California - Red Light Robber

California - Red Light Robber
ENGLISH
California
2012 - 2013
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CommerCial Driver HanDbook
Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor
State of California
George Valverde, Director
Department of Motor Vehicles
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Motorized bicycle, moped, any bicycle with an attached motor, or motorized scooter.
With a Motorcycle Class M2 License:
Two-wheel motorcycle, motor-driven cycle, or motorized scooter
With a Motorcycle Class M1 License:
Any Class C vehicle carrying hazardous materials which requires placards. The
hazardous materials (HAZMAT) endorsement must be on the license. Drivers
who transport hazardous wastes, as defined by CVC §§353 and 15278, are also
required to have the HAZMAT endorsement.
With a Commercial Class C License:
a 2-axle vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.
a 3-axle vehicle weighing 6,000 lbs. gross or less.
a motorized scooter.
any housecar 40' or less.
A farmer or employee of a farmer may also drive:
any combination of vehicles with a Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR)
of 26,000 lbs. or less if used exclusively in agricultural operations and it is not
for hire or compensation.
With a Basic Class C License:
any vehicles under Class C.
any housecar over 40' but not over 45', with endorsement.
With a Noncommercial Class B License:
a single vehicle with a GVWR of more than 26,000 lbs.
a 3-axle vehicle weighing over 6,000 lbs.
a bus (except a trailer bus), with endorsement.
any farm labor vehicle, with endorsement.
all vehicles under Class C.
With a Commercial Class B License:
Any vehicles under Class C.
With a Noncommercial Class A License:
Note: Class M1 or M2 is added to any other class license after passing law
and skill tests.
a single vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less including a tow dolly, if
used.
With a vehicle weighing 4,000 lbs. or more unladen, you may tow a:
trailer coach not exceeding 9,000 lbs. gross.
trailer coach or 5th-wheel travel trailer under 10,000 lbs. GVWR when towing
is not for compensation.
5th-wheel travel trailer exceeding 10,000 lbs. but not exceeding 15,000 lbs.
GVWR, when towing is not for compensation and with endorsement.
Note: No passenger vehicle regardless of weight, may tow more than one
vehicle. No motor vehicle under 4,000 lbs. unladen may tow any vehicle
weighing 6,000 lbs. or more gross (CVC §21715).
a single vehicle with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs. or less.
any vehicle a Class C licensed driver may tow.
any single vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than
10,000 lbs.
any trailer bus, with endorsement OR more than one vehicle, with endorsement.
any vehicles under Classes B and C.
travel trailers weighing over 10,000 lbs. GVWR, not used for hire.
5th-wheel travel trailers weighing over 15,000 lbs., not used for hire.
With a vehicle weighing 4,000 lbs. or more unladen, you may tow a: livestock
trailer exceeding 10,000 lbs. GVWR but not exceeding 15,000 lbs. GVWR if
the vehicle is controlled and operated by a farmer, used to transport livestock
to or from a farm, not used in commerce or contract carrier operations, and is
used within 150 miles of the person’s farm.
With a Commercial Class A License:
Any legal combination of vehicles, including vehicles under Class B and Class C.
And You May Tow…
You May Drive…
CALIFORNIA DRIVER LICENSE CLASSES—Valid As Of April 1, 2012
Examples…
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Table of Contents
Section 1: Introduction............................ 1
This section is for all commercial drivers
Who Needs a CDL?.......................................... 1
CDL Exceptions................................................ 2
How to Get a CDL............................................ 3
General............................................................. 7
Violation Point Counts...................................... 9
State Laws and Rules......................................10
Other Rules.....................................................17
Section 2: Driving Safely........................ 23
This section is for all commercial drivers
CDL Rules...................................................... 23
Vehicle Inspections......................................... 23
Basic Vehicle Control ..................................... 30
Shifting Gears................................................. 31
Seeing............................................................ 32
Communicating............................................... 34
Controlling Speed........................................... 35
Managing Space............................................ 38
Driving at Night............................................... 41
Driving in Fog................................................. 43
Driving in Winter............................................. 43
Driving in Very Hot Weather........................... 44
Mountain Driving............................................ 45
Railroad Crossings......................................... 46
Seeing Hazards.............................................. 47
Emergencies................................................... 51
Skid Control/Recovery.................................... 55
Collision Procedures....................................... 56
Fires................................................................ 57
Staying Alert and Fit to Drive.......................... 58
Illness............................................................. 61
HazMat Rules for All Commercial Drivers....... 61
Section 3: Transporting Cargo........... 63
This section is for all commercial drivers
Inspecting Cargo............................................ 63
Cargo Weight and Balance............................. 63
Securing Cargo............................................... 64
Handling Other Cargo..................................... 65
Section 4: Transporting
Passengers safely................................... 67
This section is for all drivers who transport
passengers
Vehicle Inspections......................................... 67
Loading and Unloading.................................. 69
Driving Techniques......................................... 70
Passenger Management................................ 72
Miscellaneous Requirements......................... 72
Section 5: Air Brakes............................... 73
This section is for drivers who drive or tow
vehicles with air brakes
The Air Brake System..................................... 73
Dual Air Brake Systems.................................. 77
Combination Vehicle Air Brakes...................... 78
Inspecting the Air Brake System..................... 80
Using Air Brakes............................................. 84
Section 6: Combination Vehicles......... 87
This section is for drivers who need a
Class A CDL
Driving Combination Vehicles Safely.............. 87
Combination Vehicle Air Brakes...................... 90
Antilock Brake Systems.................................. 93
Coupling and Uncoupling............................... 94
Inspecting a Combination Vehicle................... 97
Section 7: Doubles and Triples........... 99
This section is for drivers who tow doubles
or triples
Towing Double/Triple Trailers.......................... 99
Coupling and Uncoupling..............................100
Inspecting Doubles and Triples......................102
Doubles/Triples Air Brake Check...................103
Section 8: Tank Vehicles........................105
This section is for drivers who drive tank
vehicles
Section 11: Pre-Trip Test........................145
This section will assist drivers taking the
pre-trip test
Tank Vehicle Defined.....................................105
Inspecting Tank Vehicles................................105
Driving Tank Vehicles.....................................106
Safe Driving Rules.........................................107
All Vehicles....................................................145
External Inspection
(Buses, Trucks, Tractors)................................148
Trailer.............................................................152
Coach/Transit Bus.........................................153
School Buses Only........................................154
Typical Truck or Combination
Vehicle Inspection Guide...............................155
Typical Passenger Transport
Vehicle Inspection Guide...............................156
Section 9: Hazardous Materials/
Wastes..........................................................109
This section is for drivers who need a
HAZMAT endorsement
Intent of the Regulations................................ 110
Transporting Hazardous Materials................. 110
Communication Rules................................... 111
Loading and Unloading................................. 119
Bulk Tanks.....................................................122
Federal Driving and Parking Rules................123
Dealing with Emergencies.............................126
Appendix A—Table of Hazard
Class Definitions............................................129
Hazardous Materials Warning Labels
and Placards..................................................131
Section 10: School Buses......................135
This section is for all commercial drivers
that drive school buses
Section 12: Basic Vehicle Control
Skills Test...................................................157
This section will assist drivers taking the
skills tests
Scoring..........................................................157
Exercises.......................................................157
Section 13: Driving Test..........................159
This section will assist drivers taking the
driving test
How Will You Be Tested?...............................159
Glossary......................................................163
Danger Zones – Use of Mirrors.....................135
Loading and Unloading.................................136
Emergency Exit and Evacuation ...................139
Railroad-highway Crossings..........................140
Student Management....................................142
Antilock Braking Systems .............................143
Special Safety Considerations ......................144
© Copyright, Department of Motor Vehicles 2012-2013
All rights reserved
This work is protected by U. S. Copyright Law. DMV owns the copyright of this work. Copyright law prohibits the following:
(1) reproduction of the copyrighted work; (2) distribution of copies of the copyrighted work; (3) preparation of derivative works
based upon the copyrighted work; (4) displaying the copyrighted work publicly; or (5) performing the copyrighted work publicly.
All requests for permission to make copies of all or any part of this publication should be addressed to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Legal Office MS C128
PO Box 932382
Sacramento, CA 94232-3820
Section 1: Introduction
This section is for all commercial drivers
The California Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety
Program was enacted to improve traffic safety on
our roadways. As a result, California has developed
licensing and testing requirements for drivers of
commercial vehicles which equals or exceeds
federal standards.
It takes special skills and a professional attitude to
safely operate large trucks and buses. Only professional drivers will receive and keep a Commercial
Driver License (CDL). A CDL is proof of your
professional skills and aptitude.
The commercial driving test will be administered
in the English language only. This is pursuant
to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
regulations §§391.11(b)(2) and 383.133(c)(5).
Who Needs a CDL?
To operate commercial vehicles, you must apply
for a CDL. Only California residents may obtain
a California CDL. Residency is established by any
of the following: registering to vote here, paying
resident tuition at a public institution of higher
education, filing for a California homeowner’s
property tax exemption, obtaining a license (such as
a fishing license), or any other privilege or benefit
not ordinarily extended to nonresidents. You need
a CDL if you operate a vehicle or combination
of vehicles which requires a Class A or Class B,
license or Class C license with endorsements.
This handbook will help you pass the written
and skills tests. However, this handbook is not
a substitute for a truck driver training class or
program. Formal training is the most reliable way
to learn the many special skills required for safely
driving a large commercial vehicle and becoming
a professional driver in the trucking industry.
A commercial motor vehicle is a motor vehicle or
combination of vehicles that:
• Has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of
26,001 pounds or more.
• Is a combination vehicle with a gross combination weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds, if
the trailer(s) has a GVWR of 10,001 or more
pounds.
• Tows any vehicle with a GVWR of 10,001
pounds or more.
• Tows more than one vehicle or a trailer bus.
• Has three or more axles (excludes three-axle
vehicles weighing 6,000 pounds or less gross).
• Is any vehicle (bus, farm labor vehicle, general
public paratransit vehicle, etc.) designed, used,
or maintained to carry more than 10 passengers
including the driver, for hire or profit, or is
used by any nonprofit organization or group.
• Is any size vehicle which requires hazardous
material placards or is carrying material listed
as a select agent or toxin in 42 CFR part 73.*
• Transports hazardous wastes (Health and
Safety Code §§25115 and 25117).*
Note: Employees of school districts, private
schools, community colleges, and California state
universities who operate 15-passenger vans must
have a CDL with a passenger transport vehicle
(PV) endorsement. A 15-passenger van is a van
manufactured to accommodate 15 passengers,
including the driver, or a van “designed” to carry
15 passengers, including the driver, even if seats
have been removed to accommodate fewer than
15 passengers.
* Drivers subject to the commercial driver sanctions.
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Endorsements
A special endorsement is also required to drive
the following types of vehicles. The endorsement
shows as a single letter on the driver license.
• Placarded or marked vehicles transporting
hazardous materials or wastes—(H).
• Tank vehicles (including a cement truck)­­—(N).
• Passenger transport vehicles—(P).
• School bus—(S).
• Double/Triples combination—(T).
• Tank vehicles transporting hazardous materials
or wastes–(X). (Hazardous waste must meet
the definition of CVC §§353 and 15278.)
• Firefighter—(F) (not required but optional
for commercial class A or B license holders.)
CDL Exceptions
Exceptions to the CDL requirements are:
• Persons exempted under Health and Safety
Code §25163.
• Persons operating a vehicle in an emergency
situation at the direction of a peace officer.
• Drivers who tow a fifth-wheel travel trailer
over 15,000 pounds GVWR or a trailer coach
over 10,000 pounds GVWR, when the towing
is not for compensation. Drivers must have a
noncommercial Class A license.
• Drivers of housecars over 40 feet but not over
45 feet, with endorsement.
• Noncivilian military personnel operating
military vehicles.
• Implement of husbandry operators who are
not required to have a driver license.
Special Certificates
Special certificates may sometimes be required
in addition to a CDL, depending on the type of
vehicle or load you carry.
Note: It is unlawful to drive a school bus or transit
vehicle while using a wireless (cell) telephone
for non-work purposes. Emergency calls to law
enforcement, a health care provider, a fire department, or other emergency services are permitted.
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Apply at DMV field offices for the following
certificates:
Ambulance Driver Certificate—required for
driving an ambulance used commercially in
emergency service (CVC §2512). Persons who
have an ambulance driver certificate must submit
a copy of the medical report to DMV every two
years. (See page 3.)
Hazardous Agricultural Materials (HAM)*
Certificate—exempts persons who transport
hazardous waste or placarded loads from CDL
requirements if the:
• Person is at least 21 years of age.
• Person is employed in an agricultural operation.
• Load is not being transported for compensation.
• Vehicle is owned or leased by a farmer.
• Person has completed a HAM program
approved by the California Highway Patrol
(CHP). Although the person who qualifies for
a HAM is not required to have a CDL, commercial motor vehicle penalties and sanctions
will apply.
• Person submits to DMV every two years a copy
of the medical report or health questionnaire.
• Person operates a vehicle which is an implement of husbandry or requires a Class C license
and does not exceed 50 miles from one point
to another.
Verification of Transit Training Document
(VTT)—requires drivers of transit bus vehicles
to comply with specified training requirements.
Transit bus vehicles provide the public with
regularly scheduled transportation for which a
fare is charged. (Does not include general public
paratransit vehicle). Drivers who have a school
bus driver certificate or school pupil activity bus
certificate do not need a VTT.
* Drivers subject to the commercial driver sanctions.
Apply at CHP offices for the following
certificates:
General Public Paratransit Vehicle Certificate
(GPPV)*—required for any person who drives:
• A vehicle which carries not more than 24
persons including the driver and provides
local transportation to the general public (e.g.,
Dial-A-Ride) (CVC §§336 and 12523.5).
• Pupils at or below the 12th grade level to or from
a public or private school or school activity.
School Bus Driver Certificate*—required of any
person who drives a bus for any school district or
any other party carrying public or private pupils
(CVC §§545, 12517, 12522, 34500, 34501.5). A
school bus driver must also have a school bus (S)
endorsement on his/her CDL. School bus drivers
65 years of age and older must submit an annual
medical report to DMV (CVC §12517.2).
School Pupil Activity Bus Certificate (SPAB)*—
required of any person who drives a bus for any
school district or any other party carrying public
or private pupils for school related activities (CVC
§§546 and 12517).
Farm Labor Vehicle Certificate*—required to
drive farm labor trucks and buses (CVC §§322 and
12519). Note: The driver and all passengers in a
farm labor vehicle are required to use seat belts.
Youth Bus Certificate*—required to operate any
bus other than a school bus which carries not more
than 16 children and the driver to or from a school,
to an organized non-school related activity, or to
and from home (after receiving additional CHP
training) (CVC §§680 and 12523).
Tow Truck Driver Certificate*—required for
drivers in emergency road service organizations
that provide freeway service patrol operations
pursuant to an agreement or who contract with
a specified public transportation planning entity
(traffic commission).
Vehicle for Developmentally Disabled Persons
(VDDP)*—required to operate a vehicle for a
business or nonprofit organization or agency whose
primary job is to transport for hire persons with
developmental disabilities (Welfare and Institutions
Code §4512(A) and CVC §12523.6).
How to Get a CDL
Applicants for a CDL:
• May drive for hire within California if you are
18 years of age or older and do not engage in
interstate commerce activities.
• Must be at least 21 years old to drive a commercial vehicle engaged in interstate commerce
or to transport hazardous materials or wastes
(intrastate or interstate commerce) (CVC
§12515).
• Must be 18 years of age.
Provide the Following Items:
• A completed Commercial Driver License
Application (DL 44C) form. Signing this form
means you agree to submit to a chemical test to
determine the alcohol or drug content of your
blood. If you refuse to sign this form, DMV
will not issue or renew your driver license.
• Your true full name.
• An approved medical form (or copy) completed by a U.S. licensed doctor of medicine
(M.D.), licensed doctor of osteopathy (D.O.),
licensed physician’s assistant (P.A.), registered
advanced practice nurse (APN), or licensed
chiropractor when you apply for a driver
license or instruction permit. Drivers who hold
certificates to drive school buses, SPAB, youth
buses, GPPV, or farm labor vehicles must have
their medical examinations given by doctors
of medicine, licensed physician’s assistant,
or a registered advanced practice nurse (CVC
§12517.2).
Note: Do not mail your medical report to
the CHP.
A medical report dated within the last two years
is required for any CDL application and then
every two years after that.
Mail the interim medical to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Commercial Problem Drivers Inquiry Unit
MS G204
PO Box 942890
Sacramento, CA 94290-0001
* Drivers subject to the commercial driver sanctions.
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You will be given a Medical Certificate Card
(DL 51A) to carry when you drive commercially. You can be given a citation for driving
out of class if your medical certificate expires,
or you drive without a valid medical certificate
in your possession. You may also be removed
from your vehicle by a law enforcement officer
for driving out of class.
If you must have a CDL as part of your job, your
employer shall pay the cost of the examination
unless your examination was taken before you
applied for the job (Labor Code §231).
Note: Customers who do not meet the minimum medical standards will either be restricted
or refused a CDL. The restrictions are:
— may not transport passengers commercially
or transport materials which require placards (CVC §27903).
— may not drive in interstate commerce.
• An acceptable birth date/legal presence (BD/
LP) document. All applicants for an original
DL/ID card must submit proof of legal presence
in the US as authorized under federal law. If
the name on your BD/LP document is different
from the name on your DL application form,
you must also bring in an acceptable true full
name document. Your true full name, as shown
on your BD/LP document, will appear on your
DL/ID card. (Refer to the California Driver
Handbook.)
An acceptable BD/LP or true full name document is one produced by an issuing authority
(i.e., county, state, etc.). This document is a
certified copy of the original (the original is
always retained by the issuing authority) and
will contain an impressed seal or an original
stamped impression. The certified copy will
be returned to you. If you make a copy of the
certified copy, DMV will not accept it for BD/
LP verification.
• Your social security card (cannot be laminated), Medicare card, or U.S. Armed Forces
active, retired, or reserve DD2 form for an
original CDL. The document must contain your
name and social security number (SSN). Your
SSN will be verified with the Social Security
Administration while you are in the office.
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• A Certificate of Driving Skill (DL 170 ETP) if
your employer is authorized by DMV to issue
such certificates. Both you and your employer
sign this form.
• The applicable fee. This fee is good for 12
months from the application date. You are
allowed three attempts to pass the written
knowledge test and a total of three attempts to
pass the entire road test (pre-trip inspection,
skills, and driving test) on a single application.
If you fail any portion of the road test (pre-trip
inspection, skills, or driving test), it will count as
one failure towards the maximum three attempts
you are allowed. Example: Failing the pre-trip
inspection, skills test, and driving test counts as
a three-time failure (or any failure combination
equaling three). However, if you are required to
take a driving test for separate types of vehicles
(Class A or passenger transport vehicle), you
are allowed three driving tests for the Class A
vehicle and three driving tests for the passenger
transport vehicle.
If you fail the skills test or the road test there will
be a $30 retest fee charged upon your return to
take the commercial driving test.
Required Testing
You must take and pass vision, knowledge (law),
and performance (pre-trip, skills, and driving, if
required) tests to get your original CDL and/or
endorsements or to upgrade to a different class of
license. Law and vision tests may be required for
renewals. A driving test is required:
• For an original CDL.
• To remove a restriction placed on your license
because of vehicle size or equipment.
• To add a “P” or “S” endorsement.
• To renew a CDL expired for more than two
years.
Fees subject to legislative change each January 1.
If the class of
license is… and the application type is…
the fee is…
Commercial
Class A or B
an original—no prior California DL (with/without a driving test)...................... $66
an original—prior California DL (with/without a driving test)........................... $66
to remove a restriction(s) imposed due to vehicle size or equipment............. $66
to add a passenger transport endorsement.................................................... $66
a driving or skill retest fee............................................................................... $30
a renewal........................................................................................................ $39
a renewal by mail or internet........................................................................... $39
add an endorsement other than PV................................................................ $39
add noncommercial Class A to a Class B....................................................... $39
add Class M1/M2............................................................................................ $39
a duplicate...................................................................................................... $29
a name change............................................................................................... $25
Commercial
Class C
an original—prior California DL (with/without a driving test)........................... $39
a renewal........................................................................................................ $39
a renewal by mail or internet........................................................................... $39
add an endorsement not requiring a driving test............................................ $39
remove an air brake restriction....................................................................... $39
a duplicate...................................................................................................... $29
a driving or skill retest fee............................................................................... $30
a name change............................................................................................... $25
The CDL law tests are:
• General Knowledge Test, for all Class A, B,
and commercial C applicants.
• Air Brakes Test, if you operate vehicles with
air brakes.
• Combination Vehicles Test, if you drive Class
A combination vehicles.
• Passenger Transport Vehicle Test, if you
transport passengers.
• Hazardous Materials Test, if you transport hazardous materials or wastes requiring placards.
• Tank Vehicle Test, if you transport liquids in
bulk (including cement mixers).
• Doubles/Triples Test, if you pull double or triple
trailers. (Triple trailers are illegal in California.)
• The School Bus test is required if you want to
drive a school bus.
• Firefighter Endorsement Test, to operate firefighting equipment. (Not required but optional
for commercial class A or B license holders).
Note: Your law and/or endorsement test(s) will
not be returned to you.
You may take the law test at any DMV office. Office
hours vary. Please go online at www.dmv.ca.gov
or call 1-800-777-0133 to make an appointment.
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CDL Offices
Call 1-800-777-0133 to schedule a CDL driving test at one of the following offices:
Arleta
Fremont
Redding
Stockton
Bakersfield
Fresno CDL
Driving Center
Salinas
Torrance
Bishop
Fullerton
San Bernardino CDL
Driving Test Center
Ukiah
Capitola
Lancaster
San Luis Obispo
Vallejo
Compton
Modesto
Santa Barbara
Ventura
El Centro
Montebello
Santa Rosa
W Sacramento CDL
Driving Test Center
Eureka
Rancho San Diego
Santa Teresa
Yuba City
After passing the required knowledge test(s), you
must schedule a CDL performance test which
includes a pre-trip inspection/knowledge test,
basic control skills tests, and the driving test.
You must use the same (or similar) vehicle for all
three performance tests. Under certain specified
conditions, the driving test requirements may be
waived by DMV or CHP.
Use of Testing Aids Prohibited
The use of testing aids is strictly prohibited during
the knowledge test. This includes, but is not limited
to: the California Commercial Driver Handbook,
cheat sheets, or electronic communication devices
such as a cell phone, hand-held computer, etc.
If any testing aid(s) or a substitute test taker is
used during the written test, the written test will
be marked as a “failure.” An action may also be
taken by DMV against your driving privilege or
the driving privilege of anyone else who assists
the applicant in the examination process.
During the pre-trip inspection the department does
not allow the use of testing aids other than the
vehicle inspection guide (pages 155 and 156) in
this handbook. If you are caught using anything
other than the inspection guides, the commercial
driving test will be marked as a failure. The use
of electronic devices such as cell phones, blue
tooth, CB radios, etc. is prohibited during the
commercial driving test. Also people waiting in
the testing vicinity are prohibited from using hand
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signals and shouting instructions. If this occurs,
the test will be discontinued and be marked as a
commercial drive test failure. If markings are found
on the vehicle being used for the test to help with
passing the pre-trip or skills test, including but
not limited to: writing on the vehicle, tape, paint
markings that do not appear like they belong, or
markings on the curbs, walls, or trees that would
help the applicant maneuver the vehicle for the
skills test, the test will be discontinued and will
be marked as a failure.
Pre-trip inspection. You demonstrate your knowledge of how the specific features and equipment on
the test vehicle should be checked. This handbook
contains inspection guides on pages 155 and 156 for
handy reference. You may use only one of these
guides when taking your pre-trip test. If you do
not pass the pre-trip inspection test, the other tests
will be postponed. There is no additional fee for
re-taking the pre-trip tests on the same application.
See Section 11 for pre-trip information.
Skills tests. You perform various skills that test
your control and ability to maneuver the vehicle.
The tests consist of exercises marked by traffic
cones or markers. The examiner will explain how
each exercise is to be done. You will be scored on
your ability to properly perform each exercise.
Failure of any skill test ends the test and a retest
fee is due for each skills retest. See Section 12 for
skill test information.
Driving test. You drive on a DMV-specified
route. The test takes about 45 to 60 minutes and
includes left and right turns, intersections, railroad
crossings, curves, rural or semi-rural roads, city
multilane streets, and freeway driving. If you fail
the driving test, a retest fee is charged for each
additional driving test. See Section 13 for driving
test information.
Sanctions/Disqualifications
CDL Restrictions
You will lose your CDL for at least one year for
a first offense for:
• Driving a CMV if your BAC is .04% or higher.
• Driving a CMV under the influence of alcohol.
• Refusing to undergo blood alcohol testing.
• Driving a CMV while under the influence of
a controlled substance.
• Leaving the scene of a collision involving a
CMV.
• Committing a felony involving the use of a
CMV.
• Driving a CMV when your CDL is suspended/
revoked.
• Causing a fatality through negligent operation
of a CMV.
Your CDL will be restricted to the type of vehicle
you use for the driving test. For example, if your
test vehicle does not have air brakes you will be
restricted to driving vehicles without air brakes. If
your passenger transport vehicle carries 15 persons
or less including the driver, you will be restricted
to driving a small size bus.
Additional Requirements
All commercial vehicle drivers must:
• Be a California resident before applying for a
California CDL.
• Disclose all states in which they were previously licensed during the past ten years and
surrender all out-of-state driver licenses
(current or expired), if any.
• Certify that they do not have a driver license
from more than one state or country.
• Notify their home state Department of Motor
Vehicles of any conviction which occurred in
other states within 30 days of the conviction.
• Notify their employer of any conviction within
30 days of the conviction using form Report
of Traffic Conviction (DL 535).
• Notify their employer of any revocation,
suspension, cancellation, or disqualification
before the end of the business day following
the action.
• Give their employer a 10-year employment
history of commercial driving, if applying for
a job as a driver.
Please see the charts on pages 20 to 22 for required
sanctions and disqualifications.
General
You may not drive a commercial motor vehicle
(CMV) if you are disqualified for any reason.
You will lose your CDL for at least three years if
the offense occurs while you are operating a CMV
that is placarded for hazardous materials.
You will lose your CDL for life for a second offense.
You will lose your CDL for life if you use a CMV
to commit a felony involving controlled substances.
You will be put out-of-service for 24 hours if you
have any detectable amount of alcohol under .04%.
-7-
Serious Traffic Violations
Serious traffic violations include:
• Excessive speeding (15 mph or more above
the posted speed limit).
• Reckless driving.
• Improper or erratic lane changes.
• Following a vehicle too closely.
• Traffic offenses committed in a CMV in connection with fatal traffic collisions.
• Driving a CMV without obtaining a CDL.
• Having a CDL in the driver’s possession, and
driving a CMV without the proper class of
CDL and/or endorsements.
You will lose your CDL for at least:
• 60 days if you commit two serious traffic
violations within a three-year period involving
a CMV.
• 120 days for three or more serious traffic
violations within a three-year period involving
a CMV.
Violation or Out-of-Service Orders
You will lose your CDL for at least:
• 90 days for your first conviction of an out-ofservice order.
• One year for two convictions of an out-ofservice order in a ten-year period.
• Three years for three or more convictions of
an out-of-service order in a ten-year period.
Violation of Hands Free or Texting
Law
You will lose your CDL:
• For at least 60 days for your second violation
of the cell phone hands free or texting law,
within a 3 year period, and receive one point
on your driving record.
• For at least 120 days for your third and subsequent violations of the cell phone hands free or
texting law, within a 3 year period, and receive
one point on your driving record.
-8-
Railroad-Highway Grade Crossing
Violations
You will lose your CDL for at least:
• 60 days for your first conviction.
• 120 days for your second conviction within a
three-year period.
• One year for your third conviction within a
three-year period.
These violations include violation of a federal,
state, or local law or regulation pertaining to one
of the following six offenses at a railroad-highway
grade crossing for:
• Drivers who are not required to always stop,
failing to stop before reaching the crossing if
the tracks are not clear.
• Drivers who are not required to always stop,
failing to slow down and check that the tracks
are clear of an approaching train.
• Drivers who are always required to stop, failing
to stop before driving onto the crossing
• All drivers failing to have sufficient space to
drive completely through the crossing without
stopping.
• All drivers failing to obey a traffic control
device or the directions of an enforcement
official at the crossing.
• All drivers failing to negotiate a crossing
because of insufficient undercarriage clearance.
Hazardous Materials Endorsement
Background Check and
Disqualifications
If you require a hazardous materials endorsement
you will be required to submit your fingerprints and
be subject to a background check.
You will be denied or you will lose your hazardous
materials endorsement if you:
• Are not a lawful permanent resident of the
United States.
• Renounce your United States citizenship.
• Are wanted or under indictment for certain
felonies.
• Have a conviction in a military or civilian court
for certain felonies.
• Have been adjudicated as a mental defective
or committed to a mental institution.
• Are considered to pose a security threat as
determined by the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA).
For more information you can go online at
hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov or call 1-877-429-7746.
Traffic Violations in Your Personal
Vehicle
The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act
(MCSIA) of 1999 requires a CDL holder to be
disqualified from operating a commercial motor
vehicle if the CDL holder has been convicted of
certain types of moving violations in their personal
vehicle.
If your privilege to operate your personal vehicle
is revoked, cancelled, or suspended:
• Due to violations of traffic control laws (other
than parking violations) you will also lose your
CDL driving privileges.
• Due to alcohol, a controlled substance, or felony
violations, you will lose your CDL for one year.
If you are convicted of a second violation in
your personal vehicle or commercial motor
vehicle, you will lose your CDL for life.
You may not obtain a “hardship” license to operate
a commercial motor vehicle.
Violation Point Counts
Convictions that occur while you are driving a
commercial vehicle or as a holder of a commercial
driver license are retained on your driving record
as listed below:
• Major violations and disqualification actions,
55 years.
• Out-of-service violations and disqualification
actions, 15 years.
• Collisions, serious violations and disqualification actions, 10 years.
• Railroad grade crossings and disqualification
actions, 4 years.
• Minor convictions, 3 years.
A traffic conviction for driving unsafely counts as
one point. Any collision you contributed to or were
responsible or at fault for, is normally counted as
one point. If you are convicted of reckless driving,
driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs,
or of a hit-and-run, you are charged two points.
If you get too many points, you lose your privilege
to drive. You are considered a negligent operator
of a commercial motor vehicle when your driving
record shows the following point counts:
4 points in 12 months
6 points in 24 months
8 points in 36 months
You may be entitled to a higher point count (6,
8, or 10 points) if you request and appear for a
hearing and if 4, 6, or 8 points were not obtained
in a Class C vehicle.
A violation received in a commercial vehicle
carries one and one-half times the point count. A
Class A or B driver who does not have a special
certificate or an endorsement may be allowed
two additional points before being considered a
negligent operator.
Convictions reported by other states are added
to your driving record and may result in license
sanctions. If you have an out-of-state CDL, any
conviction while operating in California will be
reported to your home state.
Note: Commercial drivers may not attend a traffic
violator school to have an offense dismissed for
any traffic violation (CVC §42005(c)).
-9-
State Laws and Rules
Periodic Smoke Inspection Program
All commercial drivers must know the state laws
limiting the size and weight of vehicles and loads.
All commercial vehicles must stop at locations
posted for CHP testing and inspection (CVC
§§2802 – 2805, 2813).
This program applies to California based fleets with
two or more heavy duty vehicles. Requires fleets
to perform smoke opacity tests for their vehicles
each year and to maintain records for a minimum
of two years. There are some exceptions to the
annual requirement. For more information, see
www.arb.ca.gov/enf/hdvip/psip_pamphlet.pdf.
Any officer, who has reason to believe that a
commercial vehicle is not safely loaded or that the
height, width, length, or weight of a vehicle and
load is unlawful, is authorized to require the driver
to stop and submit to an inspection, measurement,
or weighing of the vehicle. The officer may have
the driver stop in a suitable area and reload or
remove any part of the load.
Any person driving a commercial vehicle over a
highway or bridge illegally is liable for all damage
caused to the highway or bridge. When the driver
is not the owner of the vehicle but is operating it
with the permission of the owner, the owner and
driver may both have to pay for the damage.
State Air Emissions Rules
ALL diesel vehicles and equipment operating
in California, even those based out-of-state, are
currently subject to the following emission reduction requirements. For more information on each
regulation, visit the Air Resources Board (ARB)
webpage at www.arb.ca.gov/truckstop or call
1-866-6DIESEL (1-866-634-3735).
Heavy Duty Vehicle Inspection Program
Heavy duty vehicles in California are subject to
opacity test requirements that are verified by random
roadside inspections of engine smoke emissions and
tampering. For more information, see www.arb.
ca.gov/enf/hdvip/hdvip_pamphlet.pdf.
Engine Emission Control Labels (ECL)
All heavy duty commercial vehicles need to have
proof that their engines meet emissions requirements at least as stringent as U.S. federal standards
for the engine model year. A properly affixed
and legible manufacturer emission control label
is required as proof that the engine meets these
standards. For more information, see www.arb.
ca.gov/enf/advs/advs364.pdf.
- 10 -
Commercial Idling Requirements
These requirements prohibit commercial diesel
vehicles greater than 10,000 GVWR from idling
longer than five minutes. When at or within 100 feet
of a school, engines of all fuel types must shut down
immediately upon arrival and restart no later than
30 seconds before leaving. Penalties start at $300.
For more information, see www.arb.ca.gov/noidle
or www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/sbidling/sbidling.htm.
Retrofit/Upgrade Requirements
The following NEW requirements for trucks
and buses will further reduce diesel exhaust and
greenhouse gas emissions. These reductions require
the retrofit and/or upgrade of existing vehicles and
equipment.
Trucks and Buses (Private and Federal
Fleets)
The Truck and Bus Rule requires the clean up of
existing diesel engines used in most diesel trucks and
buses with a GVWR over 14,000 pounds, including
agricultural yard trucks equipped with off-road
certified engines. For more information, see www.
arb.ca.gov/dieseltruck. Clean-up requirements
are based on the engine model year (MY) and the
GVWR of the vehicle. Any person or business
residing in California who sells an affected vehicle
must provide a disclosure notice about the regulation
to the buyer.
Heavier vehicles with a GVWR more than
26,000 lbs. need engine upgrades as shown in the
schedule below (no reporting is required). More
flexible compliance options are available to owners that choose to report fleet information by the
March 30, 2012 deadline.
Schedule for
Heavier Trucks and Buses
Engine Year
PM Filter*
2010 MY Engine
Pre-1994
Not required
January 1, 2015
1994-1995
Not required
January 1, 2016
1996-1999
January 1, 2012
January 1, 2020
2000-2004
January 1, 2013
January 1, 2021
2005 or newer January 1, 2014
January 1, 2022
2007-2009
Already Equipped January 1, 2023
*50% PM reduction can be used if 85% reduction is not
available.
Lighter vehicles with a GVWR 26,000 lbs. or less
need to be upgraded to 2010 model year engines
or to newer models as shown in the table below.
No retrofit PM filters or reporting is required.
Requirements for Drayage Trucks
Trucks (gvwr > 26,000 lbs.) that transport
cargos going to or coming from California’s
ports and intermodal rail yards. Diesel-fueled
trucks that transport marine cargo, containers, or
transport chassis must be registered in the statewide
Drayage Truck Registry prior to port or rail yard
entry. For more information, call 888-247-4821
or see www.arb.ca.gov/drayagetruck. Drayage
trucks must comply as shown in the table. Retrofit
particulate matter (PM) filters must be verified by
the Air Resource Board to reduce PM by 85%.
Dray-off: It is illegal for a drayage truck to exchange
cargo with a noncompliant drayage truck outside
of port or intermodal rail yard property anywhere
in California.
Statewide Schedule for
Class 8 Drayage Trucks
with a GVWR > 33,000 lbs.
Compliance
Date
Requirements
PM filter on 1994-2003 MY engines
January 1, 2010 and Pre-1994 MY engines no longer
allowed
January 1, 2012 PM filter on 2004 MY engines
January 1, 2013 PM filter on 2005-2006 MY engines
Schedule for
Lighter Trucks and Buses
January 1, 2014
All must have 2007 MY engines and
newer
Engine Year
January 1, 2023
All must have 2010 MY engines and
newer
2010 MY Engine
1995 and older
January 1, 2015
1996
January 1, 2016
1997
January 1, 2017
Statewide Schedule for
Class 7 Drayage Trucks
with a GVWR of 26,001-33,000 lbs.
1998
January 1, 2018
Compliance
Date
1999
January 1, 2019
January 1, 2012* PM filter on pre-2007 MY engines
2003 and older
January 1, 2020
January 1, 2014
All must have 2007 MY engines and
newer
2004-2006
January 1, 2021
January 1, 2023
2007-2009
January 1, 2023
All must have 2010 MY engines and
newer
Requirements
* While Operating In the South Coast Air Basin
- 11 -
Requirements for Transport Refrigeration
Units (TRU or Reefer)
Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas Emission
Reduction Requirements
Every California-based TRU and TRU generator
set must be registered and operator reports must
be submitted and kept current at https://arber.
arb.ca.gov/Welcome.arb. All TRUs that operate
in California must also meet the in-use standards,
regardless of where they are based.
The Tractor-Trailer Greenhouse Gas regulation
applies to 53-foot or longer box-type trailers,
including both dry-van and refrigerated-van trailers, and all heavy-duty tractors that pull them on
California highways. Any person or business residing in California who sells an affected vehicle must
provide a disclosure notice about the regulation to
the buyer. Fleets must report to take advantage of
short haul, local haul or storage trailer exemptions
and passes. For more information see www.arb.
ca.gov/cc/hdghg/hdghg.htm.
Compliance schedules to reduce PM emissions are
based on the engine’s model year as shown in the
table below. Engines may be retrofit with diesel
particulate filters or replaced with newer, cleaner
engines but the replacement engines must then
comply with the appropriate in-use standard, based
on replacement engine model year. For example,
if an engine is replaced by a 2012 MY engine, it
must be upgraded to meet the in-use standard by
December 31, 2019. Engines have seven years after
the model year before upgrades are required. For
more information see: www.arb.ca.gov/diesel/
tru/tru.htm.
TRU and TRU Generator Set
Compliance Schedule
Engine
Model
Year
Low Emission
Ultra Low Emission
TRU In-Use
TRU In-Use
Standard (50% PM Standard (85% PM
Reduction)
Reduction)
2001
or older
December 31, 2008
December 31, 2015
2002
December 31, 2009
December 31, 2016
2003
December 31, 2010
December 31, 2017
2004
(<25 hp)
December 31, 2011
December 31, 2018
2004
(>25 hp)
Not applicable
December 31, 2011
2005
Not applicable
and newer
- 12 -
December 31st of the
model year +7 years
Low-rolling resistance tires are required on all 2011
MY or newer tractors and trailers, and are required
on older equipment as shown in the table below.
Low-Rolling
Resistance Tires
Date
Requirements for 2010 MY
and Older Equipment
January 1, 2013 All Tractors
January 1, 2017
All trailers (except 2003-2009 MY
reefer trailers have until 2018-2020).
Smart Way aerodynamic requirements must currently be met by all 2011 MY or newer sleeper-cab
tractors and trailers. Older trailers must meet the
following:
Smart Way Aerodynamic
Requirements
Requirements for 2010 MY
and Older Trailers
Optional phase-in registration
June 1, 2012
deadline for fleets with 21 or more
trailers.
Optional phase-in registration
July 1, 2012
deadline for small fleets with 20 or
fewer trailers.
All trailers are not using a phase-in
January 1, 2013
schedule
Date
Length of Vehicle/Loads–Single
Vehicle
The maximum length for a single vehicle is
40 feet. This length may be exceeded by parts
complying with fender and mudguard provisions
of the California Vehicle Code (CVC).
Note: Some vehicles are conditionally exempted
from the 40-foot maximum length (e.g., semitrailers, buses, housecars).
The front bumper of a vehicle must not extend more
than two feet ahead of fenders, cab, or radiator,
whichever is foremost.
On a bus, a front and/or rear safety bumper may
extend an additional foot, and a wheel chair lift
may extend up to 18 inches ahead of the bus.
Additional extensions up to 36 inches in front or
10 feet in the rear of some buses may be added to
transport bicycles.
Length of Vehicle/Loads–
Combination Vehicles
In a combination of vehicles, auxiliary parts or
equipment which do not provide space for carrying
a load or are not used to support or carry the vehicle
may exceed the single vehicle length limit, but the
combination may not exceed the length limit for
combinations.
An articulated bus or trolley coach cannot exceed
a length of 60 feet.
A semitrailer being towed by a motor truck or truck
tractor may exceed 40 feet when certain conditions
are met (CVC §35400b(4)).
A combination of a truck tractor and a trailer
coupled together shall not exceed a total length
of 65 feet except as provided in CVC §§35401
and 35401.5.
A combination of vehicles consisting of a truck
tractor, a semitrailer, and a trailer cannot be longer
than 75 feet, providing the length of either trailer
does not exceed 28 feet 6 inches.
Other exceptions can be found in CVC §35401.5.
Extension devices are allowed with restrictions
(CVC §35402).
The load length on any vehicle or combination
of vehicles may not be more than 75 feet long
measured from the front of vehicle or load to the
back of vehicle or load.
Length Exceptions
Some length exceptions are listed below:
• If the load consists only of poles, timbers, pipes,
integral structural materials, or single unit
component parts, including: missile components, aircraft assemblies, drilling equipment,
and tanks not exceeding 80 feet in length;
provided they are being transported on one of
the following:
— pole or pipe dolly or other legal trailer
used as a pole or pipe dolly pulled by a
motor vehicle.
— semitrailer.
— semitrailer and a pole or pipe dolly, pulled
by a truck tractor to haul flexible integral
structural material (CVC §35414).
• Public utilities. Refer to CVC §35414(B) for
load exceptions.
• The load on any vehicle or combination of
vehicles must not extend more than three feet
beyond the foremost part of the front bumper or
tires. There are exceptions for booms, or masts
of shovels or cranes, or water well drilling and
servicing equipment (CVC §35407). A load
composed solely of vehicles may extend four
feet ahead of the front tires or the front bumper.
• The load on any single vehicle may not extend to
the rear, beyond the last point of support, more
than two-thirds the length of the wheel base
of the vehicle. On a semitrailer, the wheelbase
extends from the center of the last axle of the
towing vehicle to the center of the last axle on
the semitrailer.
If posted, cities and counties may prohibit a
combination of vehicles in excess of 60 feet in
length on highways they control.
- 13 -
Width of Vehicles and Loads
Height of Vehicles and Loads
The outside width of the body of the vehicle or
load must not exceed 102 inches (8 1/2 feet). The
width of a vehicle with pneumatic (air filled) tires,
measured from the outside of one wheel to the
outside of the opposite wheel, must not exceed
108 inches (9 feet).
The vehicle height limit and/or load limit, measured
from the surface of the roadway on which the
vehicle stands, is 14 feet.
Permitted devices limited to door handles, hinges,
cable cinchers, chain binders, and placard holders
may extend three inches (6 inches on one side for
vehicles used for recreational purposes) on each
side of the vehicle or load.
Required devices limited to lights, mirrors, or other
devices may extend up to 10 inches on each side.
Cities and counties may post highways, which
they control, to permit wider vehicles, but may
also prohibit vehicles wider than 96 inches (8 feet).
Special mobile equipment and special construction
and highway maintenance equipment may not be
more than 120 inches (10 feet) wide.
Motor coaches or buses may be 102 inches wide.
When operated by common carriers for hire in urban
or suburban service, they may be 104 inches wide.
When a vehicle is carrying loosely piled agricultural
products such as hay, straw, or leguminous plants
in bulk rather than crated, baled, boxed, or stacked,
the load and the racks that hold the load, may be
no more than 120 inches wide.
A special trip permit may be obtained from the
California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) to transport trusses and similar one-piece
construction components up to 12 feet wide (CVC
§35780.5).
Variances for farm equipment.
Implements of husbandry (farm equipment)
are generally exempted from width and length
limitations if they are being operated, transported,
or towed over a highway incidental to normal
farming operations. Owners and operators of
such equipment should refer to the California
Vehicle Code provisions which apply. A CalTrans
transportation permit may be necessary (CVC
§§36000 and 36600).
- 14 -
Exceptions:
• Double deck buses may not exceed 14 feet,
3 inches.
• Farming equipment moved incidentally over
a highway.
Weight Limits–General
CalTrans has authority to post signs at bridges and
along state highways stating the maximum weight
they will sustain. Such weight may be greater
or lesser than the maximum weight limits for a
vehicle specified in the California Vehicle Code
(CVC §§35550-35557).
Counties and cities may post higher or lower weight
limits along highways and at bridges they control.
Alternate routes may be given for vehicles which
are too heavy for posted highways and bridges.*
Axle Weight Limits
The gross weight which can be carried by the wheels
of any one axle must not exceed 20,000 pounds
(20,500 pounds for buses). Additionally, the load
limit stated by the tire manufacturer (molded on
at least one sidewall) shall not be exceeded.
The weight carried by the wheel or wheels on one
end of an axle must not exceed 10,500 pounds. This
limitation does not apply to vehicles transporting
livestock (CVC §35550).
Combinations of vehicles made up of a trailer or
semitrailer, and each vehicle in the combination,
must meet either the weight provisions of CVC
§35551 or the following:
• The gross weight placed on a highway by the
wheels on any one axle of a vehicle must not
exceed 18,000 pounds. The gross weight on
any one wheel, or wheels, supporting one end
of an axle and resting on a roadway must not
exceed 9,500 pounds.
* Weight limitations by local ordinance do not prevent commercial vehicles
from entering posted streets or highways by direct route to (a) make pickups or deliveries of goods, wares, and merchandise, (b) deliver materials
for bona fide construction, repair, etc. of a structure for which a permit
has been obtained, or (c) make public utility construction or repairs.
• Exceptions:
— the gross weight placed on a highway by
the wheels on any front steering axle of
a motor vehicle must not exceed 12,500
pounds.
— vehicles carrying livestock are exempt from
the gross weight limit which applies to a
wheel at one end of an axle.
A complete listing of vehicles exempt from
front axle weight limits can be found in
CVC §35551.5(b).
The total gross weight, with load, placed on a
highway by any two or more consecutive axles
of a combination of vehicles, or a vehicle in the
combination, where the distance between the first
and last axles of the two or more consecutive axles
is 18 feet or less, must not exceed that given for
the respective distance as shown in the table in
CVC §35551.5(c).
When the distance between the first and last axles
is more than 18 feet, use the table shown in CVC
§35551.5(d).
Weight Limit–Logs
Weight limits for vehicles transporting logs are
contained in CVC §§35552 and 35785. Such
additional weight may not be transported on
interstate highways.
Weight-to-Axle Ratio (CVC §35551)
Highways and bridges are designed to carry only
a certain amount of weight per foot of distance
between axles. Vehicles carrying heavy loads must
not put too much weight on any point. The California
Vehicle Code shows limitations in the tables found
in CVC §§35551 and 35551.5.
The total gross weight in pounds placed on the
highway by any group of two or more consecutive
axles must not exceed that given for the respective
distance in that table.
In addition to the weight specified in the previously
mentioned table, two consecutive sets of tandem
axles may carry a gross weight of 34,000 pounds
each, if the distance between the first and last
axles of the sets of axles is 36 feet or more. The
gross weight on each set of tandem axles must not
exceed 34,000 pounds and the gross weight on two
consecutive sets of tandem axles must not exceed
68,000 pounds (CVC §35551(b)).
Loading/Unloading (CVC §35553)
Load limits are not enforced when vehicles are
loading or unloading in the immediate vicinity of
a loading or unloading area.
A driver moving a load under a special permit may
not change the route. Exception: to avoid violating
a local city traffic regulation, the driver may detour
the route on nonresidential streets only and return
to the route as soon as possible.
Penalties for Weight Restriction
Violations
A driver who changes from the permitted route
for an extralegal load, without a peace officer’s
authorization to do so, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
CHP Uniform Weight Standard
A standard for enforcing weight laws has been
established by the CHP. The standard states,
“Vehicles weighing in excess of the legal limits
by 100 pounds or more shall not be permitted to
proceed until the overload has been adjusted or
removed.”
In practice, CHP will allow for a 200 pound variation factor. After applying the variation factor,
any vehicle exceeding the axle weight, axle group
weight, or gross weight limits by 100 pounds or
more will be issued a citation and required either
to adjust the load to make it legal or obtain an
overweight permit before proceeding.
Hazardous materials cargoes may be allowed to
proceed unless unloading or load adjustment can
be handled with reasonable safety to the driver
and the public.
Livestock and field-loaded bulk perishable agricultural products destined for human consumption
being transported from the field to the first point of
processing have a special exemption. The vehicles
transporting livestock and perishable agricultural
products will be cited and allowed to proceed as
- 15 -
long as the weight does not exceed legal limits
by 1,000 pounds on any axle or axle group of a
single truck, or 2,000 pounds gross weight on a
combination of vehicles.
Permits
Transporting an oversize extralegal load without a
permit is punishable by a $500 fine or six months
in jail or both. Also, excess load penalties may be
imposed.
It is against the law in California to drive or move,
on any street or highway, any vehicle which is wider,
higher, or heavier than the limits described here.
Permits for oversized vehicles may be obtained
from:
• Caltrans–for state highways
• The city or county–for city or county highways.
Motor Carrier Permits
Any person who operates any commercial motor
vehicle either for hire or privately (not for hire)
must obtain a motor carrier permit (MCP) (CVC
§34620).
The MCP definition for a commercial motor
vehicle is any:
• Self-propelled vehicle listed in
CVC §34500(a), (b), (f), (g), and (k).
• Motor truck with two or more axles weighing
more than 10,000 lbs. GVWR.
• Other motor vehicle used to transport property
for hire.
Note: An MCP commercial motor vehicle does
not include vehicles operated by household
goods carriers (PUC §5109), pickup trucks
(CVC §471), or two-axle daily rental trucks
(noncommercial use) weighing less than 26,001
lbs. gross.
To obtain MCP forms and information, go to www.
dmv.ca.gov/mcs/mcs.htm or write or call:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Motor Carrier Services Branch MS G875
PO Box 932370
Sacramento, CA 94232–3700
(916) 657-8153
- 16 -
Unified Carrier Registration (UCR)
Interstate or foreign motor carriers transporting
property are required to obtain UCR, as outlined
in the final regulations issued by the Federal
Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005. UCR
fees can be paid online at www.ucr.in.gov.
To obtain UCR forms and information go to
www.dmv.ca.gov/mcs/mcs.htm or write or call:
Department of Motor Vehicles
MCP MS G875
PO Box 932370
Sacramento, CA 94232-3700
(916) 657-8153
Speed Limits
The maximum speed limit in California is 55 miles per hour (mph)
for the following listed vehicles
(CVC §22406):
• Any truck or truck tractor having three or
more axles.
• Any vehicle pulling any other vehicle.
• A school bus transporting any pupil.
• A farm labor vehicle transporting passengers.
• Any vehicle transporting explosives.
• A trailer bus.
For all other vehicles, the maximum speed limit
on most California highways is 65 mph. However,
for two-lane undivided highways, the maximum
speed limit is 55 mph, unless posted for a higher
speed. On some highways the maximum speed
limit is 70 mph, but only if there are signs posted
showing 70 mph.
No person shall drive at such a slow speed as to
impede or block normal and reasonable movement
of traffic, except when reduced speed is necessary
for safe operation or for compliance with the law,
or when the size and weight of the vehicle or
combination makes reduced speed unavoidable.
Right Lane Rule
Slow Vehicle Rule
Vehicles listed in CVC §22406 must be driven in
the designated lane or lanes when signs are posted.
On a two-lane highway where passing is unsafe,
a slow-moving vehicle with five or more vehicles
behind it must turn off the roadway at the nearest
place designated by signs as a turnout, or wherever
sufficient area for a safe turnout exists, to let the
following vehicles pass.
When no signs are posted, these vehicles must be
driven in the right-hand traffic lane or as close as
possible to the right edge or curb. On a divided
highway with four or more traffic lanes in one
direction, these vehicles may also be driven in the
lane just to the left of the right-hand lane. When
overtaking or passing another vehicle going in the
same direction, drivers of such vehicles must use
either: (1) the designated lane, (2) the lane just to
the left of the right-hand lane, or (3) the right-hand
traffic lane when such use is permitted.
Designated System Access
Designated System Access does not apply to a
driver who is: (1) preparing for a left- or right-hand
turn, (2) in the process of entering or exiting a
highway, or (3) driving in a lane other than the
right-hand lane “to continue on the intended route.”
Buses, except school buses or trailer buses, may
drive in any lane as long as they are not towing
any other vehicle.
Movement off or onto the designated
(freeways/highways) system by
larger trucks is allowed only at
interchanges or exits which have the
following signs:
• Movement is allowed along signed routes to
reach terminals. Terminals are locations where:
— Freight is consolidated.
— Full loads are off-loaded.
— Vehicle combinations are regularly maintained, stored, or manufactured.
• Movement is allowed up to one
mile from the identified exits
or entrances leading to or from
specified highways to obtain:
— Food
— Fuel
— Lodging
— Repairs
Hours of Service
You are required to comply with California’s
driver hours of service regulations when you are
involved in INTRAstate commerce. You are
considered to be involved in intrastate commerce
when you do not:
• Cross the state line.
• Transport cargo which originated from another
state.
• Transport cargo destined outside of California.
• Transport any hazardous substance or waste.
(49 CFR 171.8)
Other Rules
You are required to comply with federal hours
of service regulations when you are involved in
INTERstate commerce. You are considered to be
involved in interstate commerce when the cargo
you transport:
• Originates out of state.
• Is destined out of state.
• Consists of hazardous substances or wastes.
(49 CFR 171.8)
• Any combination of the above.
Driver’s Record of Duty Status
The California Highway Patrol is authorized to
develop additional safety and driving regulations
(CVC §§34501 and 34501.2).
A driver’s record of duty status must be used
to record all of the driver’s hours. Drivers of
commercial vehicles must be in compliance with
the hours of service requirements of the Code of
Federal Regulations (CFR), Title 49, §395.8 and
the California Code of Regulations (CCR), Title
13, §§1201–1213.
- 17 -
Hours of Service
Condition
FEDERAL (Interstate commerce)
CALIFORNIA (Intrastate commerce)
Driving
time
You may not drive for more than 11 hours
following 10 consecutive hours off duty.
You may not drive for more than 12 hours following
10 consecutive hours off duty.
On duty
time
You may not drive beyond the 14th hour after
coming on duty following 10 hours off duty.
You may perform work, except for driving, after
being on duty for 14 hours.
You may not drive after having been on duty for 16
hours. You may perform work, except for driving,
after being on duty for 16 hours.
Multiple
day on
duty time
limitations
You are not eligible to drive after having been on
duty for 60 hours in a 7-day period. However, if
a motor carrier has commercial motor vehicles
operating 7 days a week, the driver is not eligible
to drive after having been on duty for 70 hours
in an 8-day period. A driver may restart a 7/8
consecutive day period after taking 34 or more
consecutive hours off duty.
You are not eligible to drive after having been on
duty for 80 hours in any 8 consecutive day period
or if transporting farm products after having been
on duty 112 hours in any consecutive 8-day period.
For truck drivers, any period of 8 consecutive days
may end with the beginning of any off-duty period
of 34 or more consecutive hours.
Off duty
time
After driving for 11 hours or being on duty for 14
hours, you may not drive again until you have
had 10 consecutive hours off duty.
Exception: If the truck is equipped with a
sleeper berth, these 10 hours may be broken
up into 2 periods provided one is not less than
8 hours.
After driving for 12 hours or being on duty for 16
hours, you may not drive again until you have had
10 consecutive hours off duty.
Exception: If the truck is equipped with a sleeper
berth, these 10 hours may be broken up into 2
periods, provided one period is not less than 8 hours.
Adverse
driving
condition
You may drive an additional 2 hours if you
encounter adverse weather conditions which
were not apparent at the start of the trip.
You may drive an additional 2 hours if you encounter
adverse weather conditions which were not apparent
at the start of the trip.
Regardless of the adverse conditions, you are not
allowed to drive for more than 14 hours or after
having been on duty more than 16 hours.
Note: The changes to hours of service (HOS) rules do not affect bus drivers, at this time. For up-to-date HOS rules, visit
www.fmcsa.dot.gov or www.chp.ca.gov.
A 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 CHP 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.
Collision Reporting
Every driver involved in a collision which results
in death, injury, or property damage over $750
must report the collision on a Report of Traffic
Accident Occurring in California (SR 1) to DMV.
The report forms are available at www.dmv.
ca.gov, or by calling 1-800-777-0133, or at CHP
and DMV offices.
- 18 -
You (or your authorized representative) must
submit the report within 10 days of the collision
whether you caused the collision or not and even
if the collision occurred on private property. This
form is required in addition to any other report
made to or by the police, CHP, or your insurance
company if the collision resulted in any damage
over $750 and/or an injury or death. If you do not
report the collision to DMV, your driving privilege
will be suspended.
Note: CDL holders may downgrade to a noncommercial license during any mandatory suspension
period to be eligible to obtain a restricted license.
All tests and fees will be required to upgrade when
eligible.
California law states that you must notify your
employer within five days if you have a collision
while driving your employer’s vehicle (CVC
§16002). However, your employer may require
you to notify him or her immediately.
Financial Responsibility
Requirements
Motor carriers of property. Most commercial
vehicles transporting property are under the regulation of the Department of Motor Vehicles, whose
liability and property damage requirements are
listed below. The following limits do not apply to
pickup trucks as defined in CVC §471 and two-axle
daily rental trucks with a GVWR less than 26,001
pounds when operated in noncommercial use.
• Transporting general freight exclusively in
vehicles having a GVWR of 10,000 pounds
or less: $300,000 combined single limit.
• Transporting general freight in vehicles having
a GVWR of 10,001 pounds or more: $750,000
combined single limit.
• Transporting petroleum products in bulk on
the highways: $500,000 for injury or death of
one person, $1,000,000 for injury or death to
two or more persons, $200,000 for damage to
property, or $1,200,000 combined single limit.
• Transporting oil, hazardous materials, or waste:
combined single limit of $1,000,000.
• Transporting hazardous substances, compressed gas, liquefied compressed gas in cargo
tanks, portable tanks, or hopper-type vehicles
with capacities in excess of 3,500 water
gallons, or transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or
1.3 explosives, poison gas, or highway-route
controlled quantities of radioactive materials:
combined single limit of $5,000,000.
Information on transporting hazardous materials
or wastes may be obtained from the Department
of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the CHP.
Note: Not all coverage requirements are listed
in this section. For questions related to liability
insurance for motor carriers, call the DMV Motor
Carrier Services Branch at (916) 657-8153.
Financial responsibility may be maintained by one
of the following:
• Certificate of Insurance (MC 65 M).
• Surety bond (MC 55 M).
• Certificate of Self Insurance Motor Carriers
of Property (MC 131 M).
Motor carriers must maintain evidence of insurance
on file during the active life of the permit. Whenever
DMV determines that a motor carrier’s Certificate
of Insurance or surety bond has expired or been
cancelled, DMV will suspend the MCP. To avoid
MCP suspension, contact your insurance provider
to submit valid liability coverage.
Proof of FR Before a Driving Test
Drivers must show evidence of financial responsibility prior to taking the driving test. Evidence
is met if the vehicle displays exempt plates or is
owned, leased by, or under the direction of, the
United States Government.
- 19 -
- 20 1 year
1 year
1 year
1 year
1 year
1 year
1 year
1 year
Life
Under the influence of
alcohol
Under the influence of
controlled substance
BAC of 0.04% or higher
while operating CMV
Refusing to take DUI test
required by implied
consent laws
Leaving the scene of an
accident
Using vehicle in felony
not involving a
controlled substance
Driving CMV while DL
is revoked, suspended, or
canceled or when
disqualified from
operating a CMV
Negligent operation of
CMV causing a fatality
Using vehicle in felony
involving a controlled
substance
Offense
1st conviction or DUI test
refusal in CMV
Life
Not applicable
Not applicable
1 year
1 year
1 year
Not applicable
1 year
1 year
1st conviction or DUI test
refusal in non-CMV
Life
Life
Life
Life
Life
Life
Life
Life
Life
2nd conviction or DUI
test refusal in separate
incident of any of these
offenses in CMV
Life
Not applicable
Not applicable
Life
Life
Life
Not applicable
Life
Life
2nd conviction or DUI
test refusal in separate
incident of any of these
offenses in non-CMV
Synopsis of Table 1 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Life
3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years
3 years
1 conviction or DUI test
refusal in CMV
transporting Hazmat
st
A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following offenses while
operating either a COMMERCIAL or NONCOMMERCIAL motor vehicle (non-CMV):
- 21 -
60 days
60 days
60 days
60 days
60 days
60 days
60 days
60 days
Speeding 15 mph or more
above the posted speed limit
Reckless driving
Making improper or erratic
lane changes
Following too closely
Violating a traffic law which
causes a fatal accident
Driving CMV without
obtaining a CDL
Driving CMV without CDL in
possession
Driving CMV without proper
class CDL and/or
endorsements
Offense
2 conviction in separate
incident within 3 years of any
of these offenses in a CMV
nd
120 days
120 days
120 days
120 days
120 days
120 days
120 days
120 days
3rd or subsequent conviction
in separate incident within 3
years of any of these offenses
in a CMV
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
120 days
120 days
120 days
120 days
120 days
3rd or subsequent conviction
in separate incident within 3
years of any of these offenses
in a non-CMV, if conviction
results in revocation,
cancellation, or suspension of
all driving privileges
Synopsis Table 2 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
60 days
60 days
60 days
60 days
60 days
2nd conviction in separate
incident within 3 years of any
of these offenses in a nonCMV, if conviction results in
revocation, cancellation, or
suspension of all driving
privileges
A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following SERIOUS offenses:
- 22 No less than 120 days
No less than 120 days
No less than 120 days
No less than 120 days
No less than 120 days
No less than 60 days
No less than 60 days
No less than 60 days
No less than 60 days
No less than 60 days
No less than 60 days
Fails to slow down to check for
approaching train.
NOTE: Regulations may not require
the driver to stop.
Fails to stop before reaching the
crossing if tracks are not clear.
NOTE: Regulations may not require
the driver to stop.
Fails to stop before crossing the
tracks.
NOTE: Regulations require the driver
to stop.
Fails to allow enough space to
completely cross the tracks without
stopping.
Fails to obey traffic device or
directions from a railroad crossing
guard
Cannot cross tracks because of
insufficient undercarriage clearance
No less than 1 year
No less than 1 year
No less than 1 year
No less than 1 year
No less than 1 year
No less than 1 year
3rd or subsequent conviction in
separate incident within 3 years of
any of these offenses
No less that 3 years or
more than 5 years
No less than 90 days or
more than 1 year
No less than 180 days or
more than 2 years
Violates a driver or vehicle out-ofservice order while transporting nonHazMat
Violates a driver or vehicle out-ofservice order while transporting
HazMat or 16 or more passengers,
including the driver.
No less than 3 years or
more than 5 years
No less than 3 years or
more than 5 years
3rd or subsequent conviction in
separate incident within 10 years of
any of these offenses
Synopsis of Table 4 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
No less than 1 year or
more than 5 years
1st conviction
Offense
2nd conviction in separate incident
within 10 years of any of these
offenses
A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following OUT-OFSERVICE orders:
Synopsis of Table 3 Section 383.51 Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
No less than 120 days
1 conviction
2nd conviction in separate incident
within 3 years of any of these
offenses
Offense
st
A driver is disqualified from operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) if convicted of any of the following RAILROADHIGHWAY GRADE CROSSING offenses (either federal, state, or local):
Section 2: Driving Safely
This section is for all commercial drivers
This section contains general knowledge and safe
driving practices which all commercial drivers
should know. You must take a test on this information to get a CDL.
This section does not contain information on air
brakes, combination vehicles (tractor semitrailer,
doubles/triples, or towing trailers), or buses. You
must read other sections to get information applicable to the type of vehicle(s) you wish to drive.
We have included some basic information on
hazardous materials and wastes. Section 9 has more
detailed information on hazardous materials/wastes.
CDL Rules
There are federal and state rules that affect drivers
operating CMV’s in all states. Among them are:
• You cannot have more than one license. If
you violate this rule, a court may fine you up
to $5,000, or put you in jail, and DMV may
cancel your California driver license.
• You must notify your employer within 30 days
of all traffic violations (except parking). This
is true no matter what type of vehicle you
were driving.
• You must notify your employer within two
business days if your license is suspended,
revoked or canceled, or if you are disqualified
from driving.
• You must give your employer information on all
driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years
when you apply for a commercial driving job.
• No one can drive a commercial motor vehicle
without a CDL. A court may fine you up to
$5,000 or put you in jail for violating this rule.
• Your employer may not let you drive a commercial motor vehicle if you have more than
one license or if you’re CDL is suspended or
revoked. A court may fine the employer up
to $5,000 or put him/her in jail for violating
this rule.
• If you have a hazardous materials endorsement
you must notify and surrender your hazardous
materials endorsement to the state that issued
your CDL within 24 hours of any conviction
or indictment in any jurisdiction, civilian
or military, or found not guilty by reason of
insanity of a disqualifying crime listed in 49
CFR 1572.103; who is adjudicated as a mental
defective or committed to a mental institution
as specified in 49 CFR 1572.109; or who
renounces his or her U.S. citizenship.
• You must notify your motor vehicle licensing
agency within 30 days if you are convicted in
any other jurisdiction of any traffic violation
(except parking). This is true no matter what
type of vehicle you were driving.
• All states are connected to one computerized
system to share information about CDL drivers. The states will check on drivers’ collision
records to be sure that drivers do not have more
than one CDL.
• You are required by law to be properly
restrained by a safety belt at all times while
operating a commercial motor vehicle. The
safety belt design holds the driver securely
behind the wheel during a collision, which helps
the driver to control the vehicle and reduces
the chance of serious injury or death. If you
do not wear a safety belt, you are four times
more likely to sustain serious injures or death
if you are thrown from the vehicle.
Vehicle Inspections
Safety. Safety is the most important and obvious
reason to inspect your vehicle. A vehicle defect
found during an inspection could save you problems
later. You could have a breakdown on the road
that will cost time and dollars, or even worse, a
collision. Federal and state laws require inspection
by the driver. Federal and state inspectors also
inspect commercial vehicles. An unsafe vehicle can
- 23 -
be put “out of service” until the driver or owner
has it repaired. Do not risk your life or the life of
another in an unsafe vehicle.
Pre-Trip Inspections
Pre-trip inspection. Do a pre-trip inspection
before each trip to find problems that could cause
a collision or a breakdown. A pre-trip inspection
should be done routinely before operating the
vehicle. Review the last vehicle inspection report.
Make sure the vehicle has been released for service
by the maintenance mechanics, if applicable. The
motor carrier must repair any items in the report that
affects safety and certify on the report that repairs
were made or were unnecessary. Remember, when
you get behind the wheel, you (not the mechanic)
are responsible for the safe operation of the vehicle.
If the defects have been repaired, sign the previous
driver’s report. There is detailed information on
pre-trips in Section 11 of this handbook.
En Route Inspection
During a trip you should:
• Watch gauges for signs of trouble.
• Use your senses to check for problems (look,
listen, smell, and feel).
• Check critical items when you stop.
— tires, wheels, and rims
— brakes
— lights and reflectors
— brake and electrical connections to the
trailer
— trailer coupling devices
— cargo securement devices
After Trip Inspections
After-trip inspection and report. Inspect the
vehicle at the end of the trip, day, or tour of duty
for each vehicle you operated. Drivers must
complete a written vehicle inspection report each
day. It must include a listing of any problems you
find. The inspection report helps the motor carrier
know when the vehicle needs repairs.
- 24 -
Inspections–What to Look for
To obtain a CDL, you will be required to pass a
pre-trip vehicle inspection test. You will be tested
to see if you know whether your vehicle is safe to
drive. You will be asked to do a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle and explain to the examiner
what you would inspect and why. The following
seven-step inspection method should be useful.
Seven-Step Inspection Method
You should do a pre-trip inspection the same way
each time so you will learn all the steps and be
less likely to forget something.
• Approaching the vehicle, notice the general
condition. Look for damage or if the vehicle
leans to one side. Look under the vehicle for
fresh oil, coolant, grease, or fuel leaks. Check
the area around the vehicle for hazards to
vehicle movement (people, other vehicles,
objects, low hanging wires, limbs, etc.).
Step 1: Vehicle Overview
Review the last vehicle inspection report. Drivers
may have to make a vehicle inspection report in
writing each day. The motor carrier must repair
any items in the report that affect safety and
certify on the report that repairs were made or
were unnecessary. You must sign the report only
if defects were noted and certified to be repaired
or not needed to be repaired.
Step 2: Check the Engine
Compartment
Check that the parking brakes are on and/or
wheels chocked. You may have to raise the hood,
tilt the cab (secure loose things so they don’t fall and
break something), or open the engine compartment
door. Check the following:
• Engine oil level.
• Coolant level in radiator; condition of hoses.
• Power steering fluid level and hose condition
(if so equipped).
• Windshield washer fluid level.
• Battery fluid level, connections, and tie downs
(battery may be located elsewhere).
• Automatic transmission fluid level (may
require engine to be running).
• Check belts for tightness and excessive wear
(alternator, water pump, air compressor)—
learn how much “give” the belts should have
when adjusted correctly, and check each one.
• Leaks in the engine compartment (fuel, coolant, oil, power steering fluid, hydraulic fluid,
battery fluid).
• Cracked or worn electrical wiring insulation.
• Lower and secure the hood, cab, or engine
compartment door.
Step 3: Start the Engine and Inspect
Inside the Cab
Get in and Start the Engine
• Make sure the parking brake is on.
• Put the gearshift in neutral (or park, if
automatic).
• Start the engine; listen for unusual noises.
• If equipped, check the Anti-lock Brake System
(ABS) indicator lights. The ABS Light on the
dash board should come on and then turn off.
If it stays on, the ABS is not working properly.
For trailers only; if the yellow light on the
left rear of the trailer stays on, the ABS is not
working properly.
Look at the Gauges
• Oil pressure. Should come up to normal within
seconds after the engine is started.
• Air pressure. Pressure should build from 50 to
90 psi within 3 minutes. Build the air pressure
to governor cut-out (usually 120 – 130 psi).
Know your vehicle requirements.
• Ammeter and/or voltmeter. Should be in normal
range(s).
• Coolant temperature. Should begin a gradual
rise to normal operating range.
• Engine oil temperature. Should begin gradual
rise to normal operating range.
• Warning lights and buzzers. Oil, coolant, charging circuit warning, and ABS lights should go
out right away.
Check Conditions of Controls
Check all of the following for looseness, sticking,
damage, or improper setting:
• Steering wheel.
• Clutch.
• Accelerator (gas pedal).
• Brake controls:
— Foot brake.
— Trailer brake, if vehicle has one.
— Parking brake.
— Retarder controls, if vehicle has them.
• Transmission controls.
• Interaxle differential lock, if vehicle has one.
• Horn(s).
• Windshield wiper/washer.
• Lights.
— Headlights.
— Dimmer switch.
— Turn signals.
— Four-way flashers.
— Parking, clearance, identification, and
marker switch(es).
Check Mirrors and Windshield
Inspect the mirrors and windshield for cracks, dirt,
illegal stickers, or other obstructions to seeing
clearly. Clean and adjust as necessary.
Check Emergency Equipment
Check for safety equipment:
• Spare electrical fuses (unless vehicle has circuit
breakers).
• Three red reflective triangles.
• Properly charged and rated fire extinguisher.
• List of emergency phone numbers.
• Accident reporting kit (packet).
Check for optional items such as:
• Chains (where winter conditions require).
• Tire changing equipment.
- 25 -
Check Safety Belt
Left Front Suspension
Check that the safety belt is securely mounted,
adjusts, latches properly, and is not ripped or frayed.
• Condition of the spring, spring hangers,
shackles, and u-bolts.
• Condition of the shock absorber.
Step 4: Turn off the Engine and Check
the Lights
Make sure the parking brake is set, turn off the
engine, and take the key with you. Turn on the
headlights (low beams) and four-way emergency
flashers, and get out of the vehicle.
Step 5: Do a Walkaround Inspection
• Go to the front of the vehicle and check that
the low beams are on and both of the four-way
flashers are working.
• Push the dimmer switch and check that the
high beams work.
• Turn off the headlights and four-way emergency flashers.
• Turn on the parking, clearance, side-marker,
and identification lights.
• Turn on the right turn signal and start the
walk-around inspection.
Left Front Brake
• Condition of the brake drum or disc.
• Condition of the hoses.
Front
•
•
•
•
Condition of front axle.
Condition of steering system.
No loose, worn, bent, damaged or missing parts.
Must grab steering mechanism to test for
looseness.
Steering
Wheel
Steering
Arms
Steering
Wheel
Shaft
Tie Rod
General
• Walkaround and inspect the vehicle(s).
• Clean all the lights, reflectors, and glass as
you go along.
Left Front Side
• Driver’s door glass should be clean.
• Door latches and/or locks should work properly.
Left Front Wheel
• Condition of the wheel and rim—missing, bent,
or broken studs, clamps, lugs, or any signs of
misalignment.
• Condition of the tires—properly inflated, valve
stem and cap okay, and no serious cuts, bulges,
or tread wear.
• Use a wrench to test rust-streaked lug nuts,
indicating looseness.
• Hub oil level okay and no leaks.
- 26 -
Steering
Gear Box
Drag
Link
Pitman
Arm
Figure 2-1
Spindle
Steering
Ring
Knuckle
Condition of Windshield
• Check for damage and clean if dirty.
• Check the windshield wiper arms for proper
spring tension.
• Check the wiper blades for damage, “stiff”
rubber, and securement.
Lights and Reflectors
• Parking, clearance, and identification lights are
clean, operating, and the proper color (amber
at front).
• Reflectors are clean and the proper color (amber
at front).
• Right front turn signal light is clean, operating,
and the proper color (amber or white on signals
facing forward).
Right Side
Right Rear
• Right front: check all items as done on left front.
• Primary and secondary safety cab locks are
engaged (if a cab-over-engine design).
• Right fuel tank(s):
— Securely mounted, and not damaged or
leaking.
— Fuel crossover line is secure.
— Tank(s) contain enough fuel.
— Cap(s) on and secure.
• Condition of the wheels and rims—no missing,
bent, or broken spacers, studs, clamps, or lugs.
• Condition of tires—properly inflated, valve
stems and caps okay, and no serious cuts,
bulges, or tread wear, tires are not rubbing
each other, and nothing is stuck between them.
• Tires same type (e.g., not mixed radial and
bias types).
• Tires are evenly matched (same sizes).
• Wheel bearing/seals are not leaking.
Condition of Visible Parts
• Rear of engine is not leaking.
• Transmission is not leaking.
• Exhaust system is secure, not leaking, and not
touching wires, fuel, or air lines.
• Frame and cross members have no bends or
cracks.
• Air lines and electrical wiring are secured
against snagging, rubbing, and wearing.
• Spare tire carrier or rack is not damaged, if
so equipped.
• Spare tire and/or wheel is securely mounted
in rack.
• Spare tire and wheel is adequate (proper size
and properly inflated).
Suspension
• Condition of the spring(s), spring hangers,
shackles, and u-bolts.
• Axle is secure.
• Powered axle(s) are not leaking lube (gear oil).
• Condition of the torque rod arms and bushings.
• Condition of the shock absorber(s).
• If retractable axle equipped, check the condition
of the lift mechanism. If air powered, check
for leaks.
• Condition of the air ride components.
Hydraulic
Shock Absorber
Cargo Securement (Trucks)
• Cargo is properly blocked, braced, tied,
chained, etc.
• Header board is adequate, secure (if required).
• Side boards and stakes are strong enough,
free of damage and properly set in place, if
so equipped.
• Canvas or tarp (if required) is properly secured
to prevent tearing, billowing, or blocking of
mirrors.
• If oversize, all required signs (flags, lamps,
and reflectors) are safely and properly mounted
and all required permits are in the driver’s
possession.
• Curbside cargo compartment doors are in good
condition, securely closed, latched/locked, and
required security seals are in place.
6 Leaf
Steel Spring
Front
Axle
Vehicle
Frame
Bearing Plates
Frame
Vehicle
Frame
Auxiliary
Spring
Torque
Rod
Side View
Main
Spring
Shackle
Axle
Figure 2-2
- 27 -
Figure 2-3
Frame
Reinforcement
Frame
Bracket
Height Control Valve
Bellows Support (Upper)
U-Bolts
Front
Shock Absorber
Spacer
Clamp Bolt
Eye Bolt
Control Arm
Axle
Anchor Plate
Axle Seat
Bellows
Bellows Support (Lower)
Air Suspension Diagram
Figure 2-4
Brakes
• Brake adjustment.
• Condition of the brake drum(s) or discs.
• Condition of the hoses—look for any wear
due to rubbing.
Lights and Reflectors
• Side-marker lights are clean, operating, and
the proper color (red at rear, others amber).
• Side-marker reflectors are clean and the proper
color (red at rear, others amber).
Rear
• Lights and reflectors
— Rear clearance and identification lights
are clean, operating, and the proper color
(red at rear).
— Reflectors are clean and the proper color
(red at rear).
— Taillights are clean, operating, and the
proper color (red at rear).
— Right rear turn signal is operating and the
proper color (red, yellow, or amber at rear).
• License plate(s) are present, clean, and secured.
• Splash guards present, not damaged, properly
fastened, not dragging on the ground, or the
rubbing tires.
• Cargo is secure (trucks).
• Cargo is properly blocked, braced, tied,
chained, etc.
• Tailboards are up and properly secured.
- 28 -
• End gates are free of damage and properly
secured in the stake sockets.
• Canvas or tarp (if required) is properly secured
to prevent tearing, billowing, or blocking of
either the rearview mirrors or rear lights.
• If over-length or over-width, make sure all
signs and/or additional lights/flags are safely
and properly mounted and all required permits
are in the driver’s possession.
• Rear doors are securely closed and latched/
locked.
Left Side
Check all items as done on right side, plus:
• Battery(ies) (if not mounted in engine
compartment).
• Battery box(es) are securely mounted to
vehicle.
• Box has secure cover.
• Battery(ies) are secured against movement.
• Battery(ies) are not broken or leaking.
• Fluid in the battery(ies) is at the proper level
(except maintenance-free type).
• Cell caps are present and securely tightened
(except maintenance-free type).
• Vents in the cell caps are free of foreign material
(except maintenance-free type).
Step 6: Check the Signal Lights
Get in and Turn off the Lights
• Turn off all the lights.
• Turn on the stop lights (apply the trailer hand
brake or have a helper apply the brake pedal.
• Turn on the left turn signal lights.
Get Out and Check the Lights
• Left front turn signal light is clean, operating
and the proper color (amber or white on signals
facing the front).
• Left rear turn signal light and both stop lights
are clean, operating, and the proper color (red,
yellow, or amber).
Note: Checks of brake, turn signal, and 4-way
flasher functions must be done separately.
Get in the Vehicle
• Turn off lights not needed for driving.
• Check for all required papers, trip manifests,
permits, etc.
• Secure all loose articles in the cab (they might
interfere with operation of the controls or hit
you in a crash).
• Start the engine.
Step 7: Start the Engine and Check
Test for Hydraulic Leaks
If the vehicle has hydraulic brakes, pump the brake
pedal three times. Then apply firm pressure to the
pedal and hold for five seconds. The pedal should
not move. If it does, there may be a leak or other
problem. Get it fixed before driving. If the vehicle
has air brakes, do the checks described in Sections
5 and 6 of this handbook.
Test Parking Brake(s)
•
•
•
•
•
Fasten your safety belt.
Set the parking brake (power unit only).
Release the trailer parking brake (if applicable).
Place the vehicle in low gear.
Gently pull forward against the parking brake
to make sure the parking brake holds.
• Repeat the same steps for the trailer with the
trailer parking brake set and the power unit
parking brakes released (if applicable).
• If it doesn’t hold the vehicle, it is faulty, and
needs to be fixed.
During a Trip Check the Vehicle
Operation Regularly.
You should check the:
• Instruments.
• Air pressure gauge (if you have air brakes).
• Temperature Gauges.
• Pressure Gauges.
• Ammeter/voltmeter.
• Mirrors.
• Tires.
• Cargo, cargo covers.
• Lights.
If you see, hear, smell, or feel anything that might
mean trouble, check it out.
Safety Inspection
Drivers of trucks and truck tractors transporting
cargo must inspect the securement of the cargo
within the first 50 miles of a trip and every 150
miles or every three hours (whichever comes first).
After-Trip Inspection and Report
You must make a written report each day on the
condition of the vehicle(s) you drive. Report
anything affecting safety which could lead to a
mechanical breakdown.
The vehicle inspection report tells the vehicle owner
about problems that may need repair. Keep a copy
of your report in the vehicle for one day. That way,
the next driver can learn about any problems you
have found.
Test the Service Brake Stopping Action
• Go about five miles per hour.
• Push the brake pedal firmly.
• “Pulling” to one side or the other can mean
brake trouble.
• Any unusual brake pedal “feel” or delayed
stopping action can mean trouble.
• If you find anything unsafe during the pre-trip
inspection, get it fixed. Federal and state laws
forbid operating an unsafe vehicle.
- 29 -
Basic Vehicle Control
Stopping
To drive a vehicle safely, you must be able to
control its speed and direction. Safely operating
a commercial vehicle requires skill in:
• Accelerating
• Steering
• Backing safely
• Shifting gears
• Braking/controlling speed
Push the brake pedal down gradually. The amount
of pressure you need to stop the vehicle will depend
on the speed of the vehicle and how quickly you
need to stop. Control the pressure so the vehicle
comes to a smooth, safe stop. If you have a manual
transmission, push the clutch in when the engine
is close to idle.
Fasten your seat belt when on the road. Apply the
parking brake when you leave your vehicle.
Because you cannot see everything behind your
vehicle, backing is always dangerous. Avoid
backing whenever you can. When you park, try
to park so you will be able to pull forward when
you leave. When you have to back, here are a few
simple safety rules:
• Look at your path.
• Back slowly, using your mirrors.
• Back and turn toward the driver’s side whenever possible.
• Use a helper whenever possible.
Accelerating
Don’t roll back when you start. You may hit
someone behind you. Partly engage the clutch
before you take your right foot off the brake. Set
the parking brake whenever necessary to keep
from rolling backward. Release it only when you
have applied enough engine power to keep from
rolling backward. On a tractor-trailer equipped with
a trailer brake hand valve, the hand valve can be
applied to keep from rolling backward.
Speed up smoothly and gradually so the vehicle
does not jerk. Rough acceleration can cause mechanical damage as well as damage to the coupling
when pulling a trailer. It is also a common cause
of passenger injuries on buses. When starting a
bus on a level surface with good traction, there is
often no need for the parking brake.
Speed up very gradually when traction is poor, as
in rain or snow. If you give the vehicle too much
power, the drive wheels may spin and you could
lose control. If the drive wheels begin to spin, take
your foot off the accelerator.
Backing Safely
Start in the proper position. Put the vehicle in
the best position to allow you to back safely. This
position will depend on the type of backing to be
done.
Look at your path. Look at your line of travel
before you begin. Get out and walk around the
vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and
overhead in and near the path your vehicle will take.
Use mirrors on both sides. Check the outside
mirrors on both sides frequently. Get out of the
vehicle and check your path if you are unsure.
Steering
Back slowly. Always back as slowly as possible.
Use the lowest reverse gear so that you can easily
correct any steering errors before you get too far
off course. You can also stop quickly if necessary.
Hold the wheel firmly with both hands. Your hands
should be on opposite sides of the wheel. If you
hit a curb or a pothole, the wheel could pull away
from your hands unless you have a firm hold.
Back and turn toward the driver’s side. Back
to the driver’s side so you can see better. Backing
toward the right side is very dangerous because
you cannot see as well.
Remember to always back in the direction that
gives you the best vision.
- 30 -
Backing with a Trailer
Backing with a trailer. When backing a car,
straight truck, or bus, turn the steering wheel
toward the direction you want to go. When backing
a trailer, turn the steering wheel in the opposite
direction. Once the trailer starts to turn, you must
turn the wheel the other way to follow the trailer.
Whenever you back with a trailer, try to position
your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If
you must back on a curved path, back to the driver’s
side so you can see. Back slowly so you can make
corrections before you get too far off course.
Correct drift immediately. As soon as you see
the trailer getting off the proper path, correct it
by turning the steering wheel in the direction of
the drift.
Pull forward. When backing, make pull-ups to
reposition your vehicle when needed.
Use a helper. Use a helper when you can. He or
she can see blind spots that you can’t. The helper
should stand near the back of the vehicle where you
can see him or her. Before you begin backing, work
out a set of hand signals that you both understand.
Agree on a signal for STOP.
Shifting Gears
Shifting gears correctly is important. If you can’t
get your vehicle into the correct gear while driving,
you will have less control.
Manual Transmissions
Basic method for shifting up. Most heavy vehicles
with manual transmissions require double clutching
to change gears. This is the basic method:
• Release accelerator, push in clutch, and shift
into neutral at the same time.
• Release clutch.
• Let engine and gears slow down to the revolutions per minute (rpm) required for the next
gear (this takes practice).
• Push in clutch and shift into the higher gear
at the same time.
• Release clutch and press accelerator at the
same time.
Shifting gears using double clutching requires
practice. If you remain in neutral too long, you may
have difficulty putting the vehicle into the next gear.
If so, don’t try to force it. Return to neutral and
release the clutch, and increase the engine speed
to match the road speed, then try again.
There are two ways of knowing when to shift:
• Engine speed or rpm. Study the owner’s manual
for your vehicle and learn the operating rpm
range. Watch your tachometer, and shift up
when your engine reaches the top of the range.
(Some newer vehicles use “progressive”
shifting: the rpm at which you shift becomes
higher as you move up in the gears. Find out
what is right for your vehicle.)
• Road speed or mph. Learn the correct speed
for each gear. Then, by using the speedometer,
you will know when to shift up.
With either method, you may learn to use engine
sounds to know when to shift.
Basic procedures for shifting down
• Release accelerator, push in clutch, and shift
into neutral at the same time.
• Release clutch.
• Press accelerator. Increase engine and gear
speed to the rpm required in the lower gear.
• Push in clutch and shift to lower gear at the
same time.
• Release clutch and press accelerator at the
same time.
Downshifting, like upshifting, requires knowing
when to shift. Use either the tachometer or the
speedometer and downshift at the right rpm or
road speed. Some special conditions where you
should downshift are:
• Before starting down a hill. Slow down and
shift down to a speed that you can control
without using the brakes hard. Otherwise, the
brakes can overheat and lose their braking
power. Downshift before starting down the
hill. Make sure you are in a low enough gear,
usually lower than the gear required to climb
the same hill. The braking effect of the engine
is greatest when it is near the governed rpms
and the transmission is in the lower gears. Save
- 31 -
your brakes so you will be able to stop or slow
as required by road and traffic conditions.
• Before entering a curve. Slow down to a safe
speed, and downshift before entering the
curve. This lets you use some power through
the curve to help the vehicle be more stable
while turning. It also lets you speed up as soon
as you are out of the curve.
Multispeed Rear Axles and Auxiliary
Transmissions
Multispeed rear axles and auxiliary transmissions are
used on many vehicles to provide extra gears. You
usually control them by a selector knob or switch
on the gearshift lever of the main transmission.
There are many different shift patterns. Learn the
right way to shift gears in the vehicle(s) you drive.
Automatic Transmissions
Some vehicles have automatic transmissions which
let you select a low range for greater engine braking when going down grades. The lower ranges
prevent the transmission from shifting up beyond
the selected gear (unless the governor rpm is
exceeded). It is very important to use this braking
effect when going down grades.
Automated Transmissions
Automated transmissions combine the convenience
of an automatic transmission with the control of a
manual transmission. An automated transmission
has a clutch and gear selection lever. However,
the only time the clutch is used is to start and stop
the vehicle. Once the vehicle is started, sensors
constantly monitor the vehicle’s speed and rpms.
Gear shifting is automatic. DMV imposes a restriction when a vehicle equipped with an automated
transmission is used for a driving test (because
the clutch is only used to start or stop the vehicle).
Retarders
Some vehicles have “retarders.” Retarders help
slow a vehicle, reducing the need for using your
brakes. They reduce brake wear and give you
another way to slow down. There are many types of
retarders (exhaust, engine, hydraulic, electric). All
- 32 -
retarders can be turned on or off by the driver. On
some vehicles the retarding power can be adjusted.
When turned “on,” retarders apply braking power
to the drive wheels only whenever you let up on
the accelerator pedal all the way.
Retarders can be noisy; be sure you know where
their use is permitted by law.
Caution. When the drive wheels have poor traction,
the retarder may cause them to skid. You should
turn the retarder off whenever the road is wet, icy,
or snowy.
Seeing
To be a safe driver and to help avoid collisions,
you need to know what is going on all around your
vehicle. Not looking properly is a major cause of
collisions. All drivers look ahead; but many do not
look far enough ahead.
Seeing Ahead
Importance of looking far enough ahead.
Because stopping or changing lanes can take a lot
of distance, knowing what traffic is doing on all
sides of you is very important. You need to look
well ahead to make sure you have room to make
these moves safely. If a traffic light has been green
for a long time, it will probably change before you
get there. Start slowing down and be ready to stop.
How far ahead to look. Most good drivers look
12 to 15 seconds ahead. That means looking ahead
the distance you will travel in 12 to 15 seconds. At
lower speeds, that is about one block. At highway
speeds, it is about a quarter of a mile. If you are
not looking that far ahead, you may have to stop
too quickly or make quick lane changes. Looking
12 to 15 seconds ahead does not mean that you
should not pay attention to things that are closer.
Good drivers shift their attention back and forth,
near and far.
What to look for in traffic. Be especially alert
when nearing freeway on ramps. Look for vehicles
entering the highway, moving into your lane, or
turning. Watch for the brake lights of the vehicles
ahead. By looking far enough ahead, you can
change your speed or change lanes if necessary,
to avoid a problem.
Road conditions. Look for hills and curves–anything for which you will have to slow or change
lanes. Pay attention to traffic signals and signs.
Traffic signs may alert you to road conditions
where you may have to change speed.
Seeing Behind and to the Sides
It is important to know what is going on behind
and to the sides. Check your mirrors regularly.
Check more often in special situations.
Every California registered motor vehicle must
have at least two mirrors, including one attached
to the left-hand side, and located to give a clear
view of the roadway to the rear for a distance of at
least 200 feet. Both left- and right-hand rear view
mirrors are required on a motor vehicle which is
constructed or loaded to obscure the driver’s view
to the rear, or which is towing a vehicle or load
which blocks the view (CVC §26709).
Mirror adjustment. Mirror adjustment should
be checked prior to the start of any trip and can
only be checked accurately when the trailer(s) are
straight. You should check and adjust each mirror
to show some part of the vehicle. This will give
you a reference point for judging the position of
other images.
How to use mirrors. Use mirrors correctly by
quickly checking them often and understanding
what you see. When you use your mirrors while
driving on the road, check quickly. Look back and
forth between the mirrors and the road ahead. Do
not focus on the mirrors for too long. Otherwise,
you will travel quite a distance without knowing
what is happening ahead.
Many large vehicles have curved (convex,
“fisheye,” “spot,” “bugeye”) mirrors that show a
wider area than flat mirrors. This is often helpful.
But remember, everything appears smaller in a
convex mirror than it would if you were looking
at it directly. Also, things seem farther away than
they really are. It is important to realize this and
to allow for it.
Traffic checks. Check the mirrors for vehicles on
either side and in back of you. In an emergency,
you will need to know whether you can make a
quick lane change or stop. Use your mirrors to
spot overtaking vehicles. Remember, there are
blind spots that your mirrors cannot show you.
Check your mirrors regularly to know where other
vehicles are around you and to see if they move
into your blind spots.
Check your vehicle. Use the mirrors to keep an
eye on your tires; it is one way to spot a tire fire.
Use the mirrors to check open cargo. Look for
loose straps, ropes, or chains. Watch for a flapping
or ballooning tarp.
Special situations. Special situations require more
than regular mirror checks. These are lane changes,
turns, merges, and tight maneuvers.
Lane changes. Check your mirror to make sure
no vehicle is alongside you or about to pass you.
Check your mirrors:
• Before you change lanes, to make sure there is
enough room and signal at least 100 feet before
turning. On the freeway, it is best to signal at
least five seconds before changing lanes.
• After you have signaled, check to see that the
lane is clear and no one has moved into your
blind spot.
• Right after you start the lane change, to double
check that your path is clear.
• After you complete the lane change, to be sure
you turned off your signal lights.
Turns. When turning, check your mirrors to make
sure the rear of your vehicle will not hit anything.
Merges. When merging, use your mirrors to make
sure the gap in traffic is large enough for you to
enter safely.
Tight maneuvers. Any time you are driving in
close quarters, check your mirrors often. Make
sure you have enough clearance for any maneuver
you wish to make.
Regular checks. You need to make regular checks
of your mirrors to be aware of traffic and to check
your vehicle.
- 33 -
Communicating
Other drivers do not know what you are going to
do until you tell them.
Signal Your Intentions
Signaling what you intend to do is important for
everyone’s safety. Here are some general rules
for signaling:
Turns. There are three good rules for using turn
signal.
1. Signal early. Signal several seconds before
you turn. It is the best way to keep others from
trying to pass you.
2. Signal continuously. You need both hands
on the wheel to turn safely. Do not cancel the
signal until you have completed the turn.
3. Cancel your signal. Turn the signal off after
you have turned.
For information on vehicles which must be
equipped with lamp turn signal systems and two
stop lamps, see CVC §§24951 and 24600.
Lane changes. Use your turn signal before changing lanes. Change lanes slowly and smoothly. That
way a driver you did not see may have a chance
to avoid your vehicle.
Slowing down. Warn drivers behind you when you
need to slow down. A few light taps on the brake
pedal–enough to flash the brake lights–should
warn following drivers. Use the 4-way flashers
when you are stopped. Warn other drivers in any
of the following situations:
• Trouble ahead. The size of your vehicle may
make it hard for drivers behind you to see
hazards ahead of you. If you see a hazard that
will require slowing down, warn the drivers
behind you by flashing your brake lights.
• Tight turns. Most passenger vehicle drivers
do not know how slow you must go to make
a tight turn in a large vehicle. Give drivers
behind you warning by braking early and
slowing gradually.
- 34 -
• Stopping on the road. Truck and bus drivers
sometimes stop in the road to unload cargo or
passengers or to stop at a railroad crossing.
Warn other drivers by flashing your brake
lights. Do not stop suddenly.
• Driving slowly. Drivers often do not realize
how fast they are catching up to a slow vehicle
until they are very close. If you must drive
slowly, alert following drivers by turning on
your emergency flashers. (Laws regarding
the use of flashers differ from one state to
another. Check the laws of the states where
you will drive).
Don’t direct traffic. Some drivers try to help out
others by signaling when it is safe to pass. You
should not do this. You could cause a collision
and be held liable for the costs.
Communicating Your Presence
Other drivers may not notice your vehicle even
when it is in plain sight. Let them know you are
there to help prevent collisions.
When passing. Whenever you are about to pass
a vehicle, pedestrian, motorcyclist, or bicyclist,
assume they do not see you. They could suddenly
move in front of you. When it is legal, tap the
horn lightly or, at night, quickly flash your lights
from low to high beam and back. Drive carefully
enough to avoid a collision even if they don’t see
or hear you.
When it is hard to see. At dawn or dusk or in rain
or snow, you need to make your vehicle easier to
see. If you are having trouble seeing other vehicles,
other drivers will have trouble seeing you. Turn
on your lights. Use the headlights, not just the
identification or clearance lights. Use the low
beams; high beams can bother people at dawn or
dusk as well as at night.
When parked at the side of the road. When you
pull off the road and stop, be sure to turn on the
4-way flashers. This is very important at night.
Do not trust the taillights to give warning. Drivers
have crashed into the rear of a parked truck because
they thought it was moving.
If you must stop on the road or the shoulder of
a road, put out your reflective triangles within
ten minutes. Place your warning devices at the
following locations:
• On a two-lane road with traffic in both
directions or on an undivided highway, place
warning devices within ten feet of the front or
rear corners to mark the location of the vehicle
and 100 feet behind and ahead of the vehicle,
on the shoulder or in the lane in which you
stopped. (Figure 2-5)
• On the traffic side of the vehicle, within ten
feet of the front or rear corners, to mark the
location of the vehicle. (Figure 2-5)
• About 100 feet behind and ahead of the
vehicle, on the shoulder or in the lane you are
in. (Figure 2-6)
• Back beyond any hill, curve, or other obstruction that prevents other drivers from seeing the
vehicle within 500 feet. (Figure 2-6)
• If you must stop on or by a one-way or divided
highway, place warning devices 10 feet, 100
feet, and 200 feet toward the approaching
traffic. (Figure 2-7)
Carry the triangles with the reflective side toward
the oncoming traffic when placing them, for your
own safety. The other drivers will be able to see you.
Use your horn only when needed. Your horn can
let others know you are there and can help avoid
a collision. However, it can also startle others and
could be dangerous if used unnecessarily.
Emergency Warning Device Placement
Figure 2-5 Two Lane or Undivided Highway
HILL
CURVE
General Rule:
If line of sight is obstructed due to hill or
curve, move the rear triangle back down the
road, so adequate warning is given.
Figure 2-6 Obstructed View
Controlling Speed
Driving too fast is a major cause of fatal collisions. You must adjust your speed depending on
several conditions which include: traction, curves,
visibility, traffic, and hills.
Speed and Stopping Distances
There 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
Figure 2-7 One way or Divided Highway
- 35 -
perception time for an alert driver is about 3/4
of a second. At 55 mph you travel 60 feet in
3/4 of a 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 3/4 of a second. This
accounts for an additional 60 feet traveled at
55 mph.
• Braking distance. The distance it takes to
stop once the brakes are put on. At 55 mph on
dry pavement with good brakes, it can take a
heavy vehicle about 170 feet to stop. (About
4 and 3/4 seconds.)
• Total stopping distance. At 55 mph it will
take about 6 seconds to stop and your vehicle
will travel about the distance of a football field
(60 + 60 + 170 = 290 feet).
Refer to Page 85 for stopping distances with air
brakes.
Control and stopping requirements. The service
brake must hold the vehicle or combination of
vehicles stationary on any grade on which it is
operated under all conditions of loading or unloading (CVC §26454).
The service brakes of every motor vehicle or
combination of vehicles must be capable of stopping from an initial speed of 20 mph as follows
Maximum Stopping Distance in feet (MSD):
• Passenger vehicle—25 MSD
• Single motor vehicle with a manufacturer’s
GVWR of less than 10,000 pounds—30 MSD
• Single motor vehicle with a manufacturer’s
GVWR of 10,000 pounds or more, or any
bus—40 MSD
• Combination of vehicles consisting of a
passenger vehicle or any motor vehicle with
a manufacturer’s GVWR of less than 10,000
pounds in combination with any trailer,
semitrailer, or trailer coach—40 MSD
• All other combinations of vehicles—50 MSD
- 36 -
The effect of speed on stopping distance. The
faster you drive, the greater the impact or striking
power of your vehicle. When you double your speed
from 20 to 40 mph the impact is 4 times greater.
The stopping distance is also 4 times longer. Triple
the speed from 20 to 60 mph and the impact and
stopping distance is 9 times greater. At 60 mph,
your stopping distance is greater than that of a
football field. Increase the speed to 80 mph and the
impact and stopping distance is 16 times greater
than at 20 mph. High speeds greatly increase the
severity of crashes and stopping distances. By
slowing down, you can reduce stopping distance.
The effect of vehicle weight on stopping distance.
If a 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 distances 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.)
Matching Speed to the Road Surface
You cannot steer or brake a vehicle unless you have
traction. Traction is friction between the tires and
the road. These are some of the road conditions
which reduce traction and call for lower speeds:
Slippery surfaces. It will take longer to stop and
it will be harder to turn without skidding when the
road is slippery. You must drive slower to be able
to stop in the same distance as on
a dry road. Wet roads can double
the stopping distance. Reduce
speed by about one third (e.g., slow
from 55 mph to about 35 mph) on
a wet road. On packed snow, reduce
speed by half, or more. If the surface is icy, reduce
speed to a crawl and stop driving as soon as you
can safely do so to install chains, if necessary.
Sometimes it is difficult to know if the road is
slippery. Here are some examples of slippery roads:
• Shaded areas. Shady parts of the road will
remain icy and slippery long after open areas
have melted.
• Bridges. When the temperature drops, bridges
will freeze before the road will. Be especially
careful when the temperature is close to 32° F.
• Melting ice. Slight melting will make ice wet.
Wet ice is much more slippery than ice that is
not wet.
• Black ice. Black ice is a thin layer that is so clear
you can see the road underneath it. It makes
the road look wet. Any time the temperature is
below freezing and the road looks wet, watch
out for black ice.
• Vehicle icing. An easy way to check for ice is
to open the window and feel the front of the
mirror, mirror support, or antenna. If there is
ice on the mirror, the road surface is probably
starting to ice up.
• Just after rain begins. Right after it starts to
rain, the water mixes with oil left on the road
by vehicles. This makes the road very slippery.
If it continues, it will wash the oil away.
Hydroplaning. In some weather, water or slush
collects on the road. When this happens, your
vehicle can hydroplane, which means that the
tires lose their contact with the road and have
little or no traction. You may not be able to steer
or brake. You can regain control by releasing the
accelerator and pushing in the clutch. This will slow
your vehicle and let the wheels turn freely. If the
vehicle is hydroplaning, do not use the brakes to
slow down. If the drive wheels start to skid, push
in the clutch to let them turn freely.
It does not take a lot of water to cause hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning can occur at speeds as low as 30
mph if there is a lot of water. It is more likely to
occur if tire pressure is low or the tread is worn.
(The grooves in a tire carry away the water; if they
aren’t deep, they don’t work well.) Be especially
careful driving through puddles. Puddles are often
deep enough to cause hydroplaning.
Road surfaces where water can collect can create
conditions that cause a vehicle to hydroplane.
Watch for clear reflections, tire splashes, and
raindrops on the road. These are indicators of
standing water.
Speed and Curves
Drivers must adjust their speed for curves in
the road. If you take a curve too fast, two things
can happen. The tires can lose their traction and
continue straight ahead, so you skid off the road.
Or, the tires may keep their traction and the vehicle
will roll over. Tests have shown that trucks with
a high center of gravity can roll over traveling at
the posted speed limit for the curve.
Slow to a safe speed before you enter a curve.
Braking in a curve is dangerous because it is easier
to lock the wheels and cause a skid. Slow down
as needed–never exceed the posted speed limit for
the curve. (The speed zone signs posted at curves
are for smaller vehicles.) Drive in a gear that will
let you accelerate slightly in the curve. This will
help you keep control.
Speed and Distance Ahead
You should always be able to stop within the
distance you can see ahead. At night, low beams
let you see about 250 feet ahead. During the day,
fog, rain, or other conditions may require that you
slow down to be able to stop in the distance you
can see.
Speed and Traffic Flow
When you are driving in heavy traffic, the safest
speed is that of other vehicles. Vehicles going the
same direction at the same speed are not likely to
run into one another. In California, speed limits
are lower for trucks and buses than for cars. It can
vary as much as 15 mph. Use extra caution when
you change lanes or pass on these roadways. Drive
at the speed of the traffic, if you can do so without
traveling at an illegal or unsafe speed. Keep a safe
following distance.
The main reason drivers exceed the speed limit is
to save time. But anyone trying to drive faster than
the speed of traffic will not be able to save much
time. The risks involved are not worth it. Go with
the flow of traffic–it is safer and easier. If you go
faster than the speed of other traffic:
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• You will have to keep passing other vehicles.
This increases the chance of a collision.
• It is more tiring. Fatigue increases the chance
of a collision.
Overtaking or following another vehicle. You
may not overtake and pass another vehicle which
is moving at less than 20 mph on a grade (outside
a business or residential district) unless you can
pass that vehicle at least 10 mph faster than it is
travelling and the pass can be completed within
one quarter mile. (CVC §21758).
You must not follow the vehicles listed below
any closer than 300 feet. The rule does not apply
during overtaking and passing, when there are two
or more lanes for traffic in each direction, or in
a business or residential district (CVC §21704).
• A motor truck or truck tractor having three or
more axles.
• Any motor truck or truck tractor towing any
other vehicle.
• A passenger vehicle or bus towing any other
vehicle.
• A school bus transporting any school pupil.
• A farm labor vehicle when transporting
passengers.
• A vehicle transporting explosives.
• A trailer bus.
When large vehicles are being driven in caravan
on the open highway, at least 100 feet must be left
between them to allow other vehicles to overtake
and pass them (CVC §21705).
Speed on Downgrades
Your vehicle’s speed will increase on down grades
because of gravity. Your most important objective
is to select and maintain a speed that is not too
fast for the:
• Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
• Length and steepness of the grade.
• Road conditions and weather.
If a speed limit is posted, or there is a sign indicating
a maximum safe speed, never exceed the posted
speed. Also look for and heed warning signs
indicating the length and steepness of the grade.
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You must use the braking effect of the engine as
the principal way of controlling your speed on
downgrades. The braking effect of the engine is
greatest when it is near the governed rpms and the
transmission is in the lower gears. Save your brakes
so you will be able to slow or stop as required by
road and traffic conditions.
Slow the vehicle and shift your transmission to a
low gear before starting down the grade and use
the proper braking techniques.
More information on going down steep hills safely
is on page 45 in the section on “Mountain Driving.”
Roadway Work Zones
Speeding traffic is the number one cause of injury
and death in roadway work zones. Observe the
posted speed limits at all times when approaching and driving through a work zone. The speed
limit may be reduced in a work zone. Watch your
speedometer, and don’t allow your speed to creep
up as you drive through long sections of road
construction. Decrease your speed for adverse
weather or road conditions. Decrease your speed
even further when a worker is close to the roadway.
Managing Space
A safe driver keeps space all around the vehicle.
When things go wrong, space gives you time to
think and to take action.
To have space available when something goes
wrong, you need to manage space. While this is
true for all drivers, it is very important for large
vehicles. They take up more space and they require
more space for stopping and turning.
Space Ahead
Of all the space around your vehicle, it is the area
ahead of the vehicle–the space you are driving
into–that is the most important.
The need for space ahead. You need space ahead
in case you must suddenly stop. According to
collision reports, the vehicle that trucks and buses
most often run into is the one in front of them. The
most frequent cause of collisions is following too
closely. Remember, if the vehicle ahead of you is
smaller than yours, it can probably stop faster than
you can. You may crash into it if you are following
too closely.
• In bad weather many passenger vehicle drivers
follow large vehicles closely, especially when
it is hard to see the road ahead.
How much space? How much space should you
keep in front of you? One good rule says you need
at least one second for each 10 feet of vehicle length
at speeds below 40 mph. At higher speeds, you
must add one second for safety. For example, if
you are driving a 40-foot vehicle, you should leave
4 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead. In a
60-foot rig, you will need 6 seconds. Over 40 mph,
you would need 5 seconds for a 40-foot vehicle
and 7 seconds for a 60-foot vehicle.
If you find yourself being tailgated, here are
some things you can do to reduce the chances of
a collision:
• Avoid quick changes. If you have to slow
down or turn, signal early and reduce speed
very gradually.
• Increase your following distance. Opening up
room in front of you will help you to avoid
having to make sudden speed or direction
changes. It also makes it easier for the tailgater
to get around you.
• Do not speed up. It is safer to be tailgated at a
low speed than a high speed.
• Avoid tricks. Do not turn on your taillights or
flash your brake lights. Follow the suggestions
above to avoid collisions.
To know how much space you have, wait until
the vehicle ahead passes a shadow on the road, a
pavement marking, or some other obvious landmark. Then count off the seconds like this: “one
thousand-and-one, one thousand-and-two” and so
on, until you reach the same spot. Compare your
count with the rule of one second for every 10 feet
of length. If you are driving a 40-foot truck and
only counted up to 2 seconds, you are too close.
Drop back a little and count again until you have 4
seconds of following distance (or 5 seconds, if you
are going over 40 mph). After a little practice, you
will know how far back you should be. Remember
to add one second for speeds above 40 mph. Also
remember that when the road is slippery, you need
much more space to stop.
Space Behind
You cannot stop others from following you too
closely. But there are things you can do to make
it safer.
Stay to the right. Heavy vehicles are often tailgated
when they cannot keep up with the speed of traffic
such as when you are going uphill. If a heavy load
is slowing you down, stay in the right lane if you
can. Going uphill, you should not pass another
slow vehicle unless you can get around it quickly
and safely.
Handle tailgaters safely. In a large vehicle, it is
often hard to see whether a vehicle is close behind
you. You may be tailgated:
• When you are traveling slowly. Drivers trapped
behind slow vehicles often follow too closely.
When you follow too closely and another driver
“cuts” in front of you, the normal reaction is to
slam on your brakes and swerve out of the way.
Swerving out of the way can often result in cutting
someone else off, possibly driving off the roadway,
or driving into another lane of traffic. It might also
result in the vehicle behind you crashing into you
or other vehicles around you.
If another driver “cuts” in front of you, it is better
to take your foot off the gas. This creates space
between your vehicle and the other driver without
swerving into another lane. Do not overreact if
you are cut off. Plan your emergency escape route
before the emergency happens.
Space to the Sides
Commercial vehicles are often wide and take up
most of a lane. Safe drivers will manage what little
space they have. You can do this by keeping your
vehicle centered in your lane, and avoid driving
alongside other vehicles.
Staying centered in a lane. Keep your vehicle
centered in the lane to keep safe clearance on
either side. If your vehicle is wide, you have little
room to spare.
- 39 -
Traveling next to others. There are two dangers
in traveling alongside other vehicles:
• Another driver may change lanes suddenly
and turn into you.
• You may be trapped when you need to change
lanes.
Find an open spot where you are not near other
traffic. When traffic is heavy, it may be hard to find
an open spot. If you must travel near other vehicles,
try to keep as much space as possible between you
and them. Also, drop back or pull forward so that
you are sure the other driver can see you.
Strong winds. Strong winds make it difficult to
stay in your lane. The problem is usually worse for
lighter vehicles. This problem can be especially
bad coming out of tunnels. Do not drive alongside
others if you can avoid it.
Space Overhead
Hitting overhead objects is a danger. Know the
overhead clearance of the vehicle you are driving.
• Do not assume that the heights posted at bridges
and overpasses are correct. Repaving or packed
snow may have reduced the clearances since
the heights were posted.
• The weight of a cargo van changes its height.
An empty van is higher than a loaded one.
Because you cleared a bridge when you were
loaded does not mean that you can do it when
you are empty.
• If you doubt you have safe space to pass under
an object, go slowly. If you are not sure you
can make it, do not try it. Take another route.
Warnings are often posted on low bridges or
underpasses, but sometimes they are not.
• Some roads can cause a vehicle to tilt. There
can be a problem clearing objects along the
edge of the road, such as signs or trees. Where
this is a problem, drive a little closer to the
center of the road.
• Before you back into an area, get out and check
for overhanging objects such as trees, branches,
electric wires. It is easy to miss seeing them
while you are backing. (Also check for other
hazards at the same time.)
- 40 -
Space Below
Many drivers forget about the space under their
vehicles. That space can be very small when a
vehicle is heavily loaded. Railroad tracks can
stick up several inches. This is often a problem on
dirt roads and in unpaved yards where the surface
around the tracks can wear away. Do not take a
chance on getting hung up. Drainage channels
across roads can cause some vehicles to drag.
Cross such depressions carefully.
Space for Turns
The space around a truck or bus is important when
turning. Because of wide turning and offtracking,
large vehicles can hit other vehicles or objects
during turns.
Right turns. Here are some rules to help prevent
right turn collisions:
• Turn slowly to give
yourself and others
more time to avoid
problems.
• If you are driving a truck
or bus that cannot make
a right turn without
swinging into another
lane, turn wide as you
complete the turn as
Figure 2-8
shown in Figure 2-8.
Keep the rear of your vehicle close to the curb.
This will stop other drivers from passing you
on the right.
• Do not turn wide to the left as you start the turn.
A following driver may think you are turning
left and try to pass you on the right. You may
hit the other vehicle as you complete your turn.
• If you must cross into the oncoming lane to
make a turn, look for vehicles coming toward
you. Give them room to go by or to stop.
However, do not back up for them, because
you might hit someone behind you.
Left turns. Make sure you have reached the center
of the intersection before you start a left turn. If
you turn too soon, the left side of your vehicle may
hit another vehicle because of offtracking. If you
are turning into a multilane
street, enter any lane that is
safe and available to you.
field during that time. Do not look directly at bright
lights when driving. Look at the right-hand edge
of the road or your traffic lane.
If there are two turning lanes,
you should use the righthand turn lane as shown
in Figure 2-9, because you
may have to swing right to
make the turn. Drivers on
your right may be hard for
you to see.
Fatigue and lack of alertness. Fatigue and lack
of alertness are bigger problems at night. The
body naturally wants to sleep. Most drivers are
less alert at night, especially after midnight. This
is particularly true if you have been driving for a
long time. Drivers may not see hazards as soon
or react as quickly, so the chance of a collision is
greater. If you are sleepy, the only safe cure is to
get off the road and get some sleep. If you don’t,
you risk your life and the lives of others.
Figure 2-9
Space to Cross or Enter Traffic
Be aware of the size and weight of your vehicle
when you cross or enter traffic. Here are some
important things to keep in mind:
• Because of slow acceleration and the space
large vehicles require, you need a much larger
gap to enter traffic than you would in a smaller
vehicle.
• Acceleration varies with the load. Allow more
room if your vehicle is heavily loaded.
• Before you start across a road, make sure you
can get all the way across before cross traffic
reaches you. It is against the law to enter an
intersection if you cannot get completely across
before the light changes.
Driving at Night
More than half of all traffic collisions happen at
night. Drivers cannot see hazards as soon as in
daylight, so they have less time to respond. Drivers
caught by surprise are less able to avoid a collision.
The problems of night driving involve the driver,
the roadway, and the vehicle.
Human Factors
Vision. People cannot see as well at night or in
dim light. Also, the eyes need time to adjust to
seeing in dim light.
Roadway Factors
Poor lighting. In the daytime, there is usually
enough light to see well. This is not true at night.
Some areas may have bright street lights, but many
areas will have poor lighting. On most roads you
will probably have to depend entirely on your
headlights.
Less light means you will not be able to see hazards
as well as in daytime. Road users who do not have
lights are hard to see. There are many collisions
at night involving pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists,
or animals that are hard to see.
Even when there are lights, the road scene can
be confusing. Traffic signals and hazards can be
hard to see against a background of signs, shop
windows, and other lights.
When lighting is poor or confusing, drive slowly.
Be sure you can stop within your sight distance.
Drivers under the influence. Drivers under the
influence of alcohol and/or drugs are a hazard to
themselves and to you. Be especially alert around
the closing time of bars and taverns. Watch for
drivers who have trouble staying in their lane, or
maintaining speed, stop without reason, or show
other signs of driving under the influence of alcohol
and/or drugs.
Glare. Drivers can be blinded for a short time by
bright light. It can take several seconds to recover
from glare. Even two seconds of glare blindness
can be dangerous. A vehicle going 55 mph will
travel more than half the distance of a football
- 41 -
Vehicle Factors
Headlights. At night your headlights will usually be
the main source of light for you and for others to see
you. You cannot see as much with your headlights
as you can see in the daytime. With low beams,
you can see ahead about 250 feet and with high
beams about 300–500 feet. You must adjust your
speed to keep your stopping distance within your
sight distance. This means going slowly enough to
be able to stop within the range of your headlights.
Otherwise, by the time you see a hazard, you will
not have time to stop.
Night driving can be more dangerous if you have
problems with your headlights. Dirty headlights
may give only half the light they should. This
reduces your ability to see, and makes it harder
for others to see you. Make sure your lights are
clean and working, and in adjustment. If out of
adjustment, they do not give you a good view and
they can blind other drivers.
You must turn on your headlights:
• from a half hour after sunset to a half hour
before sunrise, or
• if snow, rain, fog, or other hazardous weather
condition require the use of windshield wipers,
or
• when visibility is not sufficient to clearly see
a person or a vehicle for a distance of 1,000
feet (CVC §§280 and 24400).
No vehicle may be driven with only parking lights
on. However, they may be used as signals or when
the headlamps are also lighted (CVC §24800).
Other lights. In order for you to be seen easily,
the following must be clean and working properly
(CVC §25100):
• Reflectors.
• Marker and clearance lights.
• Taillights.
• Identification lights.
Turn signals and brake lights. At night your turn
signals and brake lights are even more important
for telling other drivers what you intend to do.
Make sure you have clean, working turn signals
and stop lights.
- 42 -
Windshields and mirrors. It is more important at
night than in the daytime to have clean windshields
and mirrors. Dirt on your windshield or mirrors can
cause bright lights at night to create a glare of its
own, blocking your view. Clean your windshield
on the inside and outside for safe driving.
Night Driving Procedures
Make sure you are rested and alert. If you are
drowsy, sleep before you drive. Even a nap can
save your life or the lives of others. If you wear eye
glasses, make sure they are clean and unscratched.
Don’t wear sun glasses at night. Do a complete
pre-trip inspection of your vehicle. Pay attention
to checking all lights and reflectors and cleaning
those you can reach.
Avoid blinding others. Glare from your headlights
can cause problems for drivers coming toward you
as well as drivers going in your direction. Dim your
lights within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle and
when following another vehicle within 300 feet.
Avoid glare from oncoming vehicles. Do not
look directly at lights of oncoming vehicles. Look
slightly to the right at a right lane or edge marking,
if available. If other drivers don’t put their low
beams on, don’t try to “get back at them” by putting
your own high beams on. This increases glare for
oncoming drivers and increases the chance of a
collision.
Use high beams when you can. Many drivers
make the mistake of always using low beams. This
cuts down on your ability to see ahead. Use high
beams when it is safe and legal to do so. Use them
unless you are within 500 feet of an approaching
vehicle or are following another vehicle within 300
feet. Also, don’t let the inside of your cab get too
bright. This makes it harder to see outside. Keep
the interior light off and adjust your instrument
lights as low as you can and still be able to read
the gauges.
If you get sleepy, stop driving. People often do
not realize how close they are to falling asleep. If
you look or feel sleepy, stop driving! You are in
a very dangerous condition. The only safe cure
is to sleep.
Driving in Fog
The best advice for driving in fog is “Don’t.” It is
better to pull off the road into a rest area or truck
stop, if available, until visibility is better. If you
must drive, be sure to consider the following:
• Assume the fog will become thicker after you
enter it.
• Obey all fog-related warning signs.
• Slow before you enter fog.
• Turn on all your lights. (Headlights should be
on low beams.)
• Be prepared for emergency stops.
Driving in Winter
Make sure your vehicle is ready for driving in
winter weather. During the pre-trip inspection, pay
extra attention to the following items.
Vehicle Checks
Coolant level and antifreeze. Make sure the cooling system is full and there is enough antifreeze in
the system to protect against freezing. This can be
checked with a special coolant tester.
Defrosting and heating equipment. Check to
see if the defrosters and heaters work. They are
needed for safe driving. Make sure you know
how to operate them. If you use other heaters and
expect to need them (mirror heaters, battery box
heaters, fuel tank heaters), check their operation.
Wipers and washers. The windshield wiper blades
must be in good condition. Make sure the wiper
blades press against the window hard enough to
wipe the windshield clean of snow. Make sure the
windshield washer works and the washer reservoir
is full. Use windshield washer antifreeze to prevent
freezing of the washer liquid. If you can’t see well
enough while driving (i.e., your wipers fail), stop
safely and fix the problem.
Tires. Check the tread on your tires. The drive
tires must provide traction to push the rig over wet
pavement and through snow. The steering tires must
have traction to steer the vehicle. Enough tread is
especially important in winter conditions. You must
have at least 4/32 inch tread depth in every major
groove on the front tires and at least 2/32 inch on
other tires. More would be better. Use a gauge to
determine if you have enough tread for safe driving.
Tire chains. You may find yourself in conditions
where you can’t drive without chains, even to get
to a place of safety. Carry the correct number of
chains and extra cross links. Make sure they will
fit your drive tires. Check the chains for broken
hooks, worn or broken cross links, and bent or
broken side chains. Learn how to put the chains
on before you need to do it in snow or ice.
Lights and reflectors. Make sure the lights and
reflectors are clean. Lights and reflectors are
especially important during bad weather. Check
from time to time during bad weather to make sure
they are clean and working.
Windows and mirrors. Remove any ice, snow,
etc. from the windshield, windows, and mirrors
before starting. Use a windshield scraper, snow
brush, and windshield defroster as necessary.
Handholds, steps, and deck plates. Remove all
ice and snow from hand holds, steps, and deck
plates which you must use to enter the cab or
to move about the vehicle. This will reduce the
danger of slipping.
Radiator shutters and winterfront. Remove
ice from the radiator shutters. Make sure the
winterfront is not closed too tightly. If the shutters
freeze shut or the winterfront is closed too much,
the engine may overheat and stop.
Exhaust system. Exhaust system leaks are
especially dangerous when cab ventilation is poor
(windows rolled up, etc.). Loose connections can
permit poisonous carbon monoxide to leak into
your cab which will make you sleepy. In large
amounts, it can kill you. Check the exhaust system
for loose parts and for sounds and signs of leaks.
Driving on Slippery Surfaces
Slippery surfaces. Drive slowly and smoothly on
slippery roads. If it is very slippery, you shouldn’t
drive at all. Stop at the first safe place. The following
are some safety guidelines:
• Start gently and slowly. When first starting,
get the feel of the road. Do not hurry.
- 43 -
• Adjust turning and braking to conditions.
Make turns as carefully as possible. Do not
brake any harder than necessary and do not use
the engine brake or speed retarder. (They can
cause the driving wheels to skid on slippery
surfaces.)
• Adjust speed to conditions. Do not pass
slower vehicles unless necessary. Go slowly
and watch far enough ahead to keep a steady
speed. Avoid having to slow down and speed
up. Take curves at slower speeds and do not
brake while in curves. Be aware that as the
temperature rises to the point where ice begins
to melt, the road becomes even more slippery
and you must slow down even more.
• Adjust space to conditions. Do not drive
alongside other vehicles. Keep a greater following distance. When you see a traffic jam
ahead, slow down or stop and wait for it to
clear. Try to anticipate stops early and slow
down gradually.
Wet brakes. When driving in heavy rain or deep
standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water on
the brakes can cause the brakes to be weak, apply
unevenly, or grab. This can cause lack of braking
power, wheel lockups, pulling to one side or the
other, and a jackknife if you pull a trailer.
Avoid driving through deep puddles or flowing
water, if possible. If you cannot, you should:
• Slow down.
• Place transmission in a low gear.
• Gently put on the brakes. This presses linings
against brake drums or discs and keeps mud,
silt, and water from getting in.
• Increase engine rpm and cross the water while
keeping light pressure on the brakes.
• When out of the water, maintain light pressure
on the brakes for a short distance to heat them
up and dry them out.
CAUTION: Brake drums and linings can
overheat if you do this for too long.
• Make a test stop when safe to do so. Check
your mirrors to be sure no one is following, then
apply the brakes to be sure they are working.
If not, dry out further as described above.
- 44 -
Driving in Very Hot Weather
During the pre-trip inspection, pay special attention
to the following items:
Vehicle Checks
Tires. Check the tire mounting and air pressure.
Inspect the tires for overheating and tread separation every two hours or 100 miles when driving
in very hot weather. Air pressure increases with
temperature. Do not let air out or the pressure will
be too low when the tires cool off. If a tire is too
hot to touch, remain stopped until the tire cools
off. Otherwise, the tire may blow out or catch fire.
Pay special attention to recapped or retreaded tires.
Under high temperatures, the tread may separate
from the body of the tire.
Engine oil. The engine oil helps keep the engine
cool, as well as lubricating it. Make sure there is
enough engine oil. If you have an oil temperature
gauge, make sure the temperature is within the
proper range while you are driving.
Engine coolant. Before starting out, be sure the
engine cooling system has enough water and
antifreeze according to the engine manufacturer’s
directions. Antifreeze helps the engine under hot
conditions, as well as cold conditions. When driving in hot weather, check the water temperature
or coolant temperature gauge more frequently.
Make sure it remains in the normal range. If the
gauge goes above the highest safe temperature,
there may be something wrong that could lead to
engine failure and possibly fire. Stop driving as
soon as safely possible.
Some vehicles have sight glasses, see-through
coolant overflow containers, or coolant recovery
containers which permit checking coolant level
while the engine is hot. If the container is not part
of the pressurized system, the cap can be safely
removed and coolant added even when the engine
is at operating temperature. Never remove the
radiator cap or any part of the pressurized
system until the system has cooled. Steam and
boiling water can spray under pressure and cause
severe burns.
If coolant has to be added to a system without a
recovery tank or overflow tank, follow these steps:
• Shut engine off.
• Wait until engine has cooled.
• Protect hands (use gloves or a thick cloth).
• Turn radiator cap slowly to the first stop, which
releases the pressure seal.
• Step back while pressure is released from
cooling system.
• When all pressure has been released, press
down on the cap and turn it further to remove it.
• Visually check level of coolant.
• Replace cap and turn all the way to the closed
position.
You must go slowly enough so your brakes can
hold you back without getting too hot. If the brakes
become too hot, they may start to “fade.” This
means you have to apply them harder and harder
to get the same stopping power. If you continue
to use the brakes hard, they can keep fading (have
less stopping power) until you cannot slow down
or stop at all.
Engine belts. Learn how to check V-belt tightness
on your vehicle by pressing on the belts. Loose belts
will not turn the water pump and/or fan properly.
This will result in overheating. Also check belts
for cracking or other signs of wear.
If a speed limit is posted, or there is a sign indicating maximum safe speed, never exceed the speed
shown. Also, look for and heed warning signs
indicating the length and steepness of the grade.
Hoses. Be sure the coolant hoses are in good
condition because a broken hose can lead to engine
failure and even fire.
Watch for bleeding tar. Tar in road surfacing
frequently rises to the surface in very hot weather.
Spots where tar “bleeds” to the surface are very
slippery.
Go slow to prevent overheating. High speeds
create more heat for tires and engine. In desert
conditions, the heat may build up to the point where
it is dangerous. The heat will increase chances of
tire failure, tire fire, and engine failure.
Mountain Driving
In mountain driving, the force of gravity plays
a major role. The steeper the grade, the longer
the grade, and/or the heavier the load, the more
you will have to use lower gears to climb hills
or mountains. In going down steep hills, gravity
will tend to speed you up. You must select an
appropriate safe speed, then use a low gear and
proper braking techniques. You should plan ahead
and obtain information about any long steep grades
along your planned route of travel. If possible, talk
to other drivers who are familiar with the grades
to find out what speeds are safe.
Select a “Safe” Speed
Your most important consideration is to select a
speed that is not too fast for the:
• Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
• Length and steepness of the grade.
• Road conditions and weather.
Going Downhill in the Correct Gear
Use the braking effect of the engine as the principal
way of controlling your speed. The braking effect of
the engine is greatest when it is near the governed
rpms and the transmission is in the lower gears.
Save your brakes so you will be able to slow or
stop as required by road and traffic conditions.
Slow the vehicle and shift the transmission to a low
gear before starting down the grade. Do not try to
downshift after your speed has already built up.
You will not be able to shift into a lower gear. You
may not even be able to get back into any gear and
all engine braking effect will be lost. Forcing an
automatic transmission into a lower gear at high
speed could damage the transmission also and lead
to loss of all engine braking effect.
With older trucks, a rule for choosing gears is to
use the same gear going down a hill that you would
need to climb the hill. However, new trucks have
low friction parts and streamlined shapes for fuel
economy. They may also have more powerful
engines. This means they can go up hills in higher
gears and have less friction and air drag to hold them
back going down hills. For that reason, drivers of
newer trucks may have to use lower gears going
down a hill than needed to go up the hill. Find out
what is right for your vehicle.
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Brake Fade or Failure
When going downhill, brakes will always heat
up. They are designed so brake shoes or pads rub
against the brake drum or discs to slow the vehicle,
which creates heat. Brakes are designed to take a lot
of heat. However, brakes can fail from excessive
heat if you try to slow down from a high speed too
many times or too quickly. Brakes will fade when
they get very hot and may not slow the vehicle.
Brakes also can fade because they are out of adjustment. To safely control a vehicle, every brake must
do its share of the work. If some brakes are out
of adjustment, they will not be doing their share.
The other brakes can overheat and fade and there
will not be enough braking available to control
the vehicle(s). Brakes can get out of adjustment
quickly, especially when they are used a lot; also,
brake linings wear faster when they are hot. Check
brake adjustment frequently.
Proper Braking Technique
Remember: The use of brakes on a long and/
or steep downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. Once the vehicle is
in the proper low gear, the following is a proper
braking technique:
• Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a
definite slowdown.
• When your speed has been reduced to approximately 5 mph below your “safe” speed,
release the brakes. (This brake application
should last for about three seconds.)
• When your speed has increased to your “safe”
speed, repeat the steps above.
For example, if your “safe” speed is 40 mph, you
would not apply the brakes until your speed reaches
40 mph. You now apply the brakes hard enough to
gradually reduce your speed to 35 mph and then
release the brakes. Repeat this as often as necessary
until you have reached the end of the downgrade.
Escape Ramps
Escape ramps have been built on many steep mountain grades, and are used to stop runaway vehicles
safely without injuring drivers and passengers.
Escape ramps use a long bed of loose, soft material
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(pea gravel or sand) to slow a runaway vehicle,
sometimes in combination with an upgrade.
Know escape ramp locations on your route. Signs
show drivers where ramps are located. Escape
ramps save lives, equipment, and cargo. (Also
see page 53.)
Railroad Crossings
Railroad crossings are always dangerous. You
must approach every railroad crossing expecting
to see a train coming.
The round, black-on-yellow warning sign is placed
ahead of a public railroad-highway crossing. The
advanced warning sign tells you to slow down,
look and listen for the train, and be prepared to
stop before the tracks if a train is coming.
Never attempt to race a train to a crossing. It is
extremely difficult to judge the speed of an approaching train.
Your speed should be based on your ability to see
whether a train is approaching from any direction.
You should be driving slowly enough so you can
stop short of the tracks in case of an emergency.
Because of noise in the cab, you cannot expect to
hear the train horn until the train is dangerously
close to the crossing.
Do not rely solely upon the presence of warning
signals, gates, or flagmen to warn of approaching
trains.
Double tracks require a double check. Remember
that a train on one track may hide a train on the
other track. Look both ways before crossing. After
one train has cleared a crossing, be sure no other
trains are near before starting across the tracks.
Train yard areas and grade crossings in cities and
towns are just as dangerous as rural grade crossings.
Approach them with care.
A full stop is required at grade crossings whenever:
• The nature of the cargo makes a stop mandatory
under state or federal regulations.
• Such a stop is otherwise required by law.
Railroad crossings with steep approaches can cause
your unit to hang up on the tracks. Never permit
traffic conditions to trap you in a position where
you have to stop on the tracks. Be sure you can
get all the way across the tracks before you start
across. It takes a typical tractor-trailer unit at least
14 seconds to clear a single track and more than
15 seconds to clear a double track.
If your vehicle gets stuck on a raised railroad
crossing, you should immediately get out of the
vehicle and move away from the tracks.
Do not shift gears while crossing railroad tracks.
Seeing Hazards
What is a hazard? A hazard is any road condition,
road obstacle, or other road user (driver, motorcyclist, bicyclist, or pedestrian) that is a possible
danger. For example, a vehicle in front of you is
headed toward the freeway exit, but the brake
lights come on and the driver begins braking hard.
This could mean that the driver is uncertain about
taking the offramp and might suddenly return to
the highway. This vehicle is a hazard. If the driver
of the vehicle cuts in front of you, it is no longer
just a hazard, it is an emergency.
Seeing hazards lets you be prepared. You will
have more time to react if you see hazards before
they become emergencies. In the example above,
you might make a lane change or slow down if the
vehicle suddenly cuts in front of you. Seeing this
hazard gives you time to check your mirrors and
signal for a lane change. Being prepared reduces
the danger. Sudden braking or a quick lane change
is much more likely to lead to a collision.
Learning to see hazards. There are often clues
that will help you see hazards. The more you drive,
the better you can get at seeing hazards.
Slow down and be very careful if you see any of
the following road hazards:
• Work zones. Road work can create hazardous
conditions with narrower lanes, sharp turns,
or uneven surfaces. Other drivers are often
distracted and drive unsafely. Workers and
construction vehicles may get in the way.
Drive slowly and carefully near work zones.
Use your 4-way flashers or brake lights to
warn drivers behind you.
• Drop-offs. Sometimes the pavement drops
off sharply near the edge of the road. Driving
too near the edge can tilt your vehicle toward
the side of the road. This can cause the top
of your vehicle to hit roadside objects (signs,
tree limbs). Also, it can be hard to steer as you
cross the drop-off, either going off the road or
coming back on.
• Foreign objects. Things that have fallen on the
road can be a danger to your tires and wheel
rims and can damage electrical and brake lines.
They can be caught between dual tires and
cause severe damage. Some obstacles such as
boxes and sacks, may appear harmless but can
cause major damage if hit by the vehicle. It is
important to remain alert so you can avoid these
objects without any sudden moves or stops.
• Offramps/onramps. Freeway and turnpike
exits can be particularly dangerous for commercial vehicles. Offramps and onramps often
have speed limit signs posted. Remember, these
speeds may be safe for smaller vehicles, but
may not be safe for larger vehicles or heavily
loaded vehicles. Exits which go downhill
and turn at the same time can be especially
dangerous. The downgrade makes it difficult to
reduce speed. Braking and turning at the same
time can be a dangerous practice. Be sure to
slow down before you enter the curved part
of an offramp or onramp.
Hazardous Situations
In order to protect yourself and others, you must
recognize other drivers who may do something
hazardous. Here are some clues:
Blocked vision. People who cannot see others
are dangerous. Be alert for drivers whose vision
is blocked. Vans, loaded station wagons, and cars
with the rear windows blocked are examples.
Rental trucks should be watched carefully. Their
drivers are often not used to the limited vision they
have to the sides and rear of the truck. In winter,
vehicles with frosted, ice-covered, or snow-covered
windows are hazards.
Vehicles may be partly hidden by blind intersections
or alleys. If you can see only the rear or front end
of a vehicle but not the driver, then he or she cannot
- 47 -
see you. Be alert, because the driver may back out
or enter into your lane. Always be prepared to stop.
Delivery truck drivers’ vision is often blocked by
packages or vehicle doors. Drivers of step vans,
postal vehicles, and local delivery vehicles often
are in a hurry and may suddenly step out of, or
drive their vehicle into, the traffic lane.
Watch for movement inside parked vehicles or
movement of the vehicle itself that shows people
are inside. They may get out, or the vehicle may
pull out into the traffic. Watch for brake lights,
backup lights, exhaust, and other clues that a
vehicle is about to move.
Be careful when approaching a stopped bus. Passengers may cross in front of or behind the bus
and they often cannot see you.
Walkers, joggers, and bicyclists may be on the
road with their back to the traffic, so they cannot
see or hear you. This can be dangerous. On rainy
days, pedestrians may not see you because of hats
or umbrellas.
Distractions. Watch where drivers are looking. If
they are looking elsewhere, they can’t see you. Be
alert even when they are looking at you since they
may believe they have the right-of-way.
Children. Children tend to move quickly without
checking traffic. When playing with one another
on the street, they may not look for traffic.
Talkers. Drivers or pedestrians talking to one
another may not be paying close attention to the
traffic.
Workers. People working on or near the roadway
are a hazard clue. The work creates a distraction
for other drivers and the workers themselves may
not see you.
Ice cream truck. Someone selling ice cream is
a hazard clue. Children may be nearby and may
not see you.
Disabled vehicle. Drivers changing a tire or fixing
an engine often do not pay attention to the dangers
of roadway traffic. Jacked up wheels or raised
hoods are hazard clues.
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Collisions. People involved in the collision may not
look for traffic. Passing drivers tend to look at the
collision. People often run across the road without
looking. Vehicles may slow or stop suddenly.
Shoppers. People in and around shopping areas
are often not watching traffic because they are
looking for stores or window shopping.
Confused drivers. Drivers that are confused may
change direction suddenly or stop without warning,
often near freeways, toll roads, or interchanges
and major intersections. Unexpected actions (e.g.,
stopping in the middle of a block, changing lanes for
no apparent reason, backup lights suddenly going
on) are clues to confusion. Hesitation is another
clue, including driving very slowly, using brakes
often, or stopping in the middle of an intersection.
You may also see drivers who are looking at street
signs, maps, and house numbers. These drivers
may not be paying attention to you.
Slow drivers. Motorists who fail to maintain
normal speed are hazards. Seeing slow moving
vehicles (e.g., mopeds, farm machinery, construction machinery, tractors,
etc.) early can prevent a collision.
Some vehicles by their nature are
slow and seeing them is a hazard clue. Some of
these will have the “slow moving vehicle” symbol
to warn you. This is a red triangle with an orange
center. A vehicle displaying this sign may not be
operated faster than 25 mph.
Drivers signaling a turn may slow more than
expected or even stop. If making a tight turn into an
alley or driveway, the driver may go very slowly. If
blocked by pedestrians or other vehicles, the driver
may have to stop on the roadway. Vehicles turning
left may have to stop for oncoming vehicles.
Drivers in a hurry. Drivers may feel your commercial vehicle is preventing them from getting
where they want to go on time. Such drivers may
pass you without a safe gap in the oncoming traffic,
cutting too close in front of you. Drivers entering
the road may pull in front of you in order to avoid
being stuck behind you, causing you to brake.
Impaired drivers. Drivers who are sleepy, have
had too much to drink, are on drugs, or who are
ill are hazards. Some clues to these drivers are:
• Weaving across the road or drifting from one
side to another.
• Leaving the road (dropping right wheels onto
the shoulder or bumping across a curb in a turn).
• Stopping at the wrong time (stopping at a green
light or waiting too long at a stop).
• An open window in cold weather.
• Speeding up or slowing down suddenly.
• Be alert for impaired drivers late at night.
Driver body movement as a clue. Drivers look
in the direction they are going to turn. You may
sometimes get a clue from a driver’s head and body
movements that a driver may be going to make a
turn even though the turn signals are not on. Drivers
making over-the-shoulder checks may be going to
change lanes. These clues are most easily seen in
motorcyclists and bicyclists.
Conflicts. You are in conflict when you have to
change speed and/or direction to avoid hitting
someone. Conflicts occur at intersections where
vehicles meet, at merges (such as freeway onramps), and where lane changes are needed. Other
situations include slow moving or stalled traffic and
collision scenes. Watch for other drivers who are
in conflict because they are a hazard to you. When
they react to this conflict, they may do something
that will put them in conflict with you.
Distracted Driving
Whenever you are driving a vehicle and your attention is not on the road, you are putting yourself,
your passengers, other vehicles, and pedestrians
in danger. Distracted driving can result when
you perform any activity that may shift your
full attention from the driving task. Taking your
eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel
presents obvious driving risks. Mental activities
that take your mind away from driving are just as
dangerous. Your eyes can gaze at objects in the
driving scene, but fail to see them because your
attention is distracted elsewhere.
Activities that can distract your attention include:
talking to passengers; adjusting the radio, CD
player, or climate control; eating, drinking, or
smoking; reading maps or other literature; picking
up something that fell; reading billboards and other
road advertisements; watching other people and
vehicles, including aggressive drivers; talking
on the cell phone or CB radio; using telematic
devices (such as navigation systems, pagers, etc.);
daydreaming or being occupied with other mental
distractions.
Don’t Drive Distracted
If drivers react a half-second slower because of
distractions, crashes double. Some tips to follow
so you won’t become distracted:
• Review and be totally familiar with all safety
and usage features on any in-vehicle electronics, including your cell phone, before you drive.
• Pre-program radio stations.
• Pre-load your CD’s.
• Clear the vehicle of any unnecessary objects.
• Review maps and plan your route before you
begin to drive.
• Adjust all mirrors for the best all-around visibility before you start your trip.
• Don’t attempt to read or write while you drive.
• Avoid smoking, eating, and drinking while
you drive.
• Don’t engage in complex or emotionally intense
conversations with other occupants.
Use In-Vehicle Communication Equipment
Cautiously
When possible, pull off the road in a safe, legal place
when making/receiving a call on communication
equipment.
• If possible, turn the cell phone off until your
destination is reached.
• Position the cell phone within easy reach.
• Pre-program cell phones with commonly called
numbers.
If you have to place a call, find a safe place to pull
off the road. Do not place a call while driving.
- 49 -
In California, you are required to use a hands-free
device while driving. Even these devices are unsafe
to use when you are driving down the road.
If you must use your cell phone, keep conversations
short. Develop ways to get free of long-winded
friends and associates while on the road. Never
use the cell phone for social visiting while driving.
• Hang up your cell phone in tricky traffic
situations.
• Do not use the vehicle’s equipment when
approaching locations with heavy traffic, road
construction, heavy pedestrian traffic, or severe
weather conditions.
• Do not attempt to type or read messages on
your satellite system while driving.
Watch out for Other Distracted Drivers
You need to be able to recognize other drivers who
are engaged in any form of driving distraction. Not
recognizing other distracted drivers can prevent
you from perceiving or reacting correctly in time
to prevent a collision. Watch for:
• Vehicles that may drift over the lane divider
lines or within their own lane.
• Vehicles traveling at inconsistent speeds.
• Drivers who are preoccupied with maps, food,
cigarettes, cell phones, or other objects.
• Drivers who appear to be involved in conversations with their passengers.
Give a distracted driver plenty of room and maintain
your safe following distance. Be very careful when
passing a driver who seems to be distracted. The
other driver may not be aware of your presence,
and they may drift in front of you.
Aggressive Drivers and Road Rage
What is it?
Aggressive driving and road rage is not a new
problem. However, in today’s world, where heavy
and slow-moving traffic and tight schedules are the
norm, more and more drivers are taking out their
anger and frustration in their vehicles.
Crowded roads leave little room for error, leading to suspicion and hostility among drivers and
encouraging them to take personally the mistakes
- 50 -
of other drivers. One sign of an aggressive driver
is a driver changing lanes frequently and abruptly
without notice. Aggressive driving is the act of
operating a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold, or
pushy manner, without regard for the rights or
safety of others.
Road rage is operating a motor vehicle with the
intent of doing harm to others or physically assaulting a driver or their vehicle.
Don’t be an Aggressive Driver
• How you feel before you even start your vehicle
has a lot to do with how stress will affect you
while driving.
• Give the drive your full attention. Don’t allow
yourself to become distracted by talking on
your cell phone, eating, etc.
• Be realistic about your travel time. Expect
delays because of traffic, construction, or bad
weather and make allowances.
• If you’re going to be later than expected, take
a deep breath and accept the delay.
• Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt.
Try to imagine why he or she is driving that
way. Whatever their reason, it has nothing to
do with you.
• Slow down and keep your following distance
reasonable.
• Don’t drive slowly in the left lane of traffic.
• Avoid gestures. Keep your hands on the wheel.
Avoid making any gestures that might anger
another driver, even seemingly harmless
expressions of irritation like shaking your head.
• Be a cautious and courteous driver. If another
driver seems eager to get in front of you, let
them. This response will soon become a habit
and you won’t be as offended by other drivers’
actions.
What You Should do When Confronted by
an Aggressive Driver
• First and foremost, make every attempt to get
out of their way.
• Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to
hold-your-own in your travel lane.
• Avoid eye contact.
• Ignore gestures and refuse to react to them.
• Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate
authorities by providing a vehicle description,
license number, location and, if possible,
direction of travel.
• If you have a cell phone, and can use it safely,
call the police.
• If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash
farther down the road, stop a safe distance
from the crash scene, wait for the police to
arrive, and report the driving behavior that
you witnessed.
Be Prepared for Hazards
You should always be looking for hazards–they
may turn into emergencies. Look for hazards and
plan a way out of any emergency. When you see
a hazard, think about the emergencies that could
develop and figure out what you would do. Always
be prepared to take action based on your plans. In
this way, you will be a prepared, defensive driver
who will improve not only your own safety but
the safety of all road users.
Emergencies
Traffic emergencies occur when two vehicles are
about to collide. Vehicle emergencies occur when
tires, brakes, or other critical parts fail. Following
the safety practices in this handbook can help
prevent emergencies. But if an emergency does
happen, your chances of avoiding a collision
depend upon what action you take. Actions you
can take are discussed below.
Steering to Avoid a Collision
Stopping is not always the safest thing to do in an
emergency. When you do not have enough room
to stop, you may have to steer away from what is
ahead. Remember, you can almost always turn to
miss an obstacle more quickly than you can stop.
However, top-heavy vehicles and tractors with
multiple trailers may flip over.
Keep both hands on the steering wheel. In order
to turn quickly, you must grip the steering wheel
firmly with both hands. Make a habit of having
both hands on the wheel at all times. Then, if there
is an emergency, you will be prepared.
How to turn quickly and safely. A quick turn can
be made safely, if it is done the right way. Here
are some points that safe drivers use:
• Do not apply the brakes while you are turning. It is very easy to lock your wheels while
turning. If that happens, you will be skidding
out of control before you know it.
• Do not turn any more than needed to clear
whatever is in your way. The more sharply
you turn, the greater the chances of a skid or
rollover.
• Be prepared to “countersteer” (turn the wheel
back in the other direction), once you have
passed whatever was in your path. Unless you
are prepared to countersteer, you will not be
able to do it quickly enough. You should think
of emergency steering and countersteering as
two parts of one driving action.
Where to steer. If an oncoming driver has drifted
into your lane, a move to your right is best. If that
driver realizes what has happened, the natural
response will be to return to his or her own lane.
If something is blocking your path, the best
thing to do will depend on the situation:
• If you have been using your mirrors, you will
know which lane is empty and can be safely
used.
• If the shoulder is clear, steering to the right
may be best. No one is likely to be driving on
the shoulder but someone may be passing you
on the left. You will know if you have been
using your mirrors.
• If you are blocked on both sides, a move to the
right may be best. At least you will not force
anyone into an opposing traffic lane and a
possible head-on collision. If a stopped vehicle
is in front of you, a lane change may be better
than running directly into it.
Leaving the road. In some emergencies, you may
have to drive off the road. It may be less risky than
facing a collision with another vehicle.
- 51 -
Most shoulders are strong enough to support the
weight of a large vehicle and, therefore, offer an
available escape route. Here are some guidelines
if you do leave the road:
• Avoid braking. If possible, avoid using the
brakes until your speed has dropped to about 20
mph. Then brake very gently to avoid skidding
on a loose surface.
• Keep one set of wheels on the pavement if
possible. This helps to maintain control.
• Stay on the shoulder. If the shoulder is clear,
stay on it until your vehicle has come to a stop.
Signal and check your mirrors before pulling
back onto the road.
Returning to the road. If you are forced to return
to the road before you can stop, use the following
procedure:
• Hold the wheel tightly and turn sharply enough
to get right back on the road safely. Don’t try
to edge gradually back onto the road. If you
do, your tires might grab unexpectedly and
you could lose control.
• When both front tires are on the paved surface,
countersteer immediately. The two turns should
be made as a single “steer-countersteer” move.
Stopping Quickly and Safely
If somebody suddenly pulls out in front of you,
your natural response is to hit the brakes. This is
a good response if you have enough distance to
stop and you use the brakes correctly.
You should brake in a way that will keep your
vehicle in a straight line and allow you to turn, if
it becomes necessary. You can use the “controlled
braking” method or the “stab braking” method.
Controlled braking. With this method, apply the
brakes as hard as you can without locking the wheels
and keep steering wheel movements very small.
If you need to make a larger steering adjustment
or if the wheels lock, release the brakes. Reapply
the brakes as soon as you can.
Stab braking. Can only be done in vehicles without
antilock brake systems (ABS). With this method,
you should apply your brakes all the way and release
the brakes when the wheels lock up. Then, as soon
- 52 -
as the wheels start rolling, apply the brakes fully
again. It can take up to one second for the wheels
to start rolling after you release the brakes. If you
reapply the brakes before the wheels start rolling,
the vehicle will not straighten out.
Do not slam on the brakes. Emergency braking
does not mean pushing down on the brake pedal
as hard as you can. That will only keep the wheels
locked up and cause a skid. If the wheels are skidding, you cannot control the vehicle. Emergency
braking means “responding to a hazard by slowing
the vehicle.”
Note: If you drive a vehicle with antilock brakes,
you should read and follow the directions found in
the owner’s manual for stopping quickly.
Brake Failure
Brakes kept in good condition rarely fail. Most
hydraulic brake failures occur for one of two
reasons: (Air brakes are discussed in Section 5.)
• Loss of hydraulic pressure.
• Brake fade on long hills.
Loss of hydraulic pressure. When the system
will not build up pressure, the brake pedal will feel
spongy or go to the floor. Here are some things
you can do:
• Downshift. Put the vehicle into a lower gear
to help to slow the vehicle.
• Pump the brakes. Sometimes pumping brakes
will generate enough hydraulic pressure to
stop the vehicle.
• Use the parking brake. The parking or
emergency brake is separate from the hydraulic
brake system and can be used to slow the
vehicle. However, be sure to press the release
button or pull the release lever at the same
time you use the emergency brake so you can
adjust the brake pressure and keep the wheels
from locking up.
• Find an escape route. While slowing the
vehicle, look for an escape route such as an
open field, side street, or escape ramp. Turning
uphill is a good way to slow and stop the vehicle.
Keep the vehicle from rolling backward after
you stop. Put it in low gear, apply the parking
brake, and, if necessary, roll back into some
obstacle that will stop the vehicle.
Brake failure on downgrades. Slow down and
brake properly to prevent brake failure on long
downgrades. Once the brakes have failed, however,
you are going to have to look outside your vehicle
for something to stop it.
Your best hope is an escape ramp. If there is one,
there will be signs telling you about it. Use it.
Ramps are usually located a few miles from the
top of the downgrade. Some escape ramps use
soft gravel that resists the motion of the vehicle
and brings it to a stop. Others turn uphill, using
the hill to stop the vehicle and soft gravel to hold
it in place.
Any driver who loses brakes going downhill should
use an escape ramp if it’s available. If you don’t
use it, your chances of having a serious collision
may be much greater.
If no escape ramp is availRUNAWAY
able, take the least hazardous
TRUCK RAMP
escape route you can such as
1 MILE
an open field, or a side road
that flattens out or turns uphill. Make the move as
soon as you know your brakes do not work. The
longer you wait, the faster the vehicle will be going
and the harder it will be to stop.
Tire Failure
There are four important things that safe drivers
do to safely handle a tire failure:
• Know that a tire has failed.
• Hold the steering wheel firmly.
• Stay off the brake.
• After stopping, check all the tires.
Recognize tire failure. Knowing quickly that you
have a tire failure gives you more time to react.
The major signs of tire failure are:
• Sound. The loud “bang” of a blowout is an
easily recognized sign. Because it can take a
few seconds for the vehicle to react, you might
think it was some other vehicle. Any time you
hear a tire blow, to be safe, assume it is yours.
• Vibration. If the vehicle thumps or vibrates
heavily, it may be a sign that one of the tires
has gone flat. With a rear tire, that may be the
only sign you get.
• Feel. If the steering feels “heavy,” it is probably
a sign that one of the front tires has failed.
Sometimes, failure of a rear tire will cause the
vehicle to slide back and forth or “fishtail.”
However, dual rear tires usually prevent this
feeling.
Any of these signs is a warning of possible tire
failure. You should do the following things:
• Hold the steering wheel firmly. If a front
tire fails, it can twist the steering wheel out of
your hands. The only way to prevent this is
to have a firm grip on the steering wheel with
both hands at all times.
• Stay off the brakes. It is natural to want to
brake in an emergency. However, do not slam on
the brakes. Hard braking when a tire has failed
could cause loss of control. Once you have
control of the vehicle, slow down and brake
very gently. Then pull off the road and stop.
• Check all the tires. After you have come to a
stop, check all the other tires. Do this even if
the vehicle seems to be handling all right. If
one of your dual tires goes, the only way you
may know it is by looking at it.
Antilock Braking System (ABS)
ABS is a computerized system that keeps your
wheels from locking up during hard brake applications. ABS is an addition to your normal brakes. It
does not decrease or increase your normal braking
capability. ABS only activates when wheels are
about to lock up.
ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle
under control during hard braking.
How ABS Works
• Sensors detect potential wheel lock up. An
electronic control unit (ECU) will then decrease
brake pressure to avoid wheel lockup.
• Brake pressure is adjusted to provide the
maximum braking without danger of lockup.
• ABS works far faster than the driver can
respond to potential wheel lockup. At all other
times the brake system will operate normally.
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Vehicles Required to Have ABS
The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires
that ABS be on:
• Truck tractors with air brakes built on or after
March 1, 1997.
• Other air brake vehicles, (trucks, buses, trailers,
and converter dollies) built on or after March
1, 1998.
• Hydraulically braked trucks and buses with a
gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds
or more built on or after March 1, 1999.
Many commercial vehicles built before these dates
have been voluntarily equipped with ABS.
How to Know if Your Vehicle is
Equipped with ABS
• Tractors, trucks, and buses will have yellow
ABS malfunction lamps on the instrument
panel.
• Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction
lamps on the left side, either on the front or
rear corner.
• Dollies manufactured on or after March 1, 1998,
are required to have a lamp on the left side.
• As a system check on newer vehicles, the
malfunction lamp comes on at start-up for a
bulb check, and then goes out quickly. On older
systems, the lamp could stay on until you are
driving over five mph.
• If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or
goes on once you are under way, you may have
lost ABS control.
• In the case of towed units manufactured before
it was required by the DOT, it may be difficult
to tell if the unit is equipped with ABS. Look
under the vehicle for the ECU and wheel
speed sensor wires coming from the back of
the brakes.
How ABS Helps You
When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in a
vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock up.
When your steering wheels lock up, you lose
steering control. When your other wheels lock up,
you may skid, jackknife, or even spin the vehicle.
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ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up and maintain
control. You may or may not be able to stop faster
with ABS, but you should be able to steer around
an obstacle while braking, and avoid skids caused
by over braking.
ABS on the Tractor or Trailer Only
Having ABS on only the tractor, only the trailer, or
even on only one axle, still gives you more control
over the vehicle during braking. Brake normally.
When only the tractor has ABS, you should be
able to maintain steering control, and there is less
chance of jackknifing. But keep your eye on the
trailer and let up on the brakes (if you can safely
do so) if it begins to swing out.
When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is less
likely to swing out, but if you lose steering control
or start a tractor jackknife, let up on the brakes
(if you can safely do so) until you regain control.
Braking with ABS
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should
brake as you always have. In other words:
• Use only the braking force necessary to stop
safely and stay in control.
• Brake the same way, regardless of whether you
have ABS on the bus, tractor, trailer, or both.
• As you slow down, monitor your tractor and
trailer and back off the brakes (if it is safe to
do so) to stay in control.
There is only one exception to this procedure with
ABS, it changes the way you brake in an emergency.
If you drive a straight truck or combination with
working ABS on all axles, in an emergency stop,
you can fully apply the brakes.
Braking if ABS is not Working
Without ABS you still have normal brake functions.
Drive and brake as you always have.
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps
to tell you if something isn’t working.
As a system check on newer vehicles, the malfunction lamp comes on at start-up for a bulb check and
then goes out quickly. On older systems, the lamp
could stay on until you are driving over five mph.
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes
on once you are under way, you may have lost
ABS control on one or more wheels.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
Safety Reminders
ABS won’t:
• Allow you to drive faster, follow more closely,
or drive less carefully.
• Prevent power or turning skids. ABS should
prevent brake-induced skids or jackknifes, but
not those caused by spinning the drive wheels
or going too fast in a turn.
• Shorten your stopping distance. ABS will help
maintain your vehicle control, but will not
always shorten your stopping distance.
• Increase or decrease the vehicles ultimate
stopping power. ABS is an “add-on” to your
normal brakes, not a replacement for them.
• Change the way you normally brake. Under
normal braking conditions, your vehicle will
stop as it always has. ABS only comes into play
when a wheel would normally have locked up
because of over braking.
• Compensate for bad brakes or poor brake
maintenance.
Remember:
• The best vehicle safety feature is still a safe
driver.
• Drive carefully, so you never need to use your
ABS.
• If you need it, ABS could help to prevent a
serious crash.
Skid Control/Recovery
A skid happens whenever the tires lose their grip
on the road. This can be caused by:
• Overbraking. Braking too hard and locking
up the wheels. Skids also can occur if you use
the speed retarder when the road is slippery.
• Oversteering. Turning the wheels more
sharply than the vehicle can turn.
• Overacceleration. Supplying too much power
to the drive wheels, causing them to spin.
• Driving too fast. Most serious skids result from
driving too fast for road conditions.
Drivers who adjust their driving to road conditions
do not overaccelerate and do not have to overbrake
or oversteer.
Rear or Drive Wheel Skids
By far the most common skid is one in which the
rear wheels lose traction through excessive braking or acceleration. Skids caused by acceleration
usually happen on ice or snow. They can be easily
stopped by taking your foot off the accelerator. (If
it is very slippery, push the clutch in. Otherwise,
the engine can keep the wheels from rolling freely
and regaining traction.)
Rear wheel braking skids occur when the rear drive
wheels lock. Locked wheels have less traction
than rolling wheels, so the rear wheels usually
slide sideways in an attempt to “catch up” with
Line of
the front wheels. In a bus or
Travel
straight truck, the vehicle
will slide sideways in a “spin Direction
out.” With vehicles towing of Slide
trailers, a drive wheel skid
can let the trailer push the
Tractor
towing vehicle sideways, Rear
Wheels LockUp
or
Spinning
causing a sudden jackknife.
(Figure 2-10)
Drive Wheel Skids
Figure 2-10
Stop braking. This will let the rear wheels roll
again and keep them from sliding any further. If on
ice, push in the clutch to let the wheels turn freely.
Turn quickly. When a vehicle begins to slide
sideways, quickly turn the wheel in the direction
you want the vehicle to go.
Countersteer. As a vehicle turns back on course,
it has a tendency to keep right on turning. Unless
you turn the steering wheel quickly the other way,
you may find yourself skidding in the opposite
direction.
Learning to stay off the brake, turning the steering wheel quickly, pushing in the clutch, and
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countersteering in a skid takes a lot of practice.
The only place to get this practice is on a large
driving range or “skid pad.”
Front Wheel Skids
Most front-wheel skids are caused by driving
too fast for conditions. Other causes are: lack of
tread on the front tires, and cargo loaded so that
not enough weight is on the front axle. In a frontwheel skid, the front end tends to go in a straight
line regardless of how much you turn the steering
wheel. On a very slippery surface, you may not be
able to steer around a curve or turn.
When a front-wheel skid occurs, the only way to
stop the skid is to let the vehicle slow down. Stop
turning and/or braking so hard. Stop the vehicle
as quickly as possible.
Collision Procedures
When you are in a collision and not seriously hurt,
you need to act to prevent further damage or injury.
The basic steps to be taken at any collision are:
• Protect the area.
• Notify the authorities.
• Care for the injured.
• Collect required information.
• Report the collision.
Protect the Area
The first thing to do at a collision scene is to keep
another one from happening at the same spot. To
protect the collision area:
• Try to get your vehicle to the side of the road,
if it is involved in the collision. This will help
prevent another collision and allow traffic to
move.
• Park away from the collision, if you are stopping to help. The area immediately around the
collision scene will be needed for emergency
vehicles.
• Turn on your 4-way flashers.
• Set out reflective triangles to warn other traffic.
Make sure they can be seen by other drivers in
time for them to avoid the collision.
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Notify Authorities
If you have a CB radio, put out a call over the
emergency channel before you leave your vehicle
or if you have a cellular phone, call 9-1-1. If you do
not have a CB or a cellular phone, wait until after
the collision scene has been properly protected, then
phone or send someone to phone for the police or
CHP. Try to determine where you are so you can
give the exact location.
Care for the Injured
If a qualified person is at the scene and helping the
injured, stay out of the way unless you are asked
to assist. Otherwise, do the best you can to help
any injured parties. Here are some simple steps to
follow in giving assistance:
• Do not move a severely injured person unless
the danger of fire or passing traffic makes it
necessary.
• Stop heavy bleeding by applying direct pressure
to the wound.
• Keep the injured person warm.
Gather Information
If you were involved in the collision, you will
have to file a collision report. Collect the following
information for the report:
• Names, addresses, and driver license numbers
of other drivers involved in the collision.
• License plate numbers and types of vehicles
involved in the collision.
• Names and addresses of the owners of other
vehicles (if different from the drivers).
• Description of the damages, to other vehicles
or to property.
• Name(s) and address(es) of anyone who was
injured or involved in the collision.
• Name, badge number, and agency of any peace
officer investigating the collision.
• Names and addresses of witnesses.
• Exact location of the collision.
• Direction of travel of the vehicles involved.
Fires
Vehicle fires can cause damage and injury. Learn
the causes of fires and how to prevent them. Know
what to do to extinguish fires.
Fire Causes
The following are some causes of vehicle fires:
• After collisions. Spilled fuel, improper use
of flares.
• Tires. Underinflated tires or duals that touch.
• Electrical system. Short circuits due to damaged insulation, loose connections.
• Fuel. Driver smoking, improper fueling, loose
fuel connections.
• Cargo. Flammable cargo which is improperly
sealed or loaded; poor ventilation.
Fire Prevention
Pay attention to the following:
• Pre-trip inspection. Make a complete inspection of the electrical, fuel and exhaust systems,
tires, and cargo. Be sure to check that the fire
extinguisher is charged.
• En route inspection. Check the tires, wheels,
and truck body for signs of heat whenever you
stop during a trip.
• Follow safe procedures. Follow correct safety
procedures for fueling the vehicle, using brakes,
handling flares, and other activities that can
cause a fire.
• Monitoring. Check the instruments and gauges
often for signs of overheating and use the
mirrors to look for signs of smoke from tires
or the vehicle.
• Caution. Use care in handling anything
flammable.
Fire Fighting
Knowing how to fight fires is important. Fires have
been made worse by drivers who did not know
what to do. Know how the fire extinguisher works.
Study the instructions printed on the extinguisher
before you need it. Here are some procedures to
follow in case of fire:
• Pull off the road.
— Park in an open area away from buildings,
trees, brush, other vehicles, or anything
that might catch fire.
— Do not pull into a service station!
— Notify emergency services of the problem
and your location.
• Keep the fire from spreading. Before you try
to put out the fire, make sure it doesn’t spread
any further.
— With an engine fire, turn off the engine as
soon as you can. Do not open the hood if
you can avoid it. Aim extinguishers through
louvers, radiator, or underside of the vehicle.
— With a cargo fire in a van or box trailer,
keep the doors shut, especially if your cargo
contains hazardous materials. Opening the
van door supplies the fire with oxygen and
can cause it to burn very fast.
• Use the correct fire extinguisher.
— A B:C type fire extinguisher is designed to
work on electrical fires and burning liquids.
— An A:B:C type fire extinguisher is designed
to work on burning wood, paper, and cloth.
— Water can be used on wood, paper, or cloth,
but do not use water on an electrical fire
(you could get shocked) or a gasoline fire
(it will just spread the flames).
— A burning tire must be cooled. Lots of
water may be required.
— If you are not sure what to use, especially
on a hazardous materials fire, wait for
qualified fire fighters.
• Extinguish the fire. Here are some rules to
follow in putting out a fire. (Refer to 13 CCR
§1242 for additional information):
— Only try to extinguish the fire if you know
what you are doing and it is safe to do so.
— When using the extinguisher, stay as far
away from the fire as possible.
— Aim at the source or base of the fire, not
in the flames.
— Position yourself upwind. Let the wind
carry the spray to the fire rather than carry
the flames to you.
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— Continue until whatever was burning has
been cooled. Absence of smoke or flame
does not mean the fire is completely out
or cannot restart.
Staying Alert and Fit to
Drive
Driving a vehicle for long hours is tiring. However,
there are things that good drivers do to help stay
alert and safe.
Get enough sleep. Leaving on a long trip when
you are already tired is dangerous. If you have a
long trip scheduled, make sure that you get enough
sleep before you go.
Schedule trips safely. Your body gets used to
sleeping during certain hours. If you are driving
during those hours, you will be less alert. Try
to schedule trips for the hours you are normally
awake. Many heavy motor vehicle collisions occur
between midnight and 6:00 a.m. Tired drivers can
easily fall asleep at these times, especially if they
don’t regularly drive during those hours. Trying
to push on and finish a long trip at these times can
be very dangerous.
Avoid medication. Many medicines can make
you sleepy. Those that do have a label warning
against operating vehicles or machinery. The most
common medicine of this type is an ordinary cold
pill. If you have to drive with a cold, you are better
off suffering from the cold than from the effects
of the medicine.
Keep cool. A hot, poorly ventilated cab can make
you sleepy. Keep the window or vent cracked or
use the air conditioner, if you have one.
Take breaks. Short breaks can keep you alert.
But the time to take them is before you feel
really drowsy or tired. Stop often. Walk around
and inspect your vehicle. It can help to do some
physical exercises.
When you are sleepy, trying to “push on” is far
more dangerous than most drivers think. It is a
major cause of fatal collisions. Here are some
important rules to follow:
• Stop to sleep. When your body needs sleep,
sleep is the only thing that will work. If you
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have to make a stop anyway, make it whenever
you feel the first signs of sleepiness, even if
it is earlier than you planned. By getting up
a little earlier the next day, you can keep on
schedule without the danger of driving while
you are not alert.
• Take a nap. If you can’t stop for the night, at
least pull off the road at a safe place, such as a
rest area or truck stop, and take a nap. A nap as
short as a half hour will do more to overcome
fatigue than a half hour coffee stop.
• Avoid drugs. There are no drugs that can
overcome being tired. While they may keep
you awake for a while, they will not make
you alert. And eventually, you will be even
more tired than if you had not taken them
at all. Sleep is the only thing that can safely
overcome fatigue.
Alcohol and Driving
Drinking alcohol and then driving is a very serious
problem. People who drink alcohol are involved in
traffic collisions 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 driving.
• Legal, financial, and safety risks of drinking
and driving.
You may NEVER drink while on duty, nor consume
any intoxicating beverage, regardless of its alcohol
content, within 4 hours before going on duty.
Remember–it is illegal to drive a commercial motor
vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC)
that is 0.04% or greater and doing so will result
in an immediate administrative driver licensing
sanction (Admin Per Se) (CVC §§23152(d)) and
13353.2(3)). However, a BAC below 0.04% does
not mean that it is safe or legal to drive.
The Truth About Alcohol
There 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 on following page for some examples.
What is Considered a Drink?
It is the alcohol in drinks that affects 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.
All 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 1-1/2 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 BAC.
What determines BAC. BAC is determined by
the amount of alcohol you drink (more alcohol
means a higher BAC), how fast you drink (faster
drinking means a 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 selfcontrol are absolutely necessary for safe driving.
FALSE NOTION
Alcohol increases your ability to drive.
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
All drivers are affected by drinking alcohol. Alcohol
affects judgment, vision, coordination, and reaction
time. It causes serious driving errors, such as:
• Driving too quickly or too slowly.
• Driving in the wrong lane.
• Running over the curb.
• Weaving.
• Driving between lanes.
• Quick, jerky starts.
• Not signaling, failing to use lights.
• Running stop signs and red lights.
• Improper passing.
• Being overly cautious.
These effects increase the chances of a collision.
You also could lose your driving privilege. Collision statistics show that the chance of a collision is
much greater for drivers who have been drinking
than for drivers who have not.
Other Drugs
Besides alcohol, other legal and illegal drugs are
being used more often. Laws prohibit possession
or use of many drugs while on duty. They prohibit
driving while under the influence of any “controlled
substance” such as amphetamines (including “pep
pills” and “bennies”), narcotics, or any other
substance which can make the driver unsafe. This
could include a variety of prescription and overTRUE STATEMENT
Alcohol is a drug that will make you less alert
and reduce your ability to drive safely.
Some people can drink a lot and not be affected
Everyone who drinks is affected by alcohol.
by it.
Food will slow down the effects of alcohol but
If you eat a lot first, you will not get drunk.
will not prevent them.
Coffee and a little fresh air will help a drinker Only time will help a drinker sober up—other
sober up.
methods just do not work.
Stick with beer—it is not as strong as wine or A few beers are the same as a few glasses of
whiskey.
wine or a few shots of whiskey.
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the-counter drugs (cold or allergy medicines) which
may make the driver drowsy or otherwise affect
safe driving ability. However, possession and use
of any medication given to a driver by a physician
is permitted if the physician advises the driver that
the medicine will not affect safe driving ability.
Pay attention to warning labels of legitimate drugs
and medicines and to your physician’s orders
regarding possible side effects. Stay away from
illegal drugs. Do not use any substance that hides
fatigue–the only cure for fatigue is rest. Alcohol
can make the effects of the drugs much worse.
The safest rule is do not mix drugs with driving.
Use of drugs can lead to traffic collisions resulting
in death, injury, and property damage. Furthermore,
it can lead to arrest, fines, and jail sentences. It may
also mean the end of a person’s driving career.
Avoid medication. Many medicines can make
you sleepy. Those that do, have a label warning
against operating vehicles or machinery. The most
common medicine of this type is an ordinary cold
pill. If you have to drive with a cold, you are better
off suffering from the cold than from the effects
of the medicine.
Visit your doctor. Regular checkups can literally be
lifesavers. Illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease,
and skin and colon cancer can be detected easily
and treated if found in time. You should consult
your physician or a local sleep disorder center if
you suffer from frequent daytime sleepiness, have
difficulty sleeping at night, take frequent naps,
fall asleep at strange times, snore loudly, gasp
and choke in your sleep, and/or wake up feeling
as though you have not had enough sleep.
Be Ready to Drive
While You Are Driving
Get enough sleep. Sleep is not like money. You
can’t save it up ahead of time and you can’t borrow
it. But, just as with money, you can go into debt
with it. If you don’t sleep enough, you “owe”
more sleep to yourself. This sleep debt can only
be paid off by sleeping. You can’t overcome it
with willpower, and it won’t go away by itself.
The average person needs seven or eight hours of
sleep every 24 hours. Leaving on a long trip when
you’re already tired is dangerous. If you have a
long trip scheduled, make sure that you get enough
sleep before you go.
Take breaks. Short breaks can keep you alert.
But the time to take them is before you feel
really drowsy or tired. Stop often. Walk around
and inspect your vehicle. It may help to do some
physical exercises. Be sure to take a mid-afternoon
break and plan to sleep between midnight and 6 a.m.
Exercise regularly. Resistance to fatigue and
improved sleep are among the benefits of regular
exercise. Try to incorporate exercise into your
daily life. Instead of sitting and watching TV in
your sleeper, walk or jog a few laps around the
parking lot. A little bit of daily exercise will give
you energy throughout the day.
Eat healthy. It is often hard for drivers to find
healthy food. But with a little extra effort, you
can eat healthy, even on the road. Try to find
restaurants with healthy, balanced meals. If you
must eat at fast-food restaurants, pick low-fat items.
Another simple way to reduce your caloric intake
is to eliminate fattening snacks. Instead, try fruit
or vegetables.
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Keep cool. A hot, poorly ventilated vehicle can
make you sleepy. Keep the window or vent cracked
open or use the air conditioner, if you have one.
Recognize the danger signals of drowsy driving.
Sleep is not voluntary. If you’re drowsy, you can fall
asleep and never even know it. If you are drowsy,
you are likely to have “micro sleeps”–brief naps
that last around four or five seconds. At 55 miles
an hour, that’s more than 100 yards, and plenty of
time for a crash. Even if you are not aware of being
drowsy, if you have a sleep debt you are still at
risk. There are a few ways to tell if you’re about to
fall asleep. If you experience any of these danger
signs, take them as a warning that you could fall
asleep without meaning to:
• Your eyes close or go out of focus by themselves.
• You have trouble keeping your head up.
• You can’t stop yawning.
• You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
• You don’t remember driving the last few miles.
• You drift between lanes, tailgate, or miss
traffic signs.
• You keep jerking the truck back into the lane.
• You have drifted off the road and narrowly
missed crashing.
If you have even one of these symptoms, you may
be in danger of falling asleep. Pull off the road in
a safe place and take a nap.
When You Do Become Sleepy
When you are sleepy, trying to “push on” is far
more dangerous than most drivers think. It is a
major cause of fatal accidents. Here are some
important rules to follow:
• Stop to sleep. When your body needs sleep,
sleep is the only thing that will work. If you
have to make a stop anyway, make it whenever
you feel the first signs of sleepiness, even if
it is earlier than you planned. By getting up
a little earlier the next day, you can keep on
schedule without the danger of driving while
you are not alert.
• Take a nap. If you can’t stop for the night, at
least pull off at a safe place, such as a rest area
or truck stop, and take a nap. A nap as short as
a half-hour will do more to overcome fatigue
than a half-hour coffee stop.
• Avoid drugs. There are no drugs that can
overcome being tired. While they may keep
you awake for a while, they won’t make you
alert. And eventually, you’ll be even more tired
than if you hadn’t taken them at all. Sleep is
the only thing that can overcome fatigue.
• Do not. Do not rely on coffee or another source
of caffeine to keep you awake. Do not count
on the radio, an open window, or other tricks
to keep you awake.
Illness
Once in awhile, you may become so ill or fatigued
that you cannot operate a motor vehicle safely. If
this happens, you must not drive. In case of an
emergency, drive only to the nearest place where
you can safely stop.
HazMat Rules for All
Commercial Drivers
All drivers should know something about hazardous materials (HazMat) and wastes. You must be
able to recognize hazardous cargo and you must
know whether you can transport it without having
a HazMat endorsement on your CDL.
To get a HazMat endorsement, you must pass a
written test based on the information in Section 9
of this handbook. You also will need a tank vehicle
endorsement if you transport hazardous products
in a cargo tank.
If you apply for an original or renewal HazMat
endorsement, you must undergo a Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) federal security
threat assessment (background records check). You
start the TSA background records check after you
apply for your CDL at DMV, successfully complete
all appropriate law tests, and submit a valid medical
form. You must submit fingerprints, a fee, and any
additional required information to one of TSA’s
designated agents. You must also provide the TSA
agent with a copy of your CDL permit and one of
the following identification documents:
• A California DL/ID card.
• An out-of-state DL.
• Your CDL permit accompanied by a DMV
photo receipt.
For a list of TSA agent sites, go online at
hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov or call 1-877-429-7746.
What Are the Rules?
The Federal Hazardous Materials Table lists
materials that are hazardous. They can be a risk to
health, safety, and property during transportation.
You must follow the many rules about transporting
them. The intent of hazardous materials rules and
regulations is to:
• Contain the product.
• Communicate the risk.
• Ensure safe drivers and equipment.
To contain the product. Many hazardous products
can injure or kill on contact. In order to protect
drivers and others from contact, the rules tell
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shippers how to package safely. Similar rules tell
drivers how to load, transport, and unload. These
are containment rules.
To communicate the risk. The shipper uses a shipping paper and package labels to warn dockworkers
and drivers of the risk and special handling needs.
Shipping orders, bills of lading, and manifests are
all examples of shipping papers.
There are nine different hazard classes. A material’s
hazard class reflects the risks associated with it. The
hazard classes are shown on pages 111 and 112.
Shippers write the proper shipping name and hazard
class or division code in the item description of the
shipping paper. Hazard class information will also
be shown on four-inch diamond shaped labels on the
containers of hazardous materials. If the diamond
label will not fit on the container, shippers will put
the label on a tag, or in some instances, reduce
the size. For example, compressed gas cylinders
that will not hold a label will have tags or decals.
Package markings may convey proper shipping
names, United Nations identification numbers,
and special handling information (e.g., loading
orientation arrows for liquids).
After a collision or hazardous materials leak, the
driver may be unable to speak when help arrives.
Fire fighters and police must know the hazards
involved in order to prevent more damage or
injury. The driver’s life, and the lives of others,
may depend on quickly finding the shipping papers
for hazardous cargo. For that reason, you must tab
shipping papers related to hazardous materials
or wastes, or keep them on top of other shipping
papers. You must also keep shipping papers in a
pouch on the driver’s door, or in clear view within
reach, or on the driver’s seat when out of the cab.
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Drivers must use placards to warn others of their
hazardous cargo. Placards are signs placed on the
outside of a vehicle to show the hazard class(es)
of products on board. Each is turned upright on a
point, in a diamond shape. The person who does
the loading must place the placards on the front,
rear, and both sides of the vehicle. (See page 112.)
Not all vehicles transporting hazardous materials
or wastes need to have placards. The rules about
placards are given in Section 9 of this handbook.
To ensure safe drivers and equipment. The
rules require all drivers of placarded or marked
vehicles to have a commercial driver license with
the HazMat endorsement. You must learn how to
safely load and transport hazardous materials or
wastes (CVC §27903).
Drivers who need the HazMat endorsement must
learn the placarding rules. If you do not know if
your load requires placards, ask your employer or
shipper. Never drive a vehicle needing placards,
unless you have the HazMat endorsement on
your CDL. To do so is a crime. If stopped, you will
be cited and you will not be allowed to drive your
vehicle further. It will cost you time and money. A
failure to placard when needed will risk your life
and others if you have a collision. Emergency help
will not know of your hazardous cargo.
Hazardous materials/wastes drivers must also
know which products can be loaded together, and
which cannot. These rules are also in Section 9.
Before loading a vehicle with more than one type
of product, you must know if it is safe to load
them together.
Section 3: Transporting Cargo
This section is for all commercial drivers
This section is about cargo safety. You must pass
a written test on cargo safety to get a commercial
driver license.
If you load or secure cargo incorrectly, it can be
a danger to others and yourself. Loose cargo that
falls off a vehicle can cause traffic problems and
others could be hurt or killed. Loose cargo can hurt
or kill you during a quick stop or collision. Your
vehicle can be damaged by an overload. Steering
can be affected by an improperly loaded vehicle
making it more difficult to control.
Whether or not you load and secure the cargo
yourself, you are responsible for:
• Inspecting cargo.
• Recognizing overloads and poorly balanced
weight.
• Ensuring that the cargo is securely tied down
and covered, if applicable.
If you intend to carry hazardous materials or wastes
that require placards or markings on your vehicle,
you will also need a HazMat endorsement.
Inspecting Cargo
As part of your pre-trip inspection, check for
overloads, poorly balanced weight, and cargo that
is not secured correctly.
Inspect the cargo and its securing devices again
within 25 miles after beginning a trip. Make any
adjustments needed. Check the cargo and securing
devices as often as necessary during a trip to keep
the load secure. Inspect again:
• After you have driven for three hours or 150
miles, whichever comes first.
• After every break you take during driving.
Cargo Weight and Balance
You are responsible for making sure that the vehicle
is not overloaded. Here are some definitions you
should know:
Gross vehicle weight (GVW). The total weight
of a single vehicle including its load.
Gross combination weight (GCW). The total
weight of a combination of vehicles including
the load.
Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). The maximum weight rating specified by the manufacturer
for a single vehicle including its load.
Gross combination weight rating (GCWR). The
total GVWRs for the power unit and any towed
vehicles. (This is not the same as the GVWR
specified by a manufacturer for the towing capacity
of a vehicle.)
Axle weight. The weight on the ground at one or
more sets of axles.
Tire load. The maximum safe weight rating a
tire can carry at a specified pressure. This rating
is stated on the side of each tire.
Suspension systems. Suspension systems have a
manufacturer’s weight capacity rating.
Coupling device capacity. Coupling devices are
rated for the maximum weight they can pull and/
or carry.
Federal, state, and local regulations of weight,
securement, cover, and truck routes vary greatly
from place to place. Know the regulations where
you will be driving.
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Legal Weight Limits
Weights must be kept within legal limits. States
have maximums for GVWs, GCWs, and axle
weights. Often, maximum axle weights are set by
a bridge formula which permits less axle weight
for axles that are closer together. This is to prevent
overloading bridges and roadways.
Overloading can have bad effects on steering,
braking, and speed control. Overloaded trucks have
to go very slowly on upgrades. Worse, they may
gain too much speed on downgrades. Stopping
distance increases. Brakes can fail when forced
to work too hard.
During bad weather or in mountains, operating
at legal maximum weights may not be safe. Take
this into account before driving.
Avoid Top-Heavy Loads
The height of the vehicle’s center of gravity is
very important for safe handling. A high center of
gravity (cargo piled up high, or heavy cargo on top)
means you are more likely to roll, especially on
curves or if you have to swerve to avoid a hazard.
It is very important to distribute cargo so the center
of gravity is as low as possible. Load the heaviest
parts of the cargo first or on the bottom.
Balance Cargo Weight
Poor weight balance can make vehicle handling
unsafe. Too much weight on the steering axle can
cause hard steering and can damage the steering
axle and tires. Underloaded front axles (caused by
loading weight too far to the rear) can make the
steering axle weight too light to steer safely. Too
little weight on the driving axles can cause poor
traction, so that during bad weather, the truck may
not be able to keep going. Weight that is loaded
with a high center of gravity has a greater chance
of rollover. On flatbed vehicles, there is also a
greater chance that the load will shift to the side
or fall off. Figure 3-1 shows examples of the right
and wrong way to balance cargo weight.
Securing Cargo
Blocking is used in the front, back, and/or sides of
a piece of cargo to keep it from sliding. Blocking
is shaped to fit snugly against cargo. It is secured
to the cargo deck to prevent cargo movement.
Bracing is also used to prevent movement of cargo.
Bracing goes from the upper part of the cargo to
the floor and/or walls of the cargo compartment.
Tiedowns
On flatbed trailers or trailers without sides, cargo
must be secured to keep it from shifting and falling
off. In closed vans, tiedowns can also be important
to prevent cargo shifting that may affect the
handling of the vehicle. Tiedowns must be of the
correct type and strength. The combined strength
of all cargo tiedowns must be strong enough to
lift one and one half times the weight of the piece
of cargo tied down. Proper tiedown equipment
must be used, including ropes, straps, chains, and
tensioning devices (winches, ratchets, cinching
components). Tiedowns must be attached to the
vehicle correctly (hook, bolt, rails, rings).
Wrong
Wrong
Right
Right
Wrong
Wrong
Right
Figure 3-1 Balancing Cargo Weight
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Cargo should have two tiedowns in the first 10 feet
of cargo, and one tiedown every 10 feet thereafter.
Make sure you have enough tiedowns to meet this
need. No matter how small the cargo, it should
have at least two tiedowns holding it.
Rules governing the loading and securement of
logs, dressed lumber, metal coils, paper rolls,
concrete pipe, intermodal containers, automobiles,
heavy vehicles, flattened or crushed vehicles,
Roll-On/Roll-Off containers, and large boulders
are contained in the Code of Federal Regulations,
Title 49, §393.
Any person who willfully or negligently damages
any street or highway is liable for the cost of repairing the road or any sign, signal, guard rail, or other
facility that is damaged. The liability may include
the cost of removing debris from the roadway.
Header Boards
Front end header boards (“headache racks”) protect
you from your cargo in case of a collision or
emergency stop. Be sure the front end structure is
in good condition. The front end structure should
block the forward movement of any cargo you carry.
Covering Cargo
Sealed and Containerized Loads
There are two basic reasons for covering cargo:
1. To protect people from spilled cargo.
2. To protect the cargo from weather.
Containerized loads generally are used when
freight is carried part way by rail or ship. Delivery
by truck occurs at the beginning and/or end of the
journey. Some containers have their own tiedown
devices or locks that attach directly to a special
frame. Other containers (following the regulations
established by the CHP) have to be loaded onto
flatbed trailers. They are secured with tiedowns
just like any other large cargo. You cannot inspect
sealed loads, but you should check that you do not
exceed gross weight and axle weight limits and
that the seal is not broken.
Spill protection is a safety requirement in many
states. Be familiar with the laws in the states where
you will be driving.
You should look at your cargo covers in the mirrors
often while driving. A flapping cover can tear loose,
uncovering the cargo and possibly block your view
or someone else’s.
Spilling loads and damage to highway. It is
against the law to operate on the highway a vehicle
which is improperly covered, constructed, or loaded
so that any part of its contents or load spills, drops,
leaks, blows, sifts, or in any other way escapes from
the vehicle. Exception: clear water or feathers from
live birds (CVC §§23114 and 23115).
Any vehicle transporting garbage, trash, rubbish,
ashes, etc., must have the load covered to prevent
any part of the load from spilling on to the highway.
Aggregate material must be carried in the cargo
area of the vehicle and be six inches below the
upper edge. The cargo area must not have any
holes, cracks, or openings which could allow the
material to escape. The vehicle used to transport
aggregate material must be equipped with seals on
any openings used to empty the load, splash flaps
behind every tire or set of tires, and fenders. Other
requirements are listed in CVC §23114. This does
not apply to vehicles carrying wet waste fruit or
vegetable matter, or waste from food processing
plants.
Handling Other Cargo
Dry bulk tanks require special care because they
often have a high center of gravity and the load can
shift. Be extremely cautious going around curves
and making sharp turns.
Hanging Meat
Hanging meat suspended in a refrigerated truck
can be a very unstable load with a high center
of gravity. Particular caution is needed on sharp
curves such as offramps and onramps. Go slowly.
Livestock
Livestock can move around in a trailer. This
shifts the center of gravity and makes rollover
more likely. With less than a full load, use false
bulkheads to keep livestock bunched together. Even
when bunched, special care is necessary because
livestock can lean on curves.
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Oversized Loads
Overlength, overwidth, and/or overweight
loads require Caltrans transit permits. Driving is
usually limited to certain times of the day. Special
equipment may be necessary such as “wide load”
signs, flashing lights, flags, etc. Such loads may
require a police escort or pilot vehicles bearing
warning signs and/or flashing lights. These special
loads require special driving care.
Special Markings Needed
Any vehicle and load over 80 inches must, in addition to required vehicle lighting, show an amber
combination clearance and side-marker lamp on the
side of the load projection at the front and show a
red combination clearance and side-marker lamp
on the side of the projection at the rear.
Alternatively, if the overwidth of the projection
does not extend more than three feet from front
to rear at least one amber combination clearance
lamp must be visible front, side, and rear at the
extreme width, if the projection is near the front
of the vehicle. If the projection is near the rear,
at least one red combination side clearance lamp
must be displayed (CVC §25100).
Projecting Loads
Lights (or flags) on projecting loads. When the
load on any vehicle extends 4 feet (48 inches) or
more beyond the rear of the body, a solid red or
fluorescent orange flag at least 12 inches square
must be placed at the extreme end of the load. If
the vehicle is operated during darkness, there must
be two lit red lights at the end of the load visible
at a distance of 500 feet to the side and rear of the
vehicle (CVC §24604).
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A load extending one foot or more to the left on any
vehicle must have an amber light on the extreme
left side of the load. It must be visible at least 300
feet to the front and rear during darkness. If the
load extends more than 120 inches, there must be
an amber lamp at the front and a red lamp at the
rear visible at least 300 feet.
If the vehicle is wider than 102 inches, a red or
fluorescent flag not less than 12 inches square
must be displayed at left front and left rear during
daylight (CVC §25104).
Piggyback Trailers
When any trailer is loaded upon another vehicle
(piggyback) to be moved on any highway, the
trailer must be securely bound to the vehicle to
prevent the trailer from shifting, toppling over, or
becoming unstable.
Section 4: Transporting Passengers safely
This section is for all drivers who transport passengers
This section contains general knowledge and safe
driving practices for passenger vehicle drivers. You
must take a test on the information contained in
this section to get an endorsement on your CDL.
Passenger vehicle drivers have special responsibilities. They are not only responsible for the condition
and safe operation of their vehicle, but also for the
safety of their passengers.
This section does not contain information on air
brakes. You must read Section 5 of this handbook
for that information.
Passenger Vehicle Endorsement Needed
You must have a passenger vehicle endorsement for
a passenger transportation vehicle which includes,
but is not limited to, a bus, farm labor vehicle, or
general public paratransit vehicle when the vehicle
is designed, used, or maintained to carry more than
10 passengers including the driver, for hire or for
profit, or by any nonprofit organization or group.
If you take a driving test in a van designed, used,
or maintained to carry 15 persons or less including the driver, you will be restricted to driving a
small-size bus.
Vehicle Inspections
Safety is the most important and obvious reason to
inspect your vehicle. Also, federal and state laws
require inspection by the driver. Federal and state
inspectors also inspect commercial vehicles. An
unsafe vehicle can be put out of service until the
driver or owner has it repaired. Do not risk your
life or the lives of your passengers in an unsafe
vehicle.
Many drivers work for companies who have
maintenance mechanics responsible for much of the
detailed checks outlined in this section. However,
as a driver you must still be able to check for and
recognize many of the signs of unsafe operating
conditions. The driver must also inspect the
emergency equipment and make sure it is in place
and ready for use.
Before driving your bus, you must make sure it is
safe. You must review the inspection report made by
the previous driver. Only if defects reported earlier
have been certified as repaired or not needed to
be repaired, should you sign the previous driver’s
report. This is your certification that the defects
reported earlier have been fixed.
Types of Inspections
Pre-trip inspection. Do a pre-trip inspection before
each trip to find problems that could cause a collision or a breakdown. A pre-trip inspection should
be routinely done before operating the vehicle.
During a trip you should:
• Watch gauges for signs of trouble.
• Use your senses to check for problems (look,
listen, smell, feel).
• Check critical items when you stop:
— tires, wheels, and rims
— brakes
— lights
After-trip inspection and report. Inspect your
transport vehicle at the end of the trip, day, or
tour of duty. You must complete a written vehicle
inspection report each day. It must include a listing
of any problems you find.
If you work for an interstate carrier and you drive
buses, you must complete a written inspection
report for each bus driven. The report must specify
each bus and list any defect that would affect safety
or result in a breakdown. If there are no defects,
the report should say so.
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What to Look for
Tire problems. It is dangerous to drive with bad
tires. Front tires must not be recapped, retreaded,
or regrooved. Look for:
• Too much or too little air pressure.
• Tire wear. You need at least 4/32 inch tread
depth in every major groove on front tires and
2/32 inch on other tires. No fabric should show
through the tread or sidewall.
• Cuts or other damage.
• Tread separation.
• Dual tires that come in contact with each other
or parts of the vehicle.
• Mismatched sizes.
• Radial and bias-ply tires used together.
• Cut or cracked valve stems.
• After a tire has been changed, stop a short
while later and recheck the tightness of the
wheel fasteners.
Wheel and rim problems. A damaged rim can
cause a tire to lose pressure or come off. Look for:
• Rust around wheel fasteners—check tightness.
• Missing clamps, spacers, studs, or lugs.
• Mismatched, bent, or cracked lock rings.
• Signs of damage in wheels or rims that have
had welding repairs.
Suspension system defects. The suspension
system supports the vehicle and its load and keeps
the axles in place. Check for, if visible:
• Cracked or broken spring hangers, if so
equipped.
• Missing or broken leaves in any leaf spring (if
1/4 or more are missing or broken or a main
leaf spring is broken, the vehicle will be put out
of service during a state or federal inspection.
However, any defect could be dangerous).
• Leaking shock absorbers.
• Air suspension systems that are damaged and/
or leaking (do not move with less than 80 psi.)
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Exhaust system defects. A broken exhaust system
can let poisonous fumes into the bus or other
passenger transport vehicle. If visible, check for:
• Loose, broken, or missing exhaust pipes,
mufflers, tailpipes, or vertical stacks.
• Loose, broken, or missing mounting brackets,
clamps, or bolts.
• Exhaust system parts rubbing against fuel system parts, tires, electrical wiring, combustible
parts, or other moving parts.
• Exhaust system parts that are leaking.
• Excessive smoke.
Emergency equipment. Federal law requires that
a bus carry:
• Spare electrical fuses (unless the vehicle has
circuit breaker).
• Three red reflective triangles.
• Properly charged and rated fire extinguisher,
if required.
Inspection Method
See Section 11 for inspection information and
guidelines. Memory aids are shown on pages 155
and 156. You may only use one of these when you
take your CDL pre-trip test for your CDL at the
DMV. The memory aid cannot include instructions
on how to perform the pre-trip inspection. Also
refer to Section 5 for Air Brake information.
Emergency Exits
Check the emergency exits for ease of operation,
correct markings, and to ensure that any required
buzzers or devices work properly.
Never drive with an open emergency exit door
or window. The “emergency exit” sign on an
emergency door must be clearly visible. If there is
a red emergency door light, it must work. Turn it
on at night or any other time you use your outside
lights.
Bus Interior
Standee Lines
Always check the interior of the bus before driving
to ensure rider safety. Aisles and stairwells must
always be clear. The following parts of your bus
must be in safe working condition:
• Each handhold and railing.
• Floor covering.
• Signaling devices, including the rest room
emergency buzzer, if the bus has a rest room.
• Emergency exit handles.
Buses designed to allow standing must have a
two-inch line on the floor or some other means of
showing riders where they cannot stand. This is
called the standee line. All standing riders must
stay behind it.
The seats must be safe for riders and must be
securely fastened to the bus. The number of passengers (excluding infants in arms) must not exceed
the number of safe and adequate seating spaces,
unless standing in designated areas is allowed.
The driver’s seat should have a seat belt. Ensure it
works properly and remember to wear it. The law
requires you to wear your seat belt.
In the passenger compartment of a farm labor
vehicle, all cutting tools or tools with sharp edges
shall be placed in covered container. All other tools,
equipment, or materials carried in the passenger
compartment shall be secured to the body of the
vehicle. The driver and all passengers must wear
seat belts.
Roof Hatches
You may lock some emergency roof hatches in a
partly open position for fresh air. Do not leave them
open as a regular practice. Keep in mind the bus’
higher clearance while driving with them open.
Loading and Unloading
At Your Destination
When you arrive at your destination or intermediate
stops announce:
• The location.
• Reason for stopping.
• Next departure time.
• Bus number.
Remind riders to take their carry-ons with them
if they are getting off the bus. If the aisle is on a
lower level than the seats, remind the riders to watch
their step. It is best to tell them before coming to
a complete stop.
Charter bus drivers should not allow riders on the
bus until departure time. This will help prevent
theft or vandalism of the bus.
Baggage
Do not allow riders to leave carry-on baggage in a
doorway or aisle. There should be nothing in the
aisle that might trip riders. Secure baggage and
freight in ways that avoid damage, and:
• Allow the driver to move freely and easily.
• Allow riders to exit by any window or door
in an emergency.
• Protect riders from injury if carry-ons fall or
shift.
Bus drivers need to consider passenger safety
during loading and unloading. Always ensure your
passengers are safely on the bus before closing
the door(s) and pulling away. Allow passengers
enough time to sit down or brace themselves
before departing. Starting and stopping should be
as smooth as possible to avoid rider injury.
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Hazardous Materials
Animals
Watch for cargo or baggage containing hazardous
materials or wastes. Most hazardous materials or
wastes cannot be carried on a bus.
Transporting animals is prohibited except for
certified service, guide, or signal dogs used by
physically challenged passengers. (CC 54.2)
The Federal Hazardous Materials Table shows
which materials are hazardous. They pose a risk to
health, safety, and property during transportation.
Charts showing all the labels start on page 131.
Watch for the diamond-shaped hazard labels. Do
not transport any hazardous substances requiring
placards, unless you are sure the rules allow it and
you have a HazMat endorsement on your CDL.
Buses may carry small arms ammunition labeled
ORM-D, emergency hospital supplies and drugs.
You can carry small amounts of some other hazardous materials if the shipper cannot send them any
other way. Buses must never carry:
• Division 2.3 poisons, liquid Division 6.1
poisons, tear gas, irritating materials.
• More than 100 pounds of solid Division 6.1
poisons.
• Explosives in the space occupied by people,
except small arms ammunition.
• Labeled radioactive materials in the space
occupied by people.
• More than 500 pounds total of allowed hazardous materials, and no more than 100 pounds
of any one class.
Riders sometimes board a bus with an unlabeled
hazardous material. They may not know it is unsafe.
Do not allow riders to carry on hazards such as car
batteries or gasoline. Oxygen medically prescribed
for, and in the possession of a passenger, and in
a container designed for personal use is allowed.
Wheelchairs transported on buses (except school
buses) must have brakes or other mechanical means
of holding still while it is raised or lowered on
the wheelchair platform. Batteries must be spill
resistant and securely attached to the wheelchair.
Wheelchairs may not use flammable fuel. School
bus wheelchair regulations are in 13 CCR 1293.
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Driving Techniques
Stop at railroad crossings. Stop your bus between
15 and 50 feet before railroad crossings. Look and
listen in both directions for trains. You should
open your forward door if it improves your ability
to see or hear an approaching train. After a train
has passed but before crossing the tracks, be sure
there is not another train coming in either direction on other tracks. If your vehicle has a manual
transmission, you must not change gears while
crossing the tracks. You should always slow down
and check for other vehicles at railroad crossings
marked as “exempt.”
Managing Space
How far ahead to look. Most good drivers look
12 to 15 seconds ahead. That means looking ahead
the distance you will travel in 12 to 15 seconds. At
lower speeds, that is about one block. At highway
speeds, it is about a quarter of a mile. If you are
not looking that far ahead, you may have to stop
too quickly or make quick lane changes. Looking
12 to 15 seconds ahead does not mean that you
should not pay attention to things that are closer.
Good drivers shift their attention back and forth,
from near and to far.
Space to the sides. Buses are often wide and take
up most of a lane. Safe drivers will manage what
little space they have. You can do this by keeping
your vehicle centered in your lane, and avoid
traveling next to others when possible.
How much space? How much space should you
keep in front of you? One good rule says you need
at least one second for each 10 feet of vehicle
length at speeds below 40 mph. At higher speeds,
you must add one second for safety. For example,
if you are driving a 40-foot bus at 30 mph and the
road is dry and visibility is good, you should leave
4 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead.
If you are driving a 40 foot bus at 50 mph and
the road is dry and visibility is good, you should
keep at least 5 seconds of space in front of your
bus to be safe. If you are driving a 30- foot bus
on a highway at 45 mph and the road is dry and
visibility is good, you should keep at least 4 seconds
of space in front of your bus to be safe.
able to stop within the range of your headlights.
When you have your high beams on and must dim
them for oncoming traffic, you should slow down
to keep your stopping distance within the range
of your headlights.
Slippery surfaces. It will take longer to stop and
it will be harder to turn without skidding when
the road is slippery. You must drive slower to be
able to stop in the same distance as on a dry road.
Wet roads can double the stopping distance. Allow
yourself much more space than needed for ideal
driving conditions when the road is slippery.
What is a hazard? A hazard is any road condition or
other road user (e.g., driver, bicyclist, or pedestrian)
that is a possible danger.
The Effect of Speed on Stopping
Distance
The faster you drive, the greater the impact or
striking power of your bus. When you double
your speed from 20 to 40 mph, the impact is four
times greater and the stopping distance is four
times longer. Triple the speed from 20 to 60 mph
and the impact and stopping distance is nine times
greater. High speeds greatly increase the severity
of collisions and stopping distance. By slowing
down, you can reduce the stopping distance.
Driving at Night
At night, your headlights will usually be the main
source of light for you to see by and for others to
see you. You can’t see nearly as much at night with
your headlights as you see in the daytime. With
low beams, you can see ahead about 250 feet and
with high beams about 300-500 feet. You must
slow down to keep your stopping distance within
your sight range. This means slowing down to be
Hazards
Using your mirrors
When you use your mirrors while driving on the
road, check them quickly. Look back and forth
regularly as part of your scan for potential hazards.
Do not focus on the mirrors for too long. Otherwise,
you will travel quite a distance without knowing
what is happening ahead.
Many buses have convex mirrors that show a wider
area than flat mirrors. This is often helpful. But
remember, these mirrors make things seem smaller
and farther away than they really are.
Railroad Crossings
No stop needs to be made (See Figure 4-1):
• At railroad tracks which run alongside and on
the roadway within a business or residence
district.
• Where a traffic officer or flagman is directing
traffic.
• If the railroad track is within the intersection
and the traffic control signal shows green.
• At railroad crossings marked “exempt
crossing.”
- Official traffic control signal
Figure 4-1
EXEMPT CROSSINGS
- Railroad crossing warning device
NOT EXEMPT
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Drawbridges
Stop at drawbridges that do not have a signal light
or traffic control attendant. Stop at least 50 feet
before the draw of the bridge. Look to see if the
draw is completely closed before crossing. You
do not need to stop, but must slow down when:
• There is a traffic light showing green.
• The bridge has an attendant or traffic officer
that controls traffic whenever the bridge opens.
Common Causes of Bus Collisions
Collisions often happen at intersections. Use
caution, even if a signal or stop sign controls other
traffic. Remember the clearance your bus needs,
and watch for poles and tree limbs at stops. Know
the size of the gap your bus needs to accelerate
and merge with traffic. Never assume other drivers
will brake to give you room when you signal or
start to pull out.
Collisions on curves result from excessive speed,
often when rain or snow has made the road slippery.
Every banked curve has a safe design speed. The
design speed is often less than the posted speed
for the curve. Although the posted speed is safe
for smaller vehicles, it may be too high for many
buses. With good traction, the bus may roll over;
with poor traction, it will simply slide off the curve.
Reduce speed for curves! If your bus leans toward
the outside on a banked curve, you are driving too
fast. The best way to control the bus on curves is
to slow to a safe speed before entering the curve,
and then accelerate slightly through it.
Passenger Management
Passenger supervision is necessary while driving.
Many charter and intercity carriers have passenger
comfort and safety rules. Explaining the rules at
the start of the trip will help to avoid trouble later.
While driving, scan the interior of your bus as well
as the road ahead, to the sides and to the rear. You
may have to remind riders about the rules or to
keep arms and heads inside the bus.
Riders can stumble when getting on or off and when
the bus starts or stops. Caution riders to watch their
step when leaving the bus. Wait for them to sit
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down or brace themselves before starting. Starting
and stopping should be as smooth as possible to
avoid rider injury.
Unruly Passengers
Occasionally, you may have a rider who is unruly
or under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. You
must ensure this rider’s safety as well as that of
others. Do not discharge a rider where it would
be unsafe. It may be safer to unload a passenger
at the next scheduled stop, or a well lighted area
where there are other people.
Miscellaneous
Requirements
The nozzle of the fuel hose must be in contact
with the intake of the fuel tank when refueling.
No driver or motor carrier shall permit a vehicle
to be fueled while:
• The engine is running.
• A radio on the bus is transmitting.
• The bus is close to any open flame or ignition
source (including persons who are smoking).
• Passengers are aboard any bus (except one
fueled by diesel in an open area or in a structure
open at both ends).
Brake Door Interlock
Urban mass transit coaches may have a brake and
accelerator interlock system. The interlock applies
the brakes and holds the throttle in idle position
when the rear door is open. The interlock releases
when you close the rear door. Do not use this safety
feature in place of the parking brake when safety
requires the use of the parking brake.
Prohibited Practices
Do not engage in unnecessary conversation with
passengers or any other distracting activity while
driving.
Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders
aboard the vehicle, unless discharging the passengers would be unsafe. Follow your employer’s
guidelines on towing or pushing a disabled bus.
Section 5: Air Brakes
This section is for drivers who drive or tow vehicles with air brakes
This section tells you about air brakes. If you drive
or tow a commercial vehicle(s) equipped with air
brakes, you will be tested on the information in
this section. If you want to tow a trailer with air
brakes, you must also read Section 6: Combination
Vehicles.
Air brakes use compressed air to make the brakes
work and must be well maintained and used
correctly.
Air brake systems are three braking systems
combined:
• The service brake system applies and releases
the brakes when you use the brake pedal during
normal driving.
• The parking brake system applies and releases
the parking brakes when you use the parking
brake control.
• The emergency brake system uses parts of the
service and parking brake systems to stop the
vehicle in the event of a brake system failure.
CDL air brake requirements. For CDL purposes,
a vehicle’s air brake system must meet the above
definition and must contain the following which
will be checked during the pre-trip inspection test:
• Air gauges.
• Low pressure warning device(s).
The Air Brake System
An air brake system is a system that uses air as a
way to transmit pressure from the driver’s control
to the service brake. It also includes an air-overhydraulic brake system.
There are many parts to an air brake system. You
should know about the parts discussed here.
Air Compressor and Governor
The air compressor pumps air into the air storage
tanks (reservoirs). The air compressor is driven
by the engine through gears or a V-belt. The
compressor may be air cooled or may be cooled
by the engine cooling system. It may have its own
oil supply, or be lubricated by engine oil. If the
compressor has its own oil supply check the oil
level before driving.
The governor controls when the air compressor
will pump air into the air storage tanks. When air
tank pressure rises to the “cut-out” (fully charged)
level (no higher than 130 pounds per square inch,
or “psi”), the governor stops the compressor from
building air pressure. When the tank pressure falls
to the “cut-in” pressure (no lower than 85 psi), the
governor allows the compressor to start building
pressure again.
If the vehicle you use for your driving test does
not have these components, your vehicle will not
be considered as having an air brake system and
you will have a “No Air Brakes” restriction on
your CDL.
Note: A full service brake application must deliver
to all brake chambers not less than 90 percent of
the air reservoir pressure remaining with the brakes
applied (CVC §26502).
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Air Storage Tanks and Air Tanks
Drains
Air storage tanks are used to hold compressed air.
The number and size of air tanks varies among
vehicles. The tanks will hold enough air to allow
the brakes to be used several times even if the
compressor stops working.
Compressed air usually has some water and some
compressor oil in it. This is bad for the air brake
system. For example, the water can freeze in cold
weather and cause brake failure. The water, oil,
etc., tends to collect in the bottom of the air tank.
Each air tank is equipped with a drain valve in the
bottom. There are three types:
• Manually operated by turning a quarter turn,
shown in Figure 5-1, or by pulling a cable. You
must drain the tanks yourself at the end of each
day of driving.
Reservoir
Some air brake systems have an alcohol evaporator
to put alcohol into the air system. This helps to
reduce the risk of ice in air brake storage tanks,
valves, and other parts during cold weather. Ice
inside the system can cause brake failure.
Check the alcohol container and fill up as necessary every day during cold weather. Daily air tank
drainage is still needed to get rid of water and oil
(unless the system has automatic drain valves).
Safety Valve
A safety relief valve is installed in the first tank the
air compressor pumps air into. The safety valve
protects the tank and the rest of the system from
too much air pressure. The valve is usually set to
open at 150 psi If the safety valve releases air,
something is wrong with the brake system.
Brake Pedal
Manual Draining Valve
Air Tank
Figure 5-1 Manual Drain Valve
• Automatic. The water and oil are automatically expelled from the valve (these valves are
equipped for manual draining as well).
• Air Dryer. The water and oil are automatically
expelled from a spit valve. This type of valve
“spits” out water and air each time the governor
cycles.
The automatic types are available with electric
heating devices. These help prevent freeze up of
the automatic drain in cold weather.
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Alcohol Evaporator
You apply the brakes by pushing down the brake
pedal (also called the foot valve or treadle valve).
The harder you push down on the pedal, the more
air pressure is applied from the storage tanks into
the brake chambers. Letting up on the brake pedal
exhausts the air pressure from the brake chambers
and releases the brakes. The air pressure used to
apply the brakes must be built up in the reservoirs
by the compressor. Pressing and releasing the pedal
(fanning) can unnecessarily let air out faster than
the compressor can replace it. If the pressure gets
too low, the brakes will not work.
When you push the brake pedal down, two forces
push back against your foot. One force comes
from a spring in the valve. The second force comes
from the air pressure going to the brake chambers.
This lets you feel how much air pressure is being
applied to the brake chambers. This “feel” does
not tell you how much force is being applied to the
brakes because that depends on brake adjustment.
Drum Brakes
Drum brakes (foundation brakes) may be used at
each wheel. The most common type is the S-cam
drum brake (so called because of its shape) shown
in Figure 5-2.
Brake drums, shoes, and linings. Brake drums
are located on each end of the vehicle’s axles.
The wheels are bolted to the drums. The braking
mechanism is inside the drum. To stop, the brake
shoes and linings are pushed against the inside of
the drum. This causes friction which slows the
vehicle (and creates heat). The heat a drum can
take without damage depends on how hard and
how long the brakes are used. Too much heat can
cause brake failure.
S-cam brakes. When you push the brake pedal,
air is let into each brake chamber (Figure 5-2).
Air pressure pushes the rod out, moving the slack
adjuster, thus twisting the brake cam shaft. This
turns the S-cam. The S-cam forces the brake shoes
away from one another and presses them against
the inside of the brake drum. When you release the
brake pedal, the S-cam rotates back and a spring
pulls the brake shoes away from the drum, letting
the wheels roll freely again.
CamLaster. The CamLaster brake has two key
design differences over traditional S-cam brakes.
One feature is a completely internal adjustment
system which is designed to continually keep the
brake in proper adjustment. S-cam brakes, on the
other hand, require an external slack adjuster. The
second feature is a unique cam design that applies
the brake shoe. Unlike a standard drum brake that
has either a single or double anchor-pin brake,
CamLaster slides the shoes down an inclined ramp
on a cam to evenly contact the brake drum.
Wedge brakes. The brake chamber push rod
pushes a wedge directly between the ends of two
brake shoes. This shoves them apart and against the
inside of the brake drum. Wedge brakes may have
a single brake chamber, or two brake chambers,
pushing wedges in at both ends of the brake shoes.
Wedge type brakes may be self-adjusting or may
require manual adjustment.
Disc brakes. In air-operated disc brakes, air pressure acts on a brake chamber and slack adjuster,
like S-cam brakes. But instead of the S-cam, a
“power screw” is used. The pressure of the brake
chamber on the slack adjuster turns the power
screw. The power screw clamps the disc or rotor
between the brake lining pads of a caliper, similar
to a large C-clamp.
Brake Chamber
Push Rod
Slack Adjuster
Brake Drum
Adjusting
Nut
Brake Cam
Cam Roller
Axle
Brake Shoe
Return Spring
Brake Shoe Lining
Figure 5-2 S-cam Air Brake
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One-Way Check Valve
This device allows air to flow in one direction only.
All air tanks on air-braked vehicles must have a
check valve located between the air compressor
and the first reservoir (CVC §26507). The check
valve keeps air from going out if the air compressor
develops a leak.
Air Supply Pressure Gauge
All air-braked vehicles have an air supply pressure
gauge connected to the air tank. If the vehicle has
a dual air brake system, there will be a gauge for
each half of the system or, sometimes, a single
gauge with two needles. Dual systems will be
discussed later. These gauges tell you how much
pressure is in the air tanks.
Application Pressure Gauge
This gauge shows how much air pressure you
are applying to the brakes (some vehicles do not
have this gauge). When going down steep grades,
increasing brake pressure to hold the same speed
means the brakes are fading. The need for increased
pressure can also be caused by brakes out of
adjustment, air leaks, or mechanical problems.
Low Air Pressure Warning Device
A low air pressure warning device is required on
vehicles with air brakes. A warning device which
you can see must come on when the air supply
pressure drops between 55 to 75 psi or one half
the compressor governor cut-out pressure on older
vehicles. The warning is usually a red light. A
buzzer may also come on.
Another type of warning is the “wig wag.” This
device drops a mechanical arm into your view
when the pressure in the system drops between
55 to 75 psi An automatic wig wag will rise out
of your view when the pressure in the system goes
above 55 or more psi. The manual reset type must
be placed in the “out of view” position manually.
It will not stay in place until the pressure in the
system is between 55 to 75 psi.
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On large buses, it is common for the low pressure
warning devices to signal at 80 to 85 psi.
Farm labor vehicles and Type I school buses must
have both an audible and visual type warning
device.
Stop Light Switch
Drivers behind you must be warned when you apply
your brakes. The air brake system does this with
an electric switch that works by air pressure. The
switch turns on the brake lights when you apply
the air brakes.
Front Brake Limiting Valve
Some vehicles made before 1975 have a front
brake limiting valve and a control in the cab. The
control is usually marked “normal” and “slippery.”
When you put the control in the slippery position,
the limiting valve cuts the normal air pressure to
the front brakes by half. Limiting valves are used
to reduce the chance of the front wheels skidding
on slippery surfaces. However, they also reduce
the stopping power of the vehicle. Front wheel
braking is good under all conditions. Tests have
shown front wheel skids from braking are not
likely even on ice. Make sure the control is in the
normal position to have normal stopping power.
Many vehicles have automatic front wheel limiting
valves. They reduce the air to the front brakes
except when the brakes are stepped on very hard
(60 psi or more application pressure). These valves
cannot be controlled by the driver. (Note: Some
vehicles are manufactured with no front brakes.)
Spring Brakes
All trucks, truck tractors, and buses using air pressure to apply the service brakes must be equipped
with emergency brakes and parking brakes. The
parking brake must be held on by mechanical
force (because air pressure can eventually leak
away). Spring brakes are usually used to meet the
emergency and parking brake requirements. When
driving, powerful springs are held back by air
pressure. If the air pressure is removed, the springs
put on the brakes. A parking brake control in the
cab allows the driver to let the air out of the spring
brakes. This lets the springs put on the brakes. A
leak in the air brake system will generally cause
the springs to put on the brakes.
Tractor and straight truck spring brakes will come
fully on when air pressure drops to a range of 20 to
45 psi (typically 20 to 30 psi). Do not wait for the
brakes to come on automatically. When the low air
pressure warning light and buzzer first come on,
bring the vehicle to a safe stop right away while
you can still control the brakes.
The braking power of spring brakes depends on
the brakes being in adjustment. If the brakes are
not adjusted, neither the regular brakes nor the
emergency/parking brakes will work correctly.
Parking Brake Controls
In newer vehicles with air brakes, set the parking
brakes using a diamond shaped, yellow, push-pull
control knob. Pull the knob out to set the parking
brakes (spring brakes), and push it in to release
them. On older vehicles, the parking brakes may
be controlled by a lever. Use the parking brakes
whenever you park.
Caution. If your vehicle is not equipped with an
anti-compound system (only in vehicles with air
brakes), you should not push the brake pedal down
when the spring brakes are on. If you do, the brakes
could be damaged by the combined forces of the
springs and the air pressure. Many brake systems
are designed so this will not happen. But not all
systems are set up that way and those that are may
not always work. It is much better to develop the
habit of not pushing the brake pedal down when
the spring brakes are on.
Modulating control valves. In some vehicles a
control handle on the dash board may be used to
apply the spring brakes gradually. This is called a
modulating valve. It is spring loaded so you have
a feel for the braking action. The more you move
the control lever, the harder the spring brakes
come on. They work this way so you can control
the spring brakes if the service brakes fail. When
parking a vehicle with a modulating control valve,
move the lever as far as it will go and hold it in
place with the locking device.
Dual parking control valve. When main air
pressure is lost, the spring brakes come on. Some
vehicles, such as buses, have a separate air tank
which can be used to release the spring brakes. This
is so you can move the vehicle in an emergency.
One of the valves is a push-pull type and is used
to put on the spring brakes for parking. The other
valve is spring loaded in the “out” position. When
you push the control in, air from the separate air
tank releases the spring brakes so you can move.
When you release the button, the spring brakes
come on again. There is only enough air in the
separate tank to do this a few times.
Dual Air Brake Systems
Most newer heavy-duty vehicles use dual air brake
systems for safety. A dual air brake system has two
separate air brake systems which use a single set of
brake controls. Each system has its own air tanks,
hoses, lines, etc. One system typically operates the
regular brakes on the rear axle or axles. The other
system operates the regular brakes on the front axle
and possibly one rear axle. Both systems supply
air to the trailer, if there is one. The first system is
called the primary system and the other is called
the secondary system.
Before driving a vehicle with a dual air system,
allow time for the air compressor to build up a
minimum of 100 psi pressure in both the primary
and secondary systems. Watch the primary and
secondary air pressure gauges (or needles, if the
system has two needles in one gauge). The low
air pressure warning light and buzzer should shut
off when air pressure in both systems rises to a
value set by the manufacturer. This value must be
greater than 55 psi.
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The warning system devices should come on before
the air pressure drops below 55 psi in either system.
If one air system is very low on pressure, either
the front or the rear brakes will not be operating
fully. This means it will take you longer to stop.
Bring the vehicle to a safe stop and have the air
brake system fixed.
Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
• ABS is an addition to your normal brakes.
It does not decrease or increase your normal
braking capability. ABS only activates when
wheels are about to lock up and changes the
way you brake in an emergency.
• ABS does not shorten your stopping distance,
it helps keep the vehicle under control during
hard braking.
Truck tractors with air brakes built on or after
March 1, 1997, and other air brakes vehicles (trucks,
buses, trailers, and converter dollies) built on or
after March 1, 1998, are required to be equipped
with ABS. Many commercial vehicles built before
these dates have been voluntarily equipped with
ABS. Check the certification label for the date
of manufacture to determine if your vehicle is
equipped with ABS. ABS is a computerized system
that keeps your wheels from locking up during
hard brake applications. Some ABS information:
• Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction
lamps to tell you if something isn’t working.
• Tractors, trucks, and buses have yellow ABS
malfunction lamps on the instrument panel
when you turn on the ignition.
• Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction
lamps on either the left side, front or rear corner.
• Dollies manufactured on or after March 1,
1998, are required to have a malfunction lamp
on the left side.
Combination Vehicle Air
Brakes
On newer vehicles, the malfunction lamp comes
on at start-up for a bulb check, and then goes out
quickly. On older systems, the lamp could stay on
until you are driving over five mph.
• If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or
goes on while you are driving, you may have
lost ABS control at one or more wheels.
• In the case of towed units manufactured
before ABS were required by the Department
of Transportation, it may be difficult to tell if
the unit is equipped with ABS. Look under the
vehicle for the electronic control unit (ECU)
and wheel speed sensor wires coming from
the back of the brakes.
Tractor Protection Valve
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The trailer hand valve (also called the trolley
valve or Johnson bar) works the trailer brakes. The
trailer hand valve should be used only to test the
trailer brakes. Do not slow a tractor and semitrailer
combination by using only the trailer hand brake.
Do not use it in driving because of the danger of
making the trailer skid. The foot brake sends air
to all of the brakes on the vehicle including the
trailers. There is much less danger of causing a
skid or jackknife when using just the foot brake.
Trailer Hand Valve
Never use the hand valve for parking, because all
the air might leak out, unlocking the brakes (in
trailers that do not have spring brakes). Always
use the parking brakes when parking. If the trailer
does not have spring brakes, use wheel chocks to
keep the trailer from moving.
The tractor protection valve keeps air in the tractor
or truck if the trailer breaks away or develops a bad
leak. The tractor protection valve is controlled by
the trailer air supply control valve in the cab. The
control valve allows you to open and shut the tractor
protection valve. It will close automatically if air
pressure is low (in the range of 20 to 45 psi). When
the valve closes, it stops any air from escaping and
lets the air out of the trailer emergency line which
causes the trailer emergency brakes to come on.
(Emergency brakes are covered later.)
The trailer air supply control on newer vehicles
is a red 8-sided knob which controls the tractor
protection valve. Push it in to supply the trailer
with air, and pull it out to shut the air off and put
on the trailer emergency brakes. The valve will
pop out and close the tractor protection valve
when the air pressure drops into the range 20 to 45
psi. Emergency valves on older vehicles may not
operate automatically. There may be a lever rather
than a knob. The normal position is used for pulling
a trailer. The emergency position is used to shut
the air off and put on the trailer emergency brakes.
Trailer Air Lines
Every combination vehicle has two air lines—the
service line and the emergency line. They run
between each vehicle (tractor to trailer, trailer to
dolly, dolly to second trailer, etc.).
Service air line (normally blue). The service line
(also called the control line or signal line) carries
air which is controlled by the foot brake or the
trailer hand brake. The pressure in the service line
will similarly change depending on how hard you
press the foot brake or hand valve. The service
line is connected to a relay valve on the trailer to
apply more or less pressure to the trailer brakes.
The relay valve connects the trailer air tanks to
the trailer air brakes. As pressure builds up in the
service line, the relay valve opens and sends air
pressure from the trailer air tank to the trailer brake
chambers, putting on the trailer brakes.
Emergency air line (normally red). The emergency line has two purposes. First, it supplies air
to the trailer air tanks and secondly, the emergency
line controls the emergency brakes on combination
vehicles. Loss of air pressure in the emergency
line causes the trailer emergency brakes to come
on. The pressure loss could be caused by a trailer
breaking loose, tearing apart the emergency air
hose. It could also be caused by a hose, metal
tubing, or other part which breaks, letting the air
out. When the emergency line loses pressure, it
causes the tractor protection valve to close (the
air supply knob will pop out).
Hose Couplers (Glad Hands)
Glad hands are coupling devices used to connect
the service and emergency air lines from the truck
or tractor to the trailer. The couplers have a rubber
seal which prevents air from escaping. Clean the
couplers and rubber seals before a connection is
made. When connecting the glad hands, press the
two seals together with the couplers at a 90° angle
to each other. A turn of the glad hand attached to
the hose will join and lock the couplers.
It is very important to keep the air supply clean.
To keep the air supply clean, some vehicles have
“dead end” or dummy couplers to which the hoses
may be attached when they are not in use. This
will prevent water and dirt from getting into the
coupler and the air lines. Use the dummy couplers,
if available, when the air lines are not connected
to a trailer.
To avoid mistakes, metal tags are sometimes
attached to the lines with the words service or
emergency stamped on them. Sometimes colors
are used. Blue is used for the service lines and red
for the emergency lines.
If you do cross the air lines, supply air will be
sent to the service line instead of going to charge
the trailer air tanks. Air will not be available to
release the trailer spring brakes (parking brakes).
If the spring brakes don’t release when you push
the trailer air supply control, check the air line
connections.
Older trailers do not have spring brakes. If the air
supply in the trailer air tank has leaked away there
will be no emergency brakes and the trailer wheels
will turn freely. If you crossed the air lines, you
could drive away but you would not have trailer
brakes. Before driving, always test the trailer brakes
with the hand valve or by pulling the air supply
control. Pull gently against them in a low gear to
make sure the brakes work.
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Trailer Air Tanks
Each trailer and converter dolly has one or more air
tanks. They are filled by the emergency supply line
from the tractor and they provide the air pressure
used to operate trailer brakes. Air pressure is sent
from the air tanks to the brakes by relay valves. The
pressure in the service line tells how much pressure
the relay valves should send to the trailer brakes.
The pressure in the service line is controlled by
the brake pedal and the trailer hand brake.
It is important that you do not let water or oil
build up in the air tanks. If you do, the brakes
may not work. Each tank has a drain valve on it,
and must be drained every day. If your tanks have
automatic drains, they will keep most moisture
out. However, you should still open the drains to
check for moisture.
Shut-Off Valves
Shut-off valves (also called cut-out cocks) are used
in the service and supply air lines at the back of
the trailers used to tow other trailers. These valves
permit closing the air lines when no other trailer
is being towed. You must check that all shut-off
valves are in the open position except the ones at
the back of the last trailer, which must be closed.
Service, Spring, and Emergency
Brakes
Newer trailers have spring brakes just like trucks
and truck tractors. However, converter dollies and
trailers built before 1975 are not required to have
spring brakes. These have emergency brakes which
work from the air stored in the trailer air tank. The
emergency brakes come on whenever air pressure
in the emergency line is lost. These trailers have
no parking brake. The emergency brakes come
on whenever the air supply knob is pulled out or
the trailer is disconnected. The brakes will hold
only as long as there is air pressure in the trailer
air tank. Eventually, the air will leak away and
then there will be no brakes. It is very important
that you use wheel chocks when you park trailers
without spring brakes.
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A major leak in the emergency line will cause the
tractor protection valve to close and the trailer
emergency brakes to come on.
You may not notice a major leak in the service line
until you try to put the brakes on. Then, the air
loss from the leak will lower the air tank pressure
quickly. If it goes low enough, the trailer emergency
brakes will come on.
Inspecting the Air Brake
System
Use the basic inspection procedures described in
Sections 2 or 4 to inspect your vehicle. There are
more items to inspect on a vehicle with air brakes
than one without them.
Engine Compartment
Check air compressor drive belt. If the air
compressor is belt-driven, check for excessive
wear, cracks, and tightness of the belt.
Walkaround
Check brake adjustment on S-cam brakes. Park
on level ground and chock the wheels to prevent the
vehicle from moving. Release the parking brakes
on the truck or tractor and the emergency brakes
on the trailer so you can mark the push rod in the
unapplied position. Make a mark on the push rod
with a chalk or scribe close to the brake chamber
where the push rod comes out of the air chamber.
Apply the truck or tractor parking brake and the
trailer emergency braking system. Measure the
travel of the push rod from the brake chamber
and the mark you made with the chalk or scribe
at each brake chamber. The push rod should move
less than one inch on most brakes. (Smaller brake
cams will have less push rod travel.)
If the brake push rod exceeds the required adjustment, adjust it or have it adjusted. (You are not
expected to adjust them during the pre-trip test but
you are expected to describe how to check that the
brake push rod is adjusted properly.) Vehicles with
too much brake slack can be very hard to stop.
Out-of-adjustment brakes are the problem most
often found in roadside inspections. Be safe—check
the slack adjusters.
All vehicles built since 1994 have automatic slack
adjustors. Even though automatic slack adjustors
adjust themselves during full brake applications,
they must be checked.
Automatic adjustors should not have to be manually
adjusted, except when performing maintenance
on the brakes and during installation of the slack
adjusters. In a vehicle equipped with automatic
slack adjusters, when the pushrod stroke exceeds
the legal brake adjustment limit, it is an indication
that there is a mechanical problem with the adjuster
itself, or the related foundation brake components,
or the adjuster was improperly installed.
The manual adjustment of an automatic adjuster to
bring a brake pushrod stroke within legal limits is
generally masking a mechanical problem, not fixing
it. Additionally, manually adjusting most automatic
adjusters will likely result in premature wear of
the adjuster. When brakes equipped with automatic
adjusters are found to be out of adjustment, the
driver should take the vehicle to a repair facility
as soon as possible to have the problem corrected.
The manual adjustment of an automatic adjuster
should only be used as a temporary measure to
correct the adjustment in an emergency situation
as it is likely the brake will soon be back out of
adjustment since this procedure usually does not
fix the underlying adjustment problem.
(Note: Automatic slack adjusters made by different
manufacturers do not all operate the same. Therefore, the specific Manufacturer’s Service Manual
should be consulted prior to troubleshooting a
brake adjustment problem.)
In-Cab Air Brake Check
Note: All the Air Brakes system tests in this
section are considered important and each can be
considered critical parts of the in-cab air brakes
tests. The items marked with an asterisk (*) in this
section are required for testing purposes during
the pre-trip portion of the CDL driving test. They
may be performed in any order as long as they are
performed correctly and effectively. If these items
are not demonstrated and the parameters for each
test are not verbalized correctly, it is considered an
automatic failure of the pre-trip portion of the test.
Testing air leakage rate. There are two tests as
follows:
Static Leakage Test
With a basically fully-charged air system (within
the effective operating range for the compressor),
turn off the engine, release all brakes, and let the
system settle (air gauge needle stops moving).
Time for one minute. The air pressure should not
drop more than:
— 2 psi for single vehicles.
— 3 psi for a combination of two vehicles.
— 5 psi for a combination of three or more
vehicles.
An air loss greater than those shown indicate a
problem in the braking system and repairs are
needed before operating the vehicle.
Check brake drums (or discs), linings, and
hoses. Brake drums must not have cracks. Linings
must not be loose or soaked with oil or grease.
They should not be thinner than the manufacturers
specifications recommend. (Generally, this will be
1/4 inch.) Mechanical parts must be in place, not
broken or missing. Check the air hoses connected
to the brake chambers to make sure they are not
cracked, cut, or worn.
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*Applied Leakage Test
With a basically fully-charged air system (within
the effective operating range for the compressor),
turn off the engine, release all brakes so the entire
system is charged. Allow the system to settle (air
gauge needle stops moving), apply firm, steady
pressure to the brake pedal (brake on), and hold.
After the system settles again, time for one minute.
The air pressure should not drop more than:
— 3 psi for single vehicles.
— 4 psi for a combination of two vehicles.
— 6 psi for a combination of three or more
vehicles.
An air loss greater than those shown indicate a
problem in the braking system and repairs are
needed before operating the vehicle.
Note: You must be able to demonstrate this test and
verbalize the allowable air loss for the examiner
on this test.
If the air loss is too much, check for air leaks and
fix. For testing purposes, identify if the air loss
rate is too much.
*Air Compressor Governor Cut-Out
Pressure Test
To perform this test, the air pressure for the vehicle
must be rising when the engine is running. Run the
engine at a fast idle. The air compressor governor
must cut-out prior to the needle reaching 130 psi.
Where the needle stops rising is the governor
cut-out pressure.
For testing purposes, identify where the air
governor cuts out the compressor and verbalize
the maximum pressure at which this can occur.
Note: The air dryer exhausting should not be
referenced as governor cut-out.
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*Air Compressor Governor Cut-In Pressure
Test
To perform this test, the air pressure for the vehicle
cannot be rising when the engine is running. With
the engine idling, slowly pump the brake pedal
to reduce the air tank pressure. Watch the air
pressure gauge between pumps to identify when
the compressor cuts in (needle starts to rise). This
should occur no lower than 85 psi.
For testing purposes, identify where the air
governor cuts in the compressor and verbalize the
minimum pressure at which this can occur.
*Low Air Pressure Warning Device Test
This test may be performed with engine on or off.
To perform the test with the engine off, turn the
electrical power on and have enough air pressure
to keep the low air pressure warning device from
coming on. Slowly pump the brake pedal to reduce
air tank pressure. The low air pressure warning
device must activate between 55 and 75 psi. For
testing purposes, identify when the warning signal
activates, and verbalize the legal range in which
the signal must activate.
If the warning signal does not work, you could
lose air pressure and not know it. This could cause
sudden emergency braking in a single circuit air
system. In dual systems the stopping distance will
be increased. Only limited braking can be done
before the spring brakes come on.
*Check that the spring brakes come on automatically. Chock the wheels. Release all parking
brakes and shut the engine off. Pump the brake
pedal to reduce the air tank pressure. The trailer
air supply valve knob should pop out when the air
pressure falls to the manufacturer’s specifications
(usually in a range between 20 to 45 psi). This
causes the spring brakes to engage. Some trailers
use an air applied emergency brake system and
some trailers use spring brakes as the emergency
brake system.
Check rate of air pressure buildup. With the
engine at operating rpms, the pressure should build
from 85 to 100 psi within 45 seconds in dual air
systems. If the vehicle has larger than minimum
air tanks, the buildup time can be longer and still
be safe. Check the manufacturer’s specifications.
In single air systems (pre-1975), typical requirements are pressure buildup from 50 to 90 psi
within 3 minutes with the engine at an idle speed
of 600-900 rpms.
If air pressure does not build up fast enough, the
pressure may drop too low during driving, requiring
an emergency stop.
Test service brakes. Wait for normal air pressure,
release the parking brake, move the vehicle forward
slowly (about 5 mph), and apply the brakes firmly
using the brake pedal. Any pulling to one side,
unusual feel, or delayed stopping action should
be checked.
Test parking brake. Fasten your seat belt. Set the
parking brake and try to move the vehicle or allow
the vehicle to slowly move forward and apply the
parking brake. The parking brake should stop a
rolling vehicle, or not allow any movement.
Combination Vehicle Brake Check
In addition to those already listed in Section 2,
complete these checks.
Check that air flows to all trailers (double
or triple trailers):
If you do not hear air escaping from both lines,
check that the shut-off valves on the other trailer(s)
and dolly(ies) are in the OPEN position. You must
have air all the way to the back for all the brakes
to work.
Test tractor protection valve:
• Charge the trailer air brake system. (That is,
build up normal air pressure and push in the
air supply knob.)
• Shut off the engine.
• Pump the brake pedal several times to reduce
the air pressure in the tanks. The trailer air
supply control should pop out or go from the
normal to the emergency position when the air
pressure falls into the pressure range specified
by the manufacturer (usually within the range
of 20 to 45 psi).
If the tractor protection valve does not work correctly, an air hose or trailer brake leak could drain
all the air from the tractor. This would cause the
emergency brakes to come on, with possible loss
of control.
Test trailer emergency brakes:
• Charge the trailer air brake system and check
that the trailer rolls freely.
• Stop and pull out the trailer air supply control
valve or place it in the emergency position.
• Pull gently on the trailer with the tractor to
check that the trailer emergency brakes are on.
• Use the tractor parking brake and/or chock the
wheels to hold the vehicle.
• Wait for air pressure to reach normal.
• Use the trailer hand brake to provide air to the
service line.
• Open the emergency line shut-off valve at
the rear of the last trailer (you should hear air
escaping).
• Close the emergency line valve.
• Open the service line valve to check that
service pressure goes through all the trailers,
then close the valve.
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Test trailer service brakes:
•
•
•
•
Check for normal air pressure.
Release parking brakes.
Move the vehicle forward, slowly.
Apply the trailer brakes with the hand control
(trolley valve), if so equipped.
You should feel the brakes come on. This tells
you the trailer brakes are connected and working.
The trailer brakes should be tested with the hand
valve but controlled in normal operation with the
foot pedal, which applies air to the service brakes
at all wheels.
Using Air Brakes
Push the brake pedal down until the vehicle comes
to a smooth stop. If you have a manual transmission, don’t push the clutch in until the engine rpm
is close to idle. When you are stopped, select a
starting gear. You should brake so you can steer
and keep your vehicle in a straight line and allow
you to turn if it becomes necessary. Use one of the
following methods.
Braking with Antilock Brakes
• When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in
a vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock
up. When your steering wheels lock up, you
lose steering control. When your other wheels
lock up, you may skid, jackknife, or even spin
the vehicle.
• ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The
computer senses impending lockup, reduces
the braking pressure to a safe level, and you
maintain control.
• You may not be able to stop faster with ABS,
but you should be able to steer around an
obstacle while braking, and avoid skids caused
by over-braking.
• Having ABS on only the tractor, only the trailer,
or even on only one axle, still gives you more
control over the vehicle during braking. Brake
normally.
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• When only the tractor has ABS, you should be
able to maintain steering control, and there is
less chance of jackknifing. But keep your eye
on the trailer and let up on the brakes (if you
can safely do so) if it begins to swing out.
• When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is
less likely to swing out. But if you lose steering
control or start a tractor jackknife, let up on
the brakes (if you can safely do so) until you
gain control.
• When you drive a tractor-trailer combination
with ABS, you should brake as you always
have. In other words:
— Use only the braking force necessary to
stop safely and stay in control.
— Brake the same way, regardless of whether
you have ABS on the tractor, the trailer,
or both.
— As you slow down, monitor your tractor
and trailer and back off the brakes (if it is
safe to do so) to stay in control.
— There is only one exception to this procedure; if you always drive a straight truck
or combination with working ABS on all
axles, in an emergency stop, you can fully
apply the brakes.
— Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you
still have regular brakes. Drive normally,
but get the system serviced soon.
— Without ABS, you still have normal brake
functions. Drive and brake as you always
have.
Emergency Stops
Controlled braking. This method is also called
“squeeze” braking. Put on the brakes as hard as
you can without locking the wheels. Do not turn
the steering wheel while doing this. If you need to
make large steering adjustments or if you feel the
wheels sliding, release the brakes. Brake again as
soon as the tires get traction.
Stab braking. (Only on vehicles without antilock
brake systems.)
• Press on the brake pedal as hard as you can.
• Release the brakes when the wheels lock up.
• As soon as the wheels start rolling, put on the
brakes fully again.
It can take up to one second for the wheels to start
rolling after you release the brakes. Make sure you
stay off the brakes long enough to get the wheels
rolling again. Otherwise the vehicle may not stay
in a straight line.
Note: If you drive a vehicle with antilock brakes,
you should read and follow the directions found in
the owner’s manual for stopping quickly.
Stopping Distance
This was discussed in Section 2 under Speed and
Stopping Distances. With air brakes there is an
added delay: the time required for the brakes to
work after the brake pedal is pushed. With hydraulic
brakes (used on cars and light/medium trucks), the
brakes work instantly. However, with air brakes,
it takes time (up to one half second) for the air
to flow through the lines to the brakes. Thus, the
total stopping distance for vehicles with air brake
systems is made up of four different factors.
Perception distance
+ Reaction distance
+ Brake lag distance
+ Effective braking distance
= TOTAL STOPPING DISTANCE
Brakes get hot from use and will stop working if
there is too much heat. Excessive heat is caused by
trying to slow down too many times or too quickly
from a high speed. Brakes will fade when they get
too hot and will not slow you.
Brake Fade or Failure
Brakes are designed so brake shoes or pads rub
against the brake drum or discs to slow the vehicle.
Braking creates heat, but brakes are designed to
take a lot of heat. However, brakes can fade or fail
from excessive heat caused by using them too much
and not relying on the braking effect of the engine.
Excessive use of the service brakes results in
overheating and leads to brake fade. Brake fade
results from excessive heat which causes chemical
changes in the brake lining and expansion of the
brake drums. As the overheated drums expand,
the brake shoes and linings have to move farther
to contact the drums, and the force of this contact
is also reduced. Continued overuse may increase
brake fade until the vehicle cannot be slowed or
stopped at all.
Brake fade is also affected by adjustment. To safely
control a vehicle, every brake must do its share of
the work. Brakes out of adjustment will stop doing
their share before those that are in adjustment. The
other brakes can then overheat and fade and there
will not be sufficient braking available to control
the vehicle(s). Brakes can get out of adjustment
quickly, especially when they are hot. Therefore,
brake adjustment must be checked frequently.
The air brake lag distance at 55 mph on dry
pavement adds about 32 feet. So at 55 mph for
an average driver under good traction and brake
conditions, the total stopping distance is over 300
feet. This is longer than a football field.
- 85 -
Proper Braking Technique
Parking Brakes
Remember: The use of brakes on a long and/
or steep downgrade is only a supplement to the
braking effect of the engine. Once the vehicle is
in the proper low gear, the following is the proper
braking technique:
• Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a
definite slowdown.
• When your speed has been reduced to approximately 5 mph below your “safe” speed,
release the brakes. (This brake application
should last for about three seconds.)
• When your speed has increased to your “safe”
speed, repeat the steps above.
Any time you park, use the parking brakes, except:
• If the brakes are very hot, they can be damaged
by the heat.
• In freezing temperatures, if the brakes are very
wet, they will freeze and the vehicle will be
immobilized.
For example, if your “safe” speed is 40 mph, you
would not apply the brakes until your speed reaches
40 mph. You now apply the brakes hard enough to
gradually reduce your speed to 35 mph and then
release the brakes. Repeat this as often as necessary
until you have reached the end of the downgrade.
Low Air Pressure Warning Signal
If a low air pressure warning signal comes on,
stop and safely park your vehicle as soon as possible. There may be an air leak in the system(s).
Controlled braking is possible only while enough
air remains in the air tanks. The spring brakes
will come on when the air pressure drops into the
range 20 to 45 psi A heavily loaded vehicle will
take a long distance to stop, because the spring
brakes do not work on all axles. Lightly loaded
vehicles or vehicles on slippery roads may skid
out of control when the spring brakes come on.
Controlled braking is possible only while enough
air remains in the air tanks.
- 86 -
Air Tank Drains
Pull the parking brake control knob out to apply
the parking brakes, push it in to release them. The
control will be a yellow, diamond-shaped knob
labeled “parking brakes” on newer vehicles. On
older vehicles, it may be a round blue knob or
some other shape (including a lever that swings
from side to side or up and down).
Use wheel chocks to hold the vehicle. Let hot brakes
cool before using the parking brakes. If the brakes
are wet, use the brakes lightly while driving in a
low gear to heat and dry them.
If your vehicle does not have automatic air tank
drains, drain your air tanks at the end of each
working day to remove moisture and oil. Otherwise,
the brakes could fail.
Section 6: Combination Vehicles
This section is for drivers who need a Class A CDL
This section provides information needed to
pass the test for Class A combination vehicles
(tractor-trailers, or straight truck and trailer). The
information gives you the minimum knowledge
needed for driving most combination vehicles.
You should also study Section 7 if you need to
pass the tests for doubles/triples.
Driving Combination
Vehicles Safely
Combination vehicles are heavier, longer, and
require more driving skill than single commercial
vehicles. This means that drivers of combination
vehicles need more knowledge and skill than drivers of single vehicles. In this section, we list some
important safety factors that apply specifically to
combination vehicles.
Rollover Risks
More than half of truck driver deaths in collisions
are from truck rollovers. As more cargo is stacked
in a truck, the center of gravity gets higher from
the road. The truck becomes easier to turn over.
Fully loaded rigs are 10 times more likely to roll
over in a collision than empty rigs.
The following two things will help to prevent
rollovers: keep the cargo as close to the ground
as possible, and go slowly around turns. Section
3 of this handbook talks about transporting cargo
safely. Keeping cargo low is even more important
in combination vehicles than in straight trucks. A
trailer rollover is more likely if the load is to one
side. Make sure your cargo is centered and spread
out as much as possible.
Rollovers happen when you turn too fast. Go
slowly around corners, onramps, and offramps.
Avoid quick lane changes, especially when fully
loaded. A tractor-trailer vehicle combination is most
likely to roll over in a turn when the configuration
includes triple 27 ft. trailers.
Steer Gently
Trucks with trailers have a dangerous “crack-thewhip” effect. When you make a quick lane change,
the crack-the-whip effect can turn the trailer over.
There are many collisions where only the trailer
has overturned.
Steer carefully when you are pulling trailers. If
you make a sudden movement with your steering
wheel you could tip over a trailer. Follow far enough
behind other vehicles (at least one second for each
ten feet of vehicle length, plus another second if
going over 40 mph). Look far enough down the
road to avoid being surprised and having to make a
sudden lane change. At night, drive slowly enough
to see obstacles before it is too late to change lanes
or stop gently. Slow down to a safe speed before
going into a turn.
Brake Early
Control your speed whether fully loaded or empty.
Large combination vehicles that are empty take
longer to stop than when they are fully loaded.
When lightly loaded, the very stiff suspension
springs and strong brakes give poor traction and
make it very easy to lock up the wheels. When
the wheels lock, your trailer can swing out and
strike other vehicles or it can jackknife very
quickly (Figure 6-1). You also must be very careful
about driving “bobtail” tractors (tractors without
semitrailers). Tests have shown that bobtails can
be very hard to stop smoothly. It takes them longer
to stop than a tractor and semitrailer loaded to
maximum gross weight.
In any combination rig, allow adequate following
distance and look far enough ahead so you can
brake early. Do not be caught by surprise and have
to make a panic stop.
- 87 -
Line of
Travel
Line of
Travel
Direction of
Slide
Rear Tractor
Wheels Locked-Up
or Spinning
Trailer Wheels
Locked and Sliding
Figure 6-1 Tractor Jackknife
Figure 6-2 Trailer Jackknife
Make Wide Enough Turns
When the wheels of a trailer lock up, the trailer will
tend to swing around. This is more likely to happen
when the trailer is empty or lightly loaded. This type
of jackknife is often called a “trailer jackknife.”
This is shown in Figure 6-2. The procedure for
stopping a trailer skid is as follows:
• Recognize the skid. The earliest and best way
to recognize that the trailer has started to skid
is by seeing it in your mirrors. Any time you
apply the brakes hard, check the mirrors to
make sure the trailer is staying where it should
be. Once the trailer swings out of your lane, it
is very difficult to prevent a jackknife.
• Stop using the brake. Release the brakes to
get traction back. Do not use the trailer hand
brake to straighten out the rig. This is the wrong
thing to do since it is the brakes on the trailer
wheels that caused the skid in the first place.
Once the trailer wheels grip the road again,
the trailer will start to follow the tractor and
straighten out. The best way to stop any skid
is to get off the brakes and let the tires restore
traction.
When a vehicle goes around a corner, the rear
wheels follow a different path than the front
wheels. This is called offtracking. Figure 6-3
shows how offtracking causes the path followed
by a tractor and semitrailer to be wider than the rig
itself. Longer vehicles will offtrack more. The rear
wheels of the powered unit (truck or tractor) will
offtrack some, and the rear wheels of the trailer
will offtrack even more. If there is more than one
trailer, the rear wheels of the last trailer will offtrack
the most. Steer the front end wide enough around
a corner so the rear end does not run over the curb,
pedestrians, other vehicles, etc. However, keep the
Tractor
Avoid Trailer Skids
r
ile
a
itr
m
Se
Maximum width of
swept path
Path followed by
innermost tire
Path followed by
outside tractor tire
Figure 6-3 Offtracking in a 90 degree turn
- 88 -
rear of your vehicle close to the curb. This will
stop other drivers from passing you on the right.
If you cannot complete your turn without entering
another lane of traffic, turn wide as you complete
the turn. This is better than swinging wide to the
left before starting the turn because it will keep
other drivers from passing you on the right.
Look at your path. Look at your line of travel
before you begin. Get out and walk around the
vehicle. Check your clearance to the sides and
overhead in and near the path your vehicle will take.
Railroad-Highway Crossings
Back slowly. Always back as slowly as possible.
Use the lowest reverse gear so that you can easily
correct any steering errors before you get too far
off course. You can also stop quickly if necessary.
Railroad-highway crossings can also cause
problems, particularly when pulling trailers with
low underneath clearance.
• These trailers can get stuck on raised crossings:
— Low slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving van, possum-belly livestock trailer).
— Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer
with its landing gear set to accommodate
a tandem-axle tractor.
• If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks,
get out of the vehicle and away from the tracks.
Check sign posts or signal housing at the crossing
for emergency notification information. Call 911
or other emergency number. Give the location
of the crossing using all identifiable landmarks,
especially the DOT number, if posted.
Backing Safely
Because you cannot see everything behind your
vehicle, backing is always dangerous. Avoid
backing whenever you can. When you park, try
to park so you will be able to pull forward when
you leave. When you have to back, here are a few
simple safety rules:
• Look at your path.
• Back slowly, using your mirrors.
• Back and turn toward the driver’s side whenever possible.
• Use a helper whenever possible.
Start in the proper position. Put the vehicle in
the best position to allow you to back safely. This
position will depend on the type of backing to be
done.
Use mirrors on both sides. Check the outside
mirrors on both sides frequently. Get out of the
vehicle and check your path if you are unsure.
Back and turn toward the driver’s side. Back
to the driver’s side so you can see well. Backing
toward the right side is very dangerous because
you cannot see as well. Remember to always back
in the direction that gives you the best vision.
Backing with a Trailer
Backing with a trailer. When backing a car,
straight truck, or bus, turn the steering wheel
toward the direction you want to go. When backing
a trailer, turn the steering wheel in the opposite
direction. Once the trailer starts to turn, you must
turn the wheel the other way to follow the trailer.
• Whenever you back with a trailer, try to position
your vehicle so you can back in a straight line.
If you must back on a curved path, back to the
driver’s side so you can see.
• Back slowly so you can make corrections
before you get too far off course.
Correct drift immediately. As soon as you see
the trailer getting off the proper path, correct it
by turning the steering wheel in the direction of
the drift.
Pull forward. When backing, make pull-ups to
reposition your vehicle when needed.
Use a helper. Use a helper when you can. He or
she can see blind spots that you can’t. The helper
should stand near the back of the vehicle where you
can see him or her. Before you begin backing, work
out a set of hand signals that you both understand.
Agree on a signal for STOP.
- 89 -
Combination Vehicle Air
Brakes
You should study Section 5: Air Brakes before
reading this. In combination vehicles the braking
system has parts to control the trailer brakes, in
addition to the parts described in Section 5. These
parts are described below.
Trailer Hand Valve
• The trailer hand valve (also called the trolley
valve or Johnson bar) works the trailer brakes.
The trailer hand valve should be used only to
test the trailer brakes. Do not use it in driving
because of the danger of making the trailer skid.
The foot brake sends air to all of the brakes on
the vehicle (including the trailer(s)). There is
much less danger of causing a skid or jackknife
when using just the foot brake.
• Never use the hand valve for parking because
all the air might leak out unlocking the brakes
(in trailers that don’t have spring brakes).
Always use the parking brakes when parking.
If the trailer does not have spring brakes, use
wheel chocks to keep the trailer from moving.
Tractor Protection Valve
The tractor protection valve keeps air in the tractor
or truck if the trailer breaks away or develops a bad
leak. The tractor protection valve is controlled by
the trailer air supply control valve in the cab. The
control valve allows you to open and shut the tractor
protection valve. It will close automatically if air
pressure is low (in the range of 20 to 45 psi). When
the valve closes, it stops any air from escaping and
lets the air out of the trailer emergency line which
causes the trailer emergency brakes to come on.
(Emergency brakes are covered later.)
Trailer Air Supply Control
The trailer air supply control on newer vehicles is a
red eight-sided knob, which you use to control the
tractor protection valve. You push it in to supply the
trailer with air, and pull it out to shut the air off and
put on the trailer emergency brakes. The valve will
pop out (thus closing the tractor protection valve)
when the air pressure drops between 20 to 45 psi.
- 90 -
Tractor protection valve controls or “emergency”
valves on older vehicles may not operate automatically. There may be a lever rather than a knob.
The “normal” position is used for pulling a trailer.
The “emergency” position is used to shut the air
off and put on the trailer emergency brakes.
Trailer Air Lines
Every combination vehicle has two air lines—the
service line and the emergency line. They run
between each vehicle (tractor to trailer, trailer to
dolly, dolly to second trailer, etc.).
• Service air line (normally blue). The service
line (also called the control line or signal line)
carries air which is controlled by the foot brake
or the trailer hand brake. The pressure in the
service line will similarly change depending on
how hard you press the foot brake or hand valve.
The service line is connected to a relay valve
on the trailer to apply more or less pressure
to the trailer brakes. The relay valve connects
the trailer air tanks to the trailer air brakes. As
pressure builds up in the service line, the relay
valve opens and sends air pressure from the
trailer air tank to the trailer brake chambers,
putting on the trailer brakes.
• Emergency air line (normally red). The
emergency line has two purposes. First, it
supplies air to the trailer air tanks and secondly,
the emergency line controls the emergency
brakes on combination vehicles. Loss of air
pressure in the emergency line causes the trailer
emergency brakes to come on. The pressure
loss could be caused by a trailer breaking
loose, tearing apart the emergency air hose. It
could also be caused by a hose, metal tubing,
or other part which breaks, letting the air out.
When the emergency line loses pressure, it
causes the tractor protection valve to close
(the air supply knob will pop out).
Trailer Air Tanks
when you park trailers without spring brakes.
Each trailer and converter dolly has one or more air
tanks. They are filled by the emergency (supply)
line from the tractor. They provide the air pressure
used to operate trailer brakes. Air pressure is sent
from the air tanks to the brakes by relay valves.
You may not notice a major leak in the service line
until you try to put the brakes on. Then, the air
loss from the leak will lower the air tank pressure
quickly. If it goes low enough, the trailer emergency
brakes will come on.
The pressure in the service line tells how much
pressure the relay valves should send to the trailer
brakes. The pressure in the service line is controlled
by the brake pedal (and the trailer hand brake).
Hose Couplers (Glad Hands)
It is important that you don’t let water and oil build
up in the air tanks. If you do, the brakes may not
work correctly. Each tank has a drain valve on it
and you should drain each tank every day. If your
tanks have automatic drains, they will keep most
moisture out. But you should still open the drains
to make sure.
Shut-Off Valves
Shut-off valves (also called cut-out cocks) are used
in the service and supply air lines at the back of
trailers used to tow other trailers. These valves
permit closing the air lines off when another trailer
is not being towed. You must check that all shut-off
valves are in the open position except the ones at
the back of the last trailer, which must be closed.
Trailer Service, Parking and
Emergency Brakes
Newer trailers have spring brakes just like trucks
and truck tractors. However, converter dollies and
trailers built before 1975 are not required to have
spring brakes. Those that do not have spring brakes
have emergency brakes, which work from the air
stored in the trailer air tank. The emergency brakes
come on whenever air pressure in the emergency
line is lost. These trailers have no parking brake.
The emergency brakes come on whenever the air
supply knob is pulled out or the trailer is disconnected. A major leak in the emergency line will
cause the tractor protection valve to close and the
trailer emergency brakes to come on. The brakes
will hold only as long as there is air pressure in the
trailer air tank. Eventually, the air will leak away
and then there will be no brakes. Therefore, it is
very important for safety that you use wheel chocks
Glad hands are coupling devices used to connect
the service and emergency air lines from the truck
or tractor to the trailer. The couplers have a rubber
seal which prevents air from escaping. Clean the
couplers and rubber seals before a connection is
made. When connecting the glad hands, press the
two seals together with the couplers at a 90° angle
to each other. A turn of the glad hand attached to
the hose will join and lock the couplers.
It is very important to keep the air supply clean.
To keep the air supply clean, some vehicles have
“dead end” or dummy couplers to which the hoses
may be attached when they are not in use. This
will prevent water and dirt from getting into the
coupler and the air lines. Use the dummy couplers,
if available, when the air lines are not connected
to a trailer.
To avoid mistakes, metal tags are sometimes
attached to the lines with the words service or
emergency stamped on them. Sometimes colors
are used. Blue is used for the service lines and red
for the emergency lines.
If you do cross the air lines, supply air will be
sent to the service line instead of going to charge
the trailer air tanks. Air will not be available to
release the trailer spring brakes (parking brakes).
If the spring brakes don’t release when you push
the trailer air supply control, check the air line
connections.
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Older trailers do not have spring brakes. If the air
supply in the trailer air tank has leaked away there
will be no emergency brakes and the trailer wheels
will turn freely. If you crossed the air lines, you
could drive away but you would not have trailer
brakes. Before driving, always test the trailer brakes
with the hand valve or by pulling the air supply
control. Pull gently against them in a low gear to
make sure the brakes work.
In-Cab Air Brake Check
Note: All the Air Brakes system tests in this
section are considered important and each can be
considered critical parts of the in-cab air brakes
tests. The items marked with an asterisk (*) in this
section are required for testing purposes during
the pre-trip portion of the CDL driving test. They
may be performed in any order as long as they are
performed correctly and effectively. If these items
are not demonstrated and the parameters for each
test are not verbalized correctly, it is considered an
automatic failure of the pre-trip portion of the test.
Testing air leakage rate. There are two tests as
follow:
Static Leakage Test
With a basically fully-charged air system (within
the effective operating range for the compressor),
turn off the engine, release all brakes, and let the
system settle (air gauge needle stops moving).
Time for one minute. The air pressure should not
drop more than:
• 2 psi for single vehicles.
• 3 psi for a combination of two vehicles.
• 5 psi for a combination of three or more
vehicles.
An air loss greater than those shown indicate a
problem in the braking system and repairs are
needed before operating the vehicle.
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*Applied Leakage Test
With a basically fully-charged air system (within
the effective operating range for the compressor),
turn off the engine, release all brakes so the entire
system is charged. Allow the system to settle (air
gauge needle stops moving), apply firm, steady
pressure to the brake pedal (brake on), and hold.
After the system settles again, time for one minute.
The air pressure should not drop more than:
• 3 psi for single vehicles.
• 4 psi for a combination of two vehicles.
• 6 psi for a combination of three or more
vehicles.
An air loss greater than those shown indicate a
problem in the braking system and repairs are
needed before operating the vehicle.
Note: You must be able to demonstrate this test and
verbalize the allowable air loss for the examiner
on this test.
If the air loss is too much, check for air leaks and
fix. For testing purposes, identify if the air loss
rate is too much.
*Air Compressor Governor Cut-Out
Pressure Test
To perform this test, the air pressure for the vehicle
must be rising when the engine is running. Run the
engine at a fast idle. The air compressor governor
must cut-out prior to the needle reaching 130 psi.
Where the needle stops rising is the governor
cut-out pressure.
For testing purposes, identify where the air
governor cuts out the compressor and verbalize
the maximum pressure at which this can occur.
Note: The air dryer exhausting should not be
referenced as governor cut-out.
*Air Compressor Governor Cut-In Pressure
Test
To perform this test, the air pressure for the vehicle
cannot be rising when the engine is running. With
the engine idling, slowly pump the brake pedal
to reduce the air tank pressure. Watch the air
pressure gauge between pumps to identify when
the compressor cuts in (needle starts to rise). This
should occur no lower than 85 psi.
For testing purposes, identify where the air
governor cuts in the compressor and verbalize the
minimum pressure at which this can occur.
*Low Air Pressure Warning Device Test
This test may be performed with engine on or off.
To perform the test with the engine off, turn the
electrical power on and have enough air pressure
to keep the low air pressure warning device from
coming on. Slowly pump the brake pedal to reduce
air tank pressure. The low air pressure warning
device must activate between 55 and 75 psi. For
testing purposes, identify when the warning signal
activates, and verbalize the legal range in which
the signal must activate.
If the warning signal does not work, you could
lose air pressure and not know it. This could cause
sudden emergency braking in a single circuit air
system. In dual systems the stopping distance will
be increased. Only limited braking can be done
before the spring brakes come on.
*Check that the spring brakes come on automatically. Chock the wheels. Release all parking
brakes and shut the engine off. Pump the brake
pedal to reduce the air tank pressure. The trailer
air supply valve knob and tractor protection
valve should pop out when the air pressure falls
to the manufacturer’s specifications (usually in
a range between 20 to 45 psi). This causes the
spring brakes to engage. Some trailers use an air
applied emergency brake system and some trailers
use spring brakes as the emergency brake system.
Check rate of air pressure buildup. With the
engine at operating rpms, the pressure should build
from 85 to 100 psi within 45 seconds in dual air
systems. If the vehicle has larger than minimum
air tanks, the buildup time can be longer and still
be safe. Check the manufacturer’s specifications.
In single air systems (pre-1975), typical requirements are pressure buildup from 50 to 90 psi
within 3 minutes with the engine at an idle speed
of 600-900 rpms.
If air pressure does not build up fast enough, the
pressure may drop too low during driving, requiring
an emergency stop.
Test service brakes. Wait for normal air pressure,
release the parking brake, move the vehicle forward
slowly (about 5 mph), and apply the brakes firmly
using the brake pedal. Any pulling to one side,
unusual feel, or delayed stopping action should
be checked.
Test parking brake. Fasten your seat belt. Set the
parking brake and try to move the vehicle or allow
the vehicle to slowly move forward and apply the
parking brake. The parking brake should stop a
rolling vehicle, or not allow any movement.
Antilock Brake Systems
Trailers Required to Have ABS
• All trailers and converter dollies built on or
after March 1, 1998, are required to have ABS.
However, many trailers and converter dollies
built before this date have been voluntarily
equipped with ABS.
• Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction
lamps on the left side, either on the front or
rear corner. Converter dollies manufactured on
or after March 1, 1998, are required to have a
lamp on the left side.
• In the case of vehicles manufactured before
the required date, it may be difficult to tell if
the unit is equipped with ABS. Look under the
vehicle for the ECU and wheel speed sensor
wires coming from the back of the brakes.
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Braking with ABS
Coupling and Uncoupling
• ABS is an addition to your normal brakes.
It does not decrease or increase your normal
braking capability. ABS only activates when
wheels are about to lock up.
• ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle
under control during hard braking.
• ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The
computer senses impending lockup, reduces
the braking pressure to a safe level, and you
maintain control.
• Having ABS on only the trailer, or even on only
one axle, still gives you more control over the
vehicle during braking.
• When only the trailer has ABS, the trailer is
less likely to swing out, but if you lose steering
control or start a tractor jackknife, let up on
the brakes (if you can safely do so) until you
gain control.
• When you drive a tractor-trailer combination
with ABS, you should brake as you always
have. In other words:
— Use only the braking force necessary to
stop safely and stay in control.
— Brake the same way, regardless of whether
you have ABS on the tractor, the trailer,
or both.
— As you slow down, monitor your tractor
and trailer and back off the brakes (if it is
safe to do so) to stay in control.
• Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you
still have regular brakes. Drive normally, but
get the system serviced soon.
• ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow
more closely, or drive less carefully.
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is
basic to safe operation of combination vehicles.
Coupling and uncoupling incorrectly can be very
dangerous. There are differences between different
rigs, so learn the details of coupling and uncoupling
the vehicle(s) you will operate. General coupling
and uncoupling steps are listed below:
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Coupling Tractor/Semitrailers
Step 1. Inspect the Fifth-Wheel
• For damaged or missing parts.
• To see that mounting to tractor is secure, no
cracks in frame, etc.
• To see that the fifth-wheel plate is completely
greased. Failure to keep the fifth-wheel plate
lubricated could cause steering problems
because of friction between the tractor and
trailer.
• To see that the fifth-wheel is in proper position
for coupling.
— the fifth-wheel should be tilted down
towards the rear of the tractor with the
jaws open and the safety unlocking handle
in the automatic lock position.
• To see that the sliding fifth-wheel is locked.
• To see that the trailer kingpin is not bent or
broken.
Step 2. Inspect Area and Chock Wheels
• To be sure the area around the vehicle is clear.
• To be sure the trailer wheels are chocked or
the spring brakes are on.
• To see that cargo (if any) is secured against
movement during coupling.
Step 3. Position Tractor
Step 8. Supply Air to the Trailer
• Directly in front of the trailer. (Never back under
the trailer at an angle because you might push
the trailer sideways and break the landing gear.)
• Check position, using outside mirrors, by
looking down both sides of the trailer.
• From the cab, push in the air supply knob or
move tractor protection valve control from
the “emergency” to the “normal” position to
supply air to the trailer brake system.
• Wait until the air pressure is normal. Check
brake system for crossed air lines:
— shut engine off so you can hear the brakes.
— apply and release trailer brakes and listen
for sound of trailer brakes being applied
and released. You should hear the brakes
move when applied and air escape when
the brakes are released.
— check air brake system pressure gauge for
signs of major air loss.
• When trailer brakes are working, start the
engine.
• Air pressure must be up to normal.
Step 4. Back Slowly
• Until the fifth-wheel just touches the trailer.
• Do not hit the trailer.
Step 5. Secure the Tractor
• Set the parking brake.
• Put the transmission in neutral.
Step 6. Check the Trailer Height
• The trailer should be low enough that it is
raised slightly by the tractor when the tractor
is backed under it. Raise or lower the trailer
as needed.
• To see that the kingpin and fifth-wheel are
aligned.
Step 7. Connect the Air Lines to the
Trailer
• Check glad hand seals and connect tractor
emergency air line to trailer emergency glad
hand.
• Check glad hand seals and connect tractor
service air line to trailer service glad hand.
• Make sure air lines are safely supported where
they won’t be crushed or caught while tractor
is backing under the trailer.
Step 9. Lock the Trailer Brakes
• Pull out the air supply knob or move the
tractor protection valve control from normal
to emergency.
Step 10. Back Under the Trailer
• Use lowest reverse gear.
• Back tractor slowly under trailer to avoid
hitting the kingpin.
• Stop when the kingpin is locked into the
fifth-wheel.
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Step 11. Check the Connection for
Security
Step 14. Connect the Electrical Cord
and Check Air Lines
• Raise the landing gear slightly off the ground.
• Pull forward gently against the trailer brakes to
be sure that the trailer is locked to the tractor.
• Plug the electrical cord into the trailer and
fasten the safety catch.
• Check both air and electrical lines for signs
of damage.
• Make sure air and electrical lines will not hit
any moving parts.
Step 12. Secure the Vehicle
• Put transmission in neutral.
• Put parking brakes on.
• Shut off the engine and take the key so someone
will not move the truck.
Step 13. Inspect the Coupling
• Use a flashlight, if necessary.
• Make sure there is no space between the upper
and lower fifth-wheel.
• Make sure the fifth-wheel jaws have closed
around the shank of the kingpin. (Figure 6-4)
• Check that the locking lever is in the “lock”
position.
• Check that the safety catch is in position over
the locking lever.
Step 15. Fully Raise the Front Trailer
Supports (Landing Gear)
• Use low gear range, if equipped, to begin
raising the landing gear. Once free of weight,
switch to the high gear range.
• Raise the landing gear all the way up.
• After raising landing gear, secure the crank
handle safely.
• When full weight of trailer is resting on tractor:
— check for clearance between the rear of the
tractor frame and the landing gear.
— check for clearance between the top of
the tractor tires and the nose of the trailer.
Step 16. Remove and Store the Trailer
Wheel Chocks
Kingpin
(View From Underneath)
Shank
Head
Figure 6-4 Trailer Kingpin
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Kingpin
Uncoupling Tractor/Semitrailer
The following steps will help you to uncouple
safely:
Step 1. Position the Rig
• Make sure surface of parking area can support
weight of trailer.
• Have tractor lined up with the trailer.
Step 2. Ease the Pressure on the
Locking Jaws
• Shut off trailer air supply to lock trailer brakes.
• Ease pressure on fifth-wheel locking jaws by
backing up gently.
• Put parking brakes on while tractor is pushing
against the kingpin.
Step 3. Chock the Trailer Wheels
• Chock the trailer wheels if the trailer doesn’t
have spring brakes or if you are not sure.
Step 4. Lower the Landing Gear
• If trailer is empty—lower the landing gear until
it makes firm contact with the ground.
• If trailer is loaded, after the landing gear makes
firm contact with the ground, turn crank in
low gear a few extra turns. This will lift some
weight off the tractor. This will:
— make it easier to unlatch fifth-wheel.
— make it easier to couple next time.
Step 5. Disconnect the Air Lines and
Electrical Cable
• Disconnect air lines from trailer. Connect air
line glad hands to dummy couplers at back of
cab or couple them together.
• Hang electrical cable with plug down to prevent
moisture from getting in.
• Make sure lines are supported so they won’t
be damaged while driving the tractor.
Step 6. Unlock the Fifth-Wheel
• Raise the release handle lock.
• Pull the release handle to “open” position.
• Keep legs and feet clear of the rear tractor
wheels to avoid serious injury.
Step 7. Pull the Tractor Partially Clear of
the Trailer
• Pull tractor forward until fifth-wheel comes
out from under the trailer.
• Stop with tractor frame under trailer.
Step 8. Secure the Tractor
• Apply parking brake.
• Place transmission in neutral.
Step 9. Inspect the Trailer Supports
• Make sure ground is supporting trailer.
• Make sure landing gear is not damaged.
Step 10. Pull the Tractor Clear of the
Trailer
• Release parking brakes.
• Check the area and drive tractor forward until
it clears.
Inspecting a Combination
Vehicle
Use the inspection procedures described in Sections
2 and 11 to inspect your combination vehicle.
However, there are more items to inspect on a
combination vehicle than on a single vehicle.
In addition to the checks already listed in Section
2, complete these checks:
Additional Items for Walkaround
Inspection
Coupling system areas:
• Fifth-wheel (lower):
— securely mounted to frame
— no missing, damaged parts
— properly greased
— no visible space between upper and lower
fifth-wheel
— locking jaws around the shank, not the
head of the kingpin
— release arm properly seated and safety
latch/lock engaged
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• Fifth-wheel (upper):
— glide plate securely mounted to trailer frame
— kingpin not damaged
• Air and electric lines to trailer:
— electrical cord firmly plugged in and
secured
— air lines properly connected to glad hands,
no air leaks, properly secured with enough
slack for turns
— all lines free from damage
• Sliding fifth-wheel:
— slide not damaged or parts missing
— properly greased
— all locking pins present and locked in place
— if air powered—no air leaks
— fifth-wheel not so far forward that tractor
frame will hit landing gear, or cab hit the
trailer, during turns
Landing gear:
• Fully raised, no missing parts, not bent or
otherwise damaged.
• Crank handle in place and secured.
• If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
Combination Vehicle Brake Check
Do these checks in addition to Section 5: Inspecting
Air Brake System.
The following section explains how to check air
brakes on combination vehicles. Check the brakes
on a double or triple trailer as you would any
combination vehicle.
• Check that air flows to all trailers. Use the
tractor parking brake and/or chock the wheels to
hold the vehicle. Wait for air pressure to reach
normal, then push in the red “trailer air supply”
knob. This will supply air to the emergency
(supply) lines. Use the trailer handbrake to
provide air to the service line. Go to the rear
of the rig. Open the emergency line shut-off
valve at the rear of the last trailer. You should
hear air escaping, showing the entire system is
charged. Close the emergency line valve. Open
the service line valve to check that service
pressure goes through all the trailers (this test
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assumes that the trailer handbrake or the service
brake pedal is on), and then close the valve. If
you do NOT hear air escaping from both lines,
check that the shut-off valves on the trailer(s)
and dolly(ies) are in the OPEN position. You
MUST have air all the way to the back for all
the brakes to work.
• Test tractor protection valve. Charge the
trailer air brake system. (That is, build up
normal air pressure and push the “air supply”
knob in.) Shut the engine off. Step on and off
the brake pedal several times to reduce the air
pressure in the tanks. The trailer air supply
control (also called the tractor protection valve
control) should pop out (or go from “normal”
to “emergency” position) when the air pressure
falls into the pressure range specified by the
manufacturer. (Usually within the range of 20
to 45 psi.)
— If the tractor protection valve doesn’t work
right, an air hose or trailer brake leak could
drain all the air from the tractor. This would
cause the emergency brakes to come on,
with possible loss of control.
• Test trailer emergency brakes. Charge the
trailer air brake system and check that the
trailer rolls freely. Then stop and pull out the
trailer air supply control (also called tractor
protection valve control or trailer emergency
valve), or place it in the “emergency” position.
Pull gently on the trailer with the tractor to
check that the trailer emergency brakes are on.
• Test trailer service brakes. Check for normal
air pressure, release the parking brakes, move
the vehicle forward slowly, and apply trailer
brakes with the hand control (trolley valve), if
so equipped. You should feel the brakes come
on. This tells you the trailer brakes are connected and working. (The trailer brakes should
be tested with the hand valve but controlled in
normal operation with the foot pedal, which
applies air to the service brakes at all wheels.)
Section 7: Doubles and Triples
This section is for drivers who tow doubles or triples
This section has information you will need to
pass the CDL knowledge test for driving safely
with double/triple trailers. You should also study
Sections 2, 5, and 6.
Note: Triple combinations are not legal in California. Triples are discussed in this section because
they are legal in many other states.
The endorsement for doubles is given by written
test only. Do not bring in a set of doubles for the
driving test. Drivers must demonstrate the ability
to back up the combination during the skills test,
and backing doubles is dangerous.
A Doubles/Triples Endorsement is needed.
Towing Double/Triple
Trailers
Take special care when towing two or three
trailers. There are more things that can go wrong
and doubles/triples are less stable than other
commercial vehicles.
Prevent Trailer Rollover
To prevent trailers from rolling over, you must steer
gently and go slowly around corners, onramps,
offramps, and curves. A safe speed on a curve for a
straight truck or a single trailer combination vehicle
may be too fast for a set of doubles or triples.
Doubles and triples are more likely to turn over
than other combination vehicles because of the
crack-the-whip effect. You must steer gently when
pulling trailers. The last trailer in a combination
is most likely to turn over.
Inspect Completely
There are more critical parts to check when you
have two or three trailers. Check them all. Follow
the procedures described later in this section.
Doubles and triples must be driven very smoothly
to avoid rollover or jackknife. Therefore, look far
ahead so you can slow or change lanes gradually
when necessary.
Manage Space
Doubles and triples take up more space than other
commercial vehicles. They are not only longer,
but also need more space on the road because they
can’t be turned or stopped suddenly. Allow more
following distance. Make sure you have large
enough gaps before entering or crossing traffic. Be
certain you are clear at the sides before changing
lanes. Look far ahead so you can slow down or
change lanes gradually when necessary.
Adverse Conditions
Be more careful in bad weather conditions. In bad
weather, slippery conditions, and mountain driving
you must be especially careful if you drive double
or triple bottoms. You will have greater length
and more dead axles to pull with your drive axles
than other drivers. There is more chance for skids
and loss of traction. You should never disable the
steering axle brakes.
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Parking the Vehicle
Make sure you do not get in a spot you cannot pull
straight through. You need to be aware of how
parking lots are arranged in order to avoid a long
and difficult escape.
Antilock Braking Systems on
Converter Dollies
Converter dollies built on or after March 1, 1998,
are required to have antilock brakes. These dollies
will have a yellow lamp on the left side of the dolly.
Coupling and Uncoupling
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly
is basic to safe operation of doubles and triples.
Incorrect coupling and uncoupling can be very
dangerous. Couple the tractor and first semitrailer
as described in Section 6.
Coupling Twin Trailers
Secure the second or rear trailer. If the second
trailer does not have spring brakes, drive the
tractor close to the trailer, connect the emergency
line, charge the trailer air tank, and disconnect the
emergency line. This will set the trailer emergency
brakes if the slack adjusters are correctly adjusted.
Chock the wheels.
Note: For safe handling on the road, the more
heavily loaded semitrailer must always be in the
first position behind the tractor. The lighter trailer
should be in the rear.
A converter gear or dolly is a coupling device
of one or two axles and a fifth-wheel by which a
semitrailer can be coupled to the rear of a tractortrailer combination forming a double bottom rig.
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Position the converter dolly in front of the
second or rear trailer:
• Release the dolly brakes by opening the air
tank petcock. (Or, if the dolly has spring
brakes, use the dolly parking brake control.)
• If possible, wheel the dolly into position by
hand so it is in line with the kingpin. Or, use
the tractor and first semitrailer to pick up the
converter dolly:
— position combination as close as possible
to converter dolly
— move dolly to rear of first semitrailer and
couple it to the trailer
— lock pintle hook
— secure dolly support in raised position
— pull dolly into position as close as possible
to nose of the second semitrailer
— lower dolly support
— unhook dolly from first trailer
— wheel dolly into position in front of second
trailer in line with the kingpin
Connect the converter dolly to the front
trailer:
• Back first semitrailer into position in front of
the dolly tongue.
• Hook dolly to front trailer:
— lock pintle hook
— secure converter gear support in raised
position
Connect the converter dolly to the rear trailer:
• Lock trailer brakes and/or chock wheels.
• Make sure trailer height is correct. (It must be
slightly lower than the center of the fifth-wheel
so the trailer is raised slightly when the dolly
is pushed under.)
• Back converter dolly under rear trailer.
• Raise landing gear slightly off ground.
• Test coupling by pulling against pin of rear
trailer.
• Check coupling and locking jaws.
• Connect safety chains, air hoses, and electrical
cords.
• Close converter dolly air tank petcock, and
shut-off valves at rear of second trailer.
• Open shut-off valves at rear of first trailer and
on the dolly, if so equipped.
• Raise the landing gear completely.
• Charge trailers and check for air at the rear of
the second trailer by opening the emergency
line shut-off.
Uncoupling Double Trailers
Uncouple rear trailer:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Park rig in a straight line.
Apply parking brakes.
Chock wheels of the second trailer.
Lower the landing gear of the second semitrailer
enough to remove some weight from the dolly.
Close air shut-offs at rear of the first semitrailer
and on the dolly, if so equipped.
Disconnect all dolly air and electric lines and
secure them.
Release dolly brakes.
Release converter dolly fifth-wheel latch.
Slowly pull tractor, first semitrailer and dolly
forward to pull dolly out from under rear
semitrailer.
Uncouple Converter Dolly:
• Lower dolly landing gear.
• Disconnect safety chains.
• Apply converter gear spring brakes or chock
wheels.
• Release pintle hook on first semitrailer.
• Slowly pull clear of dolly.
CAUTION: Never unlock the pintle hook with the
dolly still under the rear trailer. The dolly tow bar
may fly up, possibly causing injury, and making
it very difficult to re-couple.
Coupling and Uncoupling Triple
Trailers
Couple second and third trailers:
• Couple second and third trailers using the
method for coupling doubles.
• Uncouple tractor and pull away from the second
and third trailers.
Couple tractor/first semitrailer to second/
third trailers:
• Couple tractor to first trailer. Use the
method already described for coupling
tractor-semitrailers.
• Move converter dolly into position and couple
first trailer to second trailer using the method for
coupling doubles. Triples rig is now complete.
Uncouple triple trailer rig:
• Uncouple third trailer by pulling the dolly out,
then unhitching the dolly, using the method for
uncoupling doubles.
• Uncouple remainder of rig as you would any
double-bottom rig using the method already
described.
REMEMBER: Operating triples is not allowed
in California.
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Coupling and Uncoupling Other
Combinations
The methods described so far apply to the more
common tractor-trailer combinations. However,
there are other ways of coupling and uncoupling
the many types of truck-trailer and tractor-trailer
combinations that are in use. There are too many
to cover in this handbook. Learn the right way to
couple the vehicle(s) you will drive according to
the manufacturer and/or vehicle owner.
Inspecting Doubles and
Triples
There are more items to inspect on a combination
vehicle than on a single vehicle. Many of these
items are simply more of what you would find
on a single vehicle. However, there are also some
new items to check. These are discussed below.
Additional Items for Walkaround
Inspection
Coupling system areas:
• Fifth-wheel (lower):
— securely mounted to frame
— no missing, damaged parts
— properly greased
— no visible space between upper and lower
fifth-wheel
— locking jaws around the shank, not the
head of the kingpin
— release arm properly seated and safety
latch/lock engaged
• Fifth-wheel (upper):
— glide plate securely mounted to trailer frame
— kingpin not damaged
• Air and electric lines to trailer:
— electrical cord firmly plugged in and
secured
— air lines properly connected to glad hands,
no air leaks, properly secured with enough
slack for turns
— all lines free from damage
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• Sliding fifth-wheel:
— slide not damaged or parts missing
— properly greased
— all locking pins present and locked in place
— if air powered—no air leaks
— fifth-wheel not so far forward that tractor
frame will hit landing gear, or cab hit the
trailer, during turns
Landing gear:
• Fully raised, no missing parts, not bent or
otherwise damaged.
• Crank handle in place and secured.
• If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
Double and triple trailers:
• Shut-off valves (at rear of trailers, in service
and emergency lines):
— rear of front trailer(s): OPEN
— rear of last trailer: CLOSED. (Glad hands
should be covered to protect from debris.)
— converter dolly air tank drain valve:
CLOSED
• Be sure air lines are supported and glad hands
are properly connected.
• If spare tire is carried on converter gear (dolly),
make sure it is secured.
• Be sure pintle-eye of dolly is in place in pintle
hook of trailer(s).
• Make sure pintle hook is latched.
• Safety chains should be secured to trailer(s).
• Be sure electrical cords are firmly in sockets
on trailers.
Doubles/Triples Air Brake
Check
Check the brakes on a double or triple trailer as
you would any combination vehicle. Refer to the
information in Section 5 to learn how to check air
brakes on combination vehicles.
Additional Air Brake Checks
• Check that air flows to all trailers (double
and triple trailers). Use the tractor parking
brake and/or chock the wheels to hold the
vehicle. Wait for air pressure to reach normal,
and then push in the red “trailer air supply”
knob. This will supply air to the emergency
(supply) lines. Use the trailer handbrake to
provide air to the service line. Go to the rear
of the rig. Open the emergency line shut-off
valve at the rear of the last trailer. You should
hear air escaping, showing the entire system is
charged. Close the emergency line valve. Open
the service line valve to check that service
pressure goes through all the trailers (this test
assumes that the trailer handbrake or the service
brake pedal is on), and then close the valve. If
you do NOT hear air escaping from both lines,
check that the shut-off valves on the trailer(s)
and dolly(ies) are in the OPEN position. You
MUST have air all the way to the back for all
the brakes to work.
• Test tractor protection valve. Charge the
trailer air brake system. (That is, build up
normal air pressure and push the “air supply”
knob in.) Shut the engine off. Step on and off
the brake pedal several times to reduce the air
pressure in the tanks. The trailer air supply
control (also called the tractor protection valve
control) should pop out (or go from “normal”
to “emergency” position) when the air pressure
falls into the pressure range specified by the
manufacturer. (Usually within the range of 20
to 45 psi.)
• If the tractor protection valve doesn’t work
properly, an air hose or trailer brake leak could
drain all the air from the tractor. This would
cause the emergency brakes to come on, with
possible loss of control.
• Test trailer emergency brakes. Charge the
trailer air brake system and check that the
trailer rolls freely. Then stop and pull out the
trailer air supply control (also called tractor
protection valve control or trailer emergency
valve) or place it in the “emergency” position.
Pull gently on the trailer with the tractor to
check that the trailer emergency brakes are on.
• Test trailer service brakes. Check for normal
air pressure, release the parking brakes, move
the vehicle forward slowly, and apply trailer
brakes with the hand control (trolley valve), if
so equipped. You should feel the brakes come
on. This tells you the trailer brakes are connected and working. (The trailer brakes should
be tested with the hand valve, but controlled
in normal operation with the foot pedal, which
applies air to the service brakes at all wheels).
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- 104 -
Section 8: Tank Vehicles
This section is for drivers who drive tank vehicles
This section has information needed to pass the
CDL knowledge test for driving a tank vehicle.
You should also study Sections 2, 5, and 6. A tank
vehicle is used to carry any liquids or gaseous
materials in tanks.
Before loading, unloading, or driving a tank
vehicle, inspect the vehicle. Make sure that the
vehicle is safe to carry the liquid or gaseous material
and is safe to drive.
Tank Endorsement is needed.
Tank Vehicle Defined
A tank vehicle includes any commercial vehicle
which has fixed tanks (including collapsible containers, also called “bladder bags”) or that carry
portable tanks of 1,000 gallons or more capacity
(CVC §15210(k)). Portable tanks are bulk containers which are not permanently attached to a
vehicle. The product is loaded or unloaded while
the portable tanks are off the vehicle, they are then
loaded on a vehicle for transportation.
A tank vehicle also includes any fixed tank in excess
of 119 gallons mounted on any vehicle or vehicle
combination which requires a CDL or placards.
(Example, a pickup transporting a 120 gallon fixed
tank containing diesel requires a commercial Class
C with Tank/HazMat endorsements. However, no
CDL is needed for a 25,999 GVWR 2-axle truck
with a 3000 gallon water tank pulling a trailer less
than 10,000 lbs. GVWR.)
Inspecting Tank Vehicles
Tank vehicles have special items that you need
to check. Tank vehicles come in many types and
sizes. You need to check the vehicle’s operator’s
manual to make sure you know how to inspect
your tank vehicle.
On all tank vehicles, the most important item to
check for is leaks. Check under and around the
vehicle for signs of any leaking. Don’t carry liquids
or gases in a leaking tank. In general, check the
following:
• The tank’s body or shell for dents or leaks.
• The intake, discharge, and cut-off valves. Make
sure the valves are in the closed position except
when loading or unloading.
• The pipes, connections, and hoses for leaks
especially around joints.
• The manhole covers and vents. Make sure the
covers have gaskets and they close correctly.
Keep the vents clear so they work correctly.
Special Purpose Equipment
If your vehicle has any of the following equipment,
make sure it works:
• vapor recovery systems
• grounding and bonding cables
• emergency shut-off systems
• built-in fire extinguisher and/or system
Make sure you know how to operate your special
equipment.
• Check the emergency equipment required for
your vehicle. Find out what equipment you
are required to carry and make sure you have
it and it works.
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Driving Tank Vehicles
Speeding in a Tank Vehicle
If you are driving a tank vehicle containing more
than 500 gallons of flammable liquid, which is
subject to CVC §34000, faster than the speed
limit allowed, you are subject to a $500 fine for a
first offense. Stiffer penalties apply for a second
or subsequent offense.
Hours of Service in a Tank Vehicle
The maximum driving time within a work period
is 10 hours for drivers of tank vehicles with a
capacity greater than 500 gallons when transporting
flammable liquid. (49 CFR 395.1)
Liquids in bulk are transported in tanks, mounted
on trucks, semitrailers, or full trailers. Transporting
liquids, including liquefied gases, in tanks requires
special skills because of the high center of gravity
and the liquid surge of the cargo. Transit mix trucks
and cement mixers are considered tank vehicles
for purposes of a California CDL.
High Center of Gravity
High center of gravity means that the load is carried high up off the road. This makes the vehicle
top-heavy and easy to roll over. Tankers often roll
over. Tests have shown that tankers can turn over
even at the cautionary speeds posted for curves.
You should drive on highway curves or onramp/
offramp curves well below the posted speeds.
Liquid Surge
Liquid surge results from movement of the liquid in
partially filled tanks. For example, when coming to
a stop, the liquid will surge back and forth. When
the wave hits the end of the tank, it tends to push
the truck in the direction the wave is moving. If
the truck is on a slippery surface such as ice, the
wave can shove a stopped truck into an intersection.
The driver of a tanker must be very familiar with
the handling of the vehicle.
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Controlling Surge
• Keep a steady pressure on the brakes.
• To control the surge do not release brakes too
soon when coming to a stop.
• Brake far in advance of a stop and increase
your following distance.
• If you must make a quick stop to avoid a crash,
use controlled or stab braking. Also, remember
that if you steer quickly while braking, your
vehicle may roll over.
Bulkheads
Some liquid tanks are divided into several smaller
tanks by bulkheads. Bulkheads are liquid-tight
separators between compartments inside the tank.
When loading and unloading the smaller tanks,
the driver must pay special attention to weight
distribution. Do not put too much weight on the
front or rear of the vehicle.
Baffled Tanks
Some tanks have compartments in them that have
holes. If the compartment walls have holes in them,
they are called baffles. Baffles let the liquid flow
through and help control the forward and backward
liquid surge. However, side to side surge can still
occur which can cause a rollover. Drive slowly and
be careful in taking curves or making sharp turns
with a partially or fully loaded tanker.
Unbaffled Tanks
Safe Driving Rules
Smooth bore (or unbaffled) tankers have nothing inside to slow down the flow of the liquid.
Therefore, forward and back surge is very strong.
Smooth bore tanks are usually those that transport
food products such as milk. Sanitation regulations
rule out the use of baffles because of the difficulty
in cleaning the inside of the tank. Corrosive liquids
are also routinely transported in smooth bore
tanks. Be extremely cautious (slow and careful)
when driving smooth bore tanks, especially when
starting and stopping.
In order to drive tank vehicles safely, you must
remember to follow all the safe driving rules. A
few of these rules are:
• Drive smoothly. Because of the high center of
gravity and the surge of the liquid, you must
start, slow, and stop very smoothly. Also, make
smooth turns and lane changes.
• If you must make a quick stop to avoid a
collision, use controlled or stab braking. (See
Section 2.) Remember that if you steer quickly
while braking, your vehicle may roll over.
• Slow down before curves and accelerate
slightly when coming out of the curve. The
posted and/or advisory speed for a curve may
be too fast for a tank vehicle.
• Keep in mind how much space you need to
stop your vehicle. Remember that wet roads
double the normal stopping distance. Empty
tank vehicles may take longer to stop than
full ones.
• Don’t over steer, over accelerate, or over brake.
If you do, your vehicle may skid. On tank
trailers, if your drive wheels or trailer wheels
begin to skid your vehicle may jackknife. When
any vehicle starts to skid, you must take action
to restore traction to the wheels.
Outage
Never load a cargo tank totally full. Liquids expand
as they warm and you must leave room for the
expanding liquid. This is called outage. Since
different liquids expand by different amounts,
they require different amounts of outage. You must
know the outage requirement of your load when
transporting liquids in bulk.
How Much to Load?
A full tank of dense liquid such as some acids
may exceed legal weight limits. For that reason,
you may often only partially fill tanks with heavy
liquids. The amount of liquid to load into a tank
depends on:
• The amount the liquid will expand in transit.
• The weight of the liquid.
• Legal weight limits.
• Temperature of the load.
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Section 9: Hazardous Materials/Wastes
This section is for drivers who need a HAZMAT endorsement
Note: To ensure public safety, DMV examiners will
not conduct commercial driving tests in vehicles
displaying vehicle placards per CVC §27903. This
includes vehicles carrying hazardous materials
and/or wastes and vehicles which have not been
purged of their hazardous cargo. CVC §15278(a)
(4) requires a HazMat endorsement for those who
drive a vehicle requiring placards.
HazMat Endorsement is needed.
Note: Your CDL tests will be based on your
knowledge of federal transportation requirements. Text preceded by “California” refers
to state (non-federal) requirements which also
apply when driving in California. The state
requirements are strictly enforced.
Hazardous materials and wastes including
radioactive materials pose a risk to health, safety,
and property during transportation. The Hazardous Materials Table lists materials considered
hazardous. The rules (Title 49 Code of Federal
Regulations [CFR]) sometimes require diamond
shaped, square-on-point, warning signs on vehicles
transporting certain types or quantities of hazardous
materials. These signs are called placards.
You must have a commercial driver license with a
HazMat endorsement before driving vehicles carrying hazardous materials which require placards.
To get the endorsement, you must pass a written
test in English about the hazardous materials
transportation rules. By studying this section you
will learn to recognize hazardous cargo, to contain
the material, and to communicate the danger.
This handbook provides all you need to know
to pass the written test. However, this is only a
beginning. You can learn more by reading the
rules in state and federal regulations. You can also
learn more by attending training courses offered
by your employer or others. Every employee who
transports hazardous materials must receive training to recognize and identify hazardous materials
and become familiar with HazMat requirements.
(49 CFR 172.702, 172.704, and 13 CCR 1161.7)
Government and industry publishers sell copies of
the regulations. Union or company offices often
have copies of the rules for driver use. Find out
where you can get your own copy to use on the job.
In addition to the general HazMat training requirements (49 CFR 172.700–172.706) and repeated
training every three years, drivers are also required
to be trained in function- and commodity-specific
requirements (e.g., flammable cryogenic liquids or
Highway Route Controlled Quantities [HRCQ] of
radioactive materials.)
Permits. A permit or route restriction may be
required to transport some classifications and
quantities of hazardous materials. Contact the
California Highway Patrol and the U. S. Department of Transportation for information. Permits and
registrations may also be required for hazardous
waste and medical waste transportation. Contact
the Department of Toxic Substances Control and
the Department of Health Services respectively,
for information.
If you apply for an original or renewal HazMat
endorsement, you must undergo a Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) federal security
threat assessment (background records check). You
start the TSA background records check after you
apply for your CDL at DMV, successfully complete
all appropriate law tests, and submit a valid medical
form. You must submit fingerprints, a fee, and any
additional required information to one of TSA’s
designated agents. You must also provide the TSA
agent with a copy of your CDL permit and one of
the following identification documents:
• A California DL/ID card
• An out-of-state DL
• Your CDL permit accompanied by a DMV
photo receipt
For a list of TSA agent sites, go online at hazprints.
tsa.dhs.gov or call 1-877-429-7746.
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California Hazardous Material
Transportation License
Every motor carrier who transports the following
hazardous materials in California must have a
Hazardous Materials Transportation License issued
by the CHP (CVC §32000.5):
• Hazardous materials shipments (unless
specifically excepted) for which the display of
placards is required per CVC §27903.
• Hazardous materials shipments in excess of
500 lbs., transported for a fee, which would
require placarding if shipped in greater amounts
in the same manner.
A valid legible copy of the carrier’s Hazardous
Materials Transportation License must be carried
in the vehicle and be presented to any peace officer
or duly authorized employee of the CHP upon
request. (13 CCR 1160.3(g)(2))
This is in addition to the federal HazMat registration that may be required under 49 CFR 107.601.
Intent of the Regulations
The 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations
(HMR) govern the safety aspects of transportation. They include requirements for classification
of materials, packaging (including manufacture,
continuing qualification, and maintenance), hazard
communication (e.g., package marking, labeling,
placarding, and shipping documentation), transportation, handling, HazMat employee training,
and incident reporting. The intent of the hazardous
materials rules and regulations is to ensure safe
drivers and equipment; to communicate the risk;
and to contain the product.
Packaging and Securement
Many hazardous materials can injure or kill on
contact. In order to protect drivers and others, the
rules tell shippers how to package safely. Loading,
securement, and segregation rules tell drivers how
to load, transport, and unload their cargo.
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Communicate the Risk
Shippers must warn drivers and others about a
material’s hazardous qualities. They must put
warning labels and markings on packages and
describe materials on the shipping paper in a way
that clearly warns of the risk. There are rules for
drivers too. If there is a collision or a leak, the driver
must warn others of danger. Placards and package
markings are another way to communicate the risk.
Assuring Safe Drivers and Equipment
Drivers must pass a written test about transporting
hazardous materials or wastes. To pass the test,
drivers must know how to:
• Recognize shipments of hazardous materials
or wastes.
• Safely load shipments.
• Correctly placard.
• Safely transport shipments.
You should, and are often required to, inspect your
vehicle before and during each trip. Law enforcement officers may stop and inspect your vehicle.
They may check shipping papers and your driver
license for a HazMat endorsement.
Transporting Hazardous
Materials
The shipper:
• Sends the products from one place to another
by truck, railroad, ship, or airplane.
• Uses the hazardous materials regulations to
decide the product’s:
— proper shipping name
— hazard class and division
— identification number (ID)
— correct packaging
— correct label(s) and markings
— correct placard(s)
• Packages the materials, labels and marks the
package, prepares the shipping paper and
emergency response information, and supplies
the placards.
• Certifies on a shipping paper that the shipment
has been prepared according to the rules, unless
a private carrier is used or the carrier supplies
the cargo tanks.
The carrier:
• Takes the shipment from the shipper to its
destination.
• Before transporting, checks that the shipper
correctly named, labeled, and marked the
shipment.
• Refuses improper shipments.
• Reports collisions and incidents involving
hazardous materials or wastes to the proper
government agency.
The driver:
• Should check the route and the permits needed
for the trip before starting the trip.
• Makes sure the shipper has identified, marked,
and labeled the product correctly.
• Refuses leaking packages.
• Refuses shipments not properly prepared.
• Attaches placards when loading, if needed.
• Ensures the appropriate product identification
number(s) are displayed on transport vehicles,
when required.
• Ensures hazardous material shipment is
properly secured with a lock.
• Safely transports the shipment without delay.
• Follows all special rules about transporting
hazardous materials or wastes.
• Keeps hazardous materials shipping papers,
including the emergency response information,
in order and in the proper place.
Communication Rules
Some words and phrases have special meanings
when talking about hazardous materials. The
meanings may differ from common use. Learn
the words printed in bold below. The meanings of
other important words are in the glossary.
Definitions
A material’s hazard class reflects the risks associated with it. Appendix A on pages 129 and 130
tells the exact meaning of each hazard class. There
are 9 different hazard classes. Some classes have
subdivisions to better define the hazard.
Class 1—Explosives
Division 1.1—Explosives with a mass
explosion hazard
Division 1.2—Explosives with a projection
hazard
Division 1.3—Explosives with
predominantly a fire hazard
Division 1.4—Explosives with minor
explosion hazard
Division 1.5—Very insensitive explosives
Division 1.6—Extremely insensitive
explosive articles
Class 2—Gases
Division 2.1—Flammable gases
Division 2.2—Nonflammable gases
Division 2.3—Poison gases
Division 2.4—Corrosive gases
(Canada only)
Class 3— Flammable Liquids
Class 4— Flammable Solids,
Spontaneously Combustible
Materials, and Materials that
are Dangerous When Wet
Division 4.1—Flammable solids
Division 4.2—Spontaneously combustible
materials
Division 4.3—Materials that are dangerous
when wet
Class 5— Oxidizing Materials
Division 5.1—Oxidizers
Division 5.2—Organic peroxides
- 111 -
Class 6— Poisonous and Etiologic
(Infectious) Materials
Division 6.1—Poisonous materials
Division 6.2—Infectious substance
(etiologic)
• Drivers to keep shipping papers for hazardous cargo in a pouch on the driver’s door, or
otherwise, in clear view within reach while
the seat belt is fastened for driving, and on
the driver’s seat or pouch on the driver’s door
when away from the vehicle.
Class 7— Radioactive Materials
Labels, Placards, and Markings
Class 8—Corrosive Materials
Labels at least four inches by four inches in size
are applied to the outside of hazardous materials
shipping packages near the shipping name. (Note:
Labels on packages prepared under United Nations
Recommendations on the Transportation of
Dangerous Goods may be smaller than four inches.)
These labels identify the primary and secondary
hazard specific to the material being transported
and give warning information about handling
precautions in case of an emergency. If the diamond
label will not fit on the package, shippers will put
the label on a tag. For example, compressed gas
cylinders that will not hold a label will have tags
or decals. Labels look like the example in Figure
9-1. See the charts starting on page 131.
Class 9—Miscellaneous Hazardous
Materials
In addition to the above classifications, materials
that meet the 49 CFR definition of a “combustible
liquid” and do not meet the definition of any other
hazard class, hazardous substance, or marine pollutant are only regulated domestically when shipped in
a bulk package. Also, specified hazardous materials
may be transported as Other Regulated Material-D
(ORM-D) (e.g., “a consumer commodity”).
Shipping Papers
A proper shipping paper is a document or paper
containing the hazardous materials information
required by regulations. Shipping orders, bills
of lading, and manifests are all shipping papers.
Shippers show a material’s proper shipping name,
hazard class or division, ID number, and packing
group on the shipping paper. After a collision or
hazardous materials incident, you may be unable
to speak when help arrives. Fire fighters and police
must know the hazards involved in order to prevent
more damage or injury. Your life, and the lives
of others, may depend on their quickly finding
the shipping papers and emergency response
information for hazardous cargo. For that reason
the rules require:
• Shippers to describe shipments correctly on
shipping papers and include an emergency
response telephone number on shipping papers.
• Carriers and drivers to put tabs on shipping
papers related to hazardous materials or wastes,
or keep them on top of other shipping papers.
Required emergency response information
must be kept in the same manner as shipping
papers.
- 112 -
Figure 9-1 Example of Labeled Package
“Marking” a non-bulk package refers to applying
the required information to the outside of shipping
containers (e.g., proper shipping name, ID number,
consignee/consignor, and required instructions).
For bulk packages and transport vehicles, when
required, the ID numbers must be displayed on
orange panels, white squares-on-point, or across the
middle of the appropriate placard, as appropriate.
Placards are signs used to warn others of hazardous
cargo and are put on the outside of a vehicle to
show the hazard class of the cargo. A placarded
vehicle must have at least 4 placards representing
the applicable hazard. They are attached to each side
and each end of the vehicle, as shown in Figure 9-2.
Placards must be readable from all four directions.
There are 22 DOT specification placards. They are
10 3/4 inches square, turned upright on a point,
in a diamond shape. Cargo tanks and other bulk
• Hazardous Materials Table.
• List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable
Quantities.
• List of Marine Pollutants.
Identification Numbers May Be Displayed On
Placards or Orange Panels
Identification numbers are four digit codes used
by first responders to identify hazardous materials.
An identification number may be used to identify
more than one chemical on shipping papers. The
identification number will be preceded by the letters
“NA” or “UN”. The US DOT Emergency Response
Guidebook (ERG) identifies the chemicals all
identification numbers are assigned to.
Placard and Panel
Locations
On front of Tractor or
Trailer
Each Side of Trailer
Back of
Trailer
Figure 9-2 Placard and Panel Locations
packaging show the ID number of their contents on
placards, orange rectangular panels, or plain white
square-on-point configurations having the same
dimensions as placards. Whenever your vehicle
is placarded, do not drive near open flame unless
you can safely pass the fire without stopping.
For hazardous materials for which placards are
not specified, ID numbers may be displayed on
orange panels or plain white square-on-point
configurations.
Safety signs such as “Drive Safely” and any other
sign displayed as a square-on-point are not allowed.
Regulated Products Lists
There are three main lists used by shippers, carriers,
and drivers to identify hazardous materials. These
can be found in Title 49 CFR, Section 172.101.
Before transporting an unfamiliar product, look
for its name on all lists. Some products are on all
lists; others may be on only one. These are the
lists to check:
The hazardous materials table (See Figure 9-3).
Column 1 of the Hazardous Materials Table tells
which mode of transportation the entry affects.
The next five columns show each material’s shipping name, hazard class or division, ID number,
packaging group, and required labels. Six different
symbols may appear in Column 1 of the table.
+ Shows the shipping name and hazard class to
use, even if the product does not match the
hazard class definition.
A Means the entry is subject to the regulations
only when offered or intended for transport by
air, unless it is also a hazardous substance or
hazardous waste.
D Means the entry applies to domestic transportation but may be inappropriate for international
shipment.
G Means the entry contains a proper shipping
name for which one or more hazardous
materials technical names must be entered in
parenthesis, in addition to the proper shipping
name.
I Means the entry applies to international
transportation. An alternate proper shipping
Figure 9-3. Part of the Hazardous Materials Table
§172.101 Hazardous Materials Table
Symbols
Hazardous materials
descriptions and
proper shipping
names
Hazard
class or
Division
Identification
Numbers
Packing
Group
Label(s) required
(if not excepted)
Special
provisions
(8)
Packaging authorizations
(§173.***)
Exceptions
Non-bulk
Bulk
packaging packaging
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8A)
(8B)
(8C)
—
Poisonous, solids,
self heating, n.o.s.…
6.1
UN3124
I
POISON,
SPONTANEOUSLY
COMBUSTIBLE
A5—
None
211
241
- 113 -
name may be selected when only domestic
transportation is involved.
W Means the entry is subject to the regulations
only when offered or intended for transport
by water, unless it is a hazardous substance
or waste or a marine pollutant.
Note: Classes 2, 7, and ORM-D materials do not
have packing groups assigned.
Column 2 shows proper shipping names and
descriptions of regulated materials. Entries are in
alphabetical order. Use the name of the material
on the shipping paper—it must be the proper
shipping name. The Hazardous Materials Table
shows proper shipping names in regular type. The
entries that are in italics are not proper shipping
names. A shipper may only use them in addition
to the proper shipping names.
Column 7 shows special provisions which may
be required by 49 CFR 172.102 for the item being
shipped. These special provisions may require
specific additional and/or alternate requirements
(e.g., packaging, handling, marking, etc.).
Column 3 shows each material’s hazard class or
division, or the word “Forbidden.” Never transport
a material that is forbidden. A material’s hazard
class or division is the key to using placards. You
can decide which placards to use if you know
these five things:
• Material’s hazard class or division.
• Special provisions.
• Amount being shipped.
• Total amount of weight of all hazard classes
loaded on your vehicle.
• Type of packaging (i.e., drum versus cargo tank)
Column 4 shows each material’s ID number. ID
numbers are preceded by the letters “UN” or “NA.”
The letters “NA” are associated with proper shipping names that are only used within the United
States and to and from Canada. The identification
number must appear on the shipping paper as part
of the shipping description and also appear on the
package. It also must appear on cargo tanks and
other bulk packaging. The number is used by police
and fire crews to quickly identify the material after
a collision.
Column 5 shows each material’s packing group.
Packing groups indicate the degree of danger presented by the material. The shipper is responsible
for determining the appropriate packing group.
- 114 -
Column 6 shows the label(s) shippers must put on
packages of hazardous materials. Where the word
“none” is shown, no label is needed. The rules
require more than one label for some products.
Column 8 is a three-part column showing the section numbers covering the packaging requirements
for each hazardous material.
Note: Columns 9 and 10 do not apply to highway
transportation.
Appendix A, §172.101—The List of Hazardous
Substances and Reportable Quantities (RQ).
The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitor
spills of hazardous substances, which are named in
the List of Hazardous Substances and Reportable
Quantities. Any spill of an RQ hazardous substance
must be reported by telephone. Refer to pages 127
and 128 for additional information.
This list shows each product’s RQ. Carriers must
report spills from packages containing a quantity
equal to or greater than the RQ for that product.
The shipper identifies these materials as hazardous
substances by entering the letters “RQ” on the
shipping paper either before or after the basic
shipping description.
Appendix B—Marine pollutants are contained
in Appendix B of The Hazardous Materials Table.
These materials are regulated in interstate and
intrastate commerce in bulk quantities only and
may require special vehicle markings.
The Shipping Paper
The shipping paper shown in Figure 9-4 describes
a hazardous materials shipment. It must include:
• Page numbers if the shipping paper has more
than one page. The first page must tell the total
number of pages. For example: “Page 1 of 4.”
Figure 9-4. Example of Shipping Paper
“RQ” m eans that
this is a reportable
quantity .
Proper shipping name from
Column 2 of the Hazardous
Materials Table.
Hazard Class from
Column 3 of the Table.
ID Number from Column 4 of
the Hazardous Materials
Table.
SHIPPING PAPER
Page 1 of 1
To:
Wafers R Us
88 Valley Street
Silicon Junction, CA
From:
Essex Corporation
5775 Dawson Avenue
Goleta, CA 931 17
QTY
HM
DESCRIPTION
WEIGHT
1 cyl
RQ
Phosgene, 2.3, UN1076,
Poison, Inhalation
Hazard, Zone A
25 lbs
This is to certify that the above named materials are properly classified, described, packaged,
marked, and labeled, and are in proper condition for transportation according to the applicable
regulations of the Department of Transportation.
Shipper:
Per:
Date:
Essex Corp
Shultz
6/27/94
Carrier: Knuckle Bros.
Per:
Date:
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS: 24 Hr . Emergency Contact, Ed Shultz, 1-800-555-5555
• A proper shipping description and technical name, when required, of the hazardous
product. This information must be printed or
typewritten.
• The packing group assignment.
• Quantity of hazardous materials being shipped.
• A 24-hour emergency response telephone
number must appear on the shipping document
for every hazardous material transported.
• A “shipper’s certification,” signed by the
shipper, saying that he or she prepared the
shipment according to the regulations.
Emergency response information accompanying
the shipping papers must contain:
• Immediate hazards to health.
• Risk of fire or explosion.
• Immediate methods for handling fires.
• Immediate precautions to be taken in the event
of an incident or collision.
• Initial methods of handling spills or leakage.
• Preliminary first aid information.
Shipping Paper Item Descriptions
If the shipping paper describes both hazardous and
nonhazardous products, the hazardous materials
must be either: (1) described first, (2) highlighted
in a contrasting color, or (3) identified by an “X”
placed before the shipping name in a column
captioned “HM.” The letters RQ may be used
instead of X if the shipment is a reportable quantity.
The basic description of a hazardous product
includes the proper shipping name, hazard class
or division, ID number, and the packing group, if
any, in that order. Any additional information such
as customer item number, product code(s), trade
names, etc., must be placed after the basic shipping
description. Shipping name, hazard class, and ID
number must not be abbreviated unless specifically
authorized in the hazardous materials regulations.
The description must also show:
• The total quantity and unit of measure.
• The letters RQ if a reportable quantity.
• If the letters RQ appear, the name of the
hazardous substance.
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• For “n.o.s.” and generic descriptions, the
technical name of the hazardous material
when indicated by a “G” in column 1 of the
Hazardous Materials Table.
Total quantity can appear before or after the
basic description. Packaging type and the unit of
measurement may be abbreviated. For example:
10 ctns. paint, 3, UN 1263, PG II, 500 lbs.
The shipper of hazardous waste must put the word
WASTE before the name of the material on the
hazardous waste manifest. For example:
Waste Acetone, 3, UN 1090, PG II
A nonhazardous material must not be described
by using a hazard class or an ID number.
Technical names are required for n.o.s. and other
generic descriptions. If a material is described on
a shipping paper by proper shipping name, the
technical name of the hazardous material must be
entered in parentheses. For example:
Corrosive liquid, n.o.s.
(Caprylyl chloride), 8, UN1760, PG I
OR
Corrosive liquid, n.o.s., 8, UN1760, PG I,
(Caprylyl chloride)
The same requirement applies to shipping descriptions for poisonous (toxic) materials if the proper
shipping name does not specifically identify the
poisonous material by technical name.
If a hazardous material is a mixture or a solution
of two or more hazardous materials, the technical names of at least two of the materials (those
contributing the most hazard to the mixture) must
be entered on the shipping paper. For example:
Flammable liquid, corrosive, n.o.s., 3
UN2924, PG I, (contains Methanol, Potassium hydroxide)
Shipper’s Certification
When the shipper packages a hazardous material, he
or she certifies that the package has been prepared
according to the regulations. The signed shipper’s
certification appears on the original shipping paper.
An exception is if a shipper is a private carrier
transporting the company’s own product. Also, a
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shipper’s certification is not required on shipping
papers used by the carrier, or when the material
is offered by the primary carrier to a subsequent
carrier. The glossary at the back of this handbook
shows acceptable shipper certifications. Unless
a package is clearly unsafe (leaking, etc.) accept
the shipper’s certification concerning proper
packaging. Some carriers have additional rules
about transporting hazardous products. Follow
your employer’s rules when accepting shipments.
Package Markings and Labels
Shippers print other required information directly
on the package, an attached label, or a tag. The
most important package marking is the proper
shipping name of the hazardous material, which
must be the same as the one on the shipping paper.
When required, the shipper also will mark the
package with the:
• Name and address of the shipper or consignee.
• Content’s proper shipping name and ID number.
• Required hazard labels.
If the rules require it, the shipper also will put RQ
or INHALATION HAZARD on the package. You
will see markings or orientation arrows on cartons
with liquid containers inside. The labels used will
always reflect the hazard class of the product. If a
package needs more than one label (e.g., to show a
subsidiary hazard), the labels will be close together,
near the proper shipping name.
Bulk packages containing material classed as
MARINE POLLUTANTS must be marked on
two opposing sides or two ends with the MARINE
POLLUTANT mark, if not already labeled or
placarded according to 49 CFR 172, Subparts E
or F respectively.
Recognizing Hazardous Materials
Learn to recognize shipments of hazardous materials. To find out if the shipment includes hazardous
materials, look at the shipping paper. Does it have:
• An entry with a proper shipping name, hazard
class, and ID number?
• A highlighted entry, or one with an X or RQ
in the hazardous materials column?
Other clues suggesting hazardous materials:
• What business is the shipper in? Paint dealer?
Chemical supply? Scientific supply house? Pest
control or agricultural supplier? Explosives,
munitions, or fireworks dealer?
• Are there tanks with diamond labels or placards
on the premises?
• What type of package is being shipped? Cylinders and drums are often used for hazardous
materials shipments.
• Is a hazard class label, proper shipping name,
or ID number on the package?
• Are there any handling precautions?
The laws and regulations regarding hazardous
waste are found in the Health and Safety Code,
Division 20, Chapter 6.5, and Title 22, California
Code of Regulations, Division 4.5.
Hazardous Waste Manifest
When transporting hazardous wastes, you must
sign by hand and carry a Uniform Hazardous Waste
Manifest. The name and EPA registration number
of the shippers, carriers, and destination must appear on the manifest. Shippers must prepare, date,
and sign by hand the manifest. Treat the manifest
as a shipping paper when transporting the waste.
Only give the waste shipment to another registered
carrier or disposal/treatment facility. Each carrier
transporting the shipment must sign by hand the
manifest. After you deliver the shipment, keep
your copy of the manifest. Each copy must have
all needed signatures and dates, including those
of the person to whom you delivered the waste.
Hazardous Waste Regulations
A person who transports hazardous wastes in the
State of California must first obtain a Hazardous
Waste Transporter Registration from the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). The
registration certificate must be carried in the vehicle
transporting the hazardous waste and shown upon
demand to any DTSC representative, peace officer,
local health officer, or public officer designated
by DTSC.
There is an exemption for the transportation of up
to 5 gallons or 50 lbs. of hazardous waste or 2.2 lbs.
of extremely hazardous waste when transported by
the producer of the waste to an authorized facility
following specified guidelines.
The transporter of hazardous wastes is responsible
for making sure that a Uniform Hazardous Waste
Manifest is completed properly. The transporter
must sign and date the manifest before removing
the load of hazardous waste from the generator’s
facility. The manifest must be in his or her possession while transporting the hazardous waste and
must be treated as a shipping paper. Hazardous
wastes must only be delivered to another registered transporter or an authorized facility. The
facility operator must sign and date the manifest
when accepting the load of hazardous waste. If
the hazardous waste cannot be delivered to the
facility designated on the manifest, the transporter
must contact the generator for instructions. The
transporter must keep the copy of the manifest for
a minimum of three years.
Placarding
Attach the proper placards as you load the vehicle
and before you drive it. You may move an improperly placarded vehicle only in an emergency
to protect life or property.
Placards must be put on each side and each end of
the vehicle (refer to Figure 9-2 on page 97). Each
placard must be:
• Easily seen from the direction it faces.
• Placed so that the words or numbers are level
and read from left to right.
• At least 3 inches away from any other markings.
• Kept clear of attachments or devices such as
ladders, doors, and tarpaulins.
• Kept clean and undamaged so that the color,
format, and message are easily seen.
Use the hazard class, special provisions, the amount
shipped, type of packaging, and the total weight of
all hazardous materials on board to decide which
placards you need.
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PLACARD TABLE 1
IF VEHICLE IS TO BE PLACARDED FOR…
USE PLACARD…
Explosives 1.1
Explosives 1.2
Explosives 1.3
Poison Gas
Dangerous When Wet
Poison
Radioactive * (Radioactive Yellow III label only)
1.1
1.2
1.3
2.3
4.3
6.1 (PG I, inhalation hazard only)
7
* Radioactive placard also required for exclusive use shipments of low specific activity material (49 CFR §173.425).
PLACARD TABLE 2
IF VEHICLE IS TO BE PLACARDED FOR…
Explosives 1.4
Explosives 1.5
Explosives 1.6
Flammable gas
Nonflammable gas
Flammable
Combustible*
Flammable solid
Spontaneously combustible
Oxidizer
Organic perixide
Poison
Keep away from food
6.2
Corrosive
Class 9**
ORM-D
USE PLACARD…
1.4
1.5
1.6
2.1
2.2
3
Combustible liquid
4.1
4.2
5.1
5.2
6.1 (PGI or II, other than PGI
inhalation hazard
6.1 (PG III)
none
8
9 (not mandatory)
none
* FLAMMABLE placard may be used in place of a COMBUSTIBLE placard on a cargo tank or portable tank.
** Class 9 Placard is not required for domestic transportation.
First, check that the shipper is using the correct
hazard class for the shipping paper and package
label. If you are not familiar with the material,
contact the shipper or your office.
There are two placard tables. Table 1 materials
always require the use (display) of placards. Any
amount of Table 2 materials in non-bulk packaging is required to be placarded if the material is
subject to 49 CFR 172.505 (i.e., Poison-Inhalation
Hazard or Dangerous When Wet) or if the amount
transported in each vehicle is 1,001 lbs. or more,
including the packaging. You may use DANGEROUS placards for each Table 2 hazard class when:
- 118 -
• You have two or more Table 2 hazard classes,
requiring different placards, that total 1001
lbs. or more.
• You have not loaded 2,205 lbs. (1000 kg) or
more of any Table 2 hazard class material at any
one place. (You must use the specific placard
for this material.)
• If the words INHALATION HAZARD are
on the shipping paper or package, you must
display POISON GAS placards for Division
2.3 materials and POISON INHALATION
HAZARD placards or POISON placards in
addition to any other placards needed by the
product’s hazard class.
You do not need EXPLOSIVES 1.5, OXIDIZER,
and DANGEROUS placards if a vehicle contains
Division 1.1 or 1.2 explosives and is placarded with
EXPLOSIVES 1.1 or 1.2. A NONFLAMMABLE
GAS placard is not needed on a vehicle displaying
a FLAMMABLE GAS or an OXYGEN placard.
Loading and Unloading
Do all you can to protect hazardous materials
containers. Don’t use any tools which might damage containers or other packaging during loading.
Don’t use hooks.
• Before loading or unloading, set the parking
brake and make sure the vehicle will not move.
• Many products are more hazardous in the heat.
Load all hazardous materials away from heat
sources.
• Watch for signs of leaking or damaged
containers: LEAKS SPELL TROUBLE! Do
not transport leaking packages. You, your
truck, and others could be in danger. If you
see a leaking or damaged hazardous materials
container, you should move it away from the
other containers.
Containers of Class 1 (explosives), Class 3
(flammable liquids), Class 4 (flammable solids),
Class 5 (oxidizers), Class 8 (corrosives), Class
2 (gases), and Division 6.1 (poisons) must be
braced to prevent movement of the packages
during transportation.
No smoking. When loading hazardous materials,
keep away from fires. Do not smoke or allow
others to smoke near your vehicle. Never smoke
within 25 feet of:
• Explosives.
• Oxidizers.
• Flammables.
Secure against movement. Make sure containers
do not move around in transit. Brace them so they
will not fall or bounce around. Use care when
loading containers that have valves or other fittings.
Do not open any package between the points of
origin and destination. You must never transfer
hazardous products from one package to another.
You may empty a cargo tank or intermodal (IM)
specification portable tank, but do not empty any
other package while it is on the vehicle, except
as necessary to fuel machinery or other vehicles.
Cargo heater rules. There are special cargo heater
rules for loading these hazard classes:
• Explosives.
• Flammable liquid.
• Flammable gas.
The rules usually forbid use of cargo heaters,
including automatic cargo heater/air conditioner
units. Unless you have read all the related rules, do
not load the above products in a cargo space that
has a heater. Use closed cargo space. You must load
the following hazard classes into a closed cargo
space. You cannot have overhang or a tailgate load
for these hazard classes:
• Explosives.
• Flammable solids.
• Oxidizing materials.
Precautions
Explosives. Before loading or unloading any
explosive, turn your engine off. Then check the
cargo space. You must:
• Disable cargo heaters. Disconnect power
sources and drain heater fuel tanks.
• There must be no sharp points that might
damage cargo. Look for bolts, screws, nails,
broken side panels, and broken floor boards.
• Use a floor lining when transporting Division
1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives. The floors must be
tight and the liner must not contain steel or iron.
Explosives need special handling to avoid damage.
Never use hooks or other metal tools. Never drop,
throw, or roll the shipment. Protect explosive packages from other cargo that might cause damage.
Do not transfer a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosive
from one vehicle to another on a public roadway
except in an emergency. If safety requires an
emergency transfer, set out red warning reflectors,
flags, or electric lanterns. You must warn other
highway users.
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Never transport damaged packages of explosives.
Do not take a package that shows any dampness
or an oily stain.
Do not transport Division 1.1 or 1.2 explosives in
a triples combination or in vehicle combinations if:
• There is a marked or placarded cargo tank in
the combination.
• The other vehicle in the combination contains
the following:
— initiating explosive
— radioactive materials labeled YELLOW III
— Division 2.3 or 6.1 poisons
— hazardous materials in a portable tank,
Spec 106A or 110A tank
Corrosive materials. If loading by hand, load
breakable containers of corrosive liquid one by
one. Keep them right side up. Do not drop or
roll the containers. Load them onto an even floor
surface. Stack carboys only if the lower tiers can
safely bear the weight of the upper tiers.
Do not load nitric acid above any other product.
Cyanides or cyanide mixtures may not be loaded
or stored with acids.
Load storage batteries so their liquid will not spill.
Keep them right side up. Make sure other cargo
will not fall against or short circuit them.
Never load corrosive liquids on the same transport
vehicle with:
• Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, or 1.5 explosives. (Refer
to Division 14 of the California Vehicle Code
for additional requirements.)
• Division 2.3, Zone A or 6.1, PG-I, Zone A,
poisons.
• Division 4.2 materials.
Never load corrosive liquids near or above:
• Division 1.4 explosives
• Division 2.3, Zone B, gases
• Division 4.1 or 4.3 materials
• Division 5.1 or 5.2 materials
- 120 -
Compressed gases, including cryogenic liquids.
If your vehicle does not have racks to hold cylinders,
the cargo space floor must be flat. The cylinders
must be loaded securely to prevent overturning.
They can be:
• Held upright or braced laying down flat.
• In racks attached to the vehicle.
• In boxes that will keep them from turning over.
Poisons. Never transport Division 2.3 (Poisonous
gas) or irritating materials in containers with
interconnections. Never load a package labeled
POISON or POISONOUS GAS in the driver’s
cab or sleeper.
Never load a package labeled POISON, POISON
- INHALATION HAZARD, or POISONOUS
GAS in the same vehicle with foodstuffs, feed, or
any edible material intended for consumption by
humans or animals, except as provided under 49
CFR 177.841(e). Packages with hazard labels or
package markings displaying the text “PG III” may
be loaded on the same vehicle with foodstuffs, feed,
or other edible material if separated as specified
in CFR 177.848(e)(3).
Radioactive materials. Some packages of
radioactive materials bear a number called the
“transport index.” The shipper labels these packages Radioactive II or Radioactive III and prints the
package’s transport index on the label. Radiation
surrounds each package, passing through all nearby
packages. The transport index tells the degree of
control needed during transportation. The total
transport index of all packages in a single vehicle
must not exceed 50.
If the cargo you are transporting requires placarding, you must have a HazMat endorsement.
Mixed loads. The rules require some products to be
loaded separately. They cannot be put together in
the same cargo space. Figures 9-5 and 9-6 list some
examples of the incompatibilities. The regulations
(The Segregation and Separation Chart) name other
materials to keep apart.
Figure 9-5
SEGREGATION TABLE FOR HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
2.3
gas
6.1
2.3 other
liquids
gas than
PG I
Notes 1.1 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.62.12.2Zone Zone 3 4.14.24.35.15.2 Zone
1.2
A
A
A
Class
or
Division
8
liquids
7 only
Explosives 1.1 and 1.2
A * * * * * XX X X XXXXXX X X X
Explosives 1.3 * * * * * X X X X XXXX X X
Explosives 1.4 ** ***O O O OO O O
Very insensitive explosives
A * * * * * XX X X XXXXXX X X X
Extremely insensitive explosives, 1.6
* * * * *
Flammable gases 2.1 X
X
O
X X O OO
Nontoxic, nonflammable gases, 2.2
X X
Poisonous gas Zone A, 2.3 XXOX X XXXXXX X
Poisonous gas Zone B, 2.3 X X OX O OOOOOO O
Flammable liquids, 3 X
X
O
X X OO X
Flammable solids, 4.1 XX X O X O
Spontaneous combust. materials, 4.2 X
X
O
XXO X X
Dangerous when wet materials, 4.3 X
XXXO X O
Oxidizers, 5.1
AX
XXXO O XO
Organic peroxides, 5.2 X
XXXO X O
Poisonous liquids PG I Zone A, 6.1 XXOX O XXXXXX X
Radioactive materials, 7
X X O
Corrosive liquids, 8 XX OX X O OXOOO X
A blank space indicates that no restrictions apply.
X—materials may not be loaded, transported, or stored together in same transport vehicle.
O—materials may not be loaded, transported, or stored together in same transport vehicle unless separated in a manner that would
prevent the materials from commingling in case of a leak. Note: Class 8 materials may not be loaded above Class 4 or Class 5 materials
unless it is known that the mixture of contents will not cause a fire or dangerous evolution of heat or gas.
*—segregation among different Class 1 materials is governed by the Compatibility Table for Class 1 (Explosive) Materials (Fig. 9-5).
A—notwithstanding the requirements of the letter “X”, ammonium nitrate fertilizer may be loaded or stored with Division 1.1 or 1.5
materials.
Figure 9-6
Compatibility table for class 1 (explosive) materials
Class
or
Division
abcdefghjklns
A X XX XX X XX X X XX
B
X X
X (4)
XX X XXXXX4/5
C
XX 2 2X 6 XX X X 34/5
D
X
X (4)2 2X 6 XXXX34/5
E
XX 2 2 X 6 XX X X 34/5
F
XX XXX X XXXXX4/5
G
XX 66 6X XXXXX4/5
H
XX XXXX X XXXX4/5
J
XX XX XX X X X X X4/5
K
XX XX XX X XX X X4/5
L
XX XX XX X XX X 1 XX
N
XX 3 3 3X X XX X X4/5
S
X 4/5 4/54/5 4/54/5 4/5 4/54/5 4/5 X 4/5
A blank space indicates that no restrictions apply.
X—explosives of different groups may not be carried on the same transport vehicle.
1—explosive from group L shall only be carried on the same transport vehicle with an identical explosive.
2—any combination of explosives from groups C, D, or E is assigned to group E.
3—any combination of explosives from groups C, D, or E with those in group N is assigned to group D.
4—refer to 49 CFR §177.835(g) when transporting detonators.
5—Div. 1.4 fireworks may not be loaded on same transport vehicle with Div. 1.1 or 1.2 (Class A) explosive material.
- 121 -
Inhalation hazards. An INHALATION HAZARD
is defined as a POISONOUS GAS or LIQUID of
which a very small amount of gas or vapor of a
liquid mixed with air is dangerous to life. Some
inhalation hazards are classified as Division 2.3
(gas, poison by inhalation) while many others are
classified under various other Divisions. These other
materials are identified as POISON-INHALATION
HAZARDS or INHALATION HAZARDS per the
special provisions codes, column 7, listed in the
Hazardous Materials Table.
Bulk Tanks
A bulk tank is intended primarily for carrying
liquids, gases, or solids. Refer to the Glossary
for more information. Cargo tanks remain on the
vehicle when you load and unload them. Portable
tanks are bulk containers which are not permanently
attached to a vehicle. They are loaded or unloaded
with the product while off the vehicle. Portable
tanks are then put on a vehicle for transportation.
Exception: IM specification portable tanks are
authorized to be unloaded while attached to the
transport vehicle.
There are many types of cargo tanks in use. The
most common are MC 306 for liquids and MC
331 for gases.
Markings
You must display the ID number of the contents
of portable tanks, cargo tanks, and other bulk
packagings (such as dump trucks). Product ID
numbers are in column 4 of the Hazardous Materials Table. Those rules require black numbers on
orange panels, placards, or white diamond-shaped
backgrounds if no placards are required. Specification cargo tanks must show retest and inspection
date markings.
Portable tanks must also show the lessee or owner’s
name. They must also display the shipping name
of the contents on two opposing sides. The letters
of the shipping name must be at least two inches
tall on portable tanks with capacities of 1,000
gallons or more and one inch tall on portable tanks
with capacities of less than 1,000 gallons. The ID
number must appear on each side and each end of a
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portable tank or other bulk packaging that holds
1,000 gallons or more and on two opposing sides,
if the portable tank holds less than 1,000 gallons.
The ID numbers must still be visible when the
portable tank is on the motor vehicle. If they are
not visible, you must display the ID number on
both sides and ends of the motor vehicle.
Loading
The loading and unloading of a cargo tank must
be attended. The person overseeing the loading or
unloading must be alert and:
• Have a clear view of the cargo tank.
• Be within 25 feet of the tank.
• Be aware of the hazards.
• Know the procedures to follow in an emergency.
• Be authorized to move the cargo tank and able
to do so.
Close all manholes and valves before moving a tank
carrying hazardous materials. It does not matter
how small the amount in the tank or how short
the distance. Manholes and valves must not leak.
Flammable Liquids
Turn off your engine before loading or unloading
any flammable liquid. Only run the engine if it is
needed to operate a pump. Ground a cargo tank
correctly before filling it through an open filling
hole. Ground the tank before opening the filling
hole, and maintain the ground until after closing
the filling hole.
Compressed Gas
Keep liquid discharge valves on a compressed gas
tank closed except when loading and unloading.
Unless your engine must run a pump for product
transfer, turn if off when loading or unloading.
If you use the engine, turn if off after material
delivery, before unhooking the hose.
Chlorine Cargo
Unhook all loading/unloading connections before
coupling, uncoupling, or moving a chlorine cargo
tank. Always chock trailers and semitrailers to
prevent motion after the trailers are dropped.
Federal Driving and
Parking Rules
Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives
Do not park with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives
within 5 feet of the traveled part of the road.
Except for short periods of time needed for vehicle
operation necessities (i.e., fueling), do not park
within 300 feet of:
• A bridge, tunnel, or building.
• A place where people gather.
• An open fire.
If you must park to do your job, only do so briefly.
Do not park on private property unless the owner
is aware of the danger. You must always watch the
parked vehicle. You may let someone else watch
it for you only if your vehicle is on the:
• Shipper’s property.
• Carrier’s property.
• Consignee’s property.
Vehicles may be parked unattended in a safe
haven. A safe haven is a government approved
place for parking unattended vehicles loaded with
explosives. Designation of authorized safe havens
are usually made by local authorities. In California,
safe havens are designated by the CHP and referred
to as “safe parking places.”
Other Placarded Vehicles
You may park a placarded vehicle (not laden with
explosives) within 5 feet of the traveled part of the
road if your work requires it. You may park for
only a brief time. Someone must always watch
a vehicle parked with hazardous materials on a
public roadway or shoulder. Do not uncouple or
leave a trailer with hazardous materials on a public
street. Do not park within 300 feet of an open fire.
Attending Parked Vehicles
The person attending a placarded vehicle must:
• Be in the vehicle, awake, and not in the sleeper
berth.
• Within 100 feet of the vehicle and have it
within clear view.
• Be aware of the hazards.
• Know what to do in emergencies.
• Be able to move the vehicle, if necessary.
Drivers of vehicles required to be placarded or
marked per 49 CFR 177.823 (CVC §27903) must
also be driven and parked in compliance with state
and local requirements (49 CFR 397.3).
Transporting Explosives in
California
When transporting any amount of Division 1.1,
1.2, 1.3, or 1.6 EXPLOSIVES or a combination
of any of these explosives together with a Division
1.5 EXPLOSIVE (blasting agent) as a delivery
service or “for hire,” you must use special routes,
safe stopping places, safe parking places, and
mandatory vehicle inspection locations prescribed
by the CHP. When transporting more than 1000 lbs.
of these explosives in private carriage (other than
as a delivery service) the same requirements apply.
Transporting Inhalation Hazards in
California
Shipments of materials designated as “Poison
Inhalation Hazard,” “Toxic Inhalation Hazard,” or
“Inhalation Hazard” per 49 CFR 172.203, when
transported in bulk packagings (49 CFR 171.8),
must also be transported using special routes, safe
stopping places, and mandatory vehicle inspection
locations prescribed by the CHP for these materials.
Transporting Radioactive Materials
in California
There are also specific routes prescribed by the
CHP for “Highway Route Controlled Quantity
(HRCQ)” and “Radioactive Materials (RAM)”
shipments.
Drivers must have in their possession, supplied by
the carrier, a copy of the routes applicable to their
shipment when transporting these materials. The
routes, stopping places, and inspection locations
are contained in 13 CCR 1150-1152.8 (Explosives),
1155-1157.20 (IH), and 1158-1159 (HRCQ). These
requirements are also published by the CHP.
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Motor carriers may receive these publications,
including revisions, by indicating their request
on the APPLICATION FOR HAZARDOUS
MATERIALS TRANSPORTATION LICENSE
or by contacting the Commercial Vehicle Section,
Routing Coordinator at (916) 327-3310.
California General Hazardous
Materials Routing Requirement
The following general routing and parking restrictions (CVC §31303) apply to hazardous material
and hazardous waste shipments for which the
display of vehicle placards and/or markings are
required per CVC §27903 (except shipments
subject to, and in conformance with, special routing
and related requirements):
• Unless specifically restricted or prohibited
(CVC §31304), use state or interstate highways
which offer the least transit time whenever
possible.
• Avoid, whenever practicable, congested
highways, places where crowds are assembled,
and residence districts (CVC §515).
• Deviation from designated routes is not excusable on the basis of operating convenience.
• Do not leave a loaded vehicle unattended or
parked overnight in a residence district.
• Except for specifically restricted or prohibited
highways, other highways may be used that
provide necessary access for pickup or delivery
consistent with safe vehicle operation.
• Highways which provide reasonable access
to fuel, repairs, rest, or food facilities that
are designed to and intended for commercial
vehicle parking, when that access is safe and
when the facility is within one-half mile of the
points of exit and/or entry to the designated
route.
• Restricted or prohibited routes may only be
used when no other lawful alternative exists.
The CHP also publishes a list of restricted or
prohibited highways (CVC §31304). Copies
of this list may be obtained by contacting
the Commercial Vehicle Section, Routing
Coordinator at (916) 327-3310.
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Flammable Cargo Restrictions
You might break down in a place where you must
use stopped vehicle signals. Use reflective triangles
or red electric lights. Do not use burning signals
such as flares or fusees around a:
• Tank used for flammable liquids or flammable
gas whether loaded or empty.
• Vehicle loaded with the following:
— Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives.
— Class 3 materials.
— Division 2.1 flammable gas.
Do not smoke within 25 feet of a placarded tank
used for flammable liquids or gases. Also, do not
smoke or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe
within 25 feet of any vehicle which contains:
• Class 1 (explosives).
• Class 5.1 (oxidizers).
• Class 3 (flammables, including tanks containing residue).
Fueling Restrictions
Turn off your engine before fueling a placarded
vehicle. Someone must always be at the nozzle
controlling fuel flow.
Fire Extinguishers
The power unit of placarded vehicles must have a
fire extinguisher with a UL rating of at least 10 B:C
or more. In California, tank vehicles or combinations of tank vehicles used to transport flammable
or combustible liquids shall be equipped with at
least one fire extinguisher rated not less than 20
B:C, serviced annually.
Tire Checks
The driver of a placarded vehicle with dual tires
must make sure the tires are properly inflated.
Check at the start of each trip and when you park.
Check the tires every two hours or 100 miles,
whichever is less. The only acceptable way to
check tire pressure is to use a tire pressure gauge.
Do not drive with a tire that is leaking or flat
except to the nearest safe place to fix it. Remove
any overheated tire. Place it a safe distance from
your vehicle. Do not drive until you have corrected
the cause of overheating. Always follow the rules
about parking and attending placarded vehicles.
They apply even when checking, repairing, or
replacing tires.
Where to Keep Shipping Papers
Do not accept a hazardous materials shipment
without a properly prepared shipping paper. A
shipping paper for hazardous materials must always
be easily recognized. Other people must be able to
find it quickly in the event of a collision.
• Clearly distinguish hazardous materials shipping papers from others by tabbing them or
keeping them on top of the stack of papers.
• When you are behind the wheel, keep shipping
papers within your reach (with your seat belt
on), or in a pouch on the driver’s door. They
must be easily seen by someone entering the
cab.
• When not behind the wheel, leave the shipping
papers in the driver’s door pouch or on the
driver’s seat.
• Emergency response information must be kept
in the same manner as the shipping paper.
Papers Needed for Division 1.1, 1.2,
or 1.3 Explosives
A carrier must give each driver transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives a copy of the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) part
397. The carrier must also give written instructions
on what to do in the event of a collision or delay.
The written instructions must include the:
• Names and telephone numbers of people to
contact (including carrier agents or shippers).
• Nature of the explosives transported.
• Precautions to take in emergencies such as
fires, collisions, or leaks.
You must sign a receipt for these documents and
be familiar with, and have in your possession while
driving, the:
• Shipping papers.
• Written emergency instructions.
• Written route plan.
• Copy of FMCSR part 397.
Special Equipment for Chlorine
A driver transporting chlorine in cargo tanks must
have an approved gas mask on the cargo tank.
The driver must also have an emergency kit for
controlling leaks in dome cover plate fittings on
the cargo tank.
Railroad Crossings
Stop before crossing a railroad if your
vehicle:
• Is marked or placarded. (49 CFR 392.10)
• C a r r i e s a n y a m o u n t o f c h l o r i n e .
(49 CFR 392.10)
• Has cargo tanks, whether loaded or empty,
used for hazardous materials or wastes.
(49 CFR 392.10)
You must stop 15 to 50 feet before the nearest rail.
Proceed only when you are sure no train is coming.
Do not shift gears while crossing the tracks.
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Dealing with Emergencies
The Department of Transportation publishes an
Emergency Response Guidebook for fire fighters,
police, and industry personnel. The guidebook
tells them what to do first to protect themselves
and the public from hazardous materials or wastes.
The guidebook is indexed by shipping name and
hazardous material ID number. Emergency personnel look for these things on the shipping paper.
It is important that the proper shipping name, ID
number, label, and placards used are correct.
Emergency Response Guidebook
(ERG)
As a professional driver, your job at the
collision scene is to:
• Keep people away from the area.
• Limit the spread of material, only if you are
trained to do so.
• Communicate the danger to emergency
response personnel.
• Provide emergency responders with the
shipping papers and emergency response
information.
Vehicle Collisions
Follow this checklist:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Check to see that your driving partner is OK.
Keep shipping papers with you.
Keep people far away and upwind.
Warn others of the danger.
Send for help.
Follow your employer’s instructions.
Fires
You might have to control minor fires involving
your vehicle on the road. However, unless you
have the training and equipment to do so safely,
do not fight hazardous materials fires. Dealing with
hazardous materials fires requires special training
and protective gear.
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When you discover a fire, send someone or call
9-1-1 for help. You may use the fire extinguisher
to keep minor vehicle fires from spreading to cargo
before fire fighters arrive. You should feel trailer
doors to see if they are hot before opening them.
If hot, you may have a cargo fire and should not
open the doors. Opening doors lets air in and may
make the fire flare up. Without air many fires only
smolder until firemen arrive, doing less damage.
If your cargo is already on fire, it is not safe to
fight the fire. Keep the shipping papers with you
to give to emergency personnel as soon as they
arrive. Warn other people of the danger and keep
them away.
Leaks
If you discover a cargo leak, identify the material
by using shipping papers, labels, package location
in trailer, and any other clue. Do not touch any
leaking material. Many people, under the stress
of handling an accident or leak, forget and injure
themselves this way. Do not attempt to identify
materials or find the source of a leak by smell.
Many toxic gases destroy one’s sense of smell.
They can injure or kill you without smell. Do not
eat, drink, or smoke around a leak or spill.
If no material is spilling from your vehicle, you
may drive to the closest area where you can get
help. Never move your vehicle if doing so will
spread contamination or damage the vehicle. Keep
downwind and away from roadside rest stops, truck
stops, cafes, and businesses. Never try to repack
leaking containers unless you have the training
and equipment to repair leaks safely. Call your
dispatcher or supervisor for instructions and, if
needed, emergency personnel.
If hazardous material is spilling from your vehicle,
you may move off the road and away from places
where people gather, if doing so serves safety.
Only move your vehicle if you can do so without
danger to yourself or others.
Never continue driving with hazardous materials leaking from your vehicle even to find a
phone booth, truck stop, help, or similar reason.
Remember that the carrier pays for the cleanup of
contaminated parking lots, roadways, and drainage
ditches. If hazardous materials are spilling from
your vehicle:
• Park it and secure the area.
• Stay there.
• Call 9-1-1 or send someone else for help.
Flammable liquids. If you are transporting a
flammable liquid and have a collision or your
vehicle breaks down, prevent bystanders from
gathering. Warn people of the danger. Keep them
from smoking.
If you must send someone for help, give that person
the following information in writing:
• A description of the emergency.
• Your exact location and direction of travel.
• Your name, the carrier’s name, and the name
of the community or city where your terminal
is located.
• The shipping name, hazard class, and ID
number of the material.
Flammable solids and oxidizing materials. If a
flammable solid or oxidizing material spills, warn
others of the fire hazard. Do not open smoldering
packages of flammable solids. Remove them from
the vehicle if you can safely do so. Also remove
unbroken packages if it will decrease the fire hazard.
This information will help emergency crews to
respond with the right equipment the first time.
Other Hazards
Explosives. If your vehicle breaks down or is in a
collision while carrying explosives, you must warn
others of the danger. Keep bystanders away. Do
not allow smoking or open fire near the vehicle.
Do not try to pull apart vehicles involved in a
collision until any explosive cargo is removed.
The explosives should be placed at least 200 feet
from the vehicles and occupied buildings. If there
is a fire, warn everyone of the danger of explosion
and leave the area.
Compressed gases. If compressed gas is leaking
from your vehicle, warn others of the danger. Only
permit those involved in removing the hazard or
wreckage to get close. You must notify the shipper
of the compressed gas of any collision or spill.
Do not transfer flammable compressed gas from
one tank to another on any public roadway except
in an emergency.
Never transport a leaking cargo tank farther than
needed to reach a safe place. If safe to do so, get
off the roadway. Do not transfer flammable liquid
from one vehicle to another on a public roadway
except in an emergency.
Corrosive materials. If corrosives spill or leak
in transit, be careful to avoid further damage or
injury when handling the containers. Parts of the
vehicle exposed to a corrosive liquid must be
thoroughly neutralized. Clean the interior as soon
after unloading as possible, before reloading the
vehicle.
If further transportation of a leaking tank would
be unsafe, get off the road. If safe to do so, try to
contain any liquid leaking from the vehicle. Keep
bystanders away from the liquid and its fumes.
Do everything possible to prevent injury to other
highway users.
Poisons. You must protect yourself, other people,
and property from harm. Remember that many
products classed as poison are also flammable.
Warn bystanders of the hazards of fire, of inhaling
vapors, or coming in contact with the poison. Do
not allow smoking or open flame.
A vehicle involved in a leak of Division 2.3 or
Division 6.1 poisons must be checked for stray
poison before being used again.
If you know that a leaking poison liquid or gas is
flammable, take the added precautions needed for
flammable liquids or gases.
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Radioactive materials. If a leak or broken package involves radioactive materials, notify your
dispatcher or supervisor as soon as possible. If
there is a spill, or if an internal container might
be damaged, do not touch or inhale the material.
Do not use the vehicle until it is decontaminated
and checked with a survey meter.
The National Response Center helps coordinate
emergency response to chemical hazards. They
are a resource to the local police and fire fighters.
Their 24-hour toll free number is 1-800-424-8802
or within California, 1-800-852-7550. The person
in charge of a vehicle involved in a collision may
have to phone the National Response Center. The
call will be in addition to any made to police or fire
fighters. You or your employer must phone when
any of the following occurs as a direct result of
hazardous materials incident:
• There is spill or release of a reportable quantity
(RQ) hazardous substance.
• A person is killed.
• A person receives injuries requiring
hospitalization.
• Estimated carrier or other property damage
exceeds $50,000.
• The general public is evacuated for one or
more hours.
• One or more major transportation arteries or
facilities are closed or shut down for one hour
or more.
• Fire, breakage, spillage, or suspected radioactive contamination occurs and/or involves
a shipment of etiologic agents (bacteria or
toxins).
• A situation (e.g., continuing danger to life
exists at the scene of an incident) that, in the
judgment of the carrier, should be reported.
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The person making the immediate telephone report
should be ready to give:
• His or her name.
• Name and address of the carrier.
• Phone number where someone can be reached.
• Date, time, and location of incident.
• The extent of injuries, if any.
• Classification, name, and quantity of hazardous materials involved, if such information is
available.
• Type of incident and nature of hazardous substance involvement and whether a continuing
danger to life exists at the scene.
• If a reportable quantity of hazardous substance
was involved, the caller should give the
following:
— the name of the shipper.
— the quantity of the hazardous substance
discharged.
You should know these immediate reporting
requirements so you can give your employer the
required information. Carriers must also make
detailed written reports within 30 days.
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center
(CHEMTREC) in Washington D.C. also has a 24
hour toll free line (1-800-424-9300). CHEMTREC
was established to provide emergency personnel
with technical information about the physical
properties of hazardous products. The National
Response Center and CHEMTREC are in close
communication. If you call either one, they will
tell the other about the problem, when appropriate.
California Immediate Spill Reporting
Spills of hazardous materials on California highways must be reported immediately to the CHP
office or police department having traffic control
jurisdiction (CVC §23112.5).
Appendix A—Table of Hazard Class Definitions
HAZARD CLASS
and DIVISION
DEFINITION
CLASS 1—EXPLOSIVES
Division 1.1
Explosives that have a mass explosion hazard (affects lmost the entire load instantaneously).
(Refer to 49 CFR 173.50(b)(1).)
Division 1.2
Explosives that have a projection hazard but not a mass explosion hazard. (Refer to 49 CFR
173.50 (b)(2).)
Division 1.3
Explosives that have a fire hazard and either a minor blast or projection hazard or both, but
not a mass explosion hazard. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.50 (b)(3).)
Division 1.4
Explosives that present a minor explosion hazard (effects are largely confined to the package).
(Refer to 49 CFR 173.50 (b)(4).)
Division 1.5
Explosives that are very insensitive (very little probability of detonation under normal
transport condition). (Refer to 49 CFR 173.50 (b)(5).)
Division 1.6
Articles which do not have a mass explosive hazard (negligible probability of accidental
detonation). (Refer to 49 CFR 173.50 (b)(6).)
CLASS 2—Gases
Division 2.1
Flammable gas is any material which is a gas at 20°C (68°F) or less and 101.3 kPa (14.7 psi)
of pressure and is ignitable when mixed with air. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.115(a).)
Division 2.2
Division 2.2 includes non-flammable, non-poisonous compressed gas including compressed
gas, liquefied gas, pressurized cryogenic gas and compressed gas in solution, asphyxiant
gas, or oxidizing gas with an absolute pressure of 280 kpa (40.6 PSIA) or greater at 20°C
(68°F). (Refer to 49 CFR 173.115(b).)
Division 2.3
A gas poisonous by inhalation is a gas which is known to be so toxic to humans as to pose
a hazard to health during transportation. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.115(c).)
CLASS 3—FLAMMABLE LIQUIDS
A flammable liquid means a liquid having a flash point of not more than 60.5°C (141°F), or any material in a
liquid phase with a flash point at or above 37.8°C (100°F) that is intentionally heated and offered for transport, or
transported at or above its flash point in a bulk package, with the following exceptions:
Any liquid meeting one of the definitions specified in 49 CFR 173.115 (gases).
Any mixture having one or more components with a flash point of 60.5°C (141°F) or higher, that makes up at
least 99% of the total volume of the mixture, if the mixture is not offered for transportation or transported at or
above its flash point.
CLASS 4—FLAMMABLE Solids
Division 4.1
A flammable solid means any of the following three types of material:
1. Desensitized Explosives that: A) when dry are explosives Class 1 other than those of
compatibility group A, which are wetted with sufficient water, alcohol, or plasticizer to
suppress explosive properties; and B) are specifically authorized by name and hazard class
by the Associate Administrator for Hazard­ous Materials under the provisions of an exemption
issued under subchapter A of 49 CFR or an approval issued under 49 CFR 173.56(i).
2. Self-reactive materials are materials that are liable to undergo, at normal or elevated
temperature, a strong exothermal decomposition caused by excessively high transport
temperatures or by contamination, even without participation of oxygen (air).
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Appendix A—Table of Hazard Class Definitions (continued)
CLASS 4—FLAMMABLE Solids (continued)
Division 4.1
(continued)
3. Readily combustible materials are materials that are solids which may cause fire through
friction such as matches; shows a burn rate of more than 2.2 mm (0.087 inches); or any metal
powders that can be ignited and react over the whole length of the sample in 10 minutes or less.
Division 4.2
A spontaneously combustible material means:
1. A Pyrophoric Material—a liquid or solid that, even in small quantities, and without an
external ignition source, can ignite within five minutes after coming in contact with air.
2. A Self-heating Material—a material that, when in contact with air and without an energy
supply is liable to self heat. A material of this type which exhibits spontaneous ignition or if
the temperature of a sample exceeds 200°C (392°F) in 24 hours is a Division 4.2 material.
Division 4.3
A dangerous when wet material is a material that, by contact with water, is liable to become
spontaneously flammable or to give off flammable or toxic gas. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.124 (c).)
CLASS 5—Oxidizing Materials
Division 5.1
An oxidizer is any material that may, generally by yielding oxygen, cause or enhance the
combustion of other materials. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.127 (a).)
Division 5.2
Organic peroxide is a compound containing oxygen (O) in the bivalent-O-O structure and
which may be considered a derivative of hydrogen peroxide where one or more of the
hydrogen atoms have been replaced by organic radicals. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.128 (a).)
CLASS 6—POISONOUS/INFECTIOUS SUBSTANCES
Division 6.1
A poisonous material is any material, other than a gas, which is known to be so toxic to
humans that it causes a hazard to health during transportation. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.132 (a).)
Division 6.2
An infectious substance is a viable microorganism, or its toxin, which causes or may cause
disease in humans or animals. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.134 (a).)
CLASS 7—RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS (Refer to 49 CFR 173.403.)
CLASS 8—CORROSIVE MATERIALS
A corrosive material is any liquid or solid that causes visible destruction or irreversible alterations in human skin
tissue at the site of contact, or a liquid that has a severe corrosion rate on steel or aluminum. (Refer to 49 CFR
173.136 (a).)
CLASS 9—MISCELLANEOUS HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
A miscellaneous hazardous material is any material which presents a hazard during transportation but which does
not meet the definition of any other hazard class. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.140.)
ORM-D MATERIALS
Other Regulated Materials (ORM) means a material such as a consumer commodity, which, although otherwise
subject to the regulations of 49 CFR 173, presents a limited hazard during transportation due it its form, quantity,
and packaging. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.144.)
COMBUSTIBLE LIQUIDS
A combustible liquid is any liquid that does not meet the definition of any other hazard class and has a flash point
above 141°F, but less than 220°F. (Refer to 49 CFR 173.120(a)).
Note: Some flammable liquids with a flash point at or above 100°F may be reclassed as combustible liquid for
domestic transportation (Refer to 49 CFR 173.120(b)).
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Hazardous Materials Warning Labels and Placards
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- 133 -
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Section 10: School Buses
This section is for all commercial drivers that drive school buses
You should be thoroughly familiar with California
and your local school district laws and regulations.
Danger Zones – Use of
Mirrors
Danger Zones
The danger zone is the area on all sides of the bus
where children are in the most danger of being
hit, either by another vehicle or their own bus.
The danger zones may extend as much as 30 feet
from the front bumper (with the first 10 feet being
the most dangerous), 10 feet from the left and
right sides of the bus and 10 feet behind the rear
bumper of the school bus. In addition, the area to
the left of the bus is always considered dangerous
because of passing cars.
Correct Mirror Adjustment
Proper adjustment and use of all mirrors is vital to
the safe operation of a school bus to observe the
danger zone around the bus and look for students,
traffic, and other objects in this area. You should
always check each mirror before operating the
school bus to obtain maximum viewing area. If
necessary, have the mirrors adjusted.
Outside Left and Right Side Flat
Mirrors
These mirrors are mounted at the left and right
front corners of the bus at the side or front of the
windshield. They are used to monitor traffic, check
clearances and students on the sides and to the rear
of the bus. There is a blind spot immediately below
and in front of each mirror and directly in back
of the rear bumper. The blind spot behind the bus
extends 50 to 150 feet and could extend up to 400
feet depending on the length and width of the bus.
• 200 feet or four bus lengths behind the bus.
• Along the sides of the bus.
• The rear tires touching the ground.
Outside Left and Right Side Convex
Mirrors
The convex mirrors are located below the outside
flat mirrors. They are used to monitor the left and
right sides at a wide angle. They provide a view
of traffic, clearances, and students at the side of
the bus. These mirrors present a view of people
and objects that does not accurately reflect their
size and distance from the bus.
You should position the mirrors to see:
• The entire side of the bus up to the mirror
mounts.
• Front of the rear tires touching the ground.
• At least one traffic lane on either side of the bus.
Outside Left and Right Side
Crossover Mirrors
The mirrors are mounted on both left and right front
corners of the bus. They are used to see the front
bumper “danger zone” area directly in front of the
bus that is not visible by direct vision, and to view
the “danger zone” area to the left side and right
side of the bus, including the service door and front
wheel area. The mirror presents a view of people
and objects that does not accurately reflect their
size and distance from the bus. You must ensure
that these mirrors are properly adjusted to see:
• The entire area in front of the bus from the
front bumper at ground level to a point where
direct vision is possible. Direct vision and
mirror view vision should overlap.
• The right and left front tires touching the
ground.
Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so
you can see:
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• The area from the front of the bus to the service
door.
• The mirrors (both the convex and flat mirrors),
should be viewed in a logical sequence to
ensure that a child or object is not in any of
the danger zones.
Overhead Inside Rearview Mirror
This mirror is mounted directly above the windshield on the driver’s side area of the bus. This
mirror is used to monitor passenger activity inside
the bus. It may provide limited visibility directly
in back of the bus if the bus is equipped with a
glass-bottomed rear emergency door. There is a
blind spot area directly behind the driver’s seat
as well as a large blind spot area that begins at
the rear bumper and could extend up to 400 feet
or more behind the bus. You must use the exterior
side mirrors to monitor traffic that approaches and
enters this area. Position the mirror to see:
• The top of the rear window in the top of the
mirror.
• All of the students, including the heads of the
students right behind you.
Loading and Unloading
More students are killed while getting on or off a
school bus each year than are killed as passengers
inside of a school bus. As a result, knowing what
to do before, during, and after loading or unloading students is critical. This section will give you
specific procedures to help avoid unsafe conditions,
which could result in injuries and fatalities, during
and after loading and unloading students.
The information in this section is intended to
provide a broad overview, but is not a definitive
set of actions. It is imperative that you learn and
obey California regulations governing loading/
unloading operations.
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Approaching the Stop
Each school district establishes official routes
and official school bus stops. All stops should be
approved by the school district prior to making
the stop. Never change the location of a bus stop
without written approval from the appropriate
school district official.
Use extreme caution when approaching a school
bus stop. It is critical that you understand and
follow all California and local laws and regulations
regarding approaching a school bus stop. This
would involve the proper use of mirrors, amber
and red flashing light systems, stop arm, handheld
stop sign, and student escort procedures.
When approaching the stop:
• Approach cautiously at a slow rate of speed.
• Look for pedestrians, traffic, or other objects
before, during, and after coming to a stop.
• Continuously check all mirrors.
• If the school bus is so equipped, activate
alternating flashing amber warning lights at
least 200 feet.
• Turn on right turn signal indicator about 100300 feet or approximately 3-5 seconds before
pulling over.
• Continuously check mirrors to monitor the
danger zones for students, traffic, and other
objects.
• Move as far as possible to the right on the
traveled portion of the roadway.
• Bring school bus to a full stop with the front
bumper at least 10 feet away from students at
the designated stop. This forces the students
to walk to the bus, so you have a better view
of their movements.
• Place transmission in park, or if there is no
park shift point, in neutral. Set the parking
brake at each stop.
• Open service door, if possible, enough to
activate alternating red lights when traffic is
a safe distance from the school bus.
• Make a final check to see that all traffic has
stopped before completely opening the door
and signaling students to approach.
Loading Procedures
Unloading Procedures on the Route
• Students should wait in a designated location for the school bus, facing the bus as it
approaches.
• Students should board the bus only when
signaled by the driver.
• Monitor all mirrors continuously.
• Count the number of students at the bus stop
and be sure all board the bus. If possible, know
names of students at each stop. If there is a
student missing, ask the other students where
the student is.
• Have the students board the school bus slowly,
in single file, and use the handrail. The dome
light should be on while loading in the dark.
• Wait until students are seated and facing
forward before moving the bus.
• Check all mirrors. Make certain no one is
running to catch the bus.
• If you cannot account for a student outside,
secure the bus, take the key, and check around
and underneath the bus.
• When all students are accounted for, prepare
to leave by:
— Closing the door.
— Engaging the transmission.
— Releasing the parking brake.
— Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
— Turning on left turn signal.
— Checking all mirrors again.
— Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
• When it is safe, move the bus to enter traffic
flow and continue the route.
• Have the students remain seated until told to
exit.
• Check all mirrors.
• Count the number of students while unloading
to confirm the location of all students before
pulling away from the stop.
• Tell students to exit the bus and walk at least 10
feet away from the side of the bus to a position
where the driver can plainly see all students.
• Check all mirrors again. Make sure no students
are around or returning to the bus.
• If you cannot account for a student outside
the bus, secure the bus, and check around and
underneath the bus.
• When all students are accounted for, prepare
to leave by:
— Closing the door.
— Engaging transmission.
— Releasing parking brake.
— Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
— Turning on left turn signal.
— Checking all mirrors again.
— Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
• When it is safe, move the bus, enter the traffic
flow and continue the route.
Additional procedures for loading at a school
campus. When loading students at a school
campus, also:
• Turn off the ignition switch.
• Remove key if leaving driver’s compartment.
• Position yourself to supervise loading as
required or recommended by California or
local regulations.
Note: If you have missed a student’s unloading
stop, do not back up. Be sure to follow local
procedures.
Additional Procedures for Students
Who Must Cross the Roadway
When a school bus is stopped on a highway or
private road for the purpose of loading or unloading
pupils, at a location where traffic is not controlled
by a traffic officer or official traffic control signal,
the school bus driver shall do all of the following:
• Escort all pupils in prekindergarten, kindergarten, or any grades one through eighth, who
need to cross the highway or private road upon
which the school bus is stopped. The driver
shall use an approved hand-held “STOP” sign
while escorting all pupils.
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• Require all pupils who cross the highway or
private road upon which the school bus is
stopped to walk in front of the bus as they cross.
• Ensure that all pupils who cross the highway
or private road upon which the school bus is
stopped have crossed safely, and that all other
pupils and pedestrians are at a safe distance
from the school bus before setting the school
bus in motion.
Unloading Procedures at School
State and local laws and regulations regarding
unloading students at schools, particularly in
situations where such activities occur in a school
parking lot or other location that is off the traveled
roadway, are often different than unloading along
the school bus route. It is important that the school
bus driver understands and obeys state and local
laws, and regulations.
When unloading the bus at the school you should
follow these procedures which are general
guidelines:
• Safely stop at designated unloading areas.
• Secure the bus by:
— Turning off the ignition switch.
— Removing key if leaving driver ’s
compartment.
• Have the students remain seated until told to
exit.
• Position yourself to supervise unloading as
required or recommended by California or
local regulations.
• Have students exit in orderly fashion.
• Observe students as they step from the bus
to see that all move promptly away from the
unloading area.
• Walk through the bus and check for hiding/
sleeping students and items left by students.
• Check all mirrors. Make certain no students
are returning to the bus.
• If you cannot account for a student outside the
bus and the bus is secure, check around and
underneath the bus.
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• When all students are accounted for, prepare
to leave by:
— Closing the door.
— Fastening safety belt.
— Starting engine.
— Engaging the transmission.
— Releasing the parking brake.
— Turning off alternating flashing red lights.
— Turning on left turn signal.
— Checking all mirrors again.
— Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
• When it is safe, pull away from the unloading
area.
Special Dangers of Loading and
Unloading
Dropped or forgotten objects. Always focus on
students as they approach the bus and watch for
any who disappear from sight.
Students may drop an object near the bus during
loading and unloading. Stopping to pick up the
object, or returning to pick up the object may cause
the student to disappear from the driver’s sight at
a very dangerous moment.
Students should be told to leave any dropped object
and move to a point of safety out of the danger
zones and attempt to get the driver’s attention to
retrieve the object.
Handrail hang-ups. Students have been injured
or killed when clothing, accessories, or even parts
of their body get caught in the handrail or door as
they exited the bus. You should closely observe all
students exiting the bus to confirm that they are in
a safe location prior to moving the bus.
Post-Trip Inspection
When your route or school activity trip is finished,
you should conduct a post-trip inspection of the bus.
You should walk through the bus and around the
bus looking for the following:
• Articles left on the bus.
• Sleeping students.
• Open windows and doors.
• Mechanical/operational problems with the bus,
with special attention to items that are unique
to school buses – mirror systems, flashing
warning lamps and stop signal arms.
• Damage or vandalism.
Any problems or special situations should be
reported immediately to your supervisor or school
authorities.
Emergency Exit and
Evacuation
An emergency situation can happen to anyone,
anytime, anywhere. It could be a collision, a stalled
school bus on a railroad-highway crossing or in
a high-speed intersection, an electrical fire in the
engine compartment, a medical emergency to a
student on the school bus, etc. Knowing what to
do in an emergency–before, during and after an
evacuation–can mean the difference between life
and death.
Planning for Emergencies
Determine need to evacuate bus. The first
and most important consideration is for you to
recognize the hazard. If time permits, school bus
drivers should contact their dispatcher to explain
the situation before making a decision to evacuate
the school bus.
As a general rule, student safety and control is best
maintained by keeping students on the bus during
an emergency and/or impending crisis situation,
if doing so does not expose them to unnecessary
risk or injury. Remember, the decision to evacuate
the bus must be a timely one.
A decision to evacuate should include consideration
of the following:
• Is there a fire or danger of fire?
• Is there a smell of raw or leaking fuel?
• Is there a chance the bus could be hit by other
vehicles?
• Is the bus in the path of a sighted tornado or
rising waters?
• Are there downed power lines?
• Would removing students expose them to
speeding traffic, severe weather, or a dangerous
environment such as downed power lines?
• Would moving students complicate injuries
such as neck and back injuries and fractures?
• Is there a hazardous spill involved? Sometimes,
it may be safer to remain on the bus and not
come in contact with the material.
Mandatory Evacuations
Evacuate the bus when:
• The bus is on fire or there is a threat of a fire.
• The bus is stalled on or adjacent to a railroadhighway crossing.
• The position of the bus may change and increase
the danger.
• There is an imminent danger of collision.
• There is a need to quickly evacuate because
of a hazardous materials spill.
Evacuation Procedures—Be
Prepared and Plan Ahead
When possible, assign two responsible, older student assistants to each emergency exit. Teach them
how to assist the other students off the bus. Assign
another student assistant to lead the students to a
“safe place” after evacuation. However, you must
recognize that there may not be older, responsible
students on the bus at the time of the emergency.
Therefore, emergency evacuation procedures must
be explained to all students. This includes knowing
how to operate the various emergency exits and
the importance of listening to and following all
instructions given by you.
Some tips to determine a safe place:
• A safe place will be at least 100 feet off the
road in the direction of oncoming traffic. This
will keep the students from being hit by debris
if another vehicle collides with the bus.
• Lead students upwind of the bus if fire is
present.
• Lead students as far away from railroad
tracks as possible and in the direction of any
oncoming train.
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• Lead students upwind of the bus at least 300
feet if there is a risk from spilled hazardous
materials.
• If the bus is in the direct path of a sighted tornado
and evacuation is ordered, escort students to a
nearby ditch or culvert if shelter in a building
is not readily available, and direct them to lie
face down, hands covering their head. They
should be far enough away so the bus cannot
topple on them. Avoid areas that are subject
to flash floods.
General Procedures
Determine if an evacuation is in the best interest
of safety.
• Determine the best type of evacuation:
— Front, rear, or side–door evacuation, or
some combination of doors.
— Roof or window evacuation.
• Secure the bus by:
— Placing transmission in Park, or if there is
no shift point, in Neutral.
— Setting parking brakes.
— Shutting off the engine.
— Removing ignition key.
— Activating hazard-warning lights.
• If time allows, notify dispatch office of the
evacuation location, conditions, and type of
assistance needed.
• Dangle radio microphone or telephone out of
driver’s window for later use, if operable.
• If no radio or the radio is inoperable, dispatch
a passing motorist or area resident to call
for help. As a last resort, dispatch two older,
responsible students to go for help.
• Order the evacuation.
• Evacuate students from the bus.
— Do not move a student you believe may
have suffered a neck or spinal injury unless
his or her life is in immediate danger.
— Special procedures must be used to move
neck spinal injury victims to prevent further
injury.
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• Direct a student assistant to lead students to
the nearest safe place.
• Walk through the bus to ensure no students
remain on the bus. Retrieve emergency
equipment.
• Join waiting students.
• Account for all students and check for their
safety.
• Protect the scene. Set out emergency warning
devices as necessary and appropriate.
• Prepare information for emergency responders.
Railroad-highway
Crossings
Types of Crossings
Passive crossings. This type of crossing does
not have any type of traffic control device. You
must stop at these crossings and follow proper
procedures. However, the decision to proceed rests
entirely in your hands. Passive crossings require
you to recognize the crossing, search for any train
using the tracks and decide if there is sufficient
clear space to cross safely. Passive crossings have
yellow circular advance warning signs, pavement
markings and crossbucks to assist you in recognizing a crossing.
Active crossings. This type of crossing has a traffic
control device installed at the crossing to regulate
traffic at the crossing. These active devices include
flashing red lights, with or without bells and flashing
red lights with bells and gates.
Warning Signs and Devices
Advance warning signs. The round, black-onyellow warning sign is placed ahead of a public
railroad-highway crossing. The advance warning
sign tells you to slow down, look and listen for
the train, and be prepared to stop at the tracks if
a train is coming.
Pavement markings. Pavement markings mean
the same as the advance warning sign. They consist
of an “X” with the letters “RR” and a no-passing
marking on two-lane roads.
There is also a no passing zone sign on two-lane
roads. There may be a white stop line painted on
the pavement before the railroad tracks. The front
of the school bus must remain behind this line
while stopped at the crossing.
Crossbuck signs. This sign marks the crossing. It
requires you to yield the right-of-way to the train.
If there is no white line painted on the pavement,
you must stop the bus before the crossbuck sign.
When the road crosses over more than one set of
tracks, a sign below the crossbuck indicates the
number of tracks.
Flashing red light signals. At many highway-rail
grade crossings, the crossbuck sign has flashing
red lights and bells. When the lights begin to flash,
stop! A train is approaching. You are required to
yield the right-of-way to the train. If there is more
than one track, make sure all tracks are clear before
crossing.
Gates. Many railroad-highway crossings have
gates with flashing red lights and bells. Stop when
the lights begin to flash and before the gate lowers
across the road lane. Remain stopped until the
gates go up and the lights have stopped flashing.
Proceed when it is safe. If the gate stays down
after the train passes, do not drive around the gate.
Instead, call your dispatcher.
Recommended Procedures
California has laws and regulations governing how
school buses must operate at railroad-highway
crossings. It is important for you to understand
and obey these laws and regulations. In general,
school buses must stop at all crossings, and ensure
it is safe before proceeding across the tracks.
A school bus is one of the safest vehicles on the
highway. However, a school bus does not have the
slightest edge when involved in a collision with a
train. Because of a train’s size and weight it cannot
stop quickly. An emergency escape route does
not exist for a train. You can prevent school bus/
train collisions by following these recommended
procedures.
• Approaching the Crossing:
— Slow down, including shifting to a lower
gear in a manual transmission bus, and test
your brakes.
— Activate hazard lights approximately 200
feet before the crossing. Make sure your
intentions are known.
— Scan your surroundings and check for
traffic behind you.
— Stay to the right of the roadway, if possible.
— Choose an escape route in the event of a
brake failure or problems behind you.
• At the Crossing:
— Stop no closer than 15 feet and no farther
than 50 feet from the nearest rail, where
you have the best view of the tracks.
— Place the transmission in park, or if there
is no park shift point, in neutral and press
down on the service brake or set the parking
brakes.
— Turn off all radios and noisy equipment,
and silence the passengers.
— Open the service door and driver’s window.
Look and listen for an approaching train.
• Crossing the Track:
— Check the crossing signals again before
proceeding.
— At a multiple-track crossing, stop only
before the first set of tracks. When you are
sure no train is approaching on any track,
proceed across all of the tracks until you
have completely cleared them.
— Cross the tracks in a low gear. Do not
change gears while crossing.
— If the gate comes down after you have
started across, drive through it even if it
means you will break the gate.
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Special Situations
Student Management
Bus stalls or trapped on tracks.
Don’t Deal with On-Bus Problems
When Loading and Unloading
• If your bus stalls or is trapped on the tracks:
— Get everyone out and off the tracks
immediately.
— Move everyone far from the bus at an
angle, which is both away from the tracks
and toward the train.
Police officer at the crossing.
• If a police officer is at the crossing, obey
directions.
• If there is no police officer, and you believe the
signal is malfunctioning, call your dispatcher
to report the situation and ask for instructions
on how to proceed.
Obstructed view of tracks. Plan your route so it
provides maximum sight distance at highway-rail
grade crossings. Do not attempt to cross the tracks
unless you can see far enough down the track to
know for certain that no trains are approaching.
Passive crossings are those that do not have any
type of traffic control device. Be especially careful
at “passive” crossings.
Even if there are active railroad signals that indicate
the tracks are clear, you must look and listen to be
sure it is safe to proceed.
Containment or storage areas. If it won’t fit, don’t
commit! Know the length of your bus and the size
of the containment area at highway-rail crossings
on the school bus route, as well as any crossing
you encounter in the course of a school activity
trip. When approaching a crossing with a signal
or stop sign on the opposite side, pay attention to
the amount of room there. Be certain the bus has
enough containment or storage area to completely
clear the railroad tracks on the other side if there is
a need to stop. As a general rule, add 15 feet to the
length of the school bus to determine an acceptable
amount of containment or storage area.
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In order to get students to and from school safely
and on time, you need to be able to concentrate on
the driving task. Loading and unloading requires
all your concentration. Don’t take your eyes off
what is happening outside the bus.
If there is a behavior problem on the bus, wait until
the students unloading are safely off the bus and
have moved away. If necessary, pull the bus over
to handle the problem.
Handling Serious Problems
Tips on handling serious problems:
• Follow your school’s procedures for discipline
or refusal of rights to ride the bus.
• Stop the bus. Park in a safe location off the
road, perhaps a parking lot or a driveway.
• Secure the bus. Take the ignition key with you
if you leave your seat.
• Stand up and speak respectfully to the offender
or offenders. Speak in a courteous manner
with a firm voice. Remind the offender of the
expected behavior. Do not anger, but show that
you mean business.
• If a change of seating is needed, request that
the student move to a seat near you.
• Never put a student off the bus except at school
or at his or her designated school bus stop.
If you feel that the offense is serious enough
that you cannot safely drive the bus, call for
a school administrator or the police to come
and remove the student. Always follow state
or local procedures for requesting assistance.
Antilock Braking Systems
Vehicles Required to Have Antilock
Braking Systems
The Department of Transportation requires that
antilock braking systems be on:
• Air brakes vehicles, (trucks, buses, trailers
and converter dollies) built on or after March
1, 1998.
• Hydraulically braked trucks and buses with a
gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs. or
more built on or after March 1, 1999.
Braking if ABS is Not Working
Without ABS, you still have normal brake functions. Drive and brake as you always have.
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps
to tell you if something is not working. The yellow
ABS malfunction lamp is on the bus’s instrument
panel.
As a system check on newer vehicles, the malfunction lamp comes on at start-up for a bulb check and
then goes out quickly. On older systems, the lamp
could stay on until you are driving over five mph.
Many buses built before these dates have been
voluntarily equipped with ABS.
If the lamp stays on after the bulb check, or goes
on once you are under way, you may have lost
ABS control at one or more wheels.
Your school bus will have a yellow ABS malfunction lamp on the instrument panel if it is equipped
with ABS.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still
have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
How ABS Helps You
Safety Reminders
When you brake hard on slippery surfaces in a
vehicle without ABS, your wheels may lock up.
When your steering wheels lock up, you lose
steering control. When your other wheels lock up,
you may skid or even spin the vehicle.
• ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow
more closely, or drive less carefully.
• ABS won’t prevent power or turning skids–
ABS should prevent brake-induced skids but
not those caused by spinning the drive wheels
or going too fast in a turn.
• ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping distance. ABS will help maintain vehicle control,
but not always shorten stopping distance.
• ABS won’t increase or decrease ultimate
stopping power–ABS is an “add-on” to your
normal brakes, not a replacement for them.
• ABS won’t change the way you normally brake.
Under normal brake conditions, your vehicle
will stop as it always stopped. ABS only comes
into play when a wheel would normally have
locked up because of over braking.
• ABS won’t compensate for bad brakes or poor
brake maintenance.
• Remember: The best vehicle safety feature is
still a safe driver.
• Remember: Drive so you never need to use
your ABS.
• Remember: If you need it, ABS could help to
prevent a serious collision.
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up and maintain
control. You may or may not be able to stop faster
with ABS, but you should be able to steer around
an obstacle while braking, and avoid skids caused
by over braking.
Braking with ABS
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should
brake as you always have. In other words:
• Use only the braking force necessary to stop
safely and stay in control.
• Brake the same way, regardless of whether you
have ABS on the bus. However, in emergency
braking, do not pump the brakes on a bus with
ABS.
• As you slow down, monitor your bus and back
off the brakes (if it is safe to do so) to stay in
control.
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Special Safety
Considerations
Strobe Lights
Some school buses are equipped with roofmounted, white strobe lights. If your bus is so
equipped, the overhead strobe light should be used
when you have limited visibility. This means that
you cannot easily see around you – in front, behind,
or beside the school bus. Your visibility could be
only slightly limited or it could be so bad that you
can see nothing at all. In all instances, understand
and obey state or local regulations concerning the
use of these lights.
Driving in High Winds
Strong winds affect the handling of the school
bus! The side of a school bus acts like a sail on
a sailboat. Strong winds can push the school bus
sideways. They can even move the school bus off
the road or, in extreme conditions, tip it over. If
you are caught in strong winds:
• Keep a strong grip on the steering wheel. Try
to anticipate gusts.
• You should slow down to lessen the effect of
the wind, or pull off the roadway and wait.
• Contact your dispatcher to get more information on how to proceed.
• Backing. Backing a school bus is strongly
discouraged. You should back your bus only
when you have no other safe way to move the
vehicle. You should never back a school bus
when students are outside of the bus. Backing is
dangerous and increases your risk of a collision.
If you have no choice and you must back your
bus, follow these procedures:
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• Post a lookout.
• The purpose of the lookout is to warn you
about obstacles, approaching persons, and
other vehicles.
• The lookout should not give directions on how
to back the bus.
• Signal for quiet on the bus.
• Constantly check all mirrors and rear windows.
• Back slowly and smoothly.
• If no lookout is available:
— Set the parking brake.
— Turn off the motor and take the keys with
you.
— Walk to the rear of the bus to determine
whether the way is clear.
• If you must back up at a student pick-up point,
be sure to pick up students before backing and
watch for late comers at all times.
• Be sure that all students are in the bus before
backing.
• If you must back-up at a student drop-off point,
be sure to unload students after backing.
Tail Swing
A school bus can have up to a three-foot tail swing.
You need to check your mirrors before and during
any turning movements to monitor the tail swing.
Section 11: Pre-Trip Test
This section will assist drivers taking the pre-trip test
The pre-trip inspection is a knowledge test to see
if the customer understands which features and
equipment on the test vehicle should be inspected
before operating the vehicle. The entire pre-trip
must be conducted in the English language. This is
pursuant to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations §§391.11 (b)(2) and 383.133
(c)(5). You will be warned twice for speaking in
a foreign language during the pre-trip inspection
and will not be given credit for items checked and
explained in a foreign language. If you are told
a third time the test will be counted as a failure.
You may use the guides shown on pages 155 or
156 when taking your pre-trip test. You cannot
write any instructions or notes on how to perform
the pre-trip inspection on the guide. If you do not
pass the pre-trip inspection test, the other tests
will be postponed.
A pre-trip inspection should be done the same
way each time so you will learn all the steps and
be less likely to forget something during the test.
Study the following vehicle parts for the type of
vehicle you will be using during the CDL pre-trip
inspection. You should be able to identify each
part and tell the examiner what you are looking
for or inspecting.
Before your pre-trip test, the examiner will check
the brake lights, emergency flashers, turn signals,
and horn. If any of these items do not work, the skills
and driving portions of the test will be postponed.
Pre-trips are conducted to ensure that a vehicle is
safe to operate. During the pre-trip test, you will
be expected to explain or show your knowledge
of the pre-trip process.
You must point to every item you would check,
identify it, and explain in detail what you are
checking the item for. You will NOT have to crawl
under the vehicle.
Remember: You are allowed a total of three attempts to pass the pre-trip, skills, or driving tests.
See page 6.
All Vehicles
Vehicle Overview
As you approach the vehicle, notice its general
condition. Look for damage or if the vehicle is
leaning to one side. Look under the vehicle for
fresh oil, coolant, grease, or fuel leaks. Check
area around the vehicle for hazards to vehicle
movement such as people, other vehicles, objects,
low hanging wires, or limbs, etc.
Check that the parking brakes are set and/or wheels
chocked. You may have to raise the hood, tilt the
cab (secure loose objects so they don’t fall and
break something), or open the engine compartment
door. Check the following:
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Engine Compartment (Engine Off)
Leaks/Hoses (fuel, coolant, oil, power
steering fluid, hydraulic fluid, battery fluid,
etc.)
• Look for puddles on the ground.
• Look for dripping fluids on underside of engine
and transmission.
• Inspect hoses for condition and leaks.
Water Pump
• Identify water pump.
• Identify water pump is mounted securely and
is not leaking.
Alternator
• Identify alternator.
• Check that alternator is securely mounted and
that all wires are securely fastened.
Air Compressor
• Identify air compressor.
• Check that the air compressor is securely
mounted and is not leaking.
Oil Level
• Indicate where dipstick is located.
• See that oil level is within safe operating range.
Level must be above refill mark.
Coolant Level
• Inspect reservoir sight glass or
• (If engine is not hot), remove radiator cap and
check for visible coolant level.
Power Steering Fluid
• Indicate where power steering fluid dipstick
is located.
• Check for adequate power steering fluid level.
Level must be above refill mark.
Windshield Washer Fluid Level
• Check fluid level and cap secure.
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Automatic Transmission Fluid Level (may
require engine to be running)
Engine Compartment Belts
• Check and identify the following belts for
snugness, cracks, frays, or excessive wear:
— power steering belt
— water pump belt
— alternator belt
— air compressor belt
— belt deflection is not more than ¾ of an inch
Cab Check/Engine Start
Get in and start the engine.
Note: Ensure engine compartment hood is closed
and latched. Cab-over-primary and safety locks
engaged.
Safe Start
• Make sure the parking brake is set.
• Depress clutch.
• Place gearshift lever in neutral (or park, for
automatic transmissions).
• Start engine, then release clutch slowly.
• Accelerator checked for looseness, sticking,
or damage.
• Listen for unusual engine noises.
Oil Pressure Gauge
• Start vehicle.
• Make sure oil pressure gauge is working.
• Check that pressure gauge shows increasing or
normal oil pressure or that the warning light
goes off.
• If equipped, oil temperature gauge should begin
a gradual rise to the normal operating range.
Coolant Temperature Gauge
Steering Wheel
• Start vehicle.
• Make sure the temperature gauge is working.
• Temperature should begin to climb to the
normal operating range or temperature light
should be off.
• Check for looseness, sticking, or damage.
Ammeter/Voltmeter
• Start vehicle.
• Check that gauges show alternator and/or
generator is charging or that warning light is off.
Oil Temperature Gauge
• Check that gauge begins gradual rise to normal
operating range.
Air Gauge
• Check that the air gauge is working properly and
that the air compressor builds the air pressure to
the governor cut-out at no higher than 130 psi.
Mirrors and Windshield
• Mirrors should be clean and adjusted properly
from the inside.
• Windshield should be clean with no illegal
stickers, no obstructions, or damage to the glass.
• If equipped, check that the windshield washer
operates correctly.
Emergency Equipment
• Check for spare electrical fuses.
• Check for three red reflective triangles.
• Check for a properly charged and rated fire
extinguisher.
Check Optional Emergency Equipment
• Tire chains (where winter conditions require
them)
• Tire changing equipment
• List of emergency phone numbers
• Collision reporting kit (packet)
Steering Play
• Non-power steering: Check for excessive
play by turning steering wheel back and forth.
Play should not exceed 10 percent (about two
inches on a 20-inch wheel).
• Power steering: With the engine running,
check for excessive play by turning the steering
wheel back and forth. Play should not exceed
10 percent (about two inches on a 20-inch
wheel) before front left wheel barely moves.
Wipers/Washers
• Check that wiper arms and blades are secure,
not damaged, and operate smoothly.
Lighting Indicators
• Test that dash indicators work when corresponding lights are turned on:
— left and right turn signals
— 4-way emergency flashers
— high beam headlight
Horn
• Check that air horn and/or electric horn work.
Heater/Defroster
• Test that the heater and defroster work.
Parking Brake Check
• Fasten your seat belt.
• Check the parking brake holds the vehicle
in place by trying to drive forward with the
parking brake engaged. (Trailer brakes released
on combination vehicles.)
• Check the trailer parking brake holds the
vehicle by trying to drive forward with the
trailer parking brake engaged. (Parking brake
released and the trailer parking brake engaged
on combination vehicles.)
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Service Brake/ABS Brake Test
• Demonstrate the service brakes are working
properly by driving forward at 5 mph and
applying the service brake to see if the vehicle
pulls to one side or the other.
• Check the ABS lighting indicator illuminates
and then promptly turns off.
• Check the ABS light on the rear driver’s side
on the trailer. (Combination vehicles only.)
Hydraulic Brake Check
• Pump the brake pedal three times, then hold it
down for five seconds. The brake pedal should
not move during the five seconds.
• If equipped with a hydraulic brake reserve
system, with the key off, depress the brake
pedal and listen for the sound of the reserve
system electric motor.
• If equipped with a “Hydro—Boost” brake
system, release the parking brake and with the
engine off, depress and release the brake pedal
several times to deplete all hydraulic pressure.
Depress and hold the brake pedal with light
pressure (15–25 lbs) then start the engine and
run it at idle speed. If the Hydro—Boost is
operating, the pedal will yield slightly to foot
pressure and then hold. Less pressure is required
to hold the pedal at this position.
• Check that the warning buzzer or light is off.
Air Brake Check (for air brake equipped
vehicles only)
Refer to Section 5, “In-Cab Air Brake Check”
for DMV pre-trip testing. All items marked with
an asterisk (*) are required during the pre-trip
test. These items must be demonstrated and the
parameters verbalized to receive credit. Failure to
perform these air brakes tests correctly will result in
an automatic disqualification for the entire pre-trip
portion of the test.
Seat Belts
• Check that the seat belt is securely mounted,
and adjusts and latches properly.
• Check that belt is not ripped or frayed.
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External Inspection (Buses,
Trucks, Tractors)
Lights/Reflectors
• Check that all external lights and reflective
equipment are clean and functional. Light and
reflector checks include:
— clearance lights (red on rear, amber
elsewhere)
— headlights (high and low beams)
— sidemarker lights
— taillights
— turn signals (left and right)
— 4-way flashers
— brake lights
— red reflectors (on rear) and amber reflectors
(elsewhere)
— license plate light(s)
Note: Checks of brake, turn signal, and 4-way
flasher functions must be done separately.
Steering
Steering Box/Hoses
• Check that the steering box is securely mounted
and not leaking. Look for any missing nuts,
bolts, and cotter keys.
• Check for power steering fluid leaks or damage
to power steering hoses.
Steering Linkage
• See that connecting links, arms, and rods from
the steering box to the wheel are not worn or
cracked.
• Check that joints and sockets are not worn or
loose and that there are no missing nuts, bolts,
or cotter keys.
Suspension
Springs/Air/Torque
• Look for missing, shifted, cracked, or broken
leaf springs (if 1/4 or more are missing or
broken, it will put the vehicle out of service).
• Look for broken or distorted coil springs.
• If vehicle is equipped with torsion bars, torque
arms, or other types of suspension components,
check that they are not damaged and are
mounted securely.
• Air ride suspension should be checked for
damage and leaks.
• Axles secure
• If retractable axle equipped, check condition of
lift mechanism. If air powered, check for leaks.
Mounts
• Look for cracked or broken spring hangers,
missing or damaged bushings, and broken,
loose, or missing bolts, U-bolts, or other axle
mounting parts.
Shock Absorbers
• See that shock absorbers are secure and that
there are no leaks.
Note: Be prepared to perform the same suspension
components inspection on every axle (power unit
and trailer, if equipped).
Brake Chambers
• See that brake chambers are not leaking,
cracked, dented, and are mounted securely.
• See that there are no loose or missing clamps.
Brake Hoses/Lines
• Look for cracked, worn, or leaking hoses, lines,
and couplings.
Brake Drums
• Check for cracks or damage. Also check for
loose or missing bolts.
• Check for contaminants such as grease or oil
on drums and linings.
Brake Linings
• Brake linings, where visible, should not be
worn down dangerously thin.
Note: Be prepared to perform the same
brake components inspection on every
axle (power unit and trailer, if equipped.)
Wheels
Rims, Rim Locks, or Slide Ring
• Check for damaged or bent wheels or rims.
• Wheels cannot have welding repairs.
• Check that there are no rust trails that would
indicate the wheel is loose.
Brakes
Slack Adjustors/Push-Rod
• Check slack adjuster is securely mounted.
• Look for broken, loose, or missing parts.
• When the brakes are applied, the push rod
from the brake chamber should not move more
than two inches. (It is also acceptable to state
that the angle between the push rod and the
adjustor arm should be a little over 90° when
the brakes are released, and not less than 90°
when the brakes are applied.)
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Tires
• The following items must be inspected on
every tire:
— tread depth: Check for minimum tread
depth (4/32 inch on steering axle tires, 2/32
inch on all other tires).
— tire condition: Check that tread is evenly
worn and look for cuts or other damage
to tread or sidewalls. Also, make sure that
valve caps and stems are not missing,
broken, or damaged.
— tire inflation: Check for proper inflation by
using a tire gauge, or inflation by striking
tires with a mallet or other similar device.
— tires same size. Duals not touching and
nothing stuck between them.
— tires same type (not mixed radial and bias).
Front tires for buses cannot be recapped,
retreaded, or regrooved.
Note: You will not get credit if you simply
kick the tires to check for proper inflation.
Hub Oil Seals/Axle Seals
• See that hub oil/grease seals and axle seals are
not leaking and, if wheel has a sight glass, oil
level is adequate.
Lug Nuts
• Check that all lug nuts are present, free of
cracks and distortions, and show no signs of
looseness such as rust trails or shiny threads.
• Make sure all bolt holes are not cracked or
distorted.
Side of Vehicle
Door(s)/Mirror(s)/Window(s)
• Check that door(s) are not damaged and that
they open and close properly.
• Hinges should be secure with seals intact.
• Check that mirror(s) are clean, mirror brackets
are not damaged, and mirrors are mounted
securely with no loose attachments.
• Windows are clean and work properly.
Fuel Tank
• Check that tank(s) are secure, cap(s) are tight,
and that there are no leaks from tank(s) and
fuel cap(s).
Drive Shaft
• See that drive shaft is not bent or cracked.
• Couplings should be secure and free of foreign
objects.
Exhaust System
• Check system for damage and signs of leaks
such as rust or carbon soot.
• System should be connected tightly and
mounted securely.
• Exhaust system should not have excessive
noise when engine is running.
Frame
• Look for cracks, bends, aftermarket welds,
or holes to longitudinal frame members and
cross members.
Spacers/Budds
Condition of Visible Parts
• If equipped, check that spacers are not bent,
damaged, or rusted through.
• Spacers should be evenly centered, with the
dual wheels and tires evenly separated.
• No debris between dual tires.
Note: Be prepared to perform the same
wheel inspection on every axle (power unit
and trailer, if equipped).
• Rear of engine not leaking
• Transmission not leaking
• Air lines and electrical wiring secured against
sagging, rubbing, or wearing.
• Spare tire carrier or rack not damaged (if so
equipped).
• Spare tire and/or wheel securely mounted in
rack (if so equipped).
• Spare tire and wheel adequate (proper size,
properly inflated, and in good condition).
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Rear of Vehicle
Splash Guards
• If equipped, check that splash guards or mud
flaps are not damaged and are mounted securely,
not dragging on ground, or rubbing tires.
Doors/Ties/Lifts
• Check that doors and hinges are not damaged
and that they open, close, and latch properly
from the outside, if equipped.
• Ties, straps, chains, and binders must also be
secure.
• If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
damaged or missing parts, and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
• Lift must be fully retracted and latched securely.
Tractor/Coupling
Air/Electric Lines
• Listen for air leaks. Check that air hoses and
electrical lines are not cut, chafed, spliced, or
worn (steel braid should not show through).
• Make sure air and electrical lines are not
tangled, pinched, or dragging against tractor
parts.
Catwalk/Tongue Storage Area
• Check that the catwalk is solid, clear of objects,
and securely bolted to tractor frame.
• Check that the storage area is solid and secured
to the tongue.
• Cargo in the storage area (i.e., chains, binders,
etc.) must be secured.
Mounting Bolts
• Check for loose or missing mounting brackets,
clamps, bolts, or nuts. Both the fifth-wheel and
the slide mounting must be solidly attached.
• On other types of coupling systems (e.g., ball
hitch, pintle hook, etc.), inspect all coupling
components and mounting brackets for missing
or broken parts.
• Check for loose or missing mounting bolts.
Look for broken welds on the pintle hook,
or other hitch mount, and tongue/drawbar
assembly to be sure they are solidly attached
in place.
Safety Latch/Locking Jaws/Safety Devices
• Look into fifth-wheel gap and check that locking jaws are fully closed around the kingpin.
• Check that the latch is secured and locked in
place and that the cotter pin is not missing, is
in place, and not damaged.
• Safety chains must be hooked and crisscrossed,
free of kinks and excessive slack, cotter pins
to hooks are in place and hooks are secured
with the hooks pointing in an outward position.
• If trailer is equipped with electric brakes, check
that the breakaway chains or cables with battery
back up are not missing or damaged.
• On other types of coupling systems (i.e., ball
hitch, drawbar/eye, etc.), inspect the locking
mechanism for missing or broken parts and
make sure it is locked securely. If present,
safety cables or chains must be secure and free
of kinks and excessive slack.
Platform (Fifth-Wheel) (Pintle Hook)
• Check for cracks or breaks in the platform
structure which supports the fifth-wheel skid
plate.
• Check the pintle hook for cracks, breaks, or
excessive wear.
Release Arm (Fifth-Wheel)
• If equipped, make sure the release arm is in
the engaged position and the safety latch is in
place. Check to see if the hitch release lever
is in place and secure.
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Kingpin/Apron/Gap/Tongue Drawbar
• Check that the kingpin is not bent.
• Make sure the visible part of the apron is not
bent, cracked, or broken.
• Check that the trailer is laying flat on the
fifth-wheel skid plate (no gap).
• Check that the tongue/drawbar is not bent or
twisted. Check for broken welds and stress
cracks.
• Check that the tongue/drawbar eye is not worn
excessively.
Sliding Fifth-Wheel Locking Pins/Sliding
Pintle
• If equipped, look for loose or missing pins in
the slide mechanism of the sliding fifth-wheel.
If air powered, check for leaks.
• Make sure locking pins are fully engaged.
• Check that the fifth-wheel is positioned properly so the tractor frame will clear the landing
gear during turns.
• If equipped, check that the sliding pintle is
secured, that there are no loose or missing
nuts or bolts, and that the cotter pin is in place.
Side of Trailer
Landing Gear
• Check that the landing gear is fully raised, has
no missing parts, crank handle is secure, and
the support frame is not damaged.
• If power operated, check for air or hydraulic
leaks.
Doors/Ties/Lifts
• If equipped, check that doors are not damaged.
Check that doors open, close, and latch properly
from the outside.
• Check that ties, straps, chains, and binders
are secure.
• If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
damaged or missing parts, and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
• Lift should be fully retracted and latched
securely.
Frame
• Look for cracks, broken welds, holes or other
damage to the frame, cross members, box,
and floor.
Trailer
Tandem Release Arm/Locking Pins
Front of Trailer
• If equipped, make sure the locking pins are
locked in place and release arm is secured.
Air/Electrical Connections
Remainder of Trailer
• Check that trailer air connectors are sealed and
in good condition.
• Make sure glad hands are locked in place and
free of damage or air leaks.
• Make sure the trailer electrical plug is firmly
seated and locked in place.
Header Board
• If equipped, check the header board to see that
it is secure, free of damage, and strong enough
to contain cargo.
• If equipped, the canvas or tarp carrier must be
mounted and fastened securely.
• On enclosed trailers, check the front area for
signs of damage such as cracks, bulges, or holes.
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Remainder of Trailer
• Please refer to earlier pages of this handbook
for detailed inspection procedures regarding
the following components:
— wheels
— suspension system
— brakes
— doors/ties/lift
— splash guards
Coach/Transit Bus
Passenger Items
Passenger Entry/Lift
• Check that entry doors operate smoothly and
close securely from the inside.
• Check that hand rails are secure and, if
equipped, that the step light(s) is working.
• Check that the entry steps are clear, with the
treads not loose or worn excessively.
• If equipped with a handicap lift, look for any
leaking, damaged, or missing part and explain
how it should be checked for correct operation.
• Lift should be fully retracted and latched
securely.
• Make sure the lift control interlock(s) functions
properly.
Emergency Exits
• Make sure that all emergency exits are undamaged, operate smoothly, and close securely
from the inside.
• Check that any emergency exit warning devices
are working.
Passenger Seating
• Look for broken seat frames and check that
seat frames are firmly attached to the floor.
• Check that seat cushions are attached securely
to the seat frames.
Entry/Exit
External Inspection–Coach/Transit
Bus
Level/Air Leaks
• See that the vehicle is sitting level (front to
rear), and if air-equipped, check for audible
air leaks from the suspension system.
Fuel Tank(s)
• See that fuel tank(s) is secure with no leaks
from tank(s) or lines.
Compartments
• Check that baggage and all other exterior
compartment doors are not damaged, operate
properly, and latch securely.
Remainder of Coach/Transit Bus
Battery/Box
• Wherever located, see that battery(ies) is
secure, connections are tight, and cell caps
are present.
• Battery connections should not show signs of
excessive corrosion.
• Check that battery box and cover or door is
not damaged and is secure.
Remainder of Vehicle
• Please refer to earlier pages of this handbook
for detailed inspection procedures regarding
the following components:
— wheels
Doors/Mirrors
• Check that entry/exit doors are not damaged
and operate smoothly from the outside. Hinges
should be secure with seals intact.
• Make sure that the passenger exit mirrors and
all external mirrors and mirror brackets are
not damaged and are mounted securely with
no loose fittings.
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School Buses Only
Emergency Equipment
• In addition to checking for spare electrical
fuses, if equipped, three red reflective triangles,
and a properly charged and rated fire extinguisher, school bus drivers must also inspect
the following emergency equipment:
— three red-burning flares (fusees) or three
bidirectional emergency reflective triangles
(FMVSS 125)
— a first aid kit consisting of 10–24 items,
depending on the number of passengers
Lighting Indicators
• In addition to checking the lighting indicators
listed in Section 11 of this handbook, school bus
drivers must also check the following lighting
indicators (internal panel lights):
— alternately flashing amber lights indicator,
if equipped
— alternately flashing red lights indicator
— strobe light indicator, if equipped
Lights/Reflectors
• In addition to checking the lights and reflective
devices, school bus drivers must also check
the following (external) lights and reflectors:
— strobe light, if equipped
— stop arm light, if equipped
— alternately flashing amber lights, if
equipped
— alternately flashing red lights
Stop Arm
• If equipped, check the stop arm to see that it is
mounted securely to the frame of the vehicle.
Also, check for loose fittings and damage.
- 154 -
Passenger Entry/Lift
• Check that the entry door is not damaged,
operates smoothly, and closes securely from
the inside.
• Hand rails are secure and the step light is
working, if equipped.
• The entry steps must be clear with the treads
not loose or worn excessively.
• If equipped with a handicap lift, look for leaking, damaged, or missing parts and explain how
lift should be checked for correct operation. Lift
must be fully retracted and latched securely.
Make sure the lift door warning device is
activated when the door is open.
Emergency Exit
• Make sure that all emergency exits are not
damaged, operate smoothly, and close securely
from the inside.
• Make sure that any exterior or interior locking
devices, if equipped, are not “locked” and that
the door is free to open.
• Check that any emergency exit warning devices
are working.
Seating
• Look for broken seat frames and check that
seat frames are firmly attached to the floor.
• Check that seat cushions are attached securely
to the seat frames.
Remember: The pre-trip test must be passed before
you can proceed to the skills test.
Typical Truck or Combination Vehicle Inspection Guide
STEP 1: Engine Compartment
Fluids
Belts and hoses
Components
STEP 2:
Left Side of Cab Area
Left front wheel
Left front suspension
Left front brake
STEP 3: Front of Cab Area
Front axle
Condition of Steering system
Windshield
Light and reflectors
Headlights, Signal &
Clearance Lights
Front Suspension
Engine
Compartment
Front Wheel
Front Brake
Start Engine
Cab Area
Saddle Tank Area
STEP 4: Right Side of Cab Area
All items as done on left side of cab area
Coupling System
STEP 5: Fuel tank(s)
Visible parts
Rear Tractor Wheels
STEP 6: Trailer Front Area
Air and electrical lines and connections
Lights and reflectors
Suspension
STEP 7: Right Rear Tractor Wheels Area
Dual wheels
Suspension
Tandem axles
Brakes
Brakes
STEP 8: Rear of Tractor Area
Frame and cross members
Lights and reflectors
Air and electrical lines and connections
STEP 9: Coupling System Area
Fifth-wheel (lower)
Fifth-wheel (upper)
Sliding fifth-wheel
Air and electrical lines and connections
Side of Trailer
Trailer Wheels
STEP 10: Right Side of Trailer Area
Front trailer support (landing gear or dollies)
Spare tire(s)
Lights and reflectors
Frame and body
Suspension
Brakes
STEP 11: Right Rear Trailer Wheels Area
Dual tiresSuspension
Tandem axles
Brakes
STEP 12: Rear of Trailer Area
Lights and reflectors
Cargo securement
STEP 13: Left Rear Trailer Wheels Area
Signal, Brake, and
Clearance Lights
STEP 14:Left Side of Trailer Area
STEP 15: Left Saddle Tank Area
STEP 16:In Cab Brake Checks
- 155 -
Typical Passenger Transport Vehicle Inspection Guide
STEP 1: Engine Compartment
Fluids
Belts and hoses
Components
Headlights, Signal &
Clearance Lights
STEP 2: Front of Vehicle
Windshield
Wipers
Lights and reflectors
Entry Area
Engine Start
STEP 3: Right Front Corner
General condition
Right front wheel
Right outside mirror
Front passenger door
Front Suspension &
Brake
Front Wheel
STEP 4: Right Side of Vehicle
General condition
Lights and reflectors
Exit doors
Fuel cap
Fuel tank
Exterior body
Baggage compartment doors
Right rear wheels
STEP 5: Rear of Vehicle
General condition
Lights and reflectors
Engine cover and inspection doors
Bellows level
Fluid leaks
Exhaust
Fuel Tank Area
Passenger Items
STEP 6: Left Side of Vehicle
General condition
Lights and reflectors
Exterior body
Left rear wheels
Battery box
Baggage
Compartments
STEP 7: Left Front Corner
General condition
Left front wheel
Left outside mirror
STEP 8: Inside the Vehicle
Fire extinguisher (if applicable)
Emergency reflectors (if applicable)
Passenger entry and exit door
Emergency exits
Interior lights
Rear door interlock (if applicable)
Seats
Handrails
STEP 9:
Operator’s Cab
Service brakes
Parking brakes
Steering Mechanism
Wheel chair lift &
tie downs (if applicable)
Driver’s seat belt
Passenger signals
Radio/PA system
Destination signs
STEP 10: In Cab Brake Check
Rear Wheels
Re a r S u s p e n s i o n &
Brakes
Gauges
Horn
Wiper operation
Mirrors
Turn signals
Lights
Heater/defroster
Sun visors
Engine
Compartment
Signal, Brake, and
Clearance Lights
- 156 -
Section 12: Basic Vehicle Control Skills Test
This section will assist drivers taking the skills tests
Three of the six following CDL skills tests are
required. All directions for the skills tests will be
given in the English language. This is pursuant
to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
regulations §§391.11 (b) (2) and 383.133 (c) (5).
If you are unable to understand the instructions
given in the English language after three times,
the test will be counted as a failure.
• Straight line backing.
• Off-set backing right.
• Off-set backing left.
• Alley dock (driver side).
• Parallel park (conventional).
• Parallel park (sight side).
These exercises are shown on the following page.
Scoring
Your performance on the Basic Vehicle Controls
Skills tests is scored by the Examiner.
Errors occur anytime:
• You pull-up to prevent crossing over a boundary
for the skill.
• You actually cross over a boundary line with
any portion of the vehicle (except the mirrors.)
• You leave the vehicle to check your progress.
• The final position of the vehicle is not within
the prescribed boundaries upon completion
of the skill.
Exercises
The examiner will give you specific instructions
before each skill is attempted. The instructions
will inform you of the skill objective and the
parameters for the skill. You are expected to inform
the examiner that your attempt at any skill is
complete by sounding the vehicle horn and setting
the parking brake.
Straight line backing — You will back your
vehicle 100 feet in a straight line between two
rows of cones without touching or crossing over
the exercise boundaries.
Offset backing right — You will be asked to
pull forward from a lane and stop at a barrier of
cones. You will then back up so your vehicle is
positioned in the lane to the right of the lane you
pulled from. You must continue backing until the
vehicle has cleared the forward set of cones with
the front of the vehicle.
Offset backing left — You will be asked to pull
forward from a lane and stop at the barrier of
cones. You will then back up so your vehicle is
positioned in the lane to the left of the lane you
pulled from. You must continue backing until the
vehicle has cleared the forward set of cones with
the front of the vehicle.
Alley dock — You will be asked to back your
vehicle from the sight side into an alley, bringing
the rear of your vehicle or trailer within three feet
of the rear of the alley without going beyond the
exercise boundary. The final position of the vehicle
must be within the exercise boundaries and within
three feet of the rear boundary.
Parallel park (sight side) — You will be asked
to park in a parallel parking space that is on your
left. You will drive past the space and back into
the space getting the entire vehicle (tractor and
trailer for Class A) completely into the space. The
vehicle’s final position must be entirely within the
exercise boundaries.
Parallel park (conventional) — You will be
asked to park in a parallel parking space that is
on your right. You will drive past the space and
back the entire vehicle (tractor and trailer for
Class A) completely into the space. The vehicles
final position must be entirely within the exercise
boundaries.
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Straight Line Backing
Offset Back/Left
Offset Back/Right
Sight Side Parallel Park
Alley
Dock
90° Alley
Dock
Parallel Park (Sight Side)
Minimum of 225ft
Parallel Park (Conventional)
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Section 13: Driving Test
This section will assist drivers taking the driving test
To pass the road test portion of the CDL DPE you
must make no more than 30 errors and have no
Critical Driving Errors (CDE), which will result in
an automatic failure. All directions for the road test
maneuvers will be given in the English language.
This is pursuant to Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration regulations §§391.11 (b) (2) and
383.133 (c) (5). If you are unable to understand
the directions given in the English language three
times, the test will be counted as a failure.
How Will You Be Tested?
During the driving test, the examiner will be scoring
you on specific driving maneuvers as well as on
your general driving behavior. You will follow
the directions of the examiner. Directions will be
given to you so you will have plenty of time to
do what the examiner has asked. You will not be
asked to drive in an unsafe manner.
• Use turn signals to warn others of your turn.
• Slow down smoothly, change gears as needed to
keep power, but do not coast unsafely. Unsafe
coasting occurs when your vehicle is out of
gear for more than the length of your vehicle.
If your test route does not have certain traffic
situations, you may be asked to simulate a traffic
situation. You will do this by telling the examiner
what you are or would be doing if you were in that
traffic situation. A failure of the driving test will
require a retest fee.
Remember: You are allowed a total of three attempts to pass the pre-trip, skills, or driving tests.
(See page 4.)
You have been asked to make a turn:
• Check traffic in all directions.
• Use turn signals and safely get into the lane
needed for the turn.
Turns
As you approach the turn:
If you must stop before making the turn:
• Come to a smooth stop without skidding.
• Come to a complete stop behind the stop line,
crosswalk, or stop sign.
• If stopping behind another vehicle, stop where
you can see the rear tires on the vehicle ahead
of you (safe gap).
• Keep the front wheels aimed straight ahead.
When ready to turn:
• Check traffic in all directions.
• Keep both hands on the steering wheel during
the turn.
• Do not change gears during the turn.
• Keep checking your mirror to make sure the
vehicle does not hit anything on the inside of
the turn.
• Vehicle should not move into oncoming traffic.
• Vehicle should finish turn in correct lane.
- 159 -
After turn:
• Make sure turn signal is off.
• Get up to speed of traffic, use turn signal, and
move into the far right lane when safe to do
so (if not already there).
Lane Changes
•
•
•
•
Check traffic.
Use signals to warn other drivers.
Change lanes smoothly.
Turn signal off when lane change is completed.
Intersections
As you approach an intersection:
•
•
•
•
Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
Decelerate gently.
Brake smoothly and, if necessary, change gears.
If necessary, come to a complete stop behind
any stop signs, signals, sidewalks, or stop lines
maintaining a safe gap behind any vehicle in
front of you.
• Your vehicle must not roll forward or backward.
• Do not enter the intersection if there is insufficient space to clear it.
When driving through an intersection:
• Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
• Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and
traffic in the intersection.
• Do not change lanes or shift gears while
proceeding through the intersection.
• Keep your hands on the wheel.
Once through the intersection:
• Continue checking traffic.
• Accelerate smoothly and change gears as
necessary.
- 160 -
Urban/Rural Normal Driving
During this part of the test, you are expected to make
regular traffic checks and maintain a safe following
distance. Your vehicle should be centered in the
proper lane and you should keep up with the flow
of traffic but not exceed the posted speed limit.
Urban/Rural Lane Changes
During the multiple lane portion of the urban or
rural sections, you will be asked to change lanes
to the left, and then back to the right. You should
make the necessary traffic checks first, then use
proper signals and smoothly change lanes when
it is safe to do so.
Freeway Driving
Before entering the freeway:
• Check traffic.
• Use proper signals.
• Merge smoothly into the proper traffic lane.
Once on the freeway:
• Maintain proper lane position, distance, and
speed.
• Continue to check traffic thoroughly in all
directions.
You will be instructed to change lanes:
• You must make necessary traffic checks.
• Use proper signals.
• Change lanes smoothly when it is safe to do so.
When exiting the freeway:
•
•
•
•
Make necessary traffic checks.
Use proper signals.
Decelerate smoothly in the exit lane.
Once on the exit ramp, you must continue
to decelerate within the lane markings and
maintain adequate following distance.
Stop/Start
For this maneuver, you will be asked to pull your
vehicle over to the side of the road and stop as if
you were going to get out and check something on
your vehicle. You must check traffic thoroughly
in all directions and move to the far right lane or
shoulder of the road.
As you prepare for the stop:
• Check traffic.
• Turn on your right turn signal.
• Decelerate smoothly, brake evenly, change
gears as necessary.
• Bring your vehicle to a full stop without
coasting.
Once stopped:
• Vehicle must be parallel to the curb or shoulder
of the road and safely out of the traffic flow.
• Vehicle should not be blocking driveways, fire
hydrants, intersections, signs, etc.
• Cancel your turn signal.
• Activate 4-way emergency flashers.
• Apply the parking brake.
• Move the gear shift to neutral or park.
• Take your feet off the brake and clutch pedals.
When instructed to resume:
• Check traffic and your mirrors thoroughly in
all directions.
• Turn off 4-way flashers.
• Turn on left turn signal.
• When traffic permits, you should release the
parking brake and pull straight ahead.
• Do not turn the wheel before your vehicle
moves.
• Check traffic from all directions, especially
to the left.
• Steer and accelerate smoothly into the proper
lane when safe to do so.
• Once your vehicle is back into the flow of
traffic, cancel your left turn signal.
Curve
When approaching a curve:
• Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
• Before entering the curve, reduce speed so
further braking or shifting is not required in
the curve.
• Keep vehicle in the lane.
• Continue checking traffic in all directions.
Railroad Crossing
Before reaching the crossing, all
commercial drivers should:
• Decelerate, brake smoothly, and shift gears
as necessary.
• Look and listen for the presence of trains.
• Check traffic in all directions.
• Do not stop, change gears, pass another vehicle,
or change lanes while any part of your vehicle
is in the crossing.
If you are driving a bus, a school bus, or a vehicle
displaying placards, you should be prepared
to observe the following procedures at every
railroad crossing (unless the crossing is exempt):
• As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing,
activate the 4-way flashers.
• Stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less
than 15 feet from the nearest rail.
• Listen and look in both directions along the
track for an approaching train and for signals
indicating the approach of a train. If operating
a bus, you may also be required to open the
window and door prior to crossing tracks.
• Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle
crosses the tracks.
• Do not stop, change gears, or change lanes
while any part of your vehicle is proceeding
across the tracks.
• 4-way flashers should be turned off after the
vehicle crosses the tracks.
Not all driving tests will have a railroad crossing.
You may be asked to explain and demonstrate the
proper railroad crossing procedures to the examiner
at a simulated location.
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Bridge/Overpass/Sign
After driving under an overpass, you may be asked
to tell the examiner what the posted clearance or
height was. After going over a bridge, you may
be asked to tell the examiner what the posted
weight limit was. If your test route does not have
an overpass or bridge, you may be asked about
another traffic sign. When asked, be prepared to
identify and explain to the examiner any traffic
sign which may appear on the route.
During the driving test you must:
• Wear your safety belt.
• Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws.
• Complete the test without a collision or moving
violation.
You will be scored on your overall performance in
the following general driving behavior categories:
Clutch Usage (for manual transmission)
• Always use clutch to shift.
• Double-clutch if vehicle is equipped with
non-synchronized transmission.
• Do not rev or lug the engine.
• Do not ride clutch to control speed, coast with
the clutch depressed, or “pop” the clutch.
Gear Usage (for manual transmission)
• Do not grind or clash gears.
• Select gear that does not rev or lug engine.
• Do not shift in turns and intersections.
Brake Usage
• Do not ride or pump brake.
• Do not brake harshly. Brake smoothly using
steady pressure.
Lane Usage
• Do not drive the vehicle over curbs, sidewalks,
or lane markings.
• Stop behind stop lines, crosswalks, or stop
signs.
• Complete turns in the proper lane on multiple
lane roads.
• Finish right turns in the right lane.
• Move to or remain in the far right lane unless
the lane is blocked.
Student Discharge (School Buses)
You will be scored on how you demonstrate and
describe the procedure for discharging students.
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Glossary
Bulk packaging—a packaging, including a transport vehicle or freight container in which hazardous
materials are loaded with no intermediate form of
containment, with a capacity greater than:
• 450 L (119 gallons) for a liquid,
• 450 L (119 gallons) and a net mass greater than
400 kg (882 lbs.) for a solid, or
• water capacity greater than 454 kg (1000 lbs.)
for a gas
California Hazardous Waste Manifest—shipping paper which must accompany all shipments
of hazardous waste.
CalTrans—California Department of Transportation
Carboy—a bottle or rectangular container that
holds from 5 to 15 gallons of liquid. Carboys
are made of glass, plastic, or metal and are often
cushioned in a wooden box.
Cargo tank—any bulk liquid or compressed gas
packaging, whether or not permanently attached
to any motor vehicle, which by reason of its size,
construction, or attachment to a motor vehicle, is
loaded or unloaded without being removed from
the motor vehicle. Any packaging fabricated under
specifications for cylinders is not a cargo tank.
Carrier—a person engaged in the transportation
of passengers or property by land or water (as a
common, contract, or private carrier) or by civil
aircraft.
CCR—California Code of Regulations—Title 13
and Title 22
CFR—Code of Federal Regulations—Title 49
CHP—California Highway Patrol
Compressed gas—any gaseous material, or
liquefied gas, kept in a container under pressure.
(See more specific Class 2 definitions in 49 CFR
173.115.)
Consignee—the business or person to whom a
shipment is delivered.
CVC §—California Vehicle Code Section.
Cryogenic liquid—a refrigerated liquefied gas
having a boiling point colder than -130°F at 14.7
psia.
Cylinder—a pressure vessel designed for pressures
higher than 40 psia. and having a circular cross
section. It does not include a portable or cargo tank.
DMV—Department of Motor Vehicles
DOT—Department of Transportation (Federal)
DTSC—Department of Toxic Substance Control
EPA—U. S. Environmental Protection Agency
FAA—Federal Aviation Administration
FHWA—Federal Highway Administration
FMCSA­— Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Administration
Freight container—a reusable container designed
and constructed to permit being lifted with its contents intact and intended primarily for containment
of packages (in unit form) during transportation.
Gross weight—the weight of the packaging plus
the weight of its contents.
Hazardous material—any material that poses an
unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property
during transportation. These materials are named
by the DOT in the Hazardous Materials Table.
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Infectious substances or etiologic agents—a
living microorganism, or its toxin, which causes
or may cause human or animal disease.
Proper shipping name—the name of the hazardous material shown in Roman print (not italics) in
the Hazardous Materials Table.
Limited quantity—when specified as such in a
section applicable to a particular material, it means
the maximum amount with specific placarding,
labeling, and packaging exceptions.
psi—Pounds per square inch.
Marking—applying the descriptive name(s),
identification numbers, instructions, cautions,
weight(s), or specification marks required to be
placed on the outside of hazardous materials
packages and/or their transport vehicle(s).
Registered hazardous waste transporter—
person registered by DTSC who engages in the
offsite transportation of hazardous waste by air,
rail, highway, or water.
Mixture—a material containing more than one
chemical compound or element.
Name of contents—the proper shipping name as
specified in the Hazardous Materials Table.
n.o.s.—not otherwise specified
Outage—the amount by which a packaging falls
short of being liquid full, usually expressed in
percent by volume. The amount of outage required
for liquids in cargo tanks depends on how much
the material will expand with temperature change
during transit. Different materials expand at different rates. Enough outage must be allowed so that
the tank will still not be full at 130°F.
Overpack—an enclosure used by a single shipper
to provide protection or convenience in handling
of a package or to combine two or more packages.
“Overpack” does not include a transport vehicle
or a freight container.
Portable tank—any bulk packaging (except a
cylinder having a 1000 lbs. or less water capacity) designed primarily to be loaded in, on, or
temporarily attached to, a transport vehicle. A
portable tank is equipped with skids, mounting,
or accessories to facilitate handling of the tank by
mechanical means.
psia.—Pounds per square inch absolute.
PUC—Public Utilities Commission
Reportable quantity (RQ)—the quantity (per
single package) which equals or exceeds the quantity specified in column 3 of the List of Hazardous
Substances and Reportable Quantities. Reportable
quantities are treated as hazardous materials and
have specific spill reporting requirements.
Shipper’s certification—a statement on a shipping
paper, signed by the shipper, saying he or she
prepared the shipment properly according to law.
“This is to certify that the above named materials
are properly classified, described, packaged,
marked and labeled and are in proper condition
for transportation according to the applicable
regulations of the Department of Transportation.”
or
“I hereby declare that the contents of this consignment are fully and accurately described above
by the proper shipping name and are classified,
packaged, marked and labeled/placarded, and are
in all respects in proper condition for transport according to applicable international and national
governmental regulations.”
Shipping paper—a shipping order, bill of lading,
manifest or other shipping document serving a
similar purpose and containing the information
required by the regulations.
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Tank vehicle—any commercial motor vehicle
with any size fixed tank(s) (except tanks necessary
for vehicle operation such as: air, gas, and oil) or
portable tanks of 1,000 gallons or more capacity.
Also includes any fixed tank in excess of 119 gallons
mounted on any vehicle or vehicle combination
which requires a CDL or placards.
To transport hazardous materials or wastes, a Tank
Vehicle Endorsement and a HazMat endorsement
is required for a fixed tank(s) regardless of the
weight of the vehicle or the size of the tank. If the
tank is portable and is under 1,000 gallons, only
the HazMat endorsement is required.
Technical name—a recognized chemical name or
microbiological name currently used in scientific
and technical handbooks, journals, and texts.
Title 13—California Code of Regulations—Motor
Vehicles.
Title 22—California Code of Regulations—Environmental Health Standards for the Management
of Hazardous Waste.
Transport vehicle—a cargo carrying vehicle such
as an automobile, van, tractor, truck, semitrailer,
tank car, or rail car used for the transportation of
cargo by any mode. Each cargo carrying body
(trailer, rail car, etc.) is a separate transport vehicle.
Water reactive material—any material (including sludge and pastes) which when mixed with
water, is likely to ignite or give off flammable or
toxic gases in dangerous quantities. Water reactive
material is required to be labeled DANGEROUS
WHEN WET.
To Purchase Reference Materials
A California Vehicle Code book may be viewed
online at www.dmv.ca.gov or be purchased at any
DMV office.
California Regulations relating to commercial
vehicles are contained in Title 13 of the California
Code of Regulations (CCR).
Title 13, CCR, may be purchased from:
Thomson-West Group
PO Box 95767
Chicago, IL 60694-5767
Telephone Number 1-800-866-3600
www.barclaysccr.com
Copies of the Code of Federal Regulations,
Title 49, or Title 22, CCR, Division 4.5 may be
purchased from:
Superintendent of Documents
U. S. Government Printing Office
Washington, D. C. 20402
Telephone Number (202) 512-1800
7:30 AM to 4:30 PM EST
Fax Number (202) 512-2250
www.access.gpo.gov
Disclaimer
When using this handbook, please remember that
it is only a summary of the laws and regulations.
DMV, law enforcement, and courts follow the
full and exact language of the contained in the
California Vehicle Code. You may view the most
current California Vehicle Code on our website
at www.dmv.ca.gov or purchase a copy at any
DMV office.
Where to Write
Questions or comments regarding this handbook
may be addressed to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
Customer Communications Unit
MS H165
PO Box 932345
Sacramento, CA 94232-3450
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NOTES
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DL 650 (REV. 5/2012)
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