The goal of Prime Insurance is
to certify tow truck drivers owners and employees in proper towing safety so
that all drivers will understand the personal safety aspects of the road.
Once you complete certification
training, you will be given a Certificate of Completion card enabling you to
receive discount insurance rates, even if you change employment from one Prime
insured to another Prime insured. Every two years you will be required to
attend a re-certification class when your card expires.
When using this
handbook, please remember that it is only a summary of the laws and
regulations. The Department of Motor Vehicles
(DMV), law enforcement, and courts follow the full and exact language of the
law contained. Copies of the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 49, or Title
22, Division 4.5 may be purchased from:
Superintendent of Documents
U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D.C. 20402
Telephone Number (202) 512-1800
7:30AM to 4:30PM EST
This entire course, and all materials, are
copyrighted, and may not be copied in whole or in part, without the expressed,
written permission of H.A.R. Inc.
Mike Reiter’s career in the automotive business began in 1970, as a technician. He then moved on to manage two service stations with a small fleet of tow trucks in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1980, he relocated to southern California. With the dream of owning his own repair shop and towing company, he founded Home Auto Repair in Reseda, California.
In 1984 he purchased his first tow truck. Within the year, the Automobile Club of Southern California approached him to become a contractor and the rest is history. In 1990, Mike pursued Dynamic Wrecker Sales of Virginia, to become the sole distributor to build and sell tow trucks in the state of California. He was always among the top five Dynamic distributors in the country. With the demands of the industry becoming more specific, Mike sought a product that he felt met the needs of diverse tow operators. Mike combined his tow truck manufacturing company with one of the largest Vulcan distributors in the United States, Tow Industries. By 2002, Tow Industries and HAR Inc/West Valley Wrecker Sales had become the largest Vulcan 810 Intruder distributor in the Unites States. In 2005, customers wanted a product that had evolved with the changes of our time and HAR Inc/West Valley Wrecker Sales became a distributor for Recovery Solutions, Inc. By 2006, HAR Inc/West Valley Wrecker Sales has become the largest west coast factory representatives for Recovery. Mike credits his great success to the support from his wife, Kathy, and his business partner and brother, Hal, and to actively listening to the client’s needs and wants, then catering to their request.
This training material is intended as a guideline to
assist the REPO INDUSTRY in identifying the hazards that may be present in the
course of driving. It also includes precautions to minimize the risks caused by
The highway environment today often involves
hazardous conditions. Many drivers,
especially those new to the job, are unaware of these hazards and do not
understand the degree of danger they represent. Acquiring this knowledge comes from years of experience, sharing
with peers, or formal training. Obviously,
on- the- job experience is not the desirable way to learn about highway
safety. Take this material
seriously - drivers are seriously injured in this vocation each year. Unfortunately, there is no set of
rules to guarantee your safety.
truck” is a motor vehicle which has been altered or designed and equipped for,
and primarily used in the business of, transporting vehicles by means of a
crane, hoist, tow bar, tow line, or dolly or is otherwise primarily used to
render assistance to other vehicles. A
“roll-back carrier” designed to carry up to two vehicles is also a tow truck.
“Tow truck” does not include an automobile dismantler’s tow vehicle.
licensed as a repossession agency pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with
Section 11500) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code may utilize a
tow truck when repossessing vehicles.
to Traffic Officers
is unlawful to willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order,
signal, or direction of any peace officer, when that peace officer is in
uniform and is performing duties under any of the provisions of this code, or
to refuse to submit to any lawful inspection under this code.
is unlawful to willfully fail or refuse to comply with any lawful order,
signal, or direction of any member of any fire department, paid, volunteer, or
company operated, when wearing the badge or insignia of a fireman and when in
the course of his duties he is protecting the personnel and fire department
driver of a commercial vehicle shall stop and submit the vehicle to an
inspection of the size, weight, equipment, and smoke emissions of the vehicle at
any location where members of the Highway Patrol are conducting tests and
inspections of commercial vehicles and when signs are displayed requiring to
stop. Every driver who fails or refuses to stop and submit the vehicle to an
inspection when signs are displayed requiring that stop is guilty of a
Section 260 (A) Defines Commercial
(A)“Commercial Vehicle” is a vehicle of
a type required to be registered under this code used or maintained for the
transportation of persons for hire, compensation, or profit or designed,
used, or maintained primarily for the transportation of property.
person shall drive, move or leave standing upon a highway, or in an off street
public parking facility, any motor vehicle, trailer, semi trailer, pole or pipe
dolly, logging dolly, or auxiliary dolly unless it is registered and the
appropriate fees have been paid under this code, except that an off-highway
motor vehicle which displays an identification plate or device issued by the
department pursuant to section 38010 may be driven, moved, or left standing in
an off street public parking facility without being registered or paying
(a) applies to a vehicle that is towed from a highway or off street parking
facility under direction of a highway service organization when that
organization is providing emergency roadside assistance to that vehicle. However,
the operator of the tow truck providing that assistance to that vehicle is not
responsible for the violation of subdivision (a) with respect to that vehicle.
is unlawful for the owner, or any other person, employing or otherwise
directing the driver of any vehicle to cause the operation of the vehicle upon
a highway in any matter contrary to law.
Towed Vehicle; Owner Responsibility
a disabled vehicle, being taken to a repair shop, garage, or other place of
storage, is being towed upon a highway by a tow truck and the vehicle is
determined to be in violation of subdivision (a) of Section 4000, the violation
shall be charged as prescribed in section 40001.
Light Impairing Drivers Vision
person shall place, maintain or display upon or in view of any highway, any
light of any color of such brilliance as to impair the vision of drivers upon
Obstruction to Driving
person shall drive a vehicle when it is so loaded, or when there are in the
front seat such number of persons as to obstruct the view of the driver to the
front or sides of the vehicle or as to interfere with the driver’s control over
the driving mechanism of the vehicle.
Towed Vehicle Swerving
person shall operate a train of vehicles when any vehicle being towed whips or
swerves from side to side or fails to follow substantially in the path of the
Unlawful Riding and Towing
person driving a motor vehicle shall knowingly permit any person to ride on any
vehicle or upon any portion thereof not designed or intended for the use of
on Right Safely
driver of a motor vehicle may overtake and pass another vehicle upon the right
only under conditions permitting such movement in safety. In no event shall such movement be made
by driving off the paved or main-traveled portion of the highway.
(a) A tow truck or an automobile dismantler’s
tow vehicle used to tow a vehicle shall be equipped with and carry a taillamp,a
stoplamp, turn signal lamps, and a portable electrical extension cord for use
in displaying the lamps on the rear of a towed vehicle.
a tow truck or an automobile dismantler’s tow vehicle is towing a vehicle and a
stop lamp or turn signal lamps cannot be lighted and displayed on the rear of
the towed vehicle, the operator of the tow truck or the automobile dismantler’s
tow vehicle shall, by means of an extension cord, display to the rear,
stop lamps and turn signal lamp mounted on the towed vehicle, except as
provided in subdivision (c). During
darkness, if a taillamp on the towed vehicle cannot be lighted, the operator of
the tow truck or the automobile dismantler’s tow vehicle shall, by means of an
extension cord, display to the rear a taillamp mounted on the towed
any motor vehicle is towing another motor vehicle, stoplamps and turn signal
lamps are not required on the towed motor vehicle, but only if a stoplamp
and turn signal lamp on each side of the rear of the towing vehicle is plainly
visible to the rear of the towed vehicle.
Lamps on Tow Trucks
trucks used to tow disabled vehicles shall be equipped with flashing amber
trucks may display flashing amber warning lamps while providing service to a
disabled vehicle. A flashing amber
warning lamp upon a tow truck may be displayed to the rear when the tow truck
is towing a vehicle and moving at a speed slower than the normal flow of
No parent or legal guardian, when
present in a passenger motor vehicle or motor truck of less than 6,001 pounds
unladen weight, shall permit his or her child or ward under the age of four
years, regardless of weight, or weighing less than 40 pounds, regardless of
age, to be transported upon a highway in a motor vehicle without providing and
properly using, for each child or ward, a child passenger restraint system
meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
No driver shall transport on
a highway any child under four years of age, regardless of weight, or weighing less
than 40 pounds, regardless of age, in a passenger vehicle or motor truck of
less than 6,001 pounds unladen weight without providing and properly securing
the child in a child passenger restrain system meeting applicable federal motor
vehicle safety standards. This subdivision does not apply to a driver if the
parent or legal guardian of the child is also present in the vehicle and is not
parent or legal guardian, when present in a motor vehicle as described in
Section 27315, shall permit his or her child or ward who is four years of age
or older but less than 16 years of age and weighs 40 pounds or more to be
transported upon a highway in the motor vehicle without providing and properly
using, for each child or ward, a safety belt meeting applicable federal motor
vehicle safety standards.
driver shall transport on a highway any child who is four years of age or older
but less that 16 years of age and weighs 40 pounds or more in a motor vehicle,
as defined in Section 27315, without providing and properly using a safety belt
meeting applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards. This subdivision does not apply to a driver
if the parent or legal guardian of the child is also present in the vehicle and
is not the driver.
Depth of Pneumatic Tires
dealer or person holding a retail seller’s shall sell, offer for sale, expose
for sale, or install on a vehicle axle for use on a highway, a pneumatic tire
when the tire has less than the tread depth specified in subdivision (b). This subdivision does not apply to any
person who installs on a vehicle, as part
of an emergency service rendered to a disabled vehicle upon a highway, a
spare tire with which the disabled vehicle was equipped.
person shall use on a highway a pneumatic tire on a vehicle axle when the tire
has less than the following tread depth, except when temporarily installed on a
disabled vehicle as specified in subdivision (a).
thirty-second (1/32) of an inch tread depth in any two adjacent grooves at any
location of the tire.
Section 360 Defines Highways as:
“HIGHWAY” is a way or
place of whatever nature, publicly maintained and open to the use of the public
for purposes of vehicular travel. “HIGHWAY”
trucks shall be equipped with and carry all of the following:
One broom, and the driver of
the tow truck engaged to remove a disabled vehicle from the scene of an
accident shall remove all glass and debris deposited upon the roadway by the
disabled vehicle which is to be towed.
One shovel, and whenever
practical the tow truck driver engaged to remove any disabled vehicle shall
spread dirt upon that portion of the roadway where oil or grease has been
deposited by the disabled vehicle.
One or more fire
extinguishers of the dry chemical or carbon dioxide type with an aggregate
rating of at least 4-B, C units and bearing the approval of a laboratory nationally
recognized as properly equipped to make the approval.
person licensed as a repossession agency pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing
with section 7500) of Division 3 of the Business and Professions code is exempt
from this section.
There shall be displayed in a
conspicuous place on both the right and left side of a tow truck or an
automobile dismantlers tow vehicle used to tow or carry vehicles a sign showing
the name of the company or the owner or
operator of the tow truck or the automobile dismantlers tow vehicle. The sign shall also contain the business
address and telephone number of the owner or driver. The letters and numbers of the sign shall not be less than 2
inches in height and shall be in contrast to the color of the background upon
which they are placed.
person licensed as a repossession
agency pursuant to Chapter 11 (commencing with Section 7500) of Division 3 of
the Business and Professions Code, or a registered employee of the agency, may
use the license number issued to the agency by the Department of Consumer
Affairs in lieu of a name, business address, and telephone number.
Every towed vehicle
to be coupled to the towing vehicle or tow truck by means of a safety chain,
cable, or equivalent device in addition to the regular drawbar, tongue or other
This section now
requires four points of tie down in addition to the primary restraining system
when a towed vehicle is coupled to a tow truck. The safety chains shall be securely affixed to the truck frame,
bed or towing equipment, independent of the towing sling, wheel lift, or
under-reach towing equipment.
Additionally, vehicles being transported on a slide back carrier or
conventional trailer shall be independent of the winch or loading cable.
All safety connections and attachments
shall be of sufficient strength to control the towed vehicle in event of
failure of the regular hitch, coupling device, drawbar, tongue or other
connection. All safety connections and
attachments also shall have a positive means of ensuring that the safety
connection or attachment does not become dislodged while in transit.
No more slack shall be left in a
safety chain, cable or equivalent device than is necessary to permit proper
turning. When a drawbar is used as the
towing connection, the safety chain, cable or equivalent device shall be
connected to the towed and towing vehicle and to the drawbar so as to prevent
the drawbar from dropping to the ground if the drawbar fails.
recovering a vehicle, there are a number of hazard zones that a tow operator
should avoid in case an errant vehicle drifts over the fog line. One area is
between the flow of traffic and the stalled vehicle when on a shoulder of the
road. This area has the highest exposure of all the hazard zones. The second is
between vehicles including between the rear vehicle and moving traffic. The
third is between the vehicles and a wall or guardrail. These areas can be
deadly to a technician, should an accident occur.
lights are designed to be installed from the driver's side of the tow truck.
However, this is the worst area to stand in while attaching the lights. Store
the extension lights on the passenger side of the wrecker bed, for normal right
shoulder calls. Move them to the driver's side before leaving the shop to
answer a center divider call. String these lights on the side away from traffic
and minimize the time you spend in this high exposure area.
HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL
is always a concern of the EPA that we comply with regulations regarding air
quality and the environment. Your local Dmv, Highway Patrol or Sheriff’s
Department has pamphlets for proper disposal sites. All fluids from an
automobile or truck are considered hazardous waste and must be properly
VEST (or its equivalent): Makes you more visible, especially when
visibility is below normal. Inexpensive vests are available through Aw Direct,
(800) 243-3194, Wear Guard, (800) 388-3300, and most uniform supply
there is no evidence that a reflectorized vest has the same effect that amber
warning lights have on semi-conscious motorists. The attraction that sleepy and
intoxicated drivers have to bright lights has no known relationship to the use
of a safety vest.
be equipped with reflective stripes or tape.
the weather dictates, bright yellow or orange rain gear should be worn for
GLOVES: Are to be
worn whenever operating a wrecker, especially any time you are working with
cables - frayed or broken wires can
cause painful injuries.
SHOES/BOOTS: Need be outfitted with steel toes and worn at all times.
Sandals or tennis shoes do not offer adequate protection from falling or
exploding battery can result in serious facial injury and/or permanent eye
damage, so furnish your wrecker with at least one pair.
Safety apparel is not a substitute for training, attentiveness, or maintaining
a defensive posture while working on any highway, surface street, or other
locations while exposed to moving vehicular traffic.
ROUTE Assess the situation, survey
the area at the scene and plan a course of action for fleeing from an
ON TRAFFIC Watch traffic every moment
Necessary Emergency Lights
person shall display a flashing amber warning light on a vehicle as permitted by
this code except when an unusual traffic hazard exists.
though you see many service vehicle operators displaying emergency lights
illegally and unnecessarily, such as city police, fire departments, freeway and
construction workers, this should not inspire you to do the same. Human nature
encourages individuals to use emergency lights much more than necessary for the
purpose of self-importance. Display the minimum lighting necessary for the
situation. Be a professional.
Emergency Lighting and Semi-coherent
20 years ago the Department of Transportation (DOT) did a study to determine
why sleepy and intoxicated motorists were involved in collisions with state
vehicles parked on the shoulder of the freeway. They discovered a direct
relationship between these semi-coherent drivers and the use of flashing
emergency lights. The purpose of a vehicle displaying emergency amber, red or
blue lights it to attract attention, therefore, displaying the emergency lights
is counterproductive as drivers will take their attention off of driving and
rubberneck the lights.
a person turns their head to the side of their torso, the natural reaction is
for the torso to turn the same direction. Intoxicated and sleepy drivers can
manage to drive on a freeway for a substantial distance because they are
following traffic or taillights. Emergency amber lights on a tow truck command
a great deal more attention than taillights set before them. As the driver
turns to look at the tow truck, police car, ambulance, etc., he/she steers in
the same direction they are looking. This phenomenon is well recognized by the
DOT, and appropriate training is covered in their academy.
unnecessary use of amber flashing or rotating lights may draw a sleepy or
intoxicated motorist to your truck. DO NOT use your amber lights unless
you are close to, on, or over the fog line, or if your interaction with
recovering the vehicle is creating a hazard in some manne.
Dollies, Safety and Maintenance
are several different designs and manufacturers of dollies. They range from pan
to self-loading, and made from steel or aluminum. Through the years, dolly
manufacturers have come up with new innovations. Pan dollies are an older style
dolly, which require a 2-ton floor jack, for assembly and installation. To
assemble, the 2-ton floor jack must be used to jack up the car, and then the
operator assembles the dollies under the car. Once the jack is lowered the car
will sit in the pans. I believe the easiest and safest dolly is the Collins
International Self-Loading dolly. Collins has two different ratings for their
dollies which are determined by the tire size: 4.80 x 8 loading range B - 590
lb, per tire or 2,360 lb. per set of dollies and 5.70 x 8 load range B - 715
lb, per tire or 2,860 lb. per set of dollies.
also carries steel and aluminum rails. The lifting capacity is not determined
by the rail, but by the tire size. Collins dollies also provide a safety latch,
which prevents the wheels from going into the down position while in tow. The
self-loading dollies are assembled on the ground using a 6-foot pry bar and do
not require the need for a floor jack.
tow dolly manufacturers should supply proper instructions on how to assemble their
product. Any manufacturer, which does not provide this necessary instruction,
opens the door for a lawsuit. In January 1990, Tow Times Magazine
(volume 7, pg. 14) wrote an article concerning a lawsuit between an innocent
bystander who was hurt while watching a tow operator install a set of dollies.
The tow operator did not secure a safety latch while assembling the dollies.
One of the bars swung and struck the innocent bystander, who suffered facial
paralysis. The manufacturer of the dollies had safety ratchets built into the
dolly, which the tow operator used improperly, causing the complete liability
to be placed on the tow operator. This case was settled for $260,000.
certain safety procedures is imperative when assembling any manufacturer’s
dollies. On many occasions I have observed tow operators improperly following
dolly procedures. Do not take the pry bar and hit the release on the dollies.
Proper procedure would be to place the pry bar in the retaining area and lower
it to the ground.
Steering Wheel Tie Down
General Motors (GM) service bulletin was released in April 2001, stating:
of steering column/wheel lock feature on vehicles with automatic transmissions.
Models: 2001 Chevrolet/GMC C/K pickup (Silverado, Sierra) and sport utility
(Tahoe, Suburban, Yukon, Denali, Yukon XL) and the 2002 Cadillac Escalade.
clearly identifies the need for all vehicles to have a proper steering wheel
tie down prior to towing. Improper tie down will allow the steering wheel to
turn freely in any direction causing you to lose control of the car and
possibly colliding with parked cars or even into oncoming traffic.
are four point tie downs?
in tow (i.e. whether on a flatbed, wheel lift or sling tow unit) must have four
points of tie down.
a wheel lift or sling truck, the tie down occurs at two points using straps or
ratchets from the vehicle to the towing apparatus (scoops, jaw, or cross bar
over the top of the tire). The second set of tie downs are from the vehicle to
the tow unit using safety chains from two points. Care must be taken to leave
slack in the chain so that the vehicle can maneuver freely when making a turn.
If the safety chain is too tight, the bumper of the vehicle in tow will be
damaged as a result of the safety chain drawing up tight during a turn. If the
safety chain is too loose, it will drag along the ground causing damage to the
a flatbed once the vehicle is brought onto the bed you must have four chains,
or four straps, or a combination of both straps and chains. The vehicle must be
secured from the undercarriage at either the frame or the axle - preferably the
frame. Using the frame prevents the vehicle from bouncing excessively on the
bed. There are other tie down systems available on a flatbed such as bucket
straps that are fitted around the tires. Winch cable is NOT considered a
safety tie down. When transporting a vehicle on a flatbed, ALWAYS put the
vehicle in park and set the emergency brake. This additional precaution may
spare your life.
What causes transmission troubles? Is it the
vehicle? Is it the driver? Is it the design of the transmission? Is it heat?
Each one of these items, individually or a combination thereof, can cause
transmission failure. In this article, I will review each factor of
transmission homicide, giving you tips along the way as to how to avoid such an
vehicle can be undersized for the task required. You might use a three-quarter
ton pickup with a wheel lift to snatch small size cars, but then what happens
when you have to repo something big? Do you contract it out to someone else or
use your own vehicle? Are you overloading your vehicle on a regular basis? Who
operates the vehicle? Have your operators been instructed on proper procedure
when they experience this type of issue? Take your three-quarter ton truck and
try to repo a dump truck or maybe a semi tractor or something similar in that
size category. Yes - you can tow a semi tractor with a three-quarter ton
pickup, but you really need to be careful. Use a low gear at a slow speed and
for SHORT DISTANCES. The same goes for larger vehicles. Make sure that the
recovery unit is sized properly for the job; however, size overkill is not the
answer either. You don’t need an F-650 if all you’re doing is foreign vehicles
and you don’t want a three-quarter ton pickup if you’re primarily in the truck
repo market. Do you send your drivers to driver operator school? You say you
can’t find one??? Then you need to create your own lesson plan catering for
your particular business. Teach them all the fine points of vehicle operation
along with back end operation. Even experienced operators can benefit from the
small, often overlooked, things. Remember the one about stopping before shifting
into reverse? Think about how many times you slam it into reverse before coming
to a complete stop. This can cause premature wear and tear. Transmission design has changed over the
years. Has it gotten better or worse? It’s hard to really tell the answer. Most
transmission design modifications have been to reduce weight and improve fuel
mileage. Manufacturers in some ways have put the heavy-duty market on the back
burner. When discussing design we also need to touch on the topic of operator
education once again. The biggest problem loophole I have found in driver
education is the proper use of the overdrive feature installed in newer work
trucks. Locking out the overdrive, at the proper time, can mean the difference
between life and death of the transmission. The biggest killer of transmissions
is excess fluid temperature. Each element mentioned above creates excessive
heat inside the transmission causing the fluid to overheat and ultimately
resulting in the self-destruction of the transmission. Want cheap insurance?
Add a transmission fluid temperature gauge in the cab and remind the drivers to
keep a close eye on it. Forgetting to take the transmission out of overdrive on
a long uphill grade with a load, can mean a significant repair bill and
unnecessary truck repairs. High fluid temperatures can destroy a transmission
in as little as 30 minutes should it reach a temperature over 400 degrees
manufacturers (i.e. Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet, Isuzu, International etc.) all have
scheduled maintenance programs. In most
maintenance books, there are two scheduled maintenance periods, one section is
for standard wear and tear, the second section specifically is for towing of
trailers. You will notice that if you
use your vehicle for towing trailers, the maintenance is to be preformed more
frequently. Being in the repossession
industry you use your truck for towing and you should use the scheduled maintenance
program assigned to towing.
wrecker body manufacturers, i.e. Vulcan, Dynamic, Century, etc. all have
maintenance that must be done.
Different manufacturers of wreckers have different locations for grease
fittings that must be greased on a regular basis. Most wrecker manufacturers suggest hydraulic filters every couple
of years and greasing every couple of months.
personally, operate a fifteen tow unit fleet and do not follow the
manufacturers recommended scheduled maintenance program. This is the theory that I use, if you are a
single unit operator, do your maintenance once a month. For companies that have multi-unit offices,
schedule your trucks for maintenance once a month on the same day of each month,
preferably a Monday. Why on a Monday? You may ask. Scheduling off one of your agents on a Monday gives you a spare
truck at the facility, if on the weekend prior, you have a truck equipment
failure, this will give you an available tow unit on Monday for a scheduled
employee or a truck to come in for maintenance. Also by bringing a truck in for maintenance on a Monday, any
major problems found within the wrecker can be diagnosed and parts ordered in
an effort to prevent downtime waiting for parts on the weekends. We at H.A.R. lubricate and grease our
wrecker bodies every thirty days and immediately after each significant
rainfall. We change the hydraulic
filters, the first of each year. You
must keep in mind, our fleet trucks put on approximately four to five thousand
miles per month, and at every other months service, we put oil and gas
additives. We have a daily truck
check-out maintenance list that each employee is responsible for. He/she is to check out the equipment prior
to starting the shift at the beginning of each day. Any equipment failure
regardless how small it may seem is documented on the check out sheet and also
written on a maintenance board for repair.
alcohol and then driving is a very serious problem. People who drink alcohol
are involved in traffic crashes resulting in thousands of deaths every year.
You should know:
How alcohol works in the human body.
How alcohol affects driving.
Laws regarding drinking, drugs, and
Legal, financial, and satisfy risks of
drinking and driving.
may NEVER drink while on duty nor consume any intoxicating beverage, regardless
of its alcoholic content, within 4 hours before going on duty.
is illegal to drive a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol
concentration (BAC) that is 0.04% or greater. However, a BAC below 0.04% does
not mean that it is safe or legal to drive.
Truth About Alcohol
are many dangerous ideas about the use of alcohol. The driver who believes in
these wrong ideas will be more likely to get into trouble. Look at the chart
below for some examples.
Is Considered A Drink?
is the alcohol in drinks that affect our performance. It does not make any
difference whether that alcohol comes from a “couple of beers” or from two
glasses of wine or two shots of hard liquor.
of the following drinks contain the same amount of alcohol:
A 12-ounce glass of 5% beer.
A 5-ounce glass of 12% wine.
A ½ ounce shot of 80 proof liquor.
How alcohol works. Alcohol goes
directly from the stomach into the blood stream. A drinker can control the
amount of alcohol which he or she takes in, by having fewer drinks or none.
However, the drinker cannot control how fast the body gets rid of alcohol. If
you have drinks faster than your body can get rid of them, you will have more
alcohol in your body and your driving will be more affected. The amount of
alcohol in your body is commonly measured by the Blood Alcohol Concentration
What Determines BAC. BAC is determined by the amount of alcohol that
you drink (more alcohol means more BAC), how fast you drink (faster drinking
means higher BAC), and your weight ( a small person does not have to drink as
much to reach the same BAC as a larger person).
Alcohol and the Brain. Alcohol
affects more and more of the brain as BAC builds up. The first part of the
brain affected controls judgment and self-control. One of the bad things about
this is it can keep drinkers from knowing they are getting drunk. And, of
course, good judgment and self-control are absolutely necessary for safe
As BAC continues to build, muscle
control, vision, and coordination are affected more and more. Eventually, a
person will pass out.
How Alcohol Affects Driving
drivers are affected by drinking alcohol. Alcohol affects judgment, vision,
coordination, and reaction time. It causes serious driving errors, such as:
Driving in the wrong lane.
Running over the curb.
Driving between lanes.
Quick, jerky starts.
Not signaling, failing to use
Running stop signs and red
Being over cautious.
Driving too quickly or too
are three things that add up to total stopping distance: Perception Distance +
Reaction Distance + Braking Distance = Total Stopping Distance.
Perception distance. This is the distance your vehicle moves from
the time your eyes see a hazard until your brain knows it. The perception time for an alert driver is
about ¾ second. At 55 mph you travel 60
feet in ¾ second.
Reaction distance. The distance traveled from the time your
brain tells your foot to move from the accelerator until your foot is actually
pushing the brake pedal. The average
driver has a reaction time of ¾ second.
This accounts for an additional 60 feet traveled at 55mph.
Braking distance. The distance it takes to stop once the
brakes are put on. At 55mph on dry
pavement with good brakes, it can take a heavy vehicle about 170 feet to stop. (About ¾ seconds.)
Total stopping distance. At 55mph it will take about 6 seconds to
stop and your vehicle will travel about the distance of a football field
and Stopping Requirements
service brakes of every motor vehicle or combination of vehicles must be
capable of stopping from an initial speed of 20 miles per hour as follows:
(Maximum Stopping Distance in feet)
motor vehicle with manufacturer’s GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds- 30 MSD
motor vehicle with manufacturer’s GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more, or any bus-
of vehicles consisting of a passenger vehicle or any motor vehicle with a
manufacturer’s GVWM of less than 10,000 pounds in combination with any trailer,
semi trailer, or trailer couch- 40MSD
other combinations of vehicles- 50MSD
effect of speed on stopping distance.
you double your speed, it will take about four times the distance to stop and
the vehicle will have four times the destructive power if it crashes. High speeds increase stopping distances
greatly. By slowing down a little, you
can gain a lot in reducing braking distance.
effect of vehicle weight on stopping distance.
vehicle is heavier, brakes have to work harder (and absorb more heat) to
stop. The brakes, tires, springs, and
shock absorbers on heavy vehicles are designed to work best when the vehicle is
fully loaded. Generally, empty trucks
require greater stopping distance because an empty vehicle has less traction. It can bounce and lock up its wheels, giving
much poorer braking. (This is not
usually the case with buses.)
MOTOR CARRIER PERMITS
person who operates any commercial motor vehicle either for hire or privately
(not for hire) must obtain a motor carrier permit (MCP).
MCP definition for a commercial motor vehicle is any:
Motor truck with two or more axles
weighing more than 10,000lbs.
Other motor vehicle used to transport
property for hire.
Note: An MCP commercial motor vehicle does not
include vehicles operated by household goods carriers, pickup trucks, or
two-axle daily rental trucks (noncommercial use) weighing less than 26,001 lbs.
obtain MCP forms and information, contact www.dmv.ca.gov or write or call:
DMV MCP M/S G875
PO Box 932370
Sacramento, CA 94232-3700
RECORD OF DUTY STATUS
driver’s record of duty status must be used to record all of the driver’s
hours. Drivers or commercial vehicles
must be in compliance with the hours of service requirements of the code of
Federal Regulations and the California Code of Regulations.
driver’s record of duty status, in duplicate, must be kept by each driver and
each co-driver while driving, on duty but not driving, or resting in a sleeper
berth. The record of duty status must
be presented for inspection immediately upon request by any authorized
highway patrol employee, any regularly employed and salaried police officer, or
deputy sheriff. There may be instances
when you do not need to maintain a record of duty status.
harassment is a violation of both state and federal law. Sexual harassment
consists of any unwelcome sexual advances, requesting, sexual favors, and other
verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
Submission to such conduct is
made a term or condition of an individual’s employment.
Submission to or rejection of
such conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting that
Conduct has a purpose or
effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or
creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.
Forms of sexual harassment
include the following:
Verbal harassment such as
derogatory comments, jokes, or slurs.
Physical harassment such as
unnecessary or offensive touching or impeding/blocking movement of another
Visual harassment such as
derogatory or offensive posters, cards, calendars, cartoons, drawings or
gestures about one’s appearance.
keep in mind the importance of conducting yourself professionally. Do not place
yourself or others in situations where they feel humiliated by gestures or
verbal comments, generally made in fun that could be considered sexual
numbers of motorists have started acting out their anger behind the wheel of a
car. When the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety studied more than 10,000
incidents of violent, aggressive driving that occurred between 1990 and 1996,
they found that at least 218 people were killed and another 12,610 were injured
from such road rage incidences.
many of the incidents involve men between the ages of 18 and 26, anyone can
become aggressive if they allow their anger take precedence over safe driving.
The reasons given by drivers for these life-threatening encounters are often
incredibly trivial, such as “She wouldn’t let me pass” or “They kept tailgating
can we avoid being victims or perpetrators of road rage? There are a few basic
tips that will greatly improve your chances of arriving at your destination
calmly and safely.
Create a non-offensive game plan
show that a few offending behaviors account for an unusual amount of anger from
cut others off. Use your turn signals and give yourself plenty of room to
merge into the appropriate lane. If you accidentally cut someone off, try to
make an apologetic gesture to the other driver. If someone cuts you off, slow
down and give them room.