Feeder Pre-Trip Inspections

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Dracula, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. Dracula

    Dracula Package Car is cake compared to this...

    I'm curious what the rest of the feeder drivers here do when they pre-trip their tractors. From the time I clock-in, in the building, to the time I walk out to my tractor, and complete my pre-trip, it takes me 16 minutes to get rolling. My sups are pushing me to get it done in 9 minutes. I follow the CDL booklet UPS gave me to pass the CDL test. Now that my times bother them, they are now pushing me to ignore sections of that manual.

    I've tried getting a hold of the DOT to no avail. I called the state CDL office in the state I work in, but all they told me was that "this is what we test for."

    No one can tell me what, exactly, the government REQUIRES of me, regarding the pre-trip inspection.

    I've been told that the DOT won't let you kick the tires to check for proper inflation, which my supervisor, of course, did.

    The one minute brake pressure test, where you put full pressure on the pedal, and make sure the pressure isn't going down more than 3 PSI a minute? Nope, he says, we don't require that.

    The CDL manual says to pull the battery cover off and check the connections for corrosion, which I do everyday. Nope, he says, we don't require that either.

    I had a brake chamber nearly fall off after I hit my destination last year, even after I checked it during my pre-trip. So, I incorporated a light thump on the chambers to verify that they are solidly mounted. Nope, he says, takes too long. Visually verify. Yeah, I did that last year and almost lost the brakes on my back box. Nope, follow our methods.

    We had a driver drop a trailer off to a center a while back, and the next driver did a very thorough inspection, and noticed that the air tank on the trailer had welds that were failing. The first driver received a warning letter because the trailer had to be off loaded onto another trailer...SO, I also thump the air tank when I get underneath the trailer when I check the brakes and springs. Nope, don't need to do that.

    The kicker was him doing my pre-trip, and signing off my DVIR. I told him I needed to sign it. Nope, I did the pre-trip, I signed it, he said. Nope, I said, I'm the driver, I'm driving tonight, my tractor, I'm responsible if I get pulled over. NO, I did the pre-trip, that's good enough, he said. NO, I insisted, the weight scales will ask me who this other person is, and why didn't you, the driver, acknowledged the vehicle was safe to drive. He got pissy and said, "Fine, sign under my name." I did, and later took a picture of the DVIR.

    My real problem, is I can't get a real answer from the DOT, just what is required of our pre-trips. In the meantime, I document every time I get harassed about my times. I'm waiting to see how long this continues. I don't want to shoot my wad too soon.

    This is what I was talking about last week when I was asking other feeder drivers what kind of harassment they are feeling.

    Anyway, does anyone have any clues how I can verify the pre-trip regulations?
  2. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

  3. FracusBrown

    FracusBrown Ponies and Planes

    § 392.7Equipment, inspection and use.

    Equipment, inspection and use. - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    (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.

    (b) Drivers preparing to transport intermodal equipment must make an inspection of the following components, and must be satisfied they are in good working order before the equipment is operated over the road. Drivers who operate the equipment over the road shall be deemed to have confirmed the following components were in good working order when the driver accepted the equipment: Service brake components that are readily visible to a driver performing as thorough a visual inspection as possible without physically going under the vehicle, and trailer brake connections.—Lighting devices, lamps, markers, and conspicuity marking material—Wheels, rims, lugs, tires—Air line connections, hoses, and couplers—King pin upper coupling device—Rails or support frames—Tie down bolsters—Locking pins, clevises, clamps, or hooks—Sliders or sliding frame lock

    § 396.7Unsafe operations forbidden.

    (a) General. A motor vehicle shall not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an accident or a breakdown of the vehicle. (b) Exemption. Any motor vehicle discovered to be in an unsafe condition while being operated on the highway may be continued in operation only to the nearest place where repairs can safely be effected. Such operation shall be conducted only if it is less hazardous to the public than to permit the vehicle to remain on the highway
  4. This is a no win scenario. We were most likely taught the very same way(feeders). I can promise and guarantee, you are way over inspecting your equipment as far as UPS goes. OK. Now- I didn't say it's not a good idea but UPS will not tolerate the time taken to do this. You will have to prove(by the book)(UPS and DOT) that what you were trained to, do differs and is inadequate, unsafe etc. I guess if you are told not to thoroughly inspect(and ignore it), you could be fired for alot of things-stealing time, not working as directed etc. Have you ever watched a big UPS Boeing preflighted? It's not much, kinda just look at it....see if anything's glaringly loose. This is by the pilots. And yes, if anything goes wrong during your trip, UPS will try to hang it on you.....no win. My advice is to have the Sup. show you exactly the pretrip(get it in writing) and do that. If anything ever happens, you can show the lawyers, BA's and all, how you were trained and so on. From my 32 years........you can pick this fight.........but do you want to spend every second looking over your shoulder?
  5. ajblakejr

    ajblakejr Age quod agis

  6. barnyard

    barnyard KTM rider Staff Member

    Article 35 section 2, 2nd paragraph covers the OPs specific questions. Page 88 in the little contract book.
  7. anonymous6

    anonymous6 Guest

    1. you are right

    2. stop at the scales and ask for a commercial driver handbook and voice your concerns on doing a "proper DOT " pretrip.( tell them co. says 9 min from punch in to rolling to give them a nice laugh )

    3. DOT regulations are FEDERAL and supercede UPS methods.

    ask an onroad stupe to do a proper pretrip and time it from dispatch to rolling. I will bet a million dollars it won't be 9 minutes. It takes almost that long to find the damn tractor. It takes me about 15-20 minutes to find tractor, place and install radio ( grievance won that this is done on paid time ) , proper pretrip including bleed down and everything else.

    it's a lot more than they say. it seems to be the flavor of the month. hubs are getting pressure from corporate to get on time departures.

    just ask for a demonstration and do the best you can using methods.
  8. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    As well as our local DOT office we have the numbers for the State Police. Every now and then someone would come along to try and set a time on a pre-trip. I'd ask them how long would they like me to take on the tractor going down the road behind their family.

    Keep after the DOT. If you have to try another office do so.
  9. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    Whenever I can't find my car (like at the mall) I use my car alarm button. When I hear it I yell "Found the car!"

    I have no life.
  10. bluehdmc

    bluehdmc Well-Known Member

    I'm like oranputeh, when I log into the IVIS it's generally 15-20 min after my start time. I go by the book, was told on a safety ride not to wait one minute, could drive as soon as air pressure built back up to 100psi. Went back home checked my NJ drivers CDL manual and it still says 1 min. I still wait 1 min, since I hold an NJ driver's license. I did not confront the sup about this, (why stir up trouble?) but the next time I'll tell them to check NJ manual.

    We seem to have certain loads that are part of the "on-time" network. If you get a job with one of those loads you're supposed to be out the gate in 19 min. I generally tell them, "In a perfect world, where my tractor is outside the door, my trailer is actually on the spot you say it is, there is fuel in the tractor, I don't run into any yard traffic, etc."

    Then when I'm at the gate if they ask why I'm late I tell them. It's all just BS, you have to be assured the equipment is in safe condition, of course you can't go overboard.........

    Remember, if that center marker lamp or license plate lamp is not working it should be repaired before you leave!
    You could also say it worked when you pre-tripped it, or if you break down on the road, communicate by IVIS, if they ask where you are, tell them to use the GPS.

    Also get a steward involved, a driver by us was being hassled over pre-trip times, they audited him a couple of times with a steward present wasn't much they could do as his pre-trip was by the book.

    (Of course they could start the drivers 5 min earlier but that might cost approximately $5.00 more per run. Instead they rather spend $25 for time spent monitoring you, and the sups time that could be spent elsewhere.)
  11. purplesky

    purplesky Active Member




    We all know the variables that throw off the numbers. In any job at UPS. Pilot,feeders,package,combo,etc.

    As long as you make an honest effort to get out the gate on time you will be fine. Just tell them your reasons and its not an issue.

    The oncar sups know full and well the numbers are not safe and this push for perfection is the IE mothership sending orders.

    Its just another day at UPS. The paradise of UPS culture.

    IE runs UPS. Not the management UPSERS see on a daily basis. You think you got it bad. Management has a gun to their head.:wink2:
  12. Dracula

    Dracula Package Car is cake compared to this...

    Yeah, it sounds like a lot of you feel the same crap I do. Look, I'm not dragging my heels in my pre-trip, but I'm also not rushing it either. And that will not change, no matter what they say or do. I'm of the opinion that safety is not something that yields to the famous UPS mantra, "sense of urgency". Anyone here knows that when you are rushed, things get missed, skipped or forgotten. That holds true whether or not you are in the hub, on a package car or in feeders.

    16 minutes is what it takes me to get my stuff in the tractor and to finish my pre-trip. And unlike the Calhoun case that JonFrum refers to above (which took me about 3 hours to read), I am never late to the sorts I deliver to. This is just a case of a manager trying to work his way up the food chain, and management bean counting.

    I am on a first name basis with the mechanics where I am at. Usually they say, "You couldn't go all week without coming back here, could you?" So, if I find something that doesn't measure up, I get it fixed. And I won't apologize or change my routine for it. Despite UPS's claim that safety comes first, I am not well liked in the on-road office for my vigilance with my equipment. They think I am being "too thorough".

    Despite all of this, I won't change my routine, unless I find that DOT says I'm going above and beyond my requirements. But the DOT is very hard to pin down. My state's guide to passing the CDL test has a lot of stuff that UPS says they don't require, but my question is, and was to my sup, why does the state require this to pass the test, but doesn't count afterwards? That doesn't make sense to me.

    We shall see....
  13. JonFrum

    JonFrum Member

    If every driver, package and feeder, was too thorough, that might be a problem possibly causing unnecessary delay and expense. But if only one driver in the group is too thorough, and follows up by getting the defects fixed, well I think that's a good thing. As the various peices of equiptment cycle through to him, he inspects them more digilantly than other drivers and finds problems they didn't.

    As a carwasher, I often reported problems I found to the Shop which usually got things fixed right away. Why leave them to be discovered in the AM rush, or not discovered at all? Sometimes it even saves a roadcall.

    But the mechanics did seem to hide when they saw me comming.

  14. For a little perspective-I am a certified aircraft mechanic(A&P). Not a heavy truck mechanic but can assure you I'm more than qualified to comment. OK. You are not piloting a space shuttle nor pre-tripping to PMI standards. It can be overdone and underdone. I think by any standard, crawling underneath is overdoing it. Generally, your intensive inspection is taking more time than is necessary and won't(generally) decrease road calls and the like. Maybe a few.....maybe. And no, it's not worth it to the company. When I first started driving(long time ago)(for UPS) the pkg car/feeder etc. would come out of PMI with most of the road grime and accumulated grease still intact, untouched. How could this be? Preventative Maintenance Inspection......they take it all apart right? Nope. I have assumed the mechanics would repair a glaring problem when the vehicle was in for something else.....Nope, not written up.....not fixed. We used to wash our own tractors as part of our end of day routine. My tractor was covered in grease and grime as it leaked about 8 qts. a day(you read that right). I could spend all day, every day cleaning it. In the end, wash the windshield and call it a day.

    Can you be disciplined for excessive pre-trip inspections? I believe you can. Especially after being told not to do it. I'm no homer, but UPS's pre-trip is adequate. It aligns with DOT and I can assure you, has been exhaustively tested and refined until what we have today. I can assure you DOT is quite aware of it and approves. My advice(again), get a written checklist(from mgt.) and follow it to the letter. I'd bet, that checklist gets put away with all the other seeing-habits and ten-point commentary's and blah blah. Pilots have an old saying of "kick the tires and light the fires".....it's really about like that.
  15. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    Would you go so far as to equate an excessive pre-trip to stealing time?
  16. FracusBrown

    FracusBrown Ponies and Planes

    Ask for a copy of the methods. Follow the methods. The methods satisfy DOT and UPS requirements and keep you from getting in trouble for not following instructions.

  17. Yes. The safety aspect will be lost and forgotten as he fights the failure to work as directed, stealing time etc. It could be akin to excessive customer contact, service etc. And yes, you can over do it.

  18. Bingo.
  19. bluehdmc

    bluehdmc Well-Known Member

    Has anyone ever seen this in writing for feeders?

    Like want to retire says you can go overboard. I see drivers crawl under a trailer to inspect the brakes, occasionally they may find a cracked lining that can't be seen from across the trailer. (behind the leaf spring or something). I also see a lot of drivers grab the top of the front wheel and attempt to rock it. I asked why and they said that's what the driving school taught them. I just chuckled because there's probably 4000lbs of weight on the wheel, you aint gonna budge it even if the kingpins were shot.
  20. Dracula

    Dracula Package Car is cake compared to this...

    They gave me their methods last week. It is shorter than my state's pre-trip inspection for the CDL test. As I've said, I'm trying to find of from the state whether their requirements are only for passing the test, or if they are a daily requirement. Some guys here say getting under the trailers is overkill. I disagree. If you are going to get written up for missing something that can only be seen by getting under the trailer, as one of our drivers did, then you need to be under that trailer.