Roadside enforcement personnel have a new set of criteria to help them decide if a commercial vehicle and/or its driver are road-safe, thanks to updated guidelines from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).
The 2011 North American Standard Out-of-Service (OOS) Criteria features 10 changes worth noting. Interestingly, what’s changed most is the standards for taking vehicles off the road. Once a motor vehicle is OOS, it may not be driven until its safety defects are fixed.
FYI, the CVSA is an international not-for-profit group made up of federal, provincial, territorial, state, and local carrier safety officials, as well as industry reps from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Starting April 1, 2011, the following clarifications in the Criteria go into effect:
Defective Brakes — If a single brake pad or lining isn’t fully functional (i.e., connecting with the braking surface), that brake is deemed defective, even if one of the brake’s linings or pads is functioning properly. This problem often stems from subpar repairs or improper parts, according to the CVSA.
Medical Certificates — Drivers of passenger vehicles will be removed from service if they don’t have a valid medical certificate while driving.
Diesel Exhaust in Cabs — Now, diesel exhaust fumes leaking into the cab/sleeper constitute an OOS condition. (Previously, only gas exhaust leaks were OOS.)
Low Air Pressure Warning Device — This unit must operate continuously if the primary or secondary reservoir is either:
a) 55 psi or below, or
b) at half of the governor cut-out pressure (whichever’s less).
Tractor Protection Valve Failure — The vehicle will be placed out of service if the trailer supply valve doesn’t close before pressure drops below 20 psi in the primary or secondary system — or if air escapes from either gladhand when brakes are applied after the tractor protection valve has closed.
Air Tanks — The vehicle will be placed OOS if an air tank is separated at either end from the attachment points and can move more than an inch in any direction.
Tires Touching the Vehicle — If the tire contacts another part of the vehicle during an inspection, an OOS condition is in effect.
Tiedown Placement — The CVSA says federal rules require a tiedown for every 10 feet of cargo, but they need not be tied in every 10-foot section. So, as long as enough tiedowns are there, the OOS criteria are flexible.
Electrical Insulation Gets a Pass — “Unsuitable insulation protection to electrical components” is no longer in the OOS criteria for buses’ electrical systems, because the phrase wasn’t adequately defined.
Operating a Vehicle While OOS — They added criteria for operating a commercial vehicle while under an OOS order for failure to comply with §385.308, related to the filing by a new entrant motor carrier of information under a corrective action plan.
I have been working with these guidelines for many years and understand how they may or may not affect you and your case — particularly in the case of a crash.