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Thread: Pre trip inspections and the law

  1. #1
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    Default Pre trip inspections and the law

    Good morning and thank you in advance for any and all information you may share. I'm trying to get some information regarding the pre trip inspection performed at the start of each day.

    In paticular

    How much time, on average, does it take most engineers to complete the pre trip inspection?

    and

    Can a Fire Chief or Batallion Chief legally order the engineer to drive the engine to a planned event or does he have to wait until the engineer says the inspection is complete?

    My agency has started ordering crews to "get on the road" within 40 minutes of the start of the day to which my engineer states that he hasn't completed the legally required inspection. Decision time - willfully disregard state law, falsify the legal record or refuse the order and suffer the consequences. What would you do?

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    Do you not run a call before the checkoff is complete?

    Does it really take someone more than 40 minutes to do the checkoff? I'm willing to bet there is a lot of BS'ing going on between guys.

    I'm speaking from experience, it should not take that long to complete unless this is someone completely unfamiliar with the apparatus.

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    Thanks for your reply, but I disagree. Have you ever actually read the law? there is alot more to it than most think. How long does it take for you to complete one? from experience of course and recent I hope.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpfdcapt66 View Post
    Thanks for your reply, but I disagree. Have you ever actually read the law? there is alot more to it than most think. How long does it take for you to complete one? from experience of course and recent I hope.
    Are you talking about a DOT inspection such as when you test for CDL? I know when I did my pre-trip for my CDL it took MAYBE 30 minutes...and that was being real slow and deliberate.

    AGain I ask though...do you hold all emergency calls until this inspection is complete?

    Honestly...this appears to be more of a pi**ing contest than anything else. The engine in my station runs 10-20 calls/shift...and there have been many times I could not complete the morning checkout until lunch or so.

    Sorry...but I don't see the validity of this.

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    Where is your Company-level officer during all this? You never mentioned his name. Have you discussed it with him?

    I agree that it sounds like a ****ing contest. I agree that 30 minutes sounds reasonable (without knowledge of what exactly is being inspected....I used to take up to a full hour to do ladder company apparatus checks but that was everything from the vehicle itself including the main and the pump to all of the tools on board including hurst tools, saws, etc etc etc...) If your Bn Chief is giving you schit, put on your big girl panties, get your union rep present and respectfully decline the order due to the law- BUT you had damn well make sure you are correct before you do that and you better damn well make sure the Union Rep is on board and does not have it out for you. Oh and check to see if emergency vehicles are covered under the law- because in the State of Pa and many others they are NOT......
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I was really hoping for a little more substance from this site, but from your response it doesn't seem that you have a real grasp on the process. Maybe its just the state your from, but the things you have all said so far make you what we call 5 minute witnesses in a real civil case - in simple terms a lawyer who got his degree going to night school would impeech you in 5 minutes on the stand - which means your testimony would be considered garbage. Anyway I do appreciate your response my brother. Good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpfdcapt66 View Post
    I was really hoping for a little more substance from this site, but from your response it doesn't seem that you have a real grasp on the process. Maybe its just the state your from, but the things you have all said so far make you what we call 5 minute witnesses in a real civil case - in simple terms a lawyer who got his degree going to night school would impeech you in 5 minutes on the stand - which means your testimony would be considered garbage. Anyway I do appreciate your response my brother. Good luck
    And all of the the things you have said so far make you what we call a vagina. Or maybe it's the state you are from....(eh, same thing.) From first observation you seem to be a somewhat intelligent guy- you have the smarts to understand what would happen if an attorney were to get involved- that said, I will say two more things:

    1. WTF are you seeking advice from an internet forum for? You already know what the answer is, now tell your company level officer (first up in your unified chain of command) that you refuse the order, which IMO would be the lawful thing to do.

    2. You said it yourself: "maybe its the state you are from." If you posessed basic reading for comprehension skills, you would have seen that I stated "here in Pa emergency vehicles are exempt from commercial vehicle regulations."

    Please dont hit me with your purse. Now man up and tell the Captain or Lieutenant that the vehicle does not move under your power until your CALDOT (or whatever check it is) is complete.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    First, I want to enter a disclaimer for most of what follows, that is, everyone responsible for the operation of a vehicle should be sure it is safe to operate and ready for service. That is or ought to be a no brainer.

    Mention is made of "legally required" inspections. I'm not sure what legal requirements are being talked about. Reference is also made to DOT. By that are we maybe talking about the DOT pre-trip inspections described at 49 CFR 392.7?

    When I first came off of the road and began working inside in the motor carrier business in regulatory compliance, I thought I had a pretty good handle on federal regulations. But the boss decided to hire a consultant to make sure we all understood what was what. The consultant had been an ICC inspector (that's who did it before DOT came into existance) but when he left the government and went in business for himself he became one of the government's biggest nemeses. And did he open my eyes! Every time I'd make a statement to him the first thing he'd say is, "Where does it say that?"

    So let's have an understanding about DOT regulations. For the most part, they apply to drivers and vehicles "in commerce." We are not "in commerce." If states want to adopt the federal regs, they may and most have, at least in part. If a state wants to apply them to us, they may, but they don't have to.

    Next, let's take a look at that "inspection" in 49 CFR 392.7 and see what it actually says. And I quote:
    PART 392: DRIVING OF COMMERCIAL MOTOR VEHICLES

    Subpart A: General

    392.7 - Equipment, inspection and use.

    (a) No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver is satisfied that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed:

    Service brakes, including trailer brake connections.

    Parking (hand) brake.

    Steering mechanism.

    Lighting devices and reflectors.

    Tires.

    Horn.

    Windshield wiper or wipers.

    Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.

    Coupling devices.

    Two key points to take note of: One, the list is pretty short. Two, while they create an illusion that you have to "inspect" what is really said is that all you have to do is satisfy yourself that what's on that list works. The illusion is created by the title of the reg: "Equipment, inspection and use." But the actual text of the reg doesn't say anything about inspect, it says satisfy yourself.

    It's done that way because many truck drivers aren't qualified to be inspectors, and in the case of Teamster drivers, they probably wouldn't even be allowed to "inspect." So since the government can't require them to truly inspect, the reg writers do what they do best, create an illusion.

    The amount of time it takes "satisfy yourself" is pretty minimal. Now, if the fire department (or trucking company) wants to establish by policy or SOP, procedures that go beyond that, they're certainly free to do so. And who has the duty to enforce it or authority to bypass it would certainly be an internal matter, way above my pay grade.
    bcjack, RangerJake72 and FIREMECH1 like this.

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    No reply

    No traffic section reference

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    Sorry, this topic is pretty ridiculous.

    You're asking about going to a PR or something before the inspection is complete...what do you do about emergency calls, non-emergency calls, etc????

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    From the CA Vehicle Code:


    34500.5. For purposes of this division, the term "commercial motor
    vehicle" has the same meaning as defined in subdivision (b) of
    Section 15210.

    34500.2. No additional inspection shall be required under this division on any vehicle which is owned and operated by a public agency and is used for responding to and returning from an emergency,as defined in subdivision (c) of Section 35002, during the duration of the emergency, as determined by the public agency, if an inspection pursuant to Section 1215 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations has been completed on the vehicle within the past 24 hours. Any vehicle used in responding to an emergency shall be inspected immediately upon the termination of the emergency.

    Link to CA Title 13, Section 1215:

    http://weblinks.westlaw.com/result/d...0&sr=TC&vr=2.0


    Link to CA Vehicle Code:

    http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=veh&group=34001-35000&file=34500-34520.5
    Last edited by bcjack; 10-25-2012 at 12:43 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpfdcapt66 View Post
    Good morning and thank you in advance for any and all information you may share. I'm trying to get some information regarding the pre trip inspection performed at the start of each day.

    In paticular

    How much time, on average, does it take most engineers to complete the pre trip inspection?

    and

    Can a Fire Chief or Batallion Chief legally order the engineer to drive the engine to a planned event or does he have to wait until the engineer says the inspection is complete?

    My agency has started ordering crews to "get on the road" within 40 minutes of the start of the day to which my engineer states that he hasn't completed the legally required inspection. Decision time - willfully disregard state law, falsify the legal record or refuse the order and suffer the consequences. What would you do?
    What is your guy doing to take 40 mintues to do a pre-trip?

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    When i was driving (which for the record was only a few short months ago) it would take me longer than 40 minutes to check the truck in the morning. However, this includes tore pressures every morning, all fluids you can get to without raising the cab, running the pump, turning on all SCBA, running all saws, generators, fans, etc. and actually checking off each piece of equipment by the sheet. We ran a truck and an engine from the same house. Generally, if both drivers started together, they would both be done with all of the above at about the same time. Engine driver then started on the medical bag and the truck driver started on putting up the aerial ladder. Both were generally done with everything within 10 minutes of eachother.

    Refusing to go to a PR event due to the truck not being checked off is a slippery sloap. I have been known to come in a little early to at least get the basics done if I know we have an early event to be at that day. I have also checked a truck off in the parking lot of whatever event we were at while the rest of the crew started the event. 9 times out of 10 though we schedule events late enough in the morning to get a basic apparatus check done. Consider suggesting this as an option.
    EMAGUY likes this.
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