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Unsafe Driving: The Law


CSA BASIC number one is unsafe driving. The criteria for what constitutes unsafe driving are based on 392 CFR.

392.3 – Ill or Fatigued Operator

No driver may operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) when the driver's ability is so impaired, or likely to become impaired, through fatigue and/or illness as to cause that driver to become unsafe. No motor carrier may allow a driver to knowingly operate in such a state either. Exception: In grave emergencies where it would cause more harm than good at that moment to comply, the driver may continue to the nearest safest location.

392.4 – Drugs and Other Substances

No driver may be under the influence of a Section 1308.11 Schedule I substance, amphetamines, narcotics or any other substance which renders a driver incapable of performing his or her job. No motor carrier may allow or require a driver to operate a CMV under such conditions. Exception: This does not apply to prescriptions written by a doctor where that doctor advises the medication will not affect the driver's ability to safely operate the CMV.

392.5 – Alcohol

No driver may have consumed alcohol within four hours of going on duty. He or she may not consume any alcohol while on duty. In addition, no driver may be in possession of alcohol unless it is for the purpose of transporting an entire shipment.

No motor carrier may knowingly allow or require a driver to operate a CMV while under the influence of alcohol.

Violating this regulation results in a 24-hour Out of Service (OoS) order., All OoS orders must be reported to the driver's employer within 24 hours. Additionally, either the employer or the driver must report the OoS order to the state official, which issued the CMV license, within 30 days. A driver can petition the OoS order within 10 days of receipt.

392.6 – Speed Limits

Drivers must comply with all speed limits.

Motor carriers may not allow or require a driver to violate any speed limits.

392.7 – Equipment, Inspection and Use

The following parts must be in good working order:

  • Service brakes, including trailer brake connections
  • Parking (hand) brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Lighting devices and reflectors
  • Tires
  • Horns
  • Windshield wiper(s)
  • Rear vision mirror(s)
  • Coupling devices

Intermodal Equipment:

  • Lighting devices, lamps, markers, conspicuity marking material
  • Wheels, rims, lugs, tires
  • Air line connections, hoses, couplers
  • King pin upper coupling device
  • Rails or support frames
  • Tie down bolsters
  • Locking pins, clevises, clamps, hooks
  • Sliders or sliding frame lock

*Service brake components must be readily visible without getting under vehicle.

392.8 – Emergency Equipment, Inspection and Use

Do not drive unless emergency equipment is in place and working.

392.9 – Inspection of cargo, cargo securement devices and systems

The driver must ensure that the cargo is properly distributed and adequately secured. The tailgate, tailboard, doors, tarpaulins, spare tire and all fastening equipment also must be secured.

Cargo may not obscure the driver's view at any angle, interfere with the driver's free movements, may not prevent ready access to accessories required for emergencies and may not prevent the exit from the cab or driver's compartment.

The driver must inspect the cargo load within the first 50 miles and then reexamine the cargo at every change of duty status or when a commercial motor vehicle has been driven for three hours or 150 miles (whichever comes first).

These rules do not apply to sealed loads that the driver has been ordered not to open.

392.9a – Operating Authority

CMV cannot operate without an operating authority or beyond the scope of that operating authority.

It is an OoS violation if a CMV is operated without an operating authority.

392.10 – Railroad Grade Crossings; Stopping Required

Any CMV hauling division 2.3 chlorine or that is required to be placarded for Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3, 2.3 poison gas, Class 7, Class 3 flammable, Division 5.2, 2.2, 2.3 chlorine, 6.1 poison, 2.2 oxygen, 2.1, Class 3 combustible liquid, Division 4.1, 5.1, 5.2, Class 8, Division 1.4.

Any CMV used for the transport of hazardous material whether loaded or empty.

Every cargo tank transporting a commodity, which at the time of loading has a temperature above its flashpoint.

392.11 – Railroad Crossings; Slowing Down Required

Other than what is listed in §392.10, all CMVs must be driven at such a speed, which will allow the CMV to stop before the nearest rail need be.

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