CONTENT: Sometimes it is difficult to know who to ask when you have a question about some part of the trucking business. A company driver can always begin by asking the dispatcher or supervisor, but an owner-operator doesn't always have that luxury. There are times on the road too, when even a company driver has to find something out, and trucking companies value drivers who can think on their feet and handle some of the day- to-day details for themselves. Sometimes a simple phone call from you can save you and your dispatcher a lot of trouble. In such a case, it's important for you to know who to call.
There are a number of reasons why it is hard to know who to contact regarding your needs and questions in the trucking business. The names of the various agencies differ from state to state. Some states will have three or four agencies which, combined, handle almost all trucking needs; others seem to have a different agency for every possible concern. Some things (such as hazardous materials spills) need to be reported to a combination of state and federal agencies. It isn't easy to contact the correct agency on your first phone call, especially if you are traveling in a state you normally don't pass through.
Under each concern, it lists the names by which the controlling agency might be called. Here's how to use the list: Read down the list for a topic of concern to you. Then, look over the list of agencies under the topic. When you find an agency that exists in your state (or the state you have a question about), call that agency with your question. If they can't help you, they should be able to tell you who to call. If they can't help you or tell you who to contact, call another agency listed under your topic of concern in Chart 19-1.
DO: Using the above charts as a guide to help you, find the answers to the questions below. Begin by finding out who to contact in your home state, county and/or city for an answer to your question. Write down the name of the appropriate agency in the blank under the related instruction or question. Then, follow the instructions or write in the answer to the question.
- Find out your state's legal limits for height, weight, length and width.
- Assume that you want to haul a load which is over your state's legal height from the state capital to the second most populous city in the state, (a) Find out how you would go about getting permission to haul it. (b) Find out the route you should take, (c) Find out the hours during which you could haul the load.
- You are an owner-operator who has been asked to haul miscellaneous radioactive pipes and metal scraps to a disposal facility. What special permissions do you need and what special regulations do you need to follow?
- You've just purchased a tandem-axle Marmon tractor and you need to register it. What form do you need and what will the fee be?
DO: Four different combination units and their permit loads are described below. We have given you all specifications. Tear out one transportation permit from Part IV of this workbook for each load and fill it out. Follow these steps in filling out each permit:
- First, fill out the form as if you were the driver applying for the permit. (That is, fill in the section to the left and above the heavy line.) The permittee is the company applying for the permit. The authorized agent could be the dispatcher or other company employee applying for the permit. In these cases, however, the driver is the authorized agent applying for the permit. Describe the load or equipment, and separately, the vehicle hauling it as clearly you can in the space they give you.
- Then, fill in the route, dimensions, axle information and weight of the entire unit as if you were the state. (That is, fill in the part of the form marked, "State Use Only.") True, you will probably never be filling in this part of the form, but by becoming familiar with it, you will know the kind of information you're going to have to supply as a driver.
- Finally, take a guess at the kind of authorization you'd get for your load. (That is, mark the dates for which your move is authorized and check the boxes marked, "Moving Authorized" YES or NO. These boxes show when you are allowed to travel with your load.)
DO: Visit the agency in your city or county which handles permit loads. Ask for a city or county road map. Ask how permit loads are handled. For example, do they use the color-coding method of road control. If so, how does it work? If not, what method do they use and how does it work? Ask for the weight limits for each category of roads, eg., green routes, purple routes. Get all specifications including number of pounds per axle. Get a list of all roads and portions of roads that handle each weight category.
Find out what forms must be filled out and what other requirements you must meet, such as insurance, bonding, etc. If possible, pick up samples of color-coded city or county maps.
Ask officials if there is much bootlegging going on that they are aware of. Do they have any idea of who is doing it? What happens to those who are caught?
You might go to the road office in a group. In fact, one group might go to the city, one to the county and another to the state office handling road control and permit loads. This will give you information which you can compare with others in class.
After you have visited the offices and collected all the information you can, answer the following questions or do as the instructions below say.
- What method of road control does the office you visited use?
- Briefly explain how the method of road control used in your area works.
- What kind of bonding or insurance do you need before you can legally haul a permit load?
- What happens to first-time offenders of permit load regulations?
- What happens to constant violators of the permit load regulations?
- Do one of the following tasks. Select the one which has the most meaning for you.
(a) Color code your city or county road map according to the specs you obtained at the office.
(b) Take your city or county map and code it for the kind of oversized loads you typically carry or would like to carry as a professional driver. Make whatever notations you need to on the map to make the meaning of the map clear.
(c) Assume that you are a driver applying for a transportation permit. Tell what you are hauling. It could be house trailers, houses, boats, railroad cars, whatever. Then take your city or county map and code it with colored see-through marking pens to indicate roads which you may use with a permit.