re: driving unsafe equipment

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by hypocrisy, May 3, 2010.

  1. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    The poll and thread about refusing to drive unsafe equipment was disturbing.

    A lot of B.S. about determining this, Joe Union that, Management this, Family that and on and on.

    We are supposed to be Professional Drivers of Commercial Vehicles (and from Tractor Trailer to p-500 qualify).

    As Professional Drivers, there really is no discussion or question what is required because the D.O.T has determined all of this for us in Part 393 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rulebook. This section is titled:
    Parts and Accessories required for safe operation

    Lights, whether they be headlights, marker lights, clearance lights, tail lights, turn signals, hazard lights, or brake lights have to be operational at all times. All, not some, not most of them, not 75%, not high beams instead of headlights, ALL OF THEM.
    This includes the license plate light.

    Reflective devices are required (there are nice pictures in the book about where they have to be on your particular vehicle).

    Tires have to be free of cuts, cracks, or exposed cords and must have the minimum tread depth (4/32" front, 2/32" rear) across the entire tread. This means if your inside edge of the right front tire is at 2/32" but the rest is 6/32" your vehicle is now "out of service". Wheels must be free of cracks and all lugs must be present and tight. Be sure to thoroughly check the inside tires on the rear. All tires must be properly inflated. If you get a flat on one rear tire out on road, you cannot continue until it is repaired.

    Brakes must all work and have a minimum 1/4" of pad and be free of rust and cracks. You cannot always check the brake linings on package cars but you must be satisfied that they will work properly prior to going on road. This includes the parking brake. You can, however, inspect the brake lines which requires opening the hood to perform a proper inspection. I encourage every package driver to do so,every day. Tractor trailer drivers have additional tests we must make that I won't go into here.

    Horn must be audible and reliable. If it stops working out on road, this is unsafe and you must place the vehicle out of service.

    Wipers are required to be operational and the blades must have proper tension. It doesn't matter if it's going to rain that day.

    Your steering must be work and not have excessive play. (~2" manual, ~4" power steering)

    You are required to have a heater/defroster and it must work: no matter what time of year.

    A fully charged fire extinguisher of the correct type , securely mounted is required. You are also required to have reflective triangles or flares.

    All your mirrors have to be present and working properly (no cracks, glazing, or discoloration).

    Your frame,leaf or coil springs, and spring hangers cannot have ANY cracks or welds. Become familiar with your suspension system so that you can recognize an overweight situation (when the frame is resting on helper springs that is a good indicator, as are flat springs)

    The doors have to open and close and the bumpers must be mounted securely.

    You must have a windshield free of cracks or glazing that obstruct your view.

    So basically, if it's here:
    it's required. If there are interpretaions they can be found on the column to the right. Pre-trip inspections are required as are Post Trip inspections and they are both the same. (think about it, is it easier to fix something overnight prior to preload than in the morning when your car is loaded with NXDA's???) In addition, there may be other required equipment in your particular State, such as mud flaps. If you have a question about any of these regulations you can ask them here: and get fast accurate answers.

    There is no discussion, no wiggle room, no instructions Mgmt can put in writing, no interpretations by a mechanic, no threatening or intimidation should phase you. YOU, the driver, are responsible. OSHA will and has severely fined UPS for violating the driver's right to refuse to operate unsafe equipment. $50k last year in SF, $100k this year as we recently read. With the advent of CSA2010 it will be every drivers responsibility to maintain their driving safety record more so than ever.

  2. Bubblehead

    Bubblehead My Senior Picture

    Outstanding post!!!!
  3. Raw

    Raw Raw Member

    ....."You are required to have a heater/defroster and it must work: no matter what time of year."..
    So if your heater doesn`t work and it`s 90` down here in Florida the vehicle is unsafe to drive? This is what happens when government gets way too involved!! What about proper seat cushions for my tush? LOL!! :dissapointed:
  4. cachsux

    cachsux Wah

    When you have rain in a high humidity situation what are you planning to clear your window with?
  5. Mike57

    Mike57 Member

    Think you got him!
  6. hurricanegunner

    hurricanegunner UPSPoop

    We had a driver a few years ago whose seat belt broke at about 11am. Management instructed him to keep working and to be safe. He refused, stating it was unsafe. They threatened him repeatedly, but then caved in and sent a delivery sup out to replace the seat belt. Good for him! If anything had happened and he was injured or thrown from the truck, they would have said it was his fault for not wearing a seat belt.
  7. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    This happened to me back when we had just the lap belt. I "borrowed" the one from the jump seat to finish the day.

    Crowbar does make some good points. I wonder how many of us would follow these to the letter. I admit that I have worked with a horn that went out during the day and have driven back to the center with a headlight out.
  8. over9five

    over9five Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry, anything small (horn, light, etc) I'm finishing the day. The mechanic can fix it in the shop tonight.
  9. dilligaf

    dilligaf IN VINO VERITAS

    Thank you for taking the time to find that Crowbar. :happy2:
  10. Bad Gas!

    Bad Gas! Active Member

    Good Post Crowbar...We had a driver today who noticed brake fluid leaking from break pedal on the way to first air stop..He shut it down right there..It got repaired and only 3 late air but Mgt moaned and groaned about it but knew his brakes would have failed without brake fluid...
  11. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    I received a question about how long a pre-trip inspection should take. There is no pre-set time limit, it's however long it takes to inspect all of your required equipment until you, the driver, is satisfied everything conforms to Part 393.
    Ret. Texas State Trooper Monty Dial is on record as saying a tractor-trailer pre-trip/post-trip would probably take as long as a Level 1 inspection, which would be at least 15 minutes. That seems like a good baseline to me. Personally, I don't worry about the clock when I'm performing a pre-trip or post-trip.

    A lot of drivers who drive the same tractor or pkg car every day become complacent and miss things. It's important to treat each pre-trip and post-trip as if you are driving the vehicle for the first time. We had one tractor red-tagged for two broken springs and a cracked exhaust system that was regularly driven by a senior member of the Safety Comittee.

    Bottom line is that we are privileged and paid well to be professional drivers so we should do exactly that. It's sad any drivers have been fired for refusing to drive unsafe equipment. They should be firing the managers who intimidate these drivers.
  12. rod

    rod retired and happy

    Did Ret State Trooper Monty have a center manager and a couple of sups screaming at him to get the hell out of the building?
  13. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    Wouldn't it be nice if they rewarded that driver at a PCM the following day instead of griping about it?
    I encourage everyone to print out the recent OSHA decision, circulate it at your hub, and encourage your local to post it on the Union board. We, as professional drivers, should be exerting peer pressure on the other drivers we see skipping their pre-trip and post-trip.
  14. UPSF Peeon

    UPSF Peeon New Member

    our mechanics are union now so it takes about 2 hours to change a lightbulb and if we do it ourselves we are "taking there work"
  15. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    Doubtful, but I have. I just become more deliberate and thorough because of the increased distraction. You can imagine their frustration when I had to go to the shop for a safety defect.
    I'm not saying you should use the pre-trip/post-trip to sandbag and cause unnecessary delays, but it's required and should be done to the letter every day. This is one battle Management will lose so don't be afraid to stand up to them and follow the law. It's not a game, it's the law. You can get a copy of the current FMCSA at any truck stop, and I encourage every driver to print part 393 so you can just hand it to the management person who needs to be reminded of your D.O.T. requirements.
    File the grievenace and call OSHA if you are being harassed. Document, document, document.
  16. fxdwg

    fxdwg Member

    Who do you think you're kidding? It's completely clear what you are doing.
  17. pc mechanic

    pc mechanic New Member

    crowbar you have it just right. how many of the pc driver remember the dot rules, or care what the rules are.
    ups does not care for the dot regs, because they are not made by ups. ups does everthing it can do to get the pc driver to not go by dot rules every day. each time they get by with it they think there way of doing things is better than dot way. if dot was to come down on ups, it would be the driver who was at fault.
    each pc driver should have a dot book!!! they should keep it with them just like the contract book, but just having the book & never reading it is not good.
  18. hypocrisy

    hypocrisy Banned

    Thank you for that post pc mechanic and I appreciate your dedication.

    CSA2010 is coming and hopefully will change some of these "kick the tires and light the fires" attitudes. Drivers, make your mechanic's job easier by spotting problems before they become unmanegable. Mechanics are dinged for road calls much in the same way you are for service failures. Keeping safe cars on the road saves the company money vs. redtagged or damaged vehicles. Don't think you are immune to DOT inspections because you are not required to have a CDL to drive a package car. In my State, DOT has conducted several roadside inspection checkpoints outside Fedex Ground locations with interesting results. These checkpoints could come outside your hub anyday. Protect your safety record and you will protect your employment opportunities in the future.

    Go to for more information.
  19. UpstateNYUPSer

    UpstateNYUPSer Very proud grandfather.

    Great--now I have 2 books I have to dust off before I read them.
  20. Raw

    Raw Raw Member

    I`ve been working in high humidity rain for over 22 years now and never had working cooler/heater! I use my HAND!!:happy-very: