resident of Ohio, driving a car in icy conditions will not lead to an accident due to extensive experience driving a car in icy conditions. However, Texans have virtually no experience driving in icy conditions because icy conditions are extremely rare in Texas. When there is ice in Texas, most of the time it results in an accident (6).
    However, no matter how much experience you have driving a car at night in conditions of poor visibility due to heavy snowfall and ice, you cannot be prohibited from driving in good weather on a dry and clean road when there is such an opportunity.

    Apparently the Cleveland DOT officer was acting in accordance with laws and internal regulations that allowed him to turn relatively safe driving into an extremely dangerous journey with a very high probability of causing an accident (7).

    Apparently the very purpose of the body of laws and regulations designed to ensure road safety has been misunderstood or misinterpreted. While such differences in understanding or interpretation may seem small and insignificant in everyday life, they can actually mean the difference between life and death behind the wheel. And if such regulatory legal acts exist, then in the light of the events described above, these laws should at least be rethought and supplemented with simple and understandable explanations. Such explanations should provide real and not imaginary security. I believe there is a need to eliminate the existing contradictions between the true purpose of laws aimed at road safety and their formal implementation, which allows accidents to occur.

    I hope that I was able to list enough reasons for the complete cancellation of the fine and the established violations. Otherwise, it is necessary to recognize the actions of the DOT officers as a result of which an accident occurred, as well as the forced driving of a car in extremely dangerous weather conditions, justified by some goal above road safety.
    4. YouTube

    5. YouTube

    6. YouTube

    7. YouTube

    I called the phone number provided and tried to object, but the officer on the phone did not take my objections into account. He said DOT officers are not required to monitor weather changes. It’s my own fault that I drove into a strong snowstorm, although I could have waited for the weather to improve.
    If anyone was in Cleveland on October 31, 2023, you saw that there was almost no snowstorm in the city. The worst thing happened outside the city on the road. Given the length of the 36-foot trailer, it is almost impossible to turn around on the road in heavy snowstorm conditions. In such a situation, the only option left is to go forward.
    On the Internet I found an Owner-Operator Case with a similar nature Matter of Owner Operator Ind. Drivers Assn., Inc. v New York State Dept. of Transp. 2023 NY Slip Op 03184
    I don’t know if it’s possible to provide weblinks to YouTube and other places here. If possible, give me a loan and I’ll post direct weblinks.

    Dear drivers, please tell me your opinion on my case. Maybe only I see a problem with security and in fact this problem does not exist due to the fact that only I am to blame for what happened.

    However, no matter how much experience you have driving a car at night in conditions of poor visibility due to heavy snowfall and ice, you cannot be prohibited from driving in good weather on a dry and clean road when there is such an opportunity.
     
  4. Opus

    Opus Road Train Member

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    My goodness. I think you broke the internet.
     
  5. BigR

    BigR Road Train Member

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    So... what exactly is your question??... I lost track on about the 80th page of the second post:eek:...you said you didn't "recognize yourself as a carrier "..yet, you are clearly a carrier since you had a DOT number and permits. Then you decided to end the business when you got home.... This is all over the place, but if I'm reading it right. You are hauling a piece of your equipment for your business and not getting paid for it. But, that doesn't matter. It's still you operating a piece of equipment for your business. Therefore, you would still need to run a log book If you are in a company vehicle with a DOT number Hauling equipment..... As for feeling like you were safe when he shut you down and not safe when you could operate again... Welcome to trucking! These are the laws we live with and deal with every single day. They never make sense, look who writes them!.. he didn't write the laws, he just enforced them
     
  6. BigR

    BigR Road Train Member

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    Give em credit though, that boy can type!!!... Since the trucking thing didn't work out, maybe he should look into a career as a court recorder or something.
     
  7. RomTon

    RomTon Bobtail Member

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    Thank you for your opinion. This is just what I wanted to hear.
     
    BigR Thanks this.
  8. Big Road Skateboard

    Big Road Skateboard Road Train Member

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    Put that in an audiobook.

    I still wouldn't listen
     
  9. Grumppy

    Grumppy Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    Of what I read....... I agree. You are in the performance of doing work for the company. You are on duty. Transporting equipment for a company under FMCSA rules, you are indeed under the rules.

    The snow/weather aint got nothing to do with it.
    The DOT officer aint got nothing to do with the weather.
     
  10. Tall Mike

    Tall Mike Road Train Member

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    My short attention span isn't capable of processing all of that. :-?
     
  11. wichris

    wichris Road Train Member

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    Time for me to take a nap after reading all that.
     
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