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Tractor Transporting Discussion Forum

DOT safety or money (very long post)

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John in La

09-22-2012 23:10:12




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Lets look at DOT inspections and decide if it is really money or safety behind road side inspections.

First off the federal DOT has done a lot for safety over the years. CDL drivers license and federally mandated drug testing has got a lot of bad drivers off the road. Just ask any of the old guys about had to be there freight or having 2 drivers license; one for all your speeding tickets and one to give to your employer. Accident rates are way down from years ago.
We as truck drivers live by rules the general public would never go along with; not in a million years.
So one could say it is all about safety.
Then you look at some of the off the wall tickets that are given out and you have to wonder if it is really about safety. One must wonder if inspections have caused companies to repair their trucks to the point of things have to be made up to produce revenue. It has gotten so crazy in the past few years that not only is the company ticketed for violations but it also goes on the drivers record; and this is for things the driver has no control over.

So lets look at what started this in the first place.
John Q Public complained years ago about truck safety because when a truck has a accident; people die and it is usually not the truck driver. John Q Public complained and complained to his elected officials so much that the government knew something had to be done.

Then you have a situation like I saw Friday and you have to sit back and wonder what is really going on inside the DOT.

I was going down the interstate (east) coming up on a section of highway that is known to be a DOT inspection hotspot. I see these guys in this same section of highway everyday.
There was a truck just pulling off the road side on the other side (west) of the interstate. The DOT state trooper cuts threw the neutral ground behind me (east) and is going a little faster than me so he passes me up. I follow him for about 5 miles and he cuts back threw the neutral ground and parks on the shoulder (west) waiting for his next victim. No big deal unless you consider the truck we both past in the 5 mile section going east.
This guy had a small pickup with a 5x8 trailer behind it. He has the trailer loaded down with so many cinder blocks and bags of mortar that the trailer hitch was almost scraping on the ground. If he would have had safety chains hooked up they would have been dragging on the ground. He is doing all he can to keep it straight in the road and still run about 40 or 45 mph because the trailer is fishing tailing from the speed and overweight. Now keep in mind this is a section of highway that is posted 70 mph. The DOT state trooper just goes by him never giving it a second look.

So is it really about safety or money. This DOT cop was clearly working. He had just let one truck go and was setting up for his next victim.
If it was about safety you would think the cop would have stopped this accident waiting to happen pickup because he was dangerously overweight.
Even if it was about money you would think the cop would have stopped this pickup because it was a guaranteed ticket with no hard work involved.

So what is it really about??
Here is my take……….
DOT enforcement was ramped up years ago to deal with trucks because of complaints. Enforcement has gotten so well that stupid tickets must be written just to give these guys something to do. If it were ever determined that trucks are so safe that we are doing 25 inspections a day and only coming up with 1 real violation jobs would be lost.
So a morning briefing would be something like this…… You guys go out there and make up stuff if you have to because your cushy state job depends on it. But lets keep in mind we want to target big trucks only because most of these guys are from out of state. We definitely what to stay away from John Q Public because he is most times local. Remember most out of state guys will just pay a ticket and move on rather than fight it; local guys are more likely to fight it in court and we definitely do not want to irritate the locals. They can hurt us where it counts; in the voting booth.

I can quote you times I have been told by the DOT that they would not write tickets to everyday citizens even though there was a clear violation because it was not a CMV.
So is it really about money or safety; or is it about making as many cushy state jobs as we can.

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Bret4207

10-26-2012 05:20:29




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
There was no cop on a power trip wanting to rip someones face off. There was an incident mentioned where a smart guy trucker thought starting his truck while the cop was down in between the drivers would be funny. It wasn't. He was removed from the vehicle and made to understand that the rules would be followed. That doesn't seem at all unreasonable to me.



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mm585

10-25-2012 16:29:17




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
How did this turn in to a cop on a power trip wanting to rip someones face off?



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Bret4207

10-16-2012 04:43:17




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
About a year before I retired they had a class for the young guys who'd been on the road for a couple of years. The basic subject matter was- "It's okay to hit the guy that whomping on you." God's honest truth. That's what todays society has brought us. I was never one for roughing people up, but there's no reason a PO shouldn't put the fear of God into someone that starts knocking him around.



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mkirsch

10-08-2012 07:34:40




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
People have figured out that if they fight the cops and get roughed up they have a better chance of getting off because they can claim "police brutality." No matter how many punches the suspects throw, or how much they thrash and struggle, the second a cop takes a swing, it's all over.

You need 5-6 officers to "humanely" subdue the suspect, and as witnesses when the police brutality charges are brought up.

Being a big imposing figure doesn't matter anymore. The miscreants know that the cop can't lay a hand on them.

Cops need a "stand your ground" law too. Perp comes at you fists flying, out comes the night stick.

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Bret4207

09-30-2012 12:55:44




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
I think some of you ought to do some checking before engaging the fingers. All those DOT Rules and Regs you hate, like HOS for instance? INDUSTRY is the driving force behind those rules. INDUSTRY sits on the board creating the rules and regs and has more input than the other members. INDUSTRY can make a call to their bought and paid for Senator or Congressman and bring heat on the other parties involved. Don't ever forget it's INDUSTRY advisers making the call on a large percentage of the rules and regs.

Now as for is it a safety game or a revenue game, all I can tell you is I got my job as a DOT Inspector after being a road Trooper for 16 years right after 9/11. The Feds gave grant money to the States to beef up DOT enforcement for National Security reasons. In that sense it was about safety. I was trained with the idea in mind we were about safety, that was drilled into us over and over. In the field, yeah, you had to have a decent number of inspections and tickets. I might have done 6-7 inspections a day, sometimes more, sometimes less. If I had a choice between writing a guy a serious ticket or a fix it ticket, assuming the guy wasn't clown with a chip on his shoulder and a giant sized attitude, I'd give him the fix it ticket. If you were a jerk, tough luck pal, you brought the crap on yourself. On the whole, I'd say 98% of the drivers I dealt with were as polite as I was, were as professional as I was and realized I was doing my best to get them out of there ASAP. Now the rag head retard that started the truck while I was down between the drivers.......that guy was not professional, polite or a very good listener, although he seemed to pay an awful lot more attention to what I was saying after I got out from under the truck in .038759 nanoseconds and grabbed him by the face and drug him out of the truck. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but my adrenalin might have had something to do with that. There were a few Russian mob types that weren't too pleasant and more than a few complete retards that shouldn't have had any type of license at all, but overall truckers were a lot nicer to deal with than your average welfare mutt, trailer park wife beating low life. Canadian drivers were a cut above American drivers I'm sorry to say. Wasn't like that a few years before, but Canada straightened stuff out and I'll put any American truck and driver up against a Robert truck and driver, for instance, any day of the week. The truck are spotless, in perfect repair and the drivers are professional, on the ball and very. very rarely have an issue with anything, at least on this side of the St Lawrence.

The revenue part? Of course the politicians and bureaucrats want it to make money. Does it? No. I can't think of any public sector entity that produces a profit. Police don't, firemen and EMTs certainly don't, the Forest service or EnCon don't, Welfare, schools, IRS, military don't. So I don;t expect that any argument could be made that a profit is expected by anyone other than bean counters and a few Marxists. The same people that believe simply taxing people more will solve the debt crisis might be the same ones believing a police force can generate enough tickets to pay for itself, the court system and the administration behind it. They can't, it won't, fugetaboutit.

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Brad Buchanan

10-03-2012 12:48:22




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to Bret4207, 09-30-2012 12:55:44  
Kinda hard to say there is no money being made when you go to pay a $25.00 ticket and there is a $165.00 'mandatory surcharge' and "we don't take credit or debit cards or checks but we have an atm right by the payment window".

" I got out from under the truck in .038759 nanoseconds and grabbed him by the face and drug him out of the truck"

Respectfully I worked in law enforcement for 27 years and when I hear a statement like that I have to think that the rest of the story is the four good men backing you up.

Grabbing a stranger 'by the face' one on one is an excellent strategy if you intend to get your dentures scattered all over the rest area.

Brad

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ericlb

10-08-2012 05:07:09




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to Brad Buchanan, 10-03-2012 12:48:22  
i wonder if its the young cops, or their training they receive today they seem to have a 'us against them; attitude, seems it used to be different, i had a friend or 2 back in the day who were cops, both did not think like that one thing a cop must have is respect, or he will never be able to do his job, now one of my friends was not your average cop this guy was huge, not fat, but big and built like a bull moose, i have seen him stop a fist fight one time simply by walking in the bar, he didnt even say anything yet and the 2 gents going at it stopped, they knew what was going to happen if they didnt , he hauled both to the clink with nobody else helping, today it seems to take 4 to 6 of them to do the same job

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Bret4207

10-03-2012 17:22:47




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to Brad Buchanan, 10-03-2012 12:48:22  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

And with equal lack of respect, I did 23 years as a NYS Trooper. If you needed 4 other people to remove one idiot from a vehicle that's your problem. Any real cop should have the respect not to allege someone he's never laid eyes on is a liar. Beyond that, are you attempting to assert that the fine money covers the cost of the court system, the police involved, the administration behind those people, the training, the vehicles, the other unseen expenses on up the ladder? Really? Sure you don't want to re-think that?

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ericlb

09-29-2012 14:23:20




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
there a mess, it has helped safety, at least around here as we have many trucks which are lets say minority owned and in such bad shape they shouldnt even be on the road, when one of these guys sees a crusier he quickly calls his compardres, and all go hide, i mean in 10 minutes the truck traffic is 1/3 of what it was, still its who you know that counts one of these guys has hit something with his truck a freightliner, he still on the road every day, he has; the 1/2 of the bumper thats still on the truck held there to a shattered hood fender assembly with baling wire, no headlites present on the truck at all, 1 turn signal on the right front fender, and no rear mud flaps present, i garentee you such a pos wouldnt even leave our shop, let alone get onthe road, but if it did i couldnt get 5 miles and id be headed for the jail and the judge , the other problem i personally have experienced here is dot cops who i guess are supposed to be under a superior cops supervision for training, instead there out here on their own, the problem is they dont know enough about a heavy truck to know whats right and whats not right, a buddy of mine got a ticket with a brand new mack ch series, still had the paper sticker in the windshield, the problem was a "air leak" said air leak was actually the front axle brake delay valve- working as intended but because it went pssst, and the cop didnt know what it was, he decided to issue a ticket for it, it got thrown out of court due to my buddy having a certificate sent from mack trucks inc. describing the valve, its purpose and the fact that it was a factory installed part, as all newer trucks have also , kind of nice if the truck cop actually knew something about trucks, lol kind of like right now we got a dr running for the sheriff's job this dr is such a quack that the local hospital doesnt allow him to practice on its premises,his patients have to be turned over to another dr, now he wants to be the sheriff, im just a redneck but to be a sheriff wouldnt it be good to have a background in law enforcement? lol

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mkirsch

09-27-2012 13:36:57




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
No, it's not about the money.

It's about the DOT justifying its existence and people using their position of power to manipulate the system for their own personal gain.

If you were to audit the cost of DOT enforcement vs. the revenue they generate, I am *SURE* you would discover that they operate at a loss. The money they collect from tickets isn't enough to keep the lights on.

What you have, are people addicted to power in fear of losing their cushy high-paying jobs with full pension after 20 years of service. They can easily justify themselves by claiming it's all about safety.

It's not about safety. It's not about a government money grab either, because there is no money to grab.

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Secret Squirrel

09-27-2012 18:23:17




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to mkirsch, 09-27-2012 13:36:57  
If it is not about money, why are there tickets with fines involved? Do they donate the fines to charity? Or maybe the cops who long to be cowboys and be like Wyatt Earp, I don't know. But what I do know is the DOT spoke to our farm group and acted like the gestapo or the SS that we used to see in the old WW2 movies. I am all for safety, and there are some rogue trucks, but that is not who they target.

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mkirsch

10-30-2012 07:13:20




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to Secret Squirrel, 09-27-2012 18:23:17  
Quoting Removed, click Modern View to see

Did you read past my first 4-word sentence?

The money they bring in doesn't cover the costs of their operation. It's a LOT of money, for sure, and looks good on paper with some clever bookkeeping.



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John in La

09-29-2012 07:16:16




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to Secret Squirrel, 09-27-2012 18:23:17  
Yes there are tickets and fines but how can you think it is all about the money when some are let go (non CMV) even though they are clearly in volition of our safety laws.
You do not have to be a CMV to be unsafe and money collected from John Q Public spends just as good as big company money.

The DOT is all about the power. In the name of safety they have targeted a group that has no voting power.

Look at it this way.........
Starting today every cop will stop red cars and test the driver for DUI and inspect the car for safety. We will not stop any other cars just red ones. If you have a blue car you can drive around drunk; have bald tires or what ever you want and never have a fear of a cop stopping you.
But if you have a red car you better watch out because if we stop you and find one tire that is worn a little to much we will not only give you a ticket for it we will force you to have it repaired before you can leave the inspection site.
Now imaging the outrage this would cause from John Q Public.

If you want to see what a black or woman felt like 100 years ago become a truck driver.

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The tractor vet

09-27-2012 07:20:09




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
Yep it is all about the money. and they really do hate it when you do go to court and beat them. Way back when all this started i was off the road and enjoying myself just fixen tractors and going to the sales and buying . all i had was a one ton and a goose neck. NO BODY bothered me at first. My one buddy that bought way more then me had three semi"s and at times i would do some work on them for him . They were older trucks and trailers but were sound . One day i get a call from him that his one truck was broke down on Rt. 11 a mile north of the one rest area with a locked up air compressor . This truck was and old Astro with a 318 in it and for the year it was a cream puff with under 400000 miles on it with a fresh engine . This old truck was in such good shape that it would hold 90-95 lbs. air pressure for days when not in use . The compressor was a new REBUILT one just put on a few days before and it locked up . I was the closest to the truck and Don asked if i would go up there and replace the compressor . Ok not a big deal as the compressor is mounted to the back for the engine and it is a cab over , a few bolts a few lines a new coupler and a 15 mile drive to get the new parts . So i head up there and yep there is the truck setting along side the road way off the side of the road and half on the berm and half in the grass. Four ways on triangles set out correctly . I pull up along side the tractor in the grass and get the tools out i need to do battle with it. The driver is standing there with me while i am removing the compressor when a state bear pulls up behind and comes up and asks what is wrong the driver get in a panic and leaves me with the bear . So i get down off the truck and tell Mr. bear that the air compressor locked up and i am going to replace it . He asked me if we needed a wrecker and i said no and that we would be out of there in about two hours as i had to drive up to Youngstown to get a new compressor and a new coupler . He said that will be just fine with him as we were way off the road and had EVERY THING set up just fine and he would stop back to see if we needed any other help. and he left. Got the compressor off and off we went me and the driver up to the parts place that i have dealt with for years . They had what we needed and swapped out all the fittings from the old compressor to the new one and we were off . We get back to the truck and i am installing the new compressor when a DOT bear pulls up and starts in on the driver and is going to write him up for driving a semi with a defective air compressor and on and on . And he starts on me as i am not on the list of truck repair services that he knows of . The battle was on , yes i did threaten him with a long handled 1/2 inch drive ratchet and yes he did call for back up . One of the state bears that came knew me and has for years from when i worked in the dealerships . This DOT bear did not know that i do in fact hold a master tech certificate in Heavy duty truck repair . And his attitude is what almost got him cold cocked . All the bears knew what kind of a arrse hole he was . And first off you can not write a ticket for IN ROUTE break down. Once things clamed down i asked this jerk if he knew how to work on cars trucks or anything else and he said NO then i asked him if he could drive a truck he again said NO , I then explained to him that not only can i WORK on them BUT that i could also DRIVE one . I then asked him what he did in his past life before he became a Arres HOLE DOT cop , he told me that he use to be a teacher but lots his job . Being me i just had to say it , Well ya must not have been any good at that one either. So maybe ya should find something else to do before you run into a really mean and nasty driver some dark night.

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JWWnGA

10-29-2012 20:20:49




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to The tractor vet, 09-27-2012 07:20:09  
Threatening a trooper here with a "long handled 1/2 drive ratchet"would be good way to get yourself pepper sprayed/tased/chokeslammed/pimpslapped etc.



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soundguy

09-24-2012 12:13:44




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
here in florida we call it revenue enforcement.

for a dot to pull over an obviously non commercial vehicle for some unsafe loading or something, you almost have to murder someone in the street and drag their corps a few hundred feet down the road...



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Dean Olson

09-23-2012 08:45:24




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 Re: DOT safety or money (very long post) in reply to John in La, 09-22-2012 23:10:12  
The new DOT is about the money. They are the equivalent of the highway robbers of old.

If the general public could be stopped and searched for any reason or no reason at all they would be outraged. For those not aware of what I'm talking about, ANY LEO can stop ANY commercial vehicle ANYTIME and search without probable cause.

Back in the day if you had a light go out LEO would stop you, give you a heads up, jaw a few minutes and send you on your way. Now it calls for a full blown inspection and a ticket with points against the driver and the company.


I have tremendous respect for LEO's but absolutely despise the politicians that made them tax collectors.

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