Catalog # 01-970001-2

Catalog # 01-970001-2
Catalog # 01-970001-2
IDAHO
COMMERCIAL
DRIVER’S LICENSE
MANUAL
Published by
The Idaho Transportation Department
Division of Motor Vehicles
P.O. Box 7129
Boise, Idaho 83707-1129
July 2012 Edition
Manual developed in conjunction with the
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrator's
2005 CDL Testing Model
This manual and the Idaho Driver’s Manual must both be studied in preparation for your CDL
examinations. Both manuals paraphrase the language of the Idaho Motor Vehicle Code.
Courts go by the actual language of the code, not these texts.
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) is committed to compliance with Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 and all related regulations and directives. ITD assures that no person shall
on the grounds of race, color, national origin, gender, age, or disability be excluded from
participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under
any ITD service, program, or activity. The department also assures that every effort will be
made to prevent discrimination through the impacts of its programs, policies, and activities on
minority and low-income populations. In addition, the department will take reasonable steps
to provide meaningful access to services for persons with limited English proficiency.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................................................... 1-1
1.1 LICENSES AND ENDORSEMENTS.................................................................................................................................................. 1-2
1.1.1 License Classes .................................................................................................................................................................... 1-2
1.1.2 Endorsements ..................................................................................................................................................................... 1-2
1.1.3 Restrictions ........................................................................................................................................................................ 1-3
1.2 SEASONAL CDL FOR FARM-RELATED SERVICES ........................................................................................................................... 1-3
1.2.1 Requirements ...................................................................................................................................................................... 1-3
1.3 CDL FEES ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1-4
1.4 HOW TO GET A CDL ..................................................................................................................................................................... 1-4
1.4.1 Instruction Permits.............................................................................................................................................................. 1-6
1.5 CDL TESTS .................................................................................................................................................................................... 1-6
1.5.1 Knowledge Tests ................................................................................................................................................................. 1-6
1.5.2 Skills Test ............................................................................................................................................................................ 1-7
1.6 SAFETY RULES .............................................................................................................................................................................. 1-7
1.6.1 Disqualifications ................................................................................................................................................................. 1-8
1.6.2 Alcohol Tests and the Law (Implied Consent) ....................................................................................................................... 1-9
1.6.3 Administrative License Suspensions (ALS)........................................................................................................................... 1-9
1.6.4 Drug and Alcohol Testing .................................................................................................................................................... 1-1
1.7 DRIVER RECORD REQUESTS ......................................................................................................................................................... 1-1
CHAPTER 2 : DRIVING SAFETY .................................................................................................................................................... 2-1
2.1 VEHICLE INSPECTION................................................................................................................................................................... 2-1
2.1.1 Why Inspect ........................................................................................................................................................................ 2-1
2.1.2 Types of Vehicle Inspection ................................................................................................................................................. 2-1
2.1.3 What to Look For: ............................................................................................................................................................... 2-2
2.1.4 CDL Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Test: .................................................................................................................................. 2-4
2.1.5 Seven-step Inspection Method: .......................................................................................................................................... 2-4
2.1.6 Inspection during a Trip ................................................................................................................................................... 2-12
2.1.7 Post-trip Inspection and Report ........................................................................................................................................ 2-12
2.2 BASIC CONTROL OF YOUR VEHICLE ........................................................................................................................................... 2-13
2.2.1 Accelerating ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2-13
2.2.2 Steering ............................................................................................................................................................................. 2-13
2.2.3 Stopping ............................................................................................................................................................................ 2-13
2.2.4 Backing Safely ................................................................................................................................................................... 2-14
2.3 SHIFTING GEARS ........................................................................................................................................................................ 2-14
2.3.1 Manual Transmissions ...................................................................................................................................................... 2-14
2.3.2 Multi-speed Rear Axles and Auxiliary Transmissions.......................................................................................................... 2-15
2.3.3 Automatic Transmissions .................................................................................................................................................. 2-15
2.3.4 Retarders (also known as “Jake Brakes”) ......................................................................................................................... 2-15
2.4 SEEING....................................................................................................................................................................................... 2-16
2.4.1 Seeing Ahead .................................................................................................................................................................... 2-16
2.4.2 Seeing to the Sides and Rear............................................................................................................................................. 2-16
2.5 COMMUNICATING .................................................................................................................................................................... 2-18
2.5.1 Signal Your Intentions ....................................................................................................................................................... 2-18
2.5.2 Communicating Your Presence ......................................................................................................................................... 2-18
2.6 CONTROLLING SPEED ................................................................................................................................................................ 2-20
2.6.1 Stopping Distance ............................................................................................................................................................. 2-20
2.6.2 Matching Speed to the Road Surface ................................................................................................................................. 2-21
2.6.3 Speed and Curves .............................................................................................................................................................. 2-21
2.6.4 Speed and Distance Ahead ............................................................................................................................................... 2-21
2.6.5 Speed and Traffic Flow...................................................................................................................................................... 2-22
2.6.6 Speed on Downgrades ...................................................................................................................................................... 2-22
2.6.7 Roadway Work Zones ....................................................................................................................................................... 2-22
2.7 MANAGING SPACE ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2-23
2.7.1 Space Ahead ..................................................................................................................................................................... 2-23
2.7.2 Space Behind..................................................................................................................................................................... 2-23
2.7.3 Space to the Sides ............................................................................................................................................................. 2-24
2.7.4 Space Overhead ................................................................................................................................................................ 2-24
2.7.5 Space Below ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2-24
2.7.6 Space for Turns ................................................................................................................................................................. 2-25
Figure 2.13 Correct Execution of Left Turns ............................................................................................................................. 2-25
2.7.7 Space Needed to Cross or Enter Traffic ............................................................................................................................. 2-26
2.8 SEEING HAZARDS ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2-26
2.8.1 Importance of Seeing Hazards .......................................................................................................................................... 2-26
2.8.2 Hazardous Roads .............................................................................................................................................................. 2-26
2.8.3 Drivers Who May Pose a Hazard ...................................................................................................................................... 2-27
2.8.4 Always Have a Plan ........................................................................................................................................................... 2-29
2.9 DISTRACTED DRIVING................................................................................................................................................................ 2-29
2.10 AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS/ROAD RAGE ......................................................................................................................................... 2-32
2.10.1 What Is It?....................................................................................................................................................................... 2-32
2.10.2 Don’t Be an Aggressive Driver ........................................................................................................................................ 2-32
2.10.3 What You Should Do When Confronted by an Aggressive Driver ................................................................................... 2-33
2.11 DRIVING AT NIGHT .................................................................................................................................................................. 2-33
2.11.1 More Dangerous ............................................................................................................................................................ 2-33
2.11.2 Driver Factors.................................................................................................................................................................. 2-33
2.11.3 Roadway Factors ............................................................................................................................................................ 2-34
2.11.4 Vehicle Factors ................................................................................................................................................................ 2-34
2.11.5 Night Driving Procedures ................................................................................................................................................ 2-34
2.12 DRIVING IN FOG ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2-35
2.13 DRIVING IN WINTER ................................................................................................................................................................ 2-35
2.13.1 Vehicle Checks................................................................................................................................................................. 2-35
2.13.2 Driving ............................................................................................................................................................................ 2-36
2.14 DRIVING IN VERY HOT WEATHER ............................................................................................................................................ 2-37
2.14.1 Vehicle Checks................................................................................................................................................................. 2-37
2.14.2 Driving ............................................................................................................................................................................ 2-38
2.15 RAILROAD-HIGHWAY CROSSINGS ........................................................................................................................................... 2-38
2.15.1 Types of Crossings........................................................................................................................................................... 2-38
2.15.2 Warning Signs and Devices ............................................................................................................................................. 2-38
2.15.3 Driving Procedures .......................................................................................................................................................... 2-39
2.15.4 Stopping Safely at Railroad-Highway Crossings ............................................................................................................... 2-40
2.15.5 Crossing the Tracks ......................................................................................................................................................... 2-40
2.15.6 Special Situations ............................................................................................................................................................ 2-40
2.16 MOUNTAIN DRIVING ................................................................................................................................................................ 2-40
2.16.1 Select a “Safe” Speed ...................................................................................................................................................... 2-41
2.16.2 Select the Right Gear before Starting Down the Grade .................................................................................................. 2-41
2.16.3 Brake Fading or Failure ................................................................................................................................................... 2-41
2.16.4 Proper Braking Technique............................................................................................................................................... 2-41
2.17 DRIVING EMERGENCIES ............................................................................................................................................................ 2-42
2.17.1 Steering to Avoid a Crash................................................................................................................................................ 2-43
2.17.2 How to Stop Quickly and Safely ....................................................................................................................................... 2-43
2.17.3 Brake Failure ................................................................................................................................................................... 2-44
2.17.4 Tire Failure ....................................................................................................................................................................... 2-45
2.18 ANTILOCK BRAKING SYSTEMS (ABS) ........................................................................................................................................ 2-46
2.18.1 How Antilock Braking Systems Work ............................................................................................................................... 2-46
..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2-46
2.18.2 Vehicles Required to Have Antilock ................................................................................................................................. 2-46
Braking Systems .......................................................................................................................................................................... 2-46
2.18.3 How to Know If Your Vehicle Is Equipped with ABS ......................................................................................................... 2-46
2.18.4 How ABS Helps You .......................................................................................................................................................... 2-47
2.18.5 ABS on the Tractor Only or Only on the Trailer ................................................................................................................ 2-47
2.18.6 Braking with ABS ............................................................................................................................................................. 2-47
2.18.7 Braking If ABS Is Not Working ......................................................................................................................................... 2-48
2.18.8 Safety Reminders ............................................................................................................................................................. 2-48
2.19 SKID CONTROL AND RECOVERY ............................................................................................................................................... 2-48
2.19.1 Drive-wheel Skids ............................................................................................................................................................. 2-48
2.19.2 Correcting a Drive-wheel Braking Skid ............................................................................................................................ 2-49
2.19.3 Front-wheel Skids ............................................................................................................................................................ 2-49
2.20 ACCIDENT PROCEDURES .......................................................................................................................................................... 2-49
2.20.1 Protect the Area............................................................................................................................................................... 2-49
2.20.2 Notify Authorities ............................................................................................................................................................ 2-50
2.20.3 Care for the Injured.......................................................................................................................................................... 2-50
2.21 FIRES ........................................................................................................................................................................................ 2-50
2.21.1 Causes of Fire ................................................................................................................................................................... 2-50
2.21.2 Fire Prevention ................................................................................................................................................................. 2-50
2.21.3 Fire Fighting ..................................................................................................................................................................... 2-51
2.22 ALCOHOL, OTHER DRUGS, AND DRIVING ................................................................................................................................. 2-52
2.22.1 Alcohol and Driving.......................................................................................................................................................... 2-52
2.22.2 Other Drugs ..................................................................................................................................................................... 2-54
2.23 STAYING ALERT AND FIT TO DRIVE ........................................................................................................................................... 2-54
2.23.1 Be Ready to Drive ............................................................................................................................................................ 2-54
2.23.2 While You Are Driving ...................................................................................................................................................... 2-54
2.23.3 When You Do Become Sleepy .......................................................................................................................................... 2-55
2.23.4 Illness ............................................................................................................................................................................... 2-55
2.24 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RULES FOR ALL COMMERCIAL DRIVERS ........................................................................................... 2-55
2.24.1 What Are Hazardous Materials? ..................................................................................................................................... 2-55
2.24.2 Why Are There Rules? ...................................................................................................................................................... 2-55
2.24.3 Lists of Regulated Products.............................................................................................................................................. 2-56
2.25 SHARING THE ROAD ................................................................................................................................................................. 2-57
2.25.1 Introduction. .................................................................................................................................................................... 2-57
..................................................................................................................................................................................................... 2-58
2.25.2 Motorcycles ..................................................................................................................................................................... 2-58
2.25.3 Bicyclists .......................................................................................................................................................................... 2-59
2.25.4 Pedestrians ...................................................................................................................................................................... 2-60
2.25.5 Children at Play ................................................................................................................................................................ 2-61
2.25.6 Horseback Riders ............................................................................................................................................................. 2-61
2.25.7 Funeral Processions ......................................................................................................................................................... 2-61
2.25.8 Open Range ..................................................................................................................................................................... 2-61
2.26 IDAHO PORT OF ENTRY REQUIREMENTS AND SIZE & WEIGHT LIMITS ...................................................................................... 2-62
2.26.1 PORT OF ENTRY: .............................................................................................................................................................. 2-62
2.26.2 Gross Weight - Idaho Code §49-108(4)............................................................................................................................ 2-62
2.26.3 Maximum Gross Weight - Idaho Code §49-114 (6) ......................................................................................................... 2-62
2.26.4 Who Must Stop: ............................................................................................................................................................... 2-62
2.26.5 Size: See chart on following page ................................................................................................................................... 2-62
............................................................................................................................................................................................................
2.26.6 Weight: Laws governing Idaho Allowable Weight limits are found in Idaho Code §49-1001. The weight limits vary
depending on the commodity being hauled and the routes being traveled. General weight limits are as follows:................... 2-62
2.26.5 SIZE: Laws governing Idaho size limitations are found in Idaho Code §49-1010. ........................................................... 2-63
CHAPTER 3 : TRANSPORTING CARGO SAFELY ............................................................................................................................. 3-1
3.1 INSPECTING CARGO ..................................................................................................................................................................... 3-1
3.2 WEIGHT AND BALANCE ................................................................................................................................................................ 3-1
3.2.1 Definitions You Should Know ............................................................................................................................................... 3-1
3.2.2 Legal Weight Limits ............................................................................................................................................................. 3-2
3.2.3 Don’t Be Top-heavy ............................................................................................................................................................. 3-2
3.2.4 Balance the Weight ............................................................................................................................................................. 3-2
3.3 SECURING CARGO ........................................................................................................................................................................ 3-2
3.3.1 Blocking and Bracing ........................................................................................................................................................... 3-2
3.3.2 Cargo Tie-down.................................................................................................................................................................... 3-3
3.3.3 Header Boards ..................................................................................................................................................................... 3-3
3.3.4 Covering Cargo .................................................................................................................................................................... 3-3
3.3.5 Sealed and Containerized Loads .......................................................................................................................................... 3-3
3.4 CARGO NEEDING SPECIAL ATTENTION......................................................................................................................................... 3-4
3.4.1 Dry Bulk ............................................................................................................................................................................... 3-4
3.4.2 Hanging Meat ...................................................................................................................................................................... 3-4
3.4.3 Livestock .............................................................................................................................................................................. 3-4
3.4.4 Oversized Loads ................................................................................................................................................................... 3-4
CHAPTER 4 : TRANSPORTING PASSENGERS SAFELY..................................................................................................................... 4-1
4.1 VEHICLE INSPECTION ................................................................................................................................................................... 4-1
4.1.1 Vehicle Systems ................................................................................................................................................................... 4-1
4.1.2 Access Doors and Panels...................................................................................................................................................... 4-1
4.1.3 Bus Interior .......................................................................................................................................................................... 4-1
4.1.4 Roof Hatches........................................................................................................................................................................ 4-2
4.1.5 Use Your Seatbelt! ............................................................................................................................................................... 4-2
4.2 LOADING AND TRIP START ........................................................................................................................................................... 4-2
4.2.1 Hazardous Materials ........................................................................................................................................................... 4-2
4.2.2 Forbidden Hazardous Materials .......................................................................................................................................... 4-2
4.2.3 Standee Line ........................................................................................................................................................................ 4-3
4.2.4 At Your Destination.............................................................................................................................................................. 4-3
4.3 ON THE ROAD............................................................................................................................................................................... 4-3
4.3.1 Passenger Supervision ......................................................................................................................................................... 4-3
4.3.2 Stops .................................................................................................................................................................................... 4-3
4.3.3 Common Accidents .............................................................................................................................................................. 4-3
4.3.4 Speed on Curves ................................................................................................................................................................... 4-3
4.3.5 Railroad-highway Crossings ................................................................................................................................................ 4-4
4.3.6 Drawbridges ........................................................................................................................................................................ 4-4
4.4 POST-TRIP VEHICLE INSPECTION .................................................................................................................................................. 4-4
4.5 PROHIBITED PRACTICES ............................................................................................................................................................... 4-4
4.6 USE OF BRAKE-DOOR INTERLOCKS............................................................................................................................................... 4-4
CHAPTER 5 : AIR BRAKES............................................................................................................................................................ 5-1
5.1 THE PARTS OF AN AIR BRAKE SYSTEM .......................................................................................................................................... 5-1
5.1.1 Air Compressor .................................................................................................................................................................... 5-1
5.1.2 Air Compressor Governor .................................................................................................................................................... 5-1
5.1.3 Air Storage Tanks ................................................................................................................................................................. 5-1
5.1.4 Air Tank Drains .................................................................................................................................................................... 5-2
5.1.5 Alcohol Evaporator .............................................................................................................................................................. 5-2
5.1.6 Safety Valve ......................................................................................................................................................................... 5-2
5.1.7 The Brake Pedal ................................................................................................................................................................... 5-2
5.1.8 Foundation Brakes ............................................................................................................................................................... 5-2
5.1.9 Supply Pressure Gauges ....................................................................................................................................................... 5-4
5.1.10 Application Pressure Gauge ............................................................................................................................................... 5-4
5.1.11 Low Air Pressure Warning................................................................................................................................................. 5-4
5.1.12 Stop Light Switch ............................................................................................................................................................... 5-5
5.1.13 Front Brake Limiting Valve................................................................................................................................................. 5-5
5.1.14 Spring Brakes ..................................................................................................................................................................... 5-5
5.1.15 Parking Brake Controls ...................................................................................................................................................... 5-5
5.1.16 Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) ........................................................................................................................................ 5-7
5.2 DUAL AIR BRAKE .......................................................................................................................................................................... 5-7
5.3 INSPECTING AIR BRAKE SYSTEMS ................................................................................................................................................ 5-8
5.3.1 During Step 2: Engine Compartment Checks ........................................................................................................................ 5-8
5.3.2 During Step 5: Walk-around Inspection ............................................................................................................................ 5-8
5.3.3 During Step 7: Final Air Brake Check ................................................................................................................................ 5-10
5.4 USING AIR BRAKES..................................................................................................................................................................... 5-11
5.4.1 Normal Stops .................................................................................................................................................................... 5-11
5.4.2 Braking with Antilock Brakes ............................................................................................................................................ 5-11
5.4.3 Emergency Stops............................................................................................................................................................... 5-12
5.4.4 Stopping Distance ............................................................................................................................................................. 5-12
5.4.5 Brake Fading or Failure ..................................................................................................................................................... 5-13
5.4.6 Proper Braking Technique ................................................................................................................................................. 5-13
5.4.7 Low Air Pressure ............................................................................................................................................................... 5-14
5.4.8 Parking Brakes .................................................................................................................................................................. 5-14
CHAPTER 6 : COMBINATION VEHICLES ....................................................................................................................................... 6-1
6.1 DRIVING COMBINATION VEHICLES SAFELY ................................................................................................................................. 6-1
6.1.1 Rollover Risks ...................................................................................................................................................................... 6-1
6.1.2 Steer Gently ........................................................................................................................................................................ 6-1
6.1.3 Brake Early .......................................................................................................................................................................... 6-2
6.1.4 Railroad-highway Crossings................................................................................................................................................ 6-2
6.1.5 Prevent Trailer Skids ........................................................................................................................................................... 6-2
6.1.6 Turn Wide For Off-Tracking ................................................................................................................................................ 6-3
6.1.7 Backing with a Trailer ......................................................................................................................................................... 6-6
6.2 COMBINATION VEHICLE AIR BRAKES........................................................................................................................................... 6-7
6.2.1 Trailer Hand Valve .............................................................................................................................................................. 6-7
6.2.2 Tractor Protection Valve ..................................................................................................................................................... 6-8
6.2.3 Trailer Air Supply Control .................................................................................................................................................... 6-8
6.2.4 Trailer Air Lines ................................................................................................................................................................... 6-8
6.2.5 Hose Couplers (Glad Hands) ............................................................................................................................................... 6-8
6.2.6 Trailer Air Tanks .................................................................................................................................................................. 6-9
6.2.7 Shut-off Valves .................................................................................................................................................................... 6-9
6.2.8 Trailer Service, Parking, and Emergency Brakes ................................................................................................................. 6-9
6.3 ANTILOCK BRAKE SYSTEMS ....................................................................................................................................................... 6-10
6.3.1 Trailers Required to Have ABS .......................................................................................................................................... 6-10
6.3.2 Braking with ABS .............................................................................................................................................................. 6-10
6.4 COUPLING AND UNCOUPLING .................................................................................................................................................. 6-11
6.4.1 Coupling Tractor-Semitrailers ........................................................................................................................................... 6-11
6.4.2 Uncoupling Tractor-Semitrailers ....................................................................................................................................... 6-14
6.5 INSPECTING A COMBINATION VEHICLE ..................................................................................................................................... 6-15
6.5.1 Additional Things to Check During a Walk-Around Inspection ......................................................................................... 6-15
6.5.2 Combination Vehicle Brake Check .................................................................................................................................... 6-17
CHAPTER 7 : DOUBLES AND TRIPLES........................................................................................................................................... 7-1
7.1 PULLING DOUBLE/TRIPLE TRAILERS ............................................................................................................................................ 7-1
7.1.1 Prevent Trailer from Rolling Over ....................................................................................................................................... 7-1
7.1.2 Beware of the Crack-the-Whip Effect ................................................................................................................................. 7-1
7.1.3 Inspect Completely.............................................................................................................................................................. 7-1
7.1.4 Look Far Ahead ................................................................................................................................................................... 7-1
7.1.5 Manage Space .................................................................................................................................................................... 7-1
7.1.6 Adverse Conditions ............................................................................................................................................................. 7-2
7.1.7 Parking the Vehicle ............................................................................................................................................................. 7-2
7.1.8 Antilock Braking Systems on Converter Dollies .................................................................................................................... 7-2
7.2 COUPLING AND UNCOUPLING .................................................................................................................................................... 7-2
7.2.1 Coupling Twin Trailers ......................................................................................................................................................... 7-2
7.2.2 Uncoupling Twin Trailers .................................................................................................................................................... 7-5
7.2.3 Coupling and Uncoupling Triple Trailers ............................................................................................................................. 7-5
7.2.4 Coupling & Uncoupling ....................................................................................................................................................... 7-5
Other Combinations ...................................................................................................................................................................... 7-5
7.3 INSPECTING DOUBLES AND TRIPLES............................................................................................................................................ 7-6
7.3.1 Additional Checks................................................................................................................................................................ 7-6
7.3.2 Additional Things to Check During a Walk-Around Inspection ........................................................................................... 7-7
7.4 DOUBLES/TRIPLES AIR BRAKE CHECK .......................................................................................................................................... 7-7
7.4.1 Additional Air Brake Checks ................................................................................................................................................ 7-7
7.5 LONG COMMERCIAL VEHICLE (LCV) CERTIFICATION ............................................................................................................... 7-7
CHAPTER 8 : TANK VEHICLES ...................................................................................................................................................... 8-1
8.1 INSPECTING TANK VEHICLES ....................................................................................................................................................... 8-1
8.1.1 Leaks ................................................................................................................................................................................... 8-1
8.1.2 Check Special Purpose Equipment ...................................................................................................................................... 8-1
8.1.3 Special Equipment .............................................................................................................................................................. 8-1
8.2 DRIVING TANK VEHICLES ............................................................................................................................................................. 8-1
8.2.2 Danger of Surge .................................................................................................................................................................. 8-2
8.2.4 Baffled Tanks ...................................................................................................................................................................... 8-2
8.2.5 Un-baffled Tanks................................................................................................................................................................. 8-3
8.2.6 Outage ................................................................................................................................................................................ 8-3
8.2.7 How Much to Load? ............................................................................................................................................................ 8-3
8.3 SAFE DRIVING RULES ................................................................................................................................................................... 8-3
8.3.1 Drive Smoothly .................................................................................................................................................................... 8-3
8.3.2 Controlling Surge ................................................................................................................................................................ 8-3
8.3.3 Curves ................................................................................................................................................................................. 8-4
8.3.4 Stopping Distance ............................................................................................................................................................... 8-4
8.3.5 Skids .................................................................................................................................................................................... 8-4
CHAPTER 9 : HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ....................................................................................................................................... 9-1
....................................................................................................................................................................................................... 9-2
9.1.1 Contain the Material........................................................................................................................................................... 9-2
9.1.2 Communicate the Risk ......................................................................................................................................................... 9-2
9.1.3 Assure Safe Drivers and Equipment .................................................................................................................................... 9-2
9.2.1 The Shipper ......................................................................................................................................................................... 9-3
9.2.2 The Carrier .......................................................................................................................................................................... 9-3
9.2.3 The Driver ........................................................................................................................................................................... 9-3
9.3 COMMUNICATION RULES .................................................................................................................................................................. 9-3
9.3.1 Definitions ........................................................................................................................................................................... 9-3
9.3.2 Package Labels ................................................................................................................................................................... 9-4
9.3.3 Lists of Regulated Products ................................................................................................................................................. 9-5
9.3.4 The Shipping Paper ............................................................................................................................................................. 9-7
9.3.5 The Item Description ........................................................................................................................................................... 9-8
9.3.6 Shipper's Certification ......................................................................................................................................................... 9-9
9.3.7 Package Markings and Labels ............................................................................................................................................ 9-9
9.3.8 Recognizing Hazardous Materials ..................................................................................................................................... 9-9
9.3.9 Hazardous Waste Manifest ................................................................................................................................................ 9-9
9.3.10 Placarding ....................................................................................................................................................................... 9-10
9.3.11 Placard Tables................................................................................................................................................................. 9-10
9.4 LOADING AND UNLOADING .............................................................................................................................................................. 9-12
9.4.1 General Loading Requirements......................................................................................................................................... 9-12
9.5 BULK PACKAGING MARKING, LOADING AND UNLOADING ........................................................................................................................ 9-15
9.5.1 Markings ........................................................................................................................................................................... 9-15
9.5.2 Tank Loading .................................................................................................................................................................... 9-15
9.5.3 Flammable Liquids ............................................................................................................................................................ 9-15
9.5.4 Compressed Gas ............................................................................................................................................................... 9-16
......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 9-16
9.6 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS DRIVING AND PARKING RULES ......................................................................................................................... 9-16
9.6.1 Parking with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 Explosives ................................................................................................................ 9-16
9.6.2 Parking a Placarded Vehicle Not....................................................................................................................................... 9-16
Transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3) Explosives ........................................................................................................................ 9-16
9.6.3 Attending Parked Vehicles ................................................................................................................................................ 9-16
9.6.4 No Flares! .......................................................................................................................................................................... 9-17
9.6.5 Route Restrictions ............................................................................................................................................................. 9-17
9.6.6 No Smoking ....................................................................................................................................................................... 9-17
9.6.7 Refuel with Engine Off ...................................................................................................................................................... 9-17
9.6.8 10 B:C Fire Extinguisher .................................................................................................................................................... 9-17
9.6.9 Check Tires ........................................................................................................................................................................ 9-17
9.6.10 Where to Keep Shipping Papers and Emergency Response Information .......................................................................... 9-18
9.6.11 Equipment for Chlorine ................................................................................................................................................... 9-18
9.6.12 Stop Before Railroad Crossings ....................................................................................................................................... 9-18
9.7 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS - EMERGENCIES ............................................................................................................................................. 9-19
9.7.1 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) ............................................................................................................................ 9-19
9.7.2 Crashes/Incidents ............................................................................................................................................................. 9-19
9.7.3 Fires .................................................................................................................................................................................. 9-19
9.7.4 Responses to Specific Hazards .......................................................................................................................................... 9-20
9.7.5 Required Notification ........................................................................................................................................................ 9-21
9.8 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS GLOSSARY ................................................................................................................................................... 9-23
9.9 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS ENDORSEMENT APPLICATION PROCESS .......................................................................................... 9-25
CHAPTER 10 : SCHOOL BUSES................................................................................................................................................... 10-1
10.1 DANGER ZONES AND USE OF MIRRORS ................................................................................................................................... 10-1
10.1.1 Danger Zones ................................................................................................................................................................... 10-1
10.1.2 Correct Mirror Adjustment .............................................................................................................................................. 10-1
10.1.3 Outside Left and Right Side Flat Mirrors ......................................................................................................................... 10-1
10.1.4 Outside Left and Right Side Convex Mirrors ................................................................................................................... 10-2
10.1.5 Outside Left and Right Side Crossover Mirrors ................................................................................................................. 10-2
10.1.6 Overhead Inside Rearview Mirror ................................................................................................................................... 10-3
......................................................................................................................................................................................................... 10-3
10.2 LOADING AND UNLOADING .................................................................................................................................................... 10-3
10.2.1 Approaching the Stop ..................................................................................................................................................... 10-3
10.2.2 Loading Procedures ........................................................................................................................................................ 10-4
10.2.3 Unloading Procedures on the Route ............................................................................................................................... 10-5
10.2.4 Unloading Procedures at School ..................................................................................................................................... 10-6
10.2.5 Special Dangers of Loading and Unloading .................................................................................................................... 10-7
10.2.6 Pre-trip and Post-trip Inspection ..................................................................................................................................... 10-7
10.3 EMERGENCY EXIT AND EVACUATION ...................................................................................................................................... 10-8
10.3.1 Planning for Emergencies ............................................................................................................................................... 10-8
10.3.2 Evacuation Procedures ................................................................................................................................................... 10-8
10.4 RAILROAD-HIGHWAY CROSSINGS ........................................................................................................................................... 10-9
10.4.1 Types of Crossings ........................................................................................................................................................... 10-9
10.4.2 Warning Signs and Devices ...........................................................................................................................................10-10
10.4.3 Recommended Procedures ...........................................................................................................................................10-10
10.4.4 Special Situations ..........................................................................................................................................................10-11
10.5 STUDENT MANAGEMENT......................................................................................................................................................10-12
10.5.1 Don’t Deal with Student Behavior Problems When Loading and Unloading ..................................................................10-12
10.5.2 Handling Serious Problems ...........................................................................................................................................10-12
10.6 ANTILOCK BRAKING SYSTEMS ...............................................................................................................................................10-12
10.6.1 Vehicles Required to Have Antilock Braking Systems .....................................................................................................10-12
10.6.2 How ABS Helps You .......................................................................................................................................................10-12
10.6.3 Braking with ABS ..........................................................................................................................................................10-12
10.6.4 Braking if ABS is Not Working .......................................................................................................................................10-13
10.6.5 Safety Reminders ..........................................................................................................................................................10-13
10.7 SPECIAL SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS .......................................................................................................................................10-14
10.7.1 Strobe Lights .................................................................................................................................................................10-14
10.7.2 Driving in High Winds ...................................................................................................................................................10-14
10.7.3 Backing .........................................................................................................................................................................10-14
10.7.4 Tail Swing ......................................................................................................................................................................10-14
CHAPTER 11 : PRE-TRIP VEHICLE INSPECTION TEST ................................................................................................................... 11-1
STRAIGHT TRUCK & COMBINATION VEHICLE ................................................................................................................................... 11-5
PRE-TRIP INSPECTION ....................................................................................................................................................................... 11-5
11.1 UNDER VEHICLE....................................................................................................................................................................... 11-5
11.1.1 Exhaust System ............................................................................................................................................................... 11-5
11.1.2 Drive Shaft ...................................................................................................................................................................... 11-5
11.1.3 Frame .............................................................................................................................................................................. 11-5
11.1.4 Leaks Under Vehicle ........................................................................................................................................................ 11-6
11.2 LIGHTS/REFLECTORS/REFLECTOR TAPE .................................................................................................................................. 11-6
FRONT OF VEHICLE ........................................................................................................................................................................... 11-6
11.2.1 Headlights (High & Low Beam/Dashboard Lighting Indicator: ....................................................................................... 11-6
11.2.2 Clearance Lights:............................................................................................................................................................. 11-6
11.2.3 Four-Way Emergency Flashers: ...................................................................................................................................... 11-6
11.2.4 Turn Signals (Left and Right):.......................................................................................................................................... 11-7
SIDE OF VEHICLE/TRAILER(S ............................................................................................................................................................. 11-7
11.2.5 Marker Lights:................................................................................................................................................................. 11-7
11.2.6 Reflectors and/or Reflector Tape: ................................................................................................................................... 11-7
REAR OF VEHICLE/TRAILERS ............................................................................................................................................................. 11-7
11.2.7 Clearance/Identification Lights: ...................................................................................................................................... 11-7
11.2.8 Reflectors and/or Reflector Tape: ................................................................................................................................... 11-7
11.2.9 Four-Way Emergency Flashers ....................................................................................................................................... 11-8
11.2.10 Turn Signals (Right & Left): ........................................................................................................................................... 11-8
11.2.11 Brake Lights (Operational): ........................................................................................................................................... 11-8
11.2.12 Tail Lights: ..................................................................................................................................................................... 11-8
11.3 ENGINE COMPARTMENT ......................................................................................................................................................... 11-9
11.3.1 Oil Level: ......................................................................................................................................................................... 11-9
11.3.3 Power Steering Fluid: ...................................................................................................................................................... 11-9
11.3.4 Hydraulic Brake Fluid: ...................................................................................................................................................11-10
11.3.5 Air compressor (Secure, Leaks): ....................................................................................................................................11-10
11.3.6 Alternator: ....................................................................................................................................................................11-10
11.3.7 Engine Leaks: ................................................................................................................................................................11-10
11.3.8 Hoses: ...........................................................................................................................................................................11-10
11.3.9 Engine Belts: .................................................................................................................................................................11-10
11.4 STEERING COMPONENTS........................................................................................................................................................11-11
11.4.1 Steering Box: .................................................................................................................................................................11-11
11.4.2 Hoses (Secure, Condition, Leaks): .................................................................................................................................11-12
11.4.3 Steering Linkage: ..........................................................................................................................................................11-12
FRONT AXLE ....................................................................................................................................................................................11-12
11.5 SUSPENSION..........................................................................................................................................................................11-12
11.5.1 Springs: .........................................................................................................................................................................11-12
11.5.2 Air Bags (Condition, Leaks): ..........................................................................................................................................11-12
11.5.3 Spring Mounts: .............................................................................................................................................................11-13
11.5.4 U-Bolts: .........................................................................................................................................................................11-13
11.5.5 Shock Absorber: ............................................................................................................................................................11-13
11.6. BRAKE COMPONENTS ..........................................................................................................................................................11-13
11.6.1 Slack Adjuster and Pushrod: .........................................................................................................................................11-13
11.6.2 Brake Chamber: ............................................................................................................................................................11-14
11.6.3 Brake Hoses/Lines: ........................................................................................................................................................11-15
11.6.4 Brake Drum or Rotor: ....................................................................................................................................................11-15
11.6.5 Brake Linings or Pads: ...................................................................................................................................................11-15
11.6.6 Fluid or Grease on Drums / Linings or Rotors /Pads: ...................................................................................................11-16
11.7 WHEELS & TIRES .....................................................................................................................................................................11-16
11.7.1 Tires: .............................................................................................................................................................................11-16
11.7.2 Rims: .............................................................................................................................................................................11-16
11.7.3 Lug Nuts: .......................................................................................................................................................................11-17
11.7.4 Hub Oil/Axle Seals:........................................................................................................................................................11-17
11.8 DRIVER/FUEL AREA ...............................................................................................................................................................11-17
11.8.1 Driver’s Door: ................................................................................................................................................................11-17
11.8.2 Mirrors: .........................................................................................................................................................................11-17
11.8.3 Fuel Tank: ......................................................................................................................................................................11-18
11.8.4 Battery/Box:..................................................................................................................................................................11-18
11.8.5 Catwalk: ........................................................................................................................................................................11-18
11.8.6 Steps: ............................................................................................................................................................................11-19
11.8.7 Truck Header Board: .....................................................................................................................................................11-19
REAR AXLE (TRUCK OR TRAILER) ......................................................................................................................................................11-19
11.9 SUSPENSION..........................................................................................................................................................................11-19
11.9.1 Springs: .........................................................................................................................................................................11-19
Springs .......................................................................................................................................................................................11-19
11.9.2 Air Bags: ........................................................................................................................................................................11-20
11.9.3 Torque Arm: ..................................................................................................................................................................11-20
11.9.4 Spring Mounts: .............................................................................................................................................................11-20
11.9.5 U-Bolts: .........................................................................................................................................................................11-20
11.9.6 Shock Absorber: ............................................................................................................................................................11-21
11.10 BRAKE COMPONENTS .........................................................................................................................................................11-21
11.10.1 Slack Adjuster and Pushrod: .......................................................................................................................................11-21
11.10.2 Brake Chamber: ..........................................................................................................................................................11-22
11.10.3 Brake Hoses/Lines: ......................................................................................................................................................11-22
11.10.4 Brake Drum or Rotor: ..................................................................................................................................................11-23
11.10.5 Linings or Pads: ...........................................................................................................................................................11-23
11.10.6 Fluid/Grease on Drums/Rotors, Linings/Pads:..............................................................................................................11-24
11.11 WHEELS/TIRES.....................................................................................................................................................................11-24
11.11.1 Tires: ...........................................................................................................................................................................11-24
11.11.2 Rims: ...........................................................................................................................................................................11-24
11.11.3 Lug Nuts: .....................................................................................................................................................................11-25
11.11.4 Hub Oil Seal: ...............................................................................................................................................................11-25
11.11.5 Spacers or Space: ........................................................................................................................................................11-25
11.12 IN-CAB CHECK .....................................................................................................................................................................11-26
11.12.1 Safety Belt: ..................................................................................................................................................................11-26
11.12.2 Emergency Equipment: ...............................................................................................................................................11-26
11.12.3 Mirrors: .......................................................................................................................................................................11-26
11.12.4 Windshield: .................................................................................................................................................................11-27
11.12.5 Clutch: .........................................................................................................................................................................11-27
11.12.6 Gearshift Lever:...........................................................................................................................................................11-27
11.13 ENGINE START .....................................................................................................................................................................11-28
11.13.1 ABS Dashboard Indicator Light: ..................................................................................................................................11-28
11.13.2 Oil Pressure Gauge: ....................................................................................................................................................11-28
11.13.3 Water Temperature Gauge:........................................................................................................................................11-28
11.13.4 Ammeter/Voltmeter Gauge: .......................................................................................................................................11-29
11.13.5 Air Gauge(s): ...............................................................................................................................................................11-29
11.13.6 Heater/Defroster: .......................................................................................................................................................11-29
11.13.7 Wiper Blades: ..............................................................................................................................................................11-29
11.13.8 Windshield Washer: ....................................................................................................................................................11-29
11.13.9 Horn(s): .......................................................................................................................................................................11-29
11.13.11 Steering Wheel Play: .................................................................................................................................................11-30
11.14 BRAKE TEST .........................................................................................................................................................................11-31
11.14.1 Parking Brake(s): Keeps vehicle from rolling when parked. .......................................................................................11-31
11.14.3 Air Brake System Check: .............................................................................................................................................11-32
Low Air Alarm Check: Part two of three ....................................................................................................................................11-33
11.14.4 Hydraulic Brake Check: ...............................................................................................................................................11-34
COUPLING SYSTEM .........................................................................................................................................................................11-34
11.15 FIFTH WHEEL .......................................................................................................................................................................11-34
11.15.1 Air/Electric Lines: ........................................................................................................................................................11-34
11.15.2 Fifth Wheel Mounting Bolts: .......................................................................................................................................11-34
11.15.3 Sliding Fifth Wheel Locking Pins: ................................................................................................................................11-35
11.15.4 Release Arm: ...............................................................................................................................................................11-35
11.15.5 Trailer Apron: ..............................................................................................................................................................11-35
11.15.6 Trailer Apron – Fifth Wheel Plate Gap: .......................................................................................................................11-36
11.15.7 Fifth Wheel Platform (Skid Plate): ..............................................................................................................................11-36
11.15.8 Fifth Wheel Locking Jaws: ...........................................................................................................................................11-36
11.15.9 Trailer Kingpin:............................................................................................................................................................11-36
11.16 OTHER COUPLING SYSTEMS ................................................................................................................................................11-37
11.16.1 Air/Electric Lines: ........................................................................................................................................................11-37
11.16.2 Coupling/Mounting bolts: ..........................................................................................................................................11-37
11.16.3 Locking Mechanism: ...................................................................................................................................................11-37
11.16.4 Hitch/Drawbar & Eye: .................................................................................................................................................11-37
11.16.5 Safety Chains/Cables: .................................................................................................................................................11-37
11.16.6 Breakaway Battery Box/Cable: ...................................................................................................................................11-38
TRAILER COMPONENTS ..................................................................................................................................................................11-38
11.17 FRONT .................................................................................................................................................................................11-38
11.17.1 Air / Electric Lines :......................................................................................................................................................11-38
Description: Connects air supply and electrical power from the truck to the trailer. ...............................................................11-38
11.17.2 Header Board (Headache Rack) or Bulkhead: ..............................................................................................................11-38
11.17.3 Tongue Storage Area: .................................................................................................................................................11-39
11.18 TRAILER SIDE .......................................................................................................................................................................11-39
11.18.1 Landing Gear: .............................................................................................................................................................11-39
11.18.2 Doors/Ties/Lifts: .........................................................................................................................................................11-40
11.18.3 Trailer Frame: .............................................................................................................................................................11-40
11.18.4 Tandem Release Arm/Locking Pins: ............................................................................................................................11-40
11.18.5 ABS Warning Light: .....................................................................................................................................................11-40
11.19 TRAILER REAR ......................................................................................................................................................................11-41
11.19.1 Rear Door/Ties/Lifts: ...................................................................................................................................................11-41
11.19.2 Mud flaps (Splash Guards):..........................................................................................................................................11-41
.......................................................................................................................................................................................................11-42
SCHOOL BUS OR COACH / TRANSIT BUS ..........................................................................................................................................11-42
PRE-TRIP INSPECTION .....................................................................................................................................................................11-42
11.20 SCHOOL BUS INTERNAL INSPECTION...................................................................................................................................11-42
11.20.1 Student Mirror: ...........................................................................................................................................................11-42
11.22.2 Eight-Way Lighting Indicators: ...................................................................................................................................11-42
11.20.3 Stop Arm Mechanism: ................................................................................................................................................11-42
11.20.4 Passenger Entry Door: ................................................................................................................................................11-43
11.20.5 Passenger Entry Stairs: ...............................................................................................................................................11-43
11.20.6 Passenger Entry Handrail: ..........................................................................................................................................11-43
11.20.7 Emergency Equipment: ...............................................................................................................................................11-43
11.20 .8 Passenger Seats: ........................................................................................................................................................11-44
11.21 EMERGENCY EXITS ..............................................................................................................................................................11-44
11.21.1 Windows .....................................................................................................................................................................11-44
11.21.2 Rear/Side Door(s):.......................................................................................................................................................11-44
11.21.3 Emergency Roof Hatches: ...........................................................................................................................................11-45
11.22 EXTERNAL INSPECTION .......................................................................................................................................................11-45
11.22.1 Mirrors: .......................................................................................................................................................................11-45
11.22.2 Fuel Tank: ...................................................................................................................................................................11-45
11.22.3 Battery/Box:................................................................................................................................................................11-46
11.22.4 Compartments: ...........................................................................................................................................................11-46
11.23 UNDER BUS .........................................................................................................................................................................11-47
11.23.1 Exhaust System: ..........................................................................................................................................................11-47
11.23.2 Drive Shaft: .................................................................................................................................................................11-47
11.23.3 Frame:.........................................................................................................................................................................11-47
LIGHTS/REFLECTORS/TAPE.............................................................................................................................................................11-48
11.24 FRONT & REAR ....................................................................................................................................................................11-48
11.24.1 Alternating Flashing Amber and Red ..........................................................................................................................11-48
COACH/TRANSIT BUS .....................................................................................................................................................................11-48
11.25 INTERNAL INSPECTION ........................................................................................................................................................11-48
11.25.1 Passenger Entry Door: ................................................................................................................................................11-48
11.25.2 Passenger Entry Stair: .................................................................................................................................................11-48
11.25.3 Passenger Entry Handrail: ..........................................................................................................................................11-48
11.25.4 Passenger Lift: ............................................................................................................................................................11-49
11.25.5 Seats: ..........................................................................................................................................................................11-49
11.26 EMERGENCY EXITS ..............................................................................................................................................................11-49
11.26.1 Windows: ....................................................................................................................................................................11-49
11.26.2 Doors: .........................................................................................................................................................................11-50
11.26.3 Hatches: ......................................................................................................................................................................11-50
11.27 EXTERNAL INSPECTION .......................................................................................................................................................11-50
11.27.1 Level/Air Leaks: ...........................................................................................................................................................11-50
11.27.2 Mirrors: .......................................................................................................................................................................11-50
11.27.3 Fuel Tank: ...................................................................................................................................................................11-50
11.27.4 Battery/Box:................................................................................................................................................................11-50
11.27.5 Baggage Compartment/Doors/Baggage:...................................................................................................................11-51
11.27.6 Mud flaps (Splash Guards): .........................................................................................................................................11-51
CHAPTER 12 : BASIC CONTROL SKILLS....................................................................................................................................... 12-1
12.1 SCORING ................................................................................................................................................................................. 12-1
12.2 EXERCISES & COURSE DIMENSIONS ........................................................................................................................................ 12-2
12.2.1 Straight Line Backing ...................................................................................................................................................... 12-2
12.2.2 Offset Back/Right............................................................................................................................................................ 12-2
12.2.3 Offset Back/Left .............................................................................................................................................................. 12-2
12.2.4 Parallel Park (Driver Side) ............................................................................................................................................... 12-2
12.2.5 Parallel Park (Conventional) ........................................................................................................................................... 12-2
12.2.6 Alley Dock ....................................................................................................................................................................... 12-2
CHAPTER 13 : ROAD TEST......................................................................................................................................................... 13-1
13.1 HOW YOU WILL BE TESTED ...................................................................................................................................................... 13-1
13.1.1 Turns: .............................................................................................................................................................................. 13-1
13.1.2 Intersections ................................................................................................................................................................... 13-2
13.1.3 Urban/Rural Straight ...................................................................................................................................................... 13-3
13.1.4 Lane Changes .................................................................................................................................................................. 13-3
13.1.5 Freeway/Expressway ...................................................................................................................................................... 13-3
13.1.6 Stop/Start ....................................................................................................................................................................... 13-3
13.1.7 Curve ............................................................................................................................................................................... 13-4
13.1.8 Railroad Crossing ............................................................................................................................................................ 13-4
13.1.9 Bridge /Overpass/Sign .................................................................................................................................................... 13-4
13.1.10 Student Discharge (School Bus) ................................................................................................................................... 13-5
13.1.11 Clutch Usage (for Manual Transmission) ...................................................................................................................... 13-5
13.1.12 Gear Usage (for Manual Transmission) ........................................................................................................................ 13-5
13.1.13 Brake Usage .................................................................................................................................................................. 13-5
13.1.14 Lane Usage ................................................................................................................................................................... 13-5
13.1.15 Steering ......................................................................................................................................................................... 13-5
13.1.16 Regular Traffic Checks .................................................................................................................................................. 13-5
13.1.17 Use of Turn Signals ....................................................................................................................................................... 13-5
Pre-Trip Inspection: Air Brake Practice Checklist ......................................................................................................................... 13-6
How to Use This Manual
Check the chart below to see what kind of Commercial Driver’s License you need.
Does the vehicle
or combination
of vehicles have
a manufacturer’s
weight
rating
(GVWR)
of
26,001 pounds or
more?
YES
Is the vehicle a combination
vehicle towing a unit over 10,000
pounds GVWR?
YES
You need a CDL
NO
YES
You need a CDL
Does the single vehicle have a
GVWR of 26,001 pounds or more?
NO
NO
Is the vehicle designed by the
manufacturer (placarded) to
carry 16 or more passengers,
including the driver?
YES
You need a CDL
NO
Note: A bus may
be either Class B
or C depending
on whether the
GVWR is 26,001
pounds or more.
Does
the
vehicle
require
hazardous material placards?
NO
You DO NOT need a CDL
YES
You need a CDL
To Obtain
License Type
Chapters to Study
1 2 3 4 5* 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Class A
X
X
X
X
Class B
X
X
X
Class C
X
X
X
Hazardous Materials
X
X
Double/Triples
X
X
Tank Vehicle
X
X
Passenger
X
X
School Bus
X
X
X
13
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
To Obtain
Endorsements:
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
X
*Study Chapter 5 if you plan to operate vehicles equipped with air brakes.
Chapter 1 : Introduction
This Chapter Covers:
GROSS COMBINED WEIGHT RATING (GCWR):
The
GCWR is the total weight of the GVWRs of each unit of a
combination vehicle (truck/tractor and trailer(s) added
together.
Licenses and Endorsements
Fees
How to Get a CDL
CDL Tests
Safety Rules
Even if your vehicle is a commercial vehicle as defined
above, you may still qualify for one of the federal
and/or state CDL exemptions. There are four categories
of CDL exemptions.
Idaho’s Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Program is
designed to improve safety on our highways by meeting
federal requirements for testing and licensing
commercial drivers. On October 26, 1986, Congress
passed the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of
1986. This law sets minimum standards for the licensing
of drivers of commercial motor vehicles. The standards
require commercial motor vehicle drivers to get a
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). You must have a
CDL to operate any of the following commercial
vehicles:
Recreational Vehicle Exemption: The Recreational
Vehicle Exemption applies to drivers of vehicles used
exclusively to transport personal possessions or family
members for non-business or recreational purposes.
Military Vehicle Exemption: The Military Vehicle
Exemption applies to military vehicle operators who are
considered active-duty military personnel and to
civilians who are required to wear uniforms and are
subject to the Code of Military Justice.
 Combination vehicle with a gross combination
weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more
pounds, provided that the gross vehicle weight
rating (GVWR) of the towed unit is greater than
10,000 pounds.
Emergency Vehicle Exemption:
The Emergency
Vehicle Exemption applies to drivers of firefighting or
other emergency equipment used in response to
emergencies involving the preservation of life or
property.
 Single vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating
of 26,001 or more pounds.
Farm Vehicle Exemption:
The Farm Vehicle
Exemption applies to drivers of farm vehicles, including
family members and farm hands, under certain
conditions only. The farm exemption applies to drivers
of farm vehicles which are:
 Vehicle designed to transport 16 or more
persons (including the driver).
 Any size vehicle that requires hazardous
material placards.
1. Controlled and operated by the farmer;
GROSS VEHICLE WEIGHT RATING (GVWR) The GVWR is
the manufacturer’s assigned weight rating for the
vehicle (truck, bus, or trailer), not the vehicle’s
registered weight. On trucks, the GVWR is usually
found on a metal identification plate inside the driver’s
door. On trailers, it may be found anywhere but is
commonly found on the front of the trailer on the
driver’s side. For Idaho, in the absence of a GVWR, the
actual weight of the vehicle plus its heaviest load is
considered to be the GVWR. Other states may use
other definitions.
2. Used to transport agricultural products,
supplies, and machinery to or from a farm;
3. Not used in common or contract carrier
operations, and
4. Not driven more than 150 miles (“as the crow
flies”) from the farm.
The farm exemption is intended for small farm-tomarket operations only. It does not extend beyond the
boundaries of Idaho unless there is a current reciprocity
1-1
agreement in affect between states. Also, it does not
include farmers who are transporting other farmers’
products if they are receiving any compensation for the
services.
Materials Transportation Act. A written test and a TSA
security threat assessment are required each time the
driver renews his/her license.
Double/Triple (T): Double/Triple (T) endorsement is
required for drivers of vehicles pulling two or three
trailers. (A dolly or load divider, sometimes referred to
as a “jeep” is considered to be one trailer.)
This manual provides you with the information
necessary to pass all CDL written tests. Information
regarding the skills test requirements is also included.
The headings for each paragraph sub-section may help
you locate specific topics of interest.
Tank vehicles (N): Tank vehicles (N) endorsement is
required for drivers of vehicles designed to transport
liquids or gaseous materials within a tank that is either
permanently or temporarily attached to the vehicle or
chassis. Such vehicles include, but are not limited to,
cargo tanks and portable tanks, as defined in the
hazardous materials regulations.
1.1 LICENSES AND ENDORSEMENTS
There are three types of commercial driver’s licenses:
Class A, B and C. Drivers of vehicles that do not fall in
Classes A, B, or C will be issued Class D (noncommercial) licenses.
Passenger (P):
Passenger (P) endorsement is
required for drivers of vehicles designed to carry 16 or
more passengers including the driver. Both written and
skills tests are required to obtain this endorsement.
1.1.1 License Classes
Class A: Combination vehicles with a gross combined
weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds,
provided the GVWR of the vehicle(s) being towed is
greater than 10,000 pounds. Drivers with Class A
licenses may, with the proper endorsements, operate
vehicles requiring a Class B, C or D license.
School Bus (S): School Bus (S) endorsement is
required for drivers of vehicles used to transport
preprimary, primary, or secondary school students from
home to school, from school to home, or to and from
school-sponsored events. Both written and skills tests
are required to obtain this endorsement.
Class B: Single vehicles with a GVWR of 26,001 or more
pounds, or any such vehicle towing a vehicle under
10,000 pounds GVWR. Drivers with Class B licenses
may, with the proper endorsements, operate vehicles
requiring a Class C or D license.
Motorcycle (M): Motorcycle (M) endorsement is
required for motorcycle operators. Drivers must have
an “M” endorsement on their Class D or Commercial
Driver’s License to operate a motorcycle as defined by
Idaho law (see the Idaho Motorcycle Operator Manual).
A motorcycle means every motor vehicle having a seat
or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel
on not more than three wheels in contact with the
ground, but excluding a tractor and moped. Motorcycle
operators must pass a written and skills exam to add
the endorsement.
Class C: Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,000
pounds or less that is hauling placarded hazardous
materials or designed to transport 16 or more
passengers, including the driver. Note: these vehicles
can tow a vehicle not in excess of 10,000 pounds GVWR.
Drivers with Class C licenses may also operate a class D
vehicle.
1.1.2 Endorsements
Tank Vehicles/Hazardous Materials (X): Tank
Vehicles/Hazardous Materials (X) is used when a driver
has more endorsements on his/her license than their
card will hold. The “X” endorsement represents the
combination of both the tank vehicles (N) and
hazardous materials (H) endorsements; therefore, a
Class A CDL may show either an X or an N and H
endorsement depending on the amount of other
endorsements the driver may have on his/her license.
You must have the appropriate endorsements on your
CDL if you haul hazardous materials, pull double or
triple trailers, operate a vehicle or pull a trailer with a
tank, operate a passenger vehicle or school bus.
Hazardous Materials (H): Hazardous Materials (H)
endorsement is required for drivers of vehicles
transporting hazardous materials that require
hazardous material placards per the Hazardous
1-2
1.1.3 Restrictions
fertilizers that are not mixed or transported with any
organic substance.
(L) Restriction – Air Brakes A: The (L) restriction
prohibits driving of vehicles with air brakes. The CDL
will carry this restriction unless you pass an air brakes
knowledge test and a skills test (Pre-trip Inspection and
Road Test) in a vehicle equipped with air brakes.
1.2.1 Requirements
To apply for a Seasonal CDL you must:
 Be at least 16 years of age.
(M) Restriction – Except Class A Bus: The (M)
restriction prohibits a driver with a passenger
endorsement from operating a Class A bus if a Class A
bus was not used for the skills test.
 Have a valid Class D license.
 Have at least 1 year of driving experience in any
type of motor vehicle.
(N) Restriction – Except Class A and B Bus: The
(N) restriction -Except Class A and B Bus - Restricts a
CDL holder with the passenger endorsement from
operating a Class A or B bus if a Class A or B bus was not
used during their passenger endorsement skills test.
 Have not violated the CDL single license
requirements.
 Have not had any license
revocations or cancellations.
(Z) Restriction – Except Class A and B School Bus:
The (Z) restriction -Except Class A and B School Bus Restricts a CDL holder with the school bus endorsement
from operating a Class A or B school bus if a Class A or B
school bus was not used during their school bus
endorsement skills test; however, the restriction does
not apply to a driver who has previously obtained a
passenger endorsement in a Class B bus, because
he/she has already demonstrated the knowledge and
skill level to operate Class B buses.
suspensions,
 Have not had any convictions in any vehicle for
any of the following offenses:
1. Excessive speeding (15 or more miles
above the posted speed limit);
2. Reckless driving;
3. Improper or erratic lane changes;
1.2 SEASONAL CDL FOR FARM-RELATED
SERVICES
4. Following the vehicle ahead too closely;
5. Driving a commercial motor vehicle
without obtaining a CDL;
A Seasonal Commercial Driver's License is available to
qualified seasonal drivers for certain farm-related
service industries such as custom harvesters, farm retail
outlets and suppliers, agrichemical businesses, and
livestock feeders.
6. Driving a commercial motor vehicle
without a CDL in the driver’s
possession;
The Seasonal CDL is only valid within 150 miles of the
business or farm being serviced. The Seasonal CDL is
valid (with a Class D license) for 180 days in a 12 month
period, and can only be obtained twice in a lifetime.
7. Driving a commercial motor vehicle
without the proper class of CDL and/or
endorsements for the specific vehicle
group being operated or for the
passengers or type of cargo being
transported;
The Seasonal CDL is not valid for driving Class A
(combination) vehicles or passenger vehicles
constructed to carry 16 or more people including the
driver. The Seasonal CDL is not valid for driving vehicles
carrying hazardous materials requiring placards except
for diesel fuel in quantities of 1,000 gallons or less,
liquid fertilizers in vehicles or implements of husbandry
with total capacities of 3,000 gallons or less, or solid
8. Violation of any other motor vehicle
traffic control laws which result in a
fatal traffic accident;
1-3
1.4 HOW TO GET A CDL
9. Driving while under the influence of
alcohol or a controlled substance,
including a refusal to test;
To apply for a commercial driver’s license, you must be
at least 18 years old and either have a valid Idaho noncommercial license (Class D) or have passed all tests
required to obtain one. You may be able to take your
Class D license tests and your CDL tests at the same
time; however, you must have one year of documented
driving experience in order to obtain a CDL.
10. Leaving the scene of an accident, or
11. Using a vehicle to commit a felony.
The holder of a Seasonal CDL is subject to all
disqualifying offenses and requirements applicable to
CDL holders. Each applicant's driving record will be
checked prior to issuance of a Seasonal CDL. Issuance
of a Seasonal CDL will be entered on the Commercial
Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS).
To apply for your CDL, go to your county Sheriff’s office
and bring your current driver’s license, Social Security
card, and money to pay your fees.
You will be asked if you are subject to and in compliance
with the requirements of Part 391 of the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations (Qualifications of Drivers).
These include the DOT medical card requirements.
The holder of a Seasonal CDL must pass the CDL General
Knowledge written test. The Air Brakes test is also
required if the vehicles to be driven are equipped with
air brakes. Endorsement tests and skills tests are not
required.
Special Note: If you are required to possess a current
DOT Medical Certificate to legally operate a
Commercial Motor Vehicle under State of Idaho law or
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, you must be
able to pass the DOT physical examination and check
the appropriate box on the application form,
1.3 CDL FEES
Effective January 1, 2010, the following fees apply:
CDL license
If you knowingly are not medically qualified under the
FMCSRs (i.e., blind in one eye, insulin dependent
diabetic, etc.) and you check the box that you are in
compliance with Part 391, you have falsified your
application and the state will cancel your CDL.
One year (age 20)
$15.00
Three year (age 18 to 21)
$30.00
Four year (age 21 and over)
$40.00
Seasonal CDL (180 Days)
$39.00
CDL instruction permit
$29.00
Duplicate CDL or permit
$15.00
License upgrade
$25.00
Endorsement addition (after
issuance of a CDL --does not
include written test fee)
 Are at least 18 years of age for Intrastate
operations (traveling only within the borders of
Idaho).
$15.00
 Can read and speak the English language
sufficiently to talk with the general public;
understand traffic signs and signals, and make
entries on reports and records.
Written tests (each)
Skills test ($10 to Driver's
License Office, and $60 to the
Skills Tester)
General Commercial Driver Qualifications:
Individuals are qualified to drive a commercial vehicle in
Idaho if they:
 Are at least 21 years of age for Interstate
operations (traveling across state lines).
$3.00
 Have the experience and/or training to safely
operate a commercial vehicle.
$70.00
1-4
 If not exempt under federal and/or state of
Idaho law, carry a current medical examiner’s
certificate (DOT Medical Card) stating that he or
she is physically qualified to drive a commercial
vehicle (Federal Motor Carriers Safety
Regulations Section 391 – Subpart E)
For complete information see Federal Motor Carrier
Safety Regulations (FMCSR) 390.3, 391.2, 391.67 or call
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at 1800-832-5660, or 208-334-1842.
Intrastate: Intrastate drivers travel only within the
borders of the State of Idaho:
 Have a valid CDL issued from only (1) state or
jurisdiction.
 School bus operations. *(see comment below)*
 Have provided his/her employer with a current
list of traffic violations.
 Transportation performed by federal, state, or
local governments.
 Are not currently disqualified by the U.S.
Department of Transportation (DOT) to drive a
commercial vehicle.
 Occasional transportation of personal property.
 Transportation of sick and/or injured people or
the deceased.
 Have successfully passed the appropriate
written examinations and road skills test for the
commercial vehicle(s) he/she intends to
operate.
 The operation of fire trucks and rescue vehicles
while involved in emergency and related
operations.
Exemptions for Commercial Driver Qualifications
 Apiarian industries (seasonal transportation of
bees only).
Under certain circumstances, drivers in the following
categories may be exempt from the driver qualification
requirements but not exempt from CDL licensing
requirements:
 Farm vehicles used to transport the farmer’s
equipment or supplies.
 Vehicles used to transport agricultural products,
livestock, or feed.
Interstate or Foreign: Interstate drivers travel in the
State of Idaho and also through other states.
 Vehicles used to transport forest products.
 School bus operations. *(see comment below)*
 Transportation performed by federal, state, or
local governments.
 Vehicles used to carry mine products including
sand, gravel, or aggregates.
Petroleum
products are not exempt.
 Occasional transportation of personal property.
 Wrecker or tow truck operations.
 Transportation of sick and/or injured people or
the deceased.
 Taxi service.
 Hotel service.
 The operation of fire trucks and rescue vehicles
while involved in emergency and related
operations.
 Vehicles used to distribute newspapers.
 Vehicles used by airlines to transport customers
or baggage.
 Farm custom operations.
 Apiarian industries. (Seasonal transportation of
bees only)
 Intra-city movement of people or property.
 Vehicles used to transport household goods.
 Certain farm vehicle drivers.
1-5
For complete information, see Idaho Code, Title 67,
Section 2901, or call the Idaho State Police, Commercial
Vehicle Safety Unit at 208-884-7220.
 Be accompanied by a driver properly licensed to
operate the vehicle you are driving. This person
must occupy the seat beside the driver.
*The state of Idaho, Department of Education requires
school bus operations to comply with Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations, including the Qualification
of Driver Requirements.
You must have in your possession a current
Department of Transportation (DOT) Medical
Certificate (if required to do so by Idaho law and/or
the Federal Motor Carrier Regulations) and a CDL
Instruction Permit whenever you need to practice
driving a commercial vehicle prior to taking your skills
test. The Medical Certificate and CDL Instruction Permit
are required even if you are attending a professional
truck driving school, company sponsored training
program, or receiving private instruction from a friend
in his/her own vehicle.
You can obtain copies of the Federal Motor Carrier
Safety
Regulations
on
the
internet
at
www.fmcsa.dot.gov or from the following:
Idaho Trucking Association
5171 Overland Road
Boise, ID 83705
Phone: (208) 342-3521
The only exception to this rule is if you take your skills
test (without practice) following passing the written
exams. In this case, you are not required to purchase a
CDL Instruction Permit for the sole purpose of taking
your skills test; however, as stated above, you will still
have to have a current Medical Certificate in your
possession if you are required to by state of Idaho or
federal law.
Providing false or incorrect information when applying
for your driver’s license may result in cancellation of
your driving privileges and other penalties. If you
obtain a CDL using false or incorrect information, you
will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor
vehicle for a period of 60 days. When applying for your
CDL, your driving record will be checked, fees will be
collected, and you will be required to take the
necessary knowledge tests.
The CDL Instruction Permit, is just what it is; “A Permit.”
While operating a commercial vehicle with a permit,
you cannot drive a commercial vehicle under any
circumstances without a qualified driver with you at all
times, including driving a commercial vehicle to and/or
from the skills test site. You have to have a valid CDL to
operate the vehicle by yourself.
After passing the knowledge tests, you must schedule a
skills test with a certified Idaho CDL Skills Tester. The
sheriff’s office will provide you with a list of Third Party
Skills Testers. After passing the skills test, you may
obtain your CDL at the sheriff’s office.
1.5 CDL TESTS
1.4.1 Instruction Permits
A CDL will be issued only after you have passed all of
the required written and skills tests.
A CDL instruction permit is available by taking the
appropriate written tests for the type of vehicle you
wish to operate. An instruction permit is valid for up to
180 days. Additional permits may be purchased if
necessary. To qualify for a CDL Instruction Permit, you
must:
1.5.1 Knowledge Tests
All test results will remain valid for one year from the
date they were passed. If the appropriate license is not
issued within the one-year period, the tests must be
retaken.
 Be at least 18 years old.
If you do not pass a test (knowledge or skills), you must
wait three days before retaking the test (i.e., If you
failed the test on Monday, you would be eligible to
retest on Thursday). The test fees must be paid again.
 Hold a valid Idaho Class D driver’s license.
 Have at least one year of documented driving
experience.
1-6
CDL tests are not required at renewal time, with the
exception of the Hazardous Materials knowledge test
which must be passed prior to each renewal.
Applicants must take the knowledge tests for the class
of license applied for and also the test(s) for any
endorsement(s) they wish to hold. In the front of this
manual following the Table of Contents, you will find a
table showing you which sections of this manual to
study for each test.
There are other federal and state laws which affect
drivers operating commercial motor vehicles in all
states. Violations of these rules could result in both civil
and criminal penalties or disqualify you from driving
commercial vehicles.
1.5.2 Skills Test
 You cannot have more than one license, and the
license you do have must be issued from the
state in which you reside. If you move to a new
state, you must obtain a CDL from that state
within 30 days.
After passing the written tests, you must make an
appointment with a Third Party Tester to take the skills
test. The skills test will usually take 1½- 2 hours to
complete and must be taken in a vehicle that is
representative of the license class you wish to operate.
 It is your responsibility as an Idaho driver to
keep a current address on file with the Idaho
Transportation Department. If you move, you
must notify the department in writing of the old
and new address within 30 days.
If the vehicle used for the test is not equipped with air
brakes, your CDL will show an (L) restriction stating that
you are not licensed to operate vehicles equipped with
air brakes.
Some examiners have vehicles that you can rent to take
your skills test. If you rent a vehicle from them, they
will have all of the appropriate vehicle documentation
and insurance required by the state. If you use a vehicle
other than an examiner’s, you will need to bring proof
of current insurance and vehicle registration. You will
also need to bring proof of identification and your
receipt showing you have passed the written tests and
paid the skills test fee.
 You must notify the Idaho Transportation
Department, Driver Services, within 30 days if
you are convicted in any other state of any
traffic violation (except parking). This is true no
matter what type of vehicle you were driving at
the time of the violation.
 You must notify your employer within 30 days
of a conviction for any traffic violation (except
parking). This is true no matter what type of
vehicle you were driving.
 You must notify your employer if your license is
suspended, revoked, or canceled, or if you are
disqualified from driving. You must make this
notification before the end of the business day
following the day you receive the notice of
suspension, revocation, cancellation, loss of
privileges, or disqualification.
The skills test has three parts: the vehicle inspection,
the basic control skills test, and the road test. (Chapters
11, 12, and 13 tell you how to prepare for the skills
test.)
Special Note: The skills test is one test with three
parts, not three separate tests; therefore, failing
any part of the test counts as a failure for the
entire test, and the entire test must be retaken.
 You must give your employer information on all
driving jobs you have held for the past 10 years.
You must do this when you apply for a
commercial driving job.
After completing the testing process, please wait 24
hours to assure that the test results have been recorded
by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD). After
completing the testing process, you may return to the
Driver’s License office to obtain your CDL. You do not
have the authority to operate a commercial vehicle
until you obtain the CDL.
No one can drive a commercial vehicle without a valid
CDL. A court may fine you up to $5000 or put you in jail
for breaking this rule.
Your employer may not let you drive a commercial
vehicle if you have more than one license, or if your CDL
is suspended, revoked or disqualified. A court may fine
1.6 SAFETY RULES
1-7
 Two (2) years for a second conviction in 10
years, and
the employer up to $5000 or put him/her in jail for
breaking this rule.
 Three years for subsequent convictions in 10
years.
If transporting hazardous materials or driving a bus
(designed to carry 16 or more people) at the time, the
driver is disqualified for:
1.6.1 Disqualifications
Serious Traffic Violations: You will lose your CDL for
60 days if you are convicted of two serious traffic
violations, or 120 days if convicted of three serious
traffic violations in a three year period. The term
“conviction” includes forfeiture of bail or bond and
withheld judgments. These violations must have been
committed while operating a commercial motor vehicle.
The following are serious traffic violations:
 180 days for a first conviction, and
 Three years for subsequent convictions in 10
years.
An out-of-service order issued by an authorized
enforcement officer is defined as a temporary
prohibition against operating a commercial motor
vehicle. The order is issued in response to a violation of
federal regulations, compatible laws, or to the North
American uniform out-of-service criteria (CVSA).
 Excessive speed (15 or more miles above the
posted speed limit).
 Reckless driving.
 Improper or erratic lane changes.
Disqualification for Conviction of a RailroadGrade Crossing Violation: If you are (1) convicted,
(2) forfeit bond, or (3) receive a withheld judgment for a
railroad grade crossing violation as specified in 49 CFR
Part 383 or applicable state laws while driving a
commercial motor vehicle, your commercial driving
privileges will be disqualified for:
 Following the vehicle ahead too closely.
 Traffic offenses committed in a CMV in
connection with fatal traffic accidents.
 Violation of any other motor vehicle traffic
control laws which result in a fatal traffic
accident.
 60 days for a first conviction;
 Driving a commercial motor vehicle without
obtaining a CDL.
 120 days for a second conviction during any
three year period, and
 Driving a commercial motor vehicle without a
CDL in the driver’s possession.
 One year for a third or subsequent conviction
during any three year period.
 Driving a commercial motor vehicle without the
proper class of CDL and/or endorsements for
the specific vehicle group being operated or for
the passengers or type of cargo being
transported.
Disqualification for Controlled Substance or
Alcohol Violations, Leaving the Scene of an
Accident, and Felonies
You will lose your CDL for at least One Year for a first
time offense:
Violation of an Out-of-Service Order: If you are (1)
convicted, (2) forfeit bond, or (3) receive a withheld
judgment for a violation of an out-of-service order while
driving a commercial motor vehicle, you will be
disqualified for:
 If you drive a motor vehicle under the influence
of alcohol or a controlled substance such as an
illegal drug. If you drive a commercial vehicle
when your blood alcohol concentration is .04
percent or more, or any vehicle when your
blood alcohol concentration is .08 or higher,
you are driving under the influence of alcohol.
If your alcohol concentration is less than .04%
 180 days for a first conviction;
1-8
1.6.3 Administrative License Suspensions (ALS)
but you have any detectable amount, you will
be placed “out of service” for 24 hours.
Your driving privileges will be suspended under Section
18-8002A, Idaho Code, if you fail an evidentiary test for
any of the following reasons:
 If you refuse to take an evidentiary test for
alcohol or other intoxicating substances while
you are operating a motor vehicle.
 Having a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or
greater while operating or being in actual
physical control of any motor vehicle.
 If you leave the scene of an accident involving a
motor vehicle you were driving
 Having a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or
greater while operating or being in actual
physical control of a commercial motor vehicle.
 If you use a motor vehicle to commit a felony
 If you drive a commercial vehicle when, as a
result of prior violations committed operating a
commercial vehicle, your CDL is revoked,
suspended, or cancelled or you are disqualified
from operating a commercial vehicle
 Having test results indicating the presence of
drugs or other intoxicating substances.
The suspension will become effective 30 days from the
date the Notice of Suspension is issued upon failure of
an evidentiary test. If you are driving a Commercial
Motor Vehicle (CMV) at the time of your arrest, your
commercial privileges are lost immediately and will
remain suspended throughout the administrative
process.
 If you cause a fatality through the negligent
operation of a commercial vehicle, including but
not limited to, the crimes of motor vehicle
manslaughter, homicide by motor vehicle, or
negligent homicide.
You will lose your CDL for at least Three years for a first
offense if any of the above offenses occur while you are
operating a commercial vehicle that is transporting
hazardous materials that are required to be placarded
by the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act.
Penalties
First offense: While operating any vehicle (BAC .08% or
greater) or a commercial vehicle* (BAC .04% or
greater)-
You will lose your CDL for Life if you are convicted,
forfeit your bond, or receive a withheld judgment for
any of these disqualifying offenses, or any combination
of these offenses, for a second time.
 CDL driving privileges: One Year absolute
disqualification of commercial vehicle driving
privileges.
 Class D driving privileges: 90-day suspension
with absolutely no driving privileges for the first
30 days. Restricted driving privileges that allow
for the operation of a non-commercial vehicle
may be requested for the remaining 60 days of
the suspension.
You will lose your CDL for Life if you use a motor vehicle
to commit a felony involving the manufacture,
distribution, or dispensing of a controlled substance.
1.6.2 Alcohol Tests and the Law (Implied
Consent)
When you accept an Idaho driver’s license of any kind,
you give your implied consent to take an alcohol
concentration test if you are suspected of driving under
the influence. If you refuse to take the test when
Second offense: While operating any vehicle (BAC .08%
or greater) or a commercial vehicle* (BAC .04% or
greater) CDL driving privileges: Lifetime disqualification.
requested to do so by a law enforcement officer or
submit to and fail a test for BAC your CDL privileges
are subject to disqualification under the provisions
of Section 49-335, Idaho Code.
 Class D driving privileges: one year suspension
with absolutely no driving privileges of any kind.
1-9
1.6.4 Drug and Alcohol Testing
*If the failure(s) occurred in a commercial vehicle
(BAC.04 to less than .08%), Class D driving privileges
will remain valid.
All drivers subject to CDL requirements are also
required to participate in a controlled-substance and
alcohol-testing program. These requirements include
random, reasonable suspicion, post- accident, returnto-duty, and follow-up testing for controlled substances
and alcohol. Pre-employment controlled substance
testing is also required.
These suspensions are separate from any additional
penalties or suspensions imposed by the court as a
result of being convicted of the offense. Additional
information on this law may be found in the Idaho
Driver’s Manual. A periodic review of both manuals is
recommended for all commercial drivers.
1.7 DRIVER RECORD REQUESTS
Special Note: Idaho Drivers are now
obtaining their driver’s license from a
“Central Issue” location.
You can obtain a copy of your Idaho driving record by
completing an “Idaho Motor Vehicle Driver’s License
Record Request” form (See Figure 1.1) and paying a
small fee. The Driver’s License Request (DLR) form can
be obtained at the following locations:
What you can expect
 Most County Sherriff’s offices
• There will be a change in the way licenses and ID cards
look and the way they are produced
• The new card will be mailed to you within about 10
business days
• You will receive a temporary card printed on security
paper before you leave your local licensing office
• The temporary card includes your photo and all the
information included on the plastic card (name,
address, date of birth, height, weight, etc.)
The temporary card will be issued for driving and
identity purposes
When the plastic card arrives in the mail, the
temporary document should be destroyed.
 On the State of Idaho
http://www.accessidaho.org
website
at:
Depending on your circumstances, you can travel to the
closest County Sherriff’s office, fill out the form, pay the
fees and receive your record while you wait. You may
also fax or mail the form to the ITD, or complete the
application on the State of Idaho’s website.
Example of new Idaho CDL as of June 2011
1-10
1-1
Figure 1.1
ITD 3120 (Rev. 01-10)
Supply # 01-953002-1
7.00
7.00
14.00
14.00
1-11
1-12
Chapter 2 : Driving Safety
This Chapter Covers:
2.1.1 Why Inspect
Vehicle Inspection
Basic Control of Your Vehicle
Shifting Gears
Seeing
Communicating
Space Management
Controlling Your Speed
Seeing Hazards
Distracted Driving
Aggressive Drivers/Road Rage
Night Driving
Driving in Fog
Winter Driving
Hot Weather Driving
Railroad-highway Crossings
Mountain Driving
Driving Emergencies
Antilock Braking Systems
Skid Control and Recovery
Accident Procedures
Fires
Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Driving
Staying Alert and Fit to Drive
Hazardous Materials Rules
Sharing the Road
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
crash caused by the defect. Federal and state laws
require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and
state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles, and if
they judge the vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out
of service” until it is fixed.
2.1.2 Types of Vehicle Inspection
Pre-trip Inspection and Report: A pre-trip inspection
will help you find problems that could cause a crash or
breakdown. If the motor carrier is required to have
their drivers prepare a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report
by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
(FMCSR), you must review the last driver vehicle
inspection report at the beginning of your workday to
ensure any items listed on the last report that affect the
safety of the vehicle have been repaired or were found
to be unnecessary by the mechanic performing the
repairs. The mechanic must certify the repairs were
performed by placing his/her signature on the original
inspection report. You must sign the same report
certifying you have reviewed the report and accept the
vehicle. You do not have to sign a report from the
previous driver if no defects or deficiencies were noted.
You also do not have to sign the inspection report for a
towed unit (trailer(s) if the unit isn’t part of the current
vehicle combination.
This chapter contains knowledge and safe driving
information that all commercial drivers should know.
You must pass a test on this information to get a CDL.
This section does not have specific information on air
brakes,
combination
vehicles,
doubles/triples,
passenger or school bus vehicles. When preparing for
the Pre-Trip Inspection Test, you must review the
material in Chapter 11 in addition to the information in
this section. This chapter does have basic information
on hazardous materials (HazMat) that all drivers should
know. If you need a HazMat endorsement, you should
study Chapter 9.
During a Trip: For safety you should Watch the gauges for signs of trouble.
 Use your senses to check for problems (look,
listen, smell, feel).
Check critical items when you stop:
2.1 VEHICLE INSPECTION
 Tires, wheels and rims.
Safety for yourself other drivers and pedestrians is the
most important reason you inspect your vehicle.
 Brakes.
 Lights and reflectors.
2-1
 Check dual tires to see that they do not come
 Brake and electrical connections to trailer.
into contact with each other or parts of the
vehicle.
 Trailer coupling devices.
 Cargo restraining devices (cargo bars, chains,
binders, straps, rope, etc).
 Check for mismatched tire sizes.
 Check to see that radial and bias-ply tires are
Post-trip Inspection and Report:
You should do a
post-trip inspection at the end of the trip, day, or tour
of duty on each vehicle you operated. If the motor
carrier is required to have their drivers prepare a Driver
Inspection Report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations, you must prepare a written inspection
report at the completion of each day’s work on each
vehicle operated. You must identify the vehicle you
operated and list any defect or deficiency that would
affect the safe operation of the vehicle and/or any
towed unit (trailer(s) that would cause the equipment
to suffer a mechanical breakdown. You must also
prepare a written report if no equipment defect or
deficiency is found. In all instances, you must sign the
report. If there are two (2) drivers in the same vehicle,
only one has to sign the report, providing both drivers
agree to the operational condition of the equipment.
not used together.
 Check for cut or cracked valve stems.
 Check
to see that re-grooved, recapped, or
retreaded tires are not on the front wheels of a
bus (prohibited by law).
Wheel and Rim Problems:
 Check for damaged rims.
 Check for rust around wheel nuts which may
indicate that the nuts are loose and check to
ensure wheel nuts are tight. After a tire has
been changed, stop a short while later and recheck tightness of nuts.
The Driver’s Inspection Report notifies the motor carrier
of the condition of the equipment and identifies any
defects or deficiencies found that would make the
unit(s) unsafe or cause it to break down. Depending on
the motor carrier’s policy regarding the distribution of
the inspection report, if possible, you should leave a
copy of the inspection report in the vehicle for at least a
day so it can be reviewed by the next driver.
 Check
for missing clamps, spacers, studs, or
lugs.
 Check
for mismatched, bent, or cracked lock
rings.
2.1.3 What to Look For:
 Check wheels or rims to ensure they have not
Tire Problems:
have had welding repairs.
 Check for too much or too little air pressure.
Bad Brake Drums/Rotors/Linings/Pads:
 Check brake drums or rotors to ensure they are
 Check tire wear.
You need at least 4/32-inch
tread depth in every major groove on front
tires. You need 2/32 inch on other tires. No
fabric should show through the tread or
sidewall.
not cracked, dented, have holes or missing
bolts.
 Check brake shoes or pads for oil, grease, or
brake fluid on them.
 Check for cuts or other damage.
 Check brake shoes or pads to ensure they are
 Check for tread separation.
not worn dangerously thin (Linings should be at
least a minimum of 1/4 inch thick or more –
pads should not be dangerously thin or scarring
2-2
 Check for missing or broken leaves in any leaf
the rotor). Make sure no linings or pads are
missing, damaged, or broken.
spring. If 1/4 or more of the leaves are missing,
it will put the vehicle “out of service.”
Steering System Defects: Missing nuts, bolts, cotter
keys, or other parts.
 However,
any broken or missing spring is a
defect that could be dangerous (See figure 2.3).
 Check for bent, loose, or broken parts, such as
steering column, steering gear box, or tie rods.
Check power steering components (if so
equipped. Check hoses, pumps, and fluid level
and check for leaks.
 Check for broken leaves in a multi-leaf spring or
leaves that have shifted so they might hit a tire
or other part of the vehicle.
 Check for leaking or broken shock absorbers.
 Check steering wheel to ensure it does not have
more than 10⁰ (approximately 2 inches
movement at the rim of a 20 inch steering
wheel) play. You must have the engine running
to check the play in vehicle with power steering.
 Check the torque rod or arm, u-bolts, spring
hangers, or other axle positioning parts to
ensure they are not cracked, damaged, or
missing.
Figure 2.1 illustrates a typical steering system.
 Check
air suspension systems for damage
and/or leaks (See figure 2.4).
 Check for any loose, cracked, broken, or missing
frame members.
Figure 2.2
Suspension System Defects: The suspension system
holds up the vehicle and its load. It keeps the axles in
place; therefore, broken suspension parts can be
extremely dangerous. Look for the following problems:
 Check
spring hangers to ensure they do not
allow movement of the axle from its proper
position (See Figure 2.2).
 Check for cracked or broken spring hangers
2-3
Emergency Equipment: All commercial vehicles must
be equipped with emergency equipment. Look for the
following:
 Check for Fire extinguisher(s).
They must be
properly charged, rated and labeled fire
extinguisher(s) securely mounted in a readily
accessible location.
 Check
for spare electrical fuses
equipped with circuit breakers).
(unless
 Check for warning devices for parked vehicles
(i.e., three reflective warning triangles, flares
etc).
Figure 2.3
Cargo (Trucks): You must make sure the truck is not
over loaded, and the cargo is balanced and secured
before each trip. If the cargo contains hazardous
materials, you must inspect it for proper papers and
placarding.
2.1.4 CDL Pre-trip Vehicle Inspection Test:
In order 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 trailer if any) and explain to the examiner
what you would inspect and why. The following sevenstep inspection method should help you do a thorough
pre-trip inspection.
Figure 2.4
Exhaust System Defects: A broken exhaust system can
let poison fumes into the cab or sleeper berth. Look for
the following problems:
2.1.5 Seven-step Inspection Method:
Method of Inspection: You should do a pre-trip
inspection the same way each time so you will learn all
of the steps and be less likely to forget something.
 Check
for loose, broken, damage or missing
exhaust pipes, mufflers, tailpipes, or vertical
stacks.
Approaching the Vehicle: Notice the general condition
of the vehicle. Look for damage or the vehicle leaning
to one side. Look under the vehicle for fresh oil,
coolant, grease, or fuel leaks. Check the area around
the vehicle for hazards to the vehicle’s movement
(people, other vehicles, objects, low-hanging wires,
limbs, etc.).
 Check for loose, broken, or missing mounting
brackets, clamps, bolts, or nuts.
 Check to see that exhaust system parts are not
rubbing against fuel system parts, tires, or other
moving parts of vehicle.
 Check to see that exhaust system parts are not
leaking.
2-4
Vehicle Inspection Guide
 Check engine 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.
Step 1: Vehicle Overview
Review the Last Driver Vehicle Inspection Report. If
the motor carrier is required to have their drivers
prepare a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report by the
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, you must
review the last driver vehicle inspection report at the
beginning of your workday to ensure any items listed on
the last report that affect the safety of the vehicle have
been repaired or were found to be unnecessary by the
mechanic performing the repairs. The mechanic must
certify the repairs were performed by placing his/her
signature on the original inspection report. You must
sign the same report certifying you have reviewed the
report and accept the vehicle. You do not have to sign a
report from the previous driver if no defects or
deficiencies were noted. You also do not have to sign
the inspection report for a towed unit (trailer(s) if the
unit isn’t part of the current vehicle combination.
 Check
for leaks in the engine compartment
(fuel, coolant, oil, power steering fluid,
hydraulic fluid, battery fluid).
 Check
for cracked broken or worn electrical
wiring insulation.
 Check to see that engine fan blade is secure,
not damaged or missing blades, not touching
the radiator or other engine components.
 Lower
and secure the hood, cab, or engine
compartment door.
Step 3: Start Engine and Inspect Inside the Cab
Step 2: Check Engine Compartment
Get In the Vehicle and Start the Engine
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:
 Check to make sure the parking brake(s) is on.
 Put the gearshift in neutral or park.
 Check the engine oil level.
 Start the engine and listen for unusual noises.
 Check engine coolant level in the radiator and
Look at the Gauges
also the condition of the hoses.
 Check oil pressure:
The pressure should come
up to normal within seconds after engine is
started (See Figure 2.5).
 Check
the power steering fluid level and
condition of the hoses (if so equipped).
 Check air pressure:
 Check the windshield washer fluid level.
The pressure should build
from 50 to 90 psi within 3 minutes.
 Check the battery fluid level (if not a sealed
 Check ammeter and/or voltmeter:
unit), cable connections and condition and tie
downs (battery may be located elsewhere).
The needle
should be in normal range(s).
 Check
 Check the automatic transmission fluid level if
engine coolant temperature: Should
begin gradual rise to normal operating range.
the vehicle is so equipped (may require engine
to be running).
 Check engine oil temperature:
Should begin
gradual rise to normal operating range.
2-5
 Check warning lights and buzzers:
Oil, coolant,
charging circuit warning, and antilock brake
system lights should go out right away.
Engine retarder controls – also known as a
“Jake Brake” (if the vehicle is so equipped).
 Transmission controls.
 Inter-axle differential lock (if vehicle has one).
 Horn(s).
 Windshield wiper/washer.
 Lights:
Headlights.
Dimmer switch.
Turn signal.
Four-way flashers.
Parking, clearance, identification,
marker light switches.
and
Check Mirrors and Windshield: Inspect mirrors and
windshield for cracks, dirt, illegal stickers, or other
obstructions that would prevent you from seeing
clearly. Clean, adjust, repair/replace as necessary.
Check Condition of Controls: Check all of the following
for looseness, sticking, damage, or improper setting:
 Check the steering.
Check Emergency Equipment: Check for the following
safety equipment:
 Clutch.
 Check of spare electrical fuses (unless vehicle
 Accelerator (gas pedal).
has circuit breakers).
 Check for three red reflective triangles.
 Brake controls:
 Check
for a properly charged and rated fire
extinguisher.
Foot brake.
 Check for optional items such as:
Trailer brake (if vehicle has one).
Parking brake(s).
Chains (where winter conditions require).
2-6
 Check the Left front wheel for:
Tire changing equipment (if the vehicle is so
equipped).
The condition of the wheel and rim. Look
for bent flanges, missing, bent, and/or
broken studs, clamps, lugs, or any signs of
misalignment.
List of emergency phone numbers.
Accident reporting kit (packet).
Step 4: Turn Off Engine and Check Lights
The condition of the tire. Check to see the
tire is properly inflated, valve stem and cap
are OK, tire has no serious cuts, bulges, or
tread wear.
Make sure the parking brake(s) 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.
Use wrench to test rust-streaked lug nuts
which is an indication they are loose.
Step 5: Do a Walk-Around Inspection
 Go to front of vehicle and check that the low
Check hub oil level if the vehicle is equipped
with a sight glass and for leaks.
beams are on and both of the four-way flashers
are working.
Left Front Suspension:
 Check to see that the license plate(s) is present,
 Check
the condition of the springs, spring
hangers, shackles, and U-bolts.
clean, secured and has a current registration
sticker.
 Check the shock absorber condition.
 Turn
off headlights and four-way emergency
flashers.
Left front brake:
 Turn
 Check the condition of brake drum or rotor.
 Turn on the right turn signal and start the walk-
 Check the condition of the brake linings or pads.
on the parking, clearance, side-marker,
and identification lights.
around inspection.
 Check the condition of the air brake chamber,
General:
slack adjuster and connections.
 Walk-around and inspect.
 Check the condition of the air brake hoses or
hydraulic lines.
 Clean all lights, reflectors, and glass as you go
along.
Front:
Left Front Side:
 Check the condition of front axle.
 Check the driver’s door glass to make sure it is
 Check the condition of steering system:
clean and not damaged.
 Check door latches or locks to ensure they work
Check for loose, worn, bent, damaged or
missing parts.
properly.
2-7
Grab the steering mechanism to test for
looseness.
Check the filler cap(s) to see they are
present, secure and not leaking.
 Check the condition of windshield:
 Check the condition of all visible parts:
Check for damage and clean if dirty.
Check the rear part of the engine for leaks.
Check windshield wiper arms for proper
spring tension.
Check the transmission for leaks.
Check the exhaust system to make sure it is
secure, not leaking, not touching wires, fuel,
or air lines.
Check wiper blades for damage, "stiff"
rubber, and secure mounting.
 Check lights and reflectors:
Check the frame and cross members for
bends, cracks or damage.
Check to see that parking, clearance, and
identification lights are clean, operating,
and the proper color (amber at front).
Check the air lines and electrical wiring to
ensure they are secured against snagging,
rubbing, wearing.
Check to see that the reflectors are clean
and the proper color (amber at front).
Check the spare tire carrier or rack to
ensure it is secure and not damaged (if so
equipped).
Check to see that the right front turn signal
light is clean, operating, and proper color
(amber or white on signals facing forward).
Check the spare tire and/or wheel to see
that it is securely mounted in rack (if so
equipped).
Right Side:
 Right front: check all items as done on left front.
Check the spare tire and wheel are
adequate, proper size and properly inflated.
 Check to see that the primary and secondary
 Cargo securement (trucks):
safety cab locks are engaged (if cab is over
engine design).
 Check right fuel tank(s):
Check to see that the cargo is properly
blocked, braced, tied, chained, etc.
Check the header board to see that it is
adequate and secure (if so equipped).
Check to see that the tank(s) is securely
mounted, not damaged, or leaking.
Check to see that the side boards and
stakes are strong enough, free of damage
and properly set in place (if so equipped).
Check the fuel crossover line to see that it is
secure, undamaged and not leaking.
Check the Tank(s) visually to see if they
contain enough fuel.
2-8
Check the canvas or tarp (if required) to
ensure it is properly secured to prevent
tearing, billowing, or blocking of mirrors.
Check to see the powered axle(s) is not
leaking lube (gear oil).
Check the condition of the torque rod arms
and bushings.
If the load is oversize, check all of the
required signs (flags, lamps, and reflectors)
to see that they are safely and properly
mounted and all required permits are in the
driver’s possession.
Check the condition of shock absorber(s).
If retractable axle equipped, check the
condition of the lift mechanism. If air
powered, check for leaks.
Check the curbside cargo compartment
doors to see that they are in good
condition, closed, latched/locked and that
the required security seals are in place.
Check the condition of the air ride
components.
Right Rear:
Brakes:
 Check the condition of the wheels and rims.
 Check the brake adjustment.
Check to see that there are no bent flanges,
missing, bent, or broken spacers, studs, clamps,
or lugs.
 Check the condition of
the brake drum(s) or
rotors.
 Check the condition of the tires.
Check to see
that they are properly inflated, make sure the
valve stems and caps are OK, tires do not have
any serious cuts, bulges, uneven or excessive
tread wear, tires are not rubbing each other
and there is nothing stuck between them.
 Check
the condition of air line hoses or
hydraulic lines. Look for any wear due to
rubbing or damage.
 Check the Lights/reflectors/reflector tape:
 Check to see that the tires are the same type
(i.e., not mixed radial and bias types).
Check the side-marker lights to make sure
they are clean, operating, and the proper
color (red at rear, others amber).
 Check
to see that the tires evenly matched
(same sizes).
Check the side-marker reflectors to make
sure they are clean and the proper color
(red at rear, others amber, and none
broken or missing).
 Check to see that the wheel bearing/axle seals
are not leaking.
 Check the suspension:
Check the reflector tape to see that it is
present, clean and affixed securely to the
Vehicle.
Check the condition of the spring(s), spring
hangers, shackles, and U-bolts.
Check to see that the axle is secure.
2-9
Rear:
 If
over-length, or over-width, check to make
sure all signs and/or additional lights/flags are
safely and properly mounted and all required
permits are in the driver’s possession.
 Check the lights/reflectors/reflector tape:
Check to see that the rear clearance and
identification lights are clean, operating,
and the proper color (red at rear).
 Check
to see that the rear doors securely
closed, latched/locked.
Check to see that the reflectors are present,
clean and proper the color (red at rear).
Left Side:
 Check all items on the left side the same way
Check to see that the reflector tape is
present and affixed securely to the vehicle.
they were checked on the right side, plus:
Check the battery(s) if not mounted in
engine compartment.
Check to see that the tail lights are clean,
operating, and proper color (red at rear).
Check the battery box(s) to see that it is
securely mounted to the vehicle.
Check to see that the right rear turn signal
is operating, and the proper color (red,
yellow, or amber at rear).
Check to see that the battery box cover is
secure.
 Check to see that the license plate(s) is present,
clean, secured and has a current registration
sticker affixed to it.
Check the battery(s) to see that it is secured
in the battery box.
 Check to see that mud flaps/splash guards are
present, not damaged, properly fastened, cover
the width of the tire(s), not dragging on ground
(10 inches of clearance above the roadway) or
rubbing the tires.
Check the battery(s) to see that it is not
damaged or leaking.
Check the fluid in the battery(s) to see that
it is at the proper level (except the
maintenance free type).
 Check to see that the cargo is secure (trucks)
 Check
to see that cargo is properly blocked,
braced, tied, chained, etc.
Check the cell caps to see that they are
present and securely tightened (except the
maintenance free type).
 Check to see that tailboards are up and properly
secured.
Check to see that the vents in the cell caps
are free of foreign material (except the
maintenance free type).
 Check to see that end gates are free of damage
and properly secured in the stake pockets.
 Check
to see that the canvas or tarp (if
required) is properly secured to prevent tearing,
billowing, or blocking of either the rearview
mirrors or rear lights.
2-10
Step 6: Check Signal Lights
or other problem in the brake system. Get it fixed
before driving. If the vehicle has air brakes, do the
checks described in Chapters 5 and 6 of this manual.
Get In and Turn Off Lights.
 Turn off all of the lights.
Brake System
 Activate
Test Parking Brake(s):
the stop lights by stepping on the
brake pedal on a single vehicle and have a
helper let you know if they are working. On a
combination vehicle, you can pull the trailer
hand brake (also known as the Trolley Valve or
Johnson Bar) down and secure it and go to the
rear of the vehicle to see if the lights are
functioning properly, or step on the brake pedal
and have a helper let you know if the lights are
working.
Test the parking brake on single vehicles using the
following method:
 Apply the parking brake.
 Place the vehicle in low gear.
 Drive forward slowly and pull gently against the
brake.
 Turn on left turn signal lights. Get out of the
 If
the brake doesn't stop the vehicle from
moving forward, it is faulty and must be fixed
before you travel.
vehicle and check the lights.
 Check the left front turn signal light to see that
it is clean, operating and the proper color
(amber or white on signals facing the front).
Test the parking brakes on combination vehicles using
the following method:
 Check the left rear turn signal light and both
 Apply the Parking brake (pull out) and release
stop lights to see that they are clean, operating,
and the proper color (red, yellow, or amber).
(push in) the Tractor Protection Valve.
 Place the vehicle in low gear.
Get In Vehicle:
 Turn off the lights you do not need for driving.
 Drive forward slowly and pull gently against the
 Check for all required papers (trip manifests,
 If
brake.
the brake doesn't stop the vehicle from
moving forward, it is faulty and must be fixed
before you travel.
current vehicle registration, insurance papers,
permits, etc).
 Secure all loose articles in the cab (they might
 Apply
the Tractor Protection Valve (pull out)
and release (push in) the parking brake.
interfere with the operation of the controls or
hit you in a crash).
 Place the vehicle in low gear.
 Start the engine.
 Drive forward slowly and pull gently against the
Step 7: Start the Engine and Check
brake.
Test for Hydraulic Leaks: If the vehicle has hydraulic
brakes, pump the brake pedal three times, apply firm
pressure to the pedal and hold it for five seconds. The
pedal should not move. If it does, there may be a leak
 If
the brake doesn't stop the vehicle from
moving forward, it is faulty and must be fixed
before you travel.
2-11
Test The Service Brake:
If you find anything unsafe during the pre-trip
inspection, get it fixed. Federal and state laws forbid
operating an unsafe vehicle.
 Accelerate the vehicle to about five miles per
hour.
2.1.6 Inspection during a Trip
 Push the brake pedal firmly.
Check Vehicle Operation Regularly: You should check-
 Check to see if the vehicle pulls to one side or
 Instruments.
the other. If the vehicle pulls to one side or the
other when the brakes are activated, it could
mean they are out of adjustment or be an
indication of some other mechanical problem.
You should have them checked out as soon as
possible.
 Air pressure gauge (if you have air brakes).
 Temperature gauges.
 Pressure gauges.
 Any
unusual brake pedal “feel” or delayed
stopping action should be checked out before
you travel.
 Ammeter/voltmeter.
 Mirrors.
Special Note: In many truck/tractors equipped with
air brakes, the Trailer Spring Brake Modulating Valvealso known as a Trolley Valve or “Johnson Bar” is a
modulating valve used to apply the spring brakes on a
trailer gradually.
 Tires.
 Cargo, cargo covers and securing devices.
If you see, hear, smell, or feel anything that might mean
trouble, check it out.
Safety Inspection: Drivers of trucks and truck tractors
when 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.
2.1.7 Post-trip Inspection and Report
If the motor carrier is required to have their drivers
prepare a Driver Inspection Report by the Federal
Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, you must prepare a
written inspection report at the completion of each
day’s work on each vehicle operated. You must identify
the vehicle you operated and list any defect or
deficiency that would affect the safe operation of the
vehicle and/or any towed unit (trailer(s) that would
cause the equipment to suffer a mechanical breakdown.
You must also prepare a written report if no equipment
defect or deficiency is found. In all instances, you must
sign the report. If there are two (2) drivers in the same
vehicle, only one has to sign the report, providing both
The valve is activated by pulling down on a spring
loaded handle usually located on the steering column
or dashboard. It is spring loaded so the driver will
have a feel for the braking action. The more he/she
moves the control lever, the harder the spring brakes
come on. The system allows drivers to activate and
control the spring brakes if the service brakes fail.
Drivers should test the system by releasing the
parking brake(s); pulling the Trolley Valve handle all
the way down, and gently pulling against the brake to
make sure it will hold the vehicle.
2-12
2.2 BASIC CONTROL OF YOUR VEHICLE
drivers agree to the operational condition of the
equipment.
To drive a vehicle safely, you must be able to control its
speed and direction. Safe operation of a commercial
vehicle requires skill in:
The Driver’s Inspection Report notifies the motor carrier
of the condition of the equipment and identifies any
defects or deficiencies found that would make the
unit(s) unsafe or cause it to break down. Depending on
the motor carrier’s policy regarding the distribution of
the inspection report, if possible, you should leave a
copy of the inspection report in the vehicle for at least a
day so it can be reviewed by the next driver.
 Accelerating.
 Steering.
 Stopping.
Subsection 2.1
 Backing safely.
Test Your Knowledge
Fasten your seatbelt when on the road, It’s the Law!
Apply the parking brake when you leave your vehicle.
1. What is the most important reason for doing a
vehicle inspection?
2.2.1 Accelerating
Don’t roll back when you start. You may hit someone
behind you. If you have a manual transmission vehicle,
partly engage the clutch before you take your right foot
off the brake. Put on the parking brake whenever
necessary to keep from rolling back. Release the
parking brake only when you have applied enough
engine power to keep from rolling back. On a tractortrailer equipped with a trailer brake hand valve, the
hand valve can be applied to keep from rolling back.
2. What things should you check during a trip?
3. Name some key steering system parts.
4. Name some suspension system defects.
5. What three kinds of emergency equipment
must you have?
6. What is the minimum tread depth for front
tires? For other tires?
Speed up smoothly and gradually so the vehicle does
not jerk. Rough acceleration can cause mechanical
damage and cargo to shift. When pulling a trailer,
rough acceleration can also damage the coupling.
7. Name some things you should check on the
front of your vehicle during the walk-around
inspection.
8. What should wheel bearing seals be checked
for?
Speed up very gradually when traction is poor, as in rain
or snow. If you use 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.
9. How many red reflective triangles should you
carry?
2.2.2 Steering
Hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands. Your
hands should be on opposite sides of the wheel. If you
hit a curb or a pothole (chuckhole), have a tire go flat on
the steering axle, run into a strong gust of wind or slick
road conditions, the wheel could pull away from your
hands unless you have a firm hold.
10. How do you test hydraulic brakes for leaks?
11. Why put the starter switch key in your pocket
during the pre-trip inspection?
These questions may be on your test.
answer them all, re-read subsection 2.1.
If you can’t
2.2.3 Stopping
Push the brake pedal down gradually. The amount of
brake pressure you need to stop the vehicle will depend
2-13
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.
going around the block to put your vehicle in this
position. The added safety is worth it.
Use a Helper: Use a helper when you can. There are
blind spots you can’t see and vehicles and pedestrians
can move into your path without you knowing they are
there. That's why a helper is important. The helper
should stand near the back of your vehicle where you
can see him/her. Before you begin backing, work out a
set of hand signals that you both understand. Agree on
a signal for “stop.”
2.2.4 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:
 Start in the proper position.
 Look at your path
2.3 SHIFTING GEARS
 Use mirrors on both sides.
Correctly shifting gears (right gear – right speed) at the
appropriate time is extremely important. If you can’t
get your vehicle into the right gear while driving under
various conditions, you will have less control and
become a hazard to other traffic.
 Back slowly.
 Back and turn toward the driver's side
whenever possible.
2.3.1 Manual Transmissions
 Use a helper whenever possible.
Basic Method for Shifting Up: Most heavy vehicles
with manual transmissions require double clutching to
change gears. This is the basic method:
These rules are discussed in turn below.
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 and the
amount of room you have to maneuver.
 Release the accelerator, push in clutch and shift
to neutral at the same time.
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 both in and
near the path your vehicle will take.
 Let engine and gears slow down to the rpm
required for the next gear (this takes practice).
 Release the clutch.
 Push in the clutch and shift to the higher gear at
the same time.
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.
 Release the clutch and press the accelerator at
the same time.
Back Slowly: Always back as slowly as possible. Use the
lowest reverse gear so you can more easily correct any
steering errors and stop quickly if necessary.
Shifting gears using double clutching requires practice.
If you remain too long in neutral, you may have
difficulty putting the vehicle into the next gear. If this
happens, don’t try to force it. Return to neutral, release
the clutch, increase engine speed to match road speed,
and try again.
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 can’t see as
well. If you back and turn toward the driver’s side, you
can watch the rear of your vehicle by looking out the
side window. Use driver-side backing even if it means
Knowing When to Shift Up:
knowing when to shift:
2-14
There are two ways of
entering the curve. This lets you use some power
through the curve to help the vehicle be more stable
while turning. It also allows you to speed up as soon as
you are out of the curve.
1. Use Engine Speed (rpm): Study the driver’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’s right for the vehicle you will operate.
2.3.2 Multi-speed Rear Axles and Auxiliary
Transmissions
Multi-speed 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 you will drive.
2.3.3 Automatic Transmissions
2. Use Road Speed (mph): Learn the speed range
for each gear. With this information you can
use the speedometer to know when to shift up.
With either method, you will eventually learn with
experience and practice to use engine sounds to shift.
Some vehicles have automatic transmissions. You can
select a low range to get 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.
Basic Procedures for Shifting Down:
 Release accelerator, push in the clutch, and
shift to neutral at the same time.
 Release the clutch.
2.3.4 Retarders (also known as “Jake Brakes”)
 Press the accelerator, increase engine and gear
speed to the rpm required for the lower gear.
Some vehicles have “retarders.” Retarders help slow a
vehicle down therefore, reducing the need for using
your brakes. They reduce brake wear and give you
another way to slow down. There are four basic types
of retarders (exhaust, engine, hydraulic, and electric).
All retarders can be turned on or off by the driver. On
some vehicles the retarding power can be adjusted.
When turned “on,” retarders apply their braking power
(to the drive wheels only) whenever you let up on the
accelerator pedal all the way. Because these devices
can be noisy, be sure you know where their use is
permitted. Many cities and towns have signage posted
prohibiting the use of engine retarders in city limits.
 Push in the clutch and shift to the lower gear at
the same time.
 Release the clutch and press the accelerator at
the same time.
 Down-shifting, like up-shifting, requires
knowing when to shift. Use the tachometer,
speedometer, or a combination of the both to
shift the gears smoothly.
Special conditions where you should downshift include
the following:
Caution! When your drive wheels have poor traction,
the retarder may cause them to skid. Therefore, you
should turn the retarder off whenever the road is wet,
icy, or snow covered.
Before starting down a Hill: Make sure you are in a
low enough gear. This will usually be a lower gear than
the gear required when climbing the same hill. Slow the
vehicle down and shift down to a gear that will provide
you with a safe speed that you can control without
using the brakes excessively. Otherwise, prolonged use
of the brakes can cause them to overheat and lose their
braking power.
Subsections 2.2 and 2.3
Test Your Knowledge
1. Why should you back toward the driver's side?
Before Entering a Curve: Slow the vehicle down to a
safe speed and downshift to the right gear before
2-15
2. If stopped on a hill, how can you start moving
without rolling back?
3. When backing, why is it important to use a
helper?
4. What's the most important hand signal that you
and the helper should agree upon?
5. What are the two special conditions where you
should downshift?
6. When should
transmissions?
you
down-shift
automatic
City Driving – 12-15 Seconds is About One Block
7. Retarders keep you from skidding when the
road is slippery. True or False?
8. What are the two ways to know when to shift?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read subsections 2.2 and 2.3.
2.4 SEEING
To be a safe driver you need to know what’s going on all
around your vehicle. Not looking properly is a major
cause of accidents.
Figure 2.6
Open Highway – 12-15 Seconds is about 1/4 Mile
2.4.1 Seeing Ahead
All drivers look ahead; but many don’t look far enough
ahead.
Look for Traffic: Look for vehicles coming onto the
highway into your lane or turning. Watch for brake
lights from slowing vehicles. By seeing these things far
enough ahead, you can adjust your speed or change
lanes if necessary to avoid a problem. If a traffic light
has been green for a long time, it will probably change
before you get there so start slowing down and be
ready to stop. You can also watch the pedestrian cross
walk sign for a clue to a pending signal change. If the
sign is flashing or has turned to a solid red color, the
light is about to change.
Importance of Looking Far Enough Ahead: Because
stopping or changing lanes can take a lot of distance,
knowing what the 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.
How Far Ahead to Look: Most good drivers look at
least 12 to 15 seconds ahead. That means looking
ahead the distance you will travel in 12 to 15 seconds.
At lower speeds, that's about one block, and at highway
speeds it’s about 1/4 of a mile. If you’re not looking
that far ahead, you may have to stop too quickly or
make quick lane changes. Looking 12 to 15 seconds
ahead doesn’t mean not paying attention to things that
are closer. Good drivers shift their attention back and
forth, near and far. Figure 2.6 illustrates how far to look
ahead.
2.4.2 Seeing to the Sides and Rear
It’s important to know what’s going on behind and to
the sides of your vehicle at all times. Check your
mirrors regularly and even more often than normal in
special situations (heavy traffic, etc.).
Mirror Adjustment:
Mirror adjustment should be
checked prior to the start of any trip and can only be
2-16
checked accurately when the trailer(s) are straight. You
should check and adjust each mirror to show some part
of the vehicle, because this will give you a reference
point for judging the position of the other images.
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.
Regular Mirror Checks: You need to make regular
checks of your mirrors to be aware of traffic and to
check your vehicle for potential equipment problems.
How to Use Mirrors: Use mirrors correctly by checking
them quickly and understanding what you see.
Traffic: Check your mirrors for vehicles on either side
and in back of you. In an emergency, you may need to
know whether you can make a quick lane change. Use
your mirrors to spot overtaking vehicles. There are
“blind spots” that your mirrors cannot show you;
therefore, check your mirrors regularly to know where
other vehicles are around you and to see if they move
into your blind spots.
 When you use your mirrors while driving on the
road, check quickly. Look back and forth
between the mirrors and the road ahead. Don’t
focus on the mirrors for too long; otherwise you
will travel quite a distance without knowing
what’s happening ahead.
 Many large vehicles have curved (convex,
“fisheye,” “spot,” “bug eye”) mirrors that show
a wider area than flat mirrors. These mirrors
are often helpful, but remember, everything
appears smaller in a convex mirror than it
would if you were looking at it directly. Things
also seem farther away than they really are. It’s
important to realize this and to allow for it.
Figure 2.7 shows the field of vision using a
convex mirror:
Check Your Vehicle: Use the mirrors to keep an eye on
your tires and wheels. A low or flat tire or hot brakes
will often emit smoke.
Check your Cargo: If you’re carrying open cargo, you
can use the mirrors to check for loose straps, ropes, or
chains. Watch for a flapping or ballooning tarp.
Sometimes cargo can shift while underway.
Special Situations:
Special situations require more
than regular mirror checks. These are lane changes,
turns, merges, and tight maneuvers.
Lane Changes: You need to check your mirrors to make
sure no one is alongside you or about to pass you.
Check your mirrors:
 Check before you change lanes to make sure
there is enough room.
 Check after you have signaled to make sure no
one has moved into your blind spot.
 Check right after you start the lane change to
make sure your path is clear.
 Check after you complete the lane change.
Turns: In turns, check your mirrors to make sure the
rear of your vehicle will not hit anything.
2-17
2.5 COMMUNICATING
crossing. Warn following drivers by flashing
your brake lights and don’t stop suddenly.
2.5.1 Signal Your Intentions
 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 (i.e., climbing a hill), alert following
drivers by turning on your emergency flashers if
it is legal. (Laws regarding the use of flashers
differ from on state to another; therefore,
check the laws of the states where you will
drive).
Other drivers can’t know what you are going to do until
you tell them. Signaling what you intend to do is
important for safety. The following are some general
rules for signaling:
Turns: There are three good rules for using turn signals1. Signal early: Signal well before you turn,
because it is the best way to keep others from
trying to pass you.
Don’t Direct Traffic: Some drivers try to help out
others by signaling when it is safe to pass. You should
not do this, because you could cause an accident and be
held responsible which could cost you many thousands
of dollars.
2. Signal continuously: You need both hands on
the wheel to turn safely, so don’t cancel the
signal until you have completed the turn.
2.5.2 Communicating Your Presence
3. Cancel your signal: Don’t forget to turn off
your turn signal after you’ve completed the
turn. Even if you have self-canceling turn
signals, make sure the signal has cancelled after
the turn.
Other drivers may not notice your vehicle even when
it’s in plain sight. To help prevent accidents, let them
know you're there.
Lane Changes: Put your turn signal on before changing
lanes and change lanes slowly and smoothly. That way
a driver you didn’t see may have a chance to honk the
horn or avoid your vehicle.
When Passing: Whenever you are about to pass a
vehicle, pedestrian, or bicyclist, assume they don’t see
you and could suddenly move in front of you. When it
is legal, tap the horn lightly or, at night, flash your lights
from low to high beam and back. Drive carefully
enough to avoid a crash even if they don't see or hear
you.
When Slowing Down: Warn drivers behind you when
you see you’ll need to slow down unexpectedly. A few
light taps on the brake pedal enough to flash the brake
lights should warn following drivers. Use the four-way
emergency flashers for times when you are driving very
slowly or are stopped. Warn other drivers in any of the
following situations:
When It Is Hard to See: At dawn, dusk, in rain, snow or
fog, you need to make yourself 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 and not just the identification or clearance
lights. Use the low beams, because high beams can
bother people in the daytime as well as at night.
 Trouble Ahead: The size of your vehicle may
make it hard for drivers behind you to see
hazards ahead. If you see a hazard that will
require slowing down, warn the drivers behind
by flashing your brake lights.
 Tight Turns: Most car drivers don’t know how
slowly you have to go to make a tight turn in a
large vehicle. Give drivers behind you warning
by braking early and slowing gradually.
When Parked at the Side of the Road: When you pull
off the road and stop, be sure to turn on the four-way
emergency flashers. This is especially important at
night. Don’t trust the taillights alone to give enough
warning to other drivers. Drivers have crashed into the
rear of a parked vehicle, because they thought it was
moving normally.
 Stopping on the Road: Truck and bus drivers
sometimes stop in the roadway to unload
cargo or passengers, or to stop at a railroad
If you must stop on a road or the shoulder of any road,
you must put out your emergency warning devices
within ten minutes. Depending on the type of road you
2-18
are traveling (one-way, two-lane or multi-lane) place
your warning devices at the following locations:
Back beyond any hill, curve, or other obstruction that
prevents other drivers from seeing the vehicle within
500 feet. If line of sight view is obstructed due to a hill
or curve, move the rear-most triangle to a point back
down the road so ample warning is provided to other
drivers (See Figure 2.10).
If you must stop on or by a one-way or divided highway,
place the warning devices 10 feet, 100 feet, and 200
feet toward the approaching traffic (See Figure 2.8).
Figure 2.10
When putting out the triangles, hold them between
yourself and the oncoming traffic for your own safety.
This will allow other drivers to see you. If available, also
put on a reflective safety vest to make you more visible.
Figure 2.8
If you stop on a two-lane road carrying traffic in both
directions or on an undivided highway, place the
warning devices within 10 feet of the front or rear
corners to mark the location of the vehicle, and 100 feet
behind and ahead of the vehicle. Place the devices on
the shoulder of the road or in the lane where your
vehicle
is
stopped
(See
Figure
2.9).
Use Your Horn When Needed: Your horn can let others
know you’re there, and it can help to avoid a crash.
However, it also can startle others and could be
dangerous when used unnecessarily, so exercise good
judgment.
Figure 2.9
2-19
2.6 CONTROLLING SPEED
Total Stopping Distance: At 55 mph, it will take about
six seconds to stop and your vehicle will have traveled
about 419 feet (the equivalent in length of 1 1/2
football fields).
Driving too fast is a major cause of fatal crashes. You
must adjust your speed depending on the driving
conditions you encounter while traveling.
These
conditions include: traction, curves, visibility, traffic,
and hills.
2.6.1 Stopping Distance
The Effect of Speed on Stopping Distance: Whenever
you double your speed, it takes about four times as
much distance to stop, and your vehicle will have four
times the destructive power if it crashes. Triple the
speed from 20 to 60 mph and the impact and braking
distance is 9 times greater. At 60 mph, your stopping
distance is greater than the length of a football field
(over 300 feet), and the impact and braking distance are
16 times greater than at 20 mph. High speeds greatly
increase the severity of crashes and stopping distances.
By slowing down, you can reduce braking distance (See
Figure 2.11).
Perception Distance + Reaction Distance + Braking
Distance = Total Stopping Distance
Perception Distance: This is the distance your vehicle
travels from the time your eyes see a hazard until your
brain recognizes it. The perception time for an alert
driver is about 1 3/4 seconds. At 55 mph, you will travel
142 feet.
Reaction Distance: The distance traveled from the time
your brain tells your foot to move from the accelerator
until your foot is actually pushing down on the brake
pedal. The average driver has a reaction time of 3/4 of
a second to 1 second. At 55 mph this accounts for 61
feet.
The Effect of Vehicle Weight on Stopping Distance:
The heavier the vehicle, the more work the brakes must
do to stop it and the more heat they absorb, but the
brakes, tires, springs, and shock absorbers on heavy
vehicles are designed to work best when the vehicle is
fully loaded. Empty trucks require greater stopping
distances because an empty vehicle has less traction.
Braking Distance: The distance it takes to stop once the
brakes are applied. At 55 mph, on dry pavement with
good brakes, it can take a heavy vehicle about 216 feet.
Figure 2.11
2-20
2.6.2 Matching Speed to the Road Surface
vehicles. This makes the road very slippery. If
the rain continues, it will wash the oil away.
You can’t steer or stop a vehicle unless you have
traction. Traction is friction between the tires and the
road. There are some road conditions that reduce
traction and call for lower speeds.
 Hydroplaning: In some weather, water or slush
collects on the road. When this happens, your
vehicle can hydroplane. Hydroplaning is like
water skiing - 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.
Slippery Surfaces: It will take longer to stop, and it will
be harder to turn without skidding, when the road is
slippery. Wet roads can double the stopping distance.
You must drive slower to be able to stop in the same
distance as on a dry road. Reduce speed by about onethird (i.e., slow from 55 to about 35 mph) on a wet
road. On packed snow, reduce speed by a half, or
more. If the surface is icy, reduce speed to a crawl and
stop driving as soon as you can safely do so.
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. Hydroplaning is more likely if tire
pressure is low, or the tread is worn. (The grooves in a
tire carry away the water and if they aren’t deep
enough, they don't work well.
Identifying Slippery Surfaces: Sometimes it’s hard to
know if the road is slick. Here are some signs of slippery
roads:
 Shaded Areas: Shady parts of the road will
remain icy and slippery long after open areas
have melted.
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 indications of standing water.
 Bridges: When the temperature drops, bridges
will freeze before the road will. Be especially
careful when the temperature is close to 32⁰
Fahrenheit.
2.6.3 Speed and Curves
 Melting Ice: Slight melting will make ice wet.
Wet ice is much more slippery than ice that is
not wet.
Drivers must adjust their speed for curves in the road. If
you take a curve too fast, two things can happen, 1) the
tires can lose their traction and continue straight ahead,
so you skid off the road, or 2) the tires may keep their
traction and the vehicle rolls over. Tests have shown
that trucks with a high center of gravity can roll over at
the posted speed limit for a curve.
 Black Ice: Black ice is a thin layer that is clear
enough that 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.
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 and
don’t ever exceed the posted speed limit for the curve.
Be in a gear that will let you accelerate slightly in the
curve, because this will help you keep control.
 Road Spray: If your tires were throwing up
road spray, and they stop, that is a sign the road
surface may be freezing up.
 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’s
ice on these items, the road surface is probably
starting to ice up as well.
2.6.4 Speed and Distance Ahead
You should always be able to stop within the distance
you can see ahead. Fog, rain, or other conditions may
require that you slow down to be able to stop in the
distance you can see. At night, you can’t see as far with
 Just After Rain Begins: Right after it starts to
rain, the water mixes with oil left on the road by
2-21
low beams as you can with high beams, so when you
must use low beams, slow down.
near the governed rpm setting 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. Shift your transmission to a low gear before
starting down the grade and use the proper braking
techniques.
2.6.5 Speed and Traffic Flow
When you’re driving in heavy traffic, the safest speed is
the speed of the other vehicles. Vehicles going the
same direction at the same speed are not likely to run
into one another. In many states, 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 without going at an illegal or
unsafe speed. Always keep a safe following distance.
Please read carefully the section on going down long,
steep downgrades safely in the “Mountain Driving,”
Section 2.16.
2.6.7 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. 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 and even
further when a worker is close to the roadway.
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 at all
and increase their risk of being involved in an accident
and/or get a costly speeding ticket. The risks involved
are not worth it. If you go faster than the speed of
other traffic, you’ll not only increase your chances of
being involved in an accident, but you will also find the
stress and increased concentration of negotiating traffic
more physically tiring. Fatigue increases the chance of a
crash. Going with the flow of traffic is safer and easier.
Subsections 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6
Test Your Knowledge
1. How far ahead does the manual say you should
look while driving?
2.6.6 Speed on Downgrades
2. What are the two main things to look for
ahead?
3. What’s your most important way to see the
sides and rear of your vehicle?
Your vehicle’s speed will increase on downgrades
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;
4. What does “communicating” mean in safe
driving?
5. Where should warning devices be placed when
stopped on a divided highway?
 Length of the grade;
 Steepness of the grade;
6. What three things add up to total stopping
distance?
7. If you go twice as fast, will your stopping
distance increase by two or four times?
 Road conditions, and
 Weather.
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.
8. Empty trucks have the best braking. True or
False?
9. What is hydroplaning?
10. What is “black ice”?
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
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read subsections 2.4, 2.5, and 2.6.
2-22
2.7 MANAGING SPACE
To be a safe driver, you need space all around your
vehicle. When things go wrong, space gives you the
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, because they take up more
space and require more room for stopping and turning.
2.7.1 Space Ahead
Of all the space around your vehicle, it is the area ahead
of the vehicle - the space you're driving into - that is the
most important.
The Need for Space Ahead: You need space ahead in
case you must suddenly stop. According to accident
reports, the vehicle that trucks and buses most often
run into is the one in front of them. The most frequent
cause is following too closely. Remember, if the vehicle
ahead of you is smaller than yours, it can probably stop
faster than you can and you may crash into it if you are
following too closely.
2.7.2 Space Behind
You can’t stop others from following you too closely,
but there are things you can do to make it safer.
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. For example, if you are driving a 40-foot
vehicle, you should leave four seconds between you
and the vehicle ahead. In a 60-foot vehicle, you’ll need
six seconds. At greater speeds, you must add one
second for safety. Over 40 mph, you’d need five
seconds for a 40-foot vehicle and seven seconds for a
60-foot vehicle (See Figure 2.11).
Stay to the Right: Heavy vehicles are often tailgated
when they can’t keep up with the speed of other traffic.
This often happens when you’re 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 quickly and safely.
Dealing with Tailgaters Safely: In a large vehicle, it can
be difficult to see vehicles close behind you. You may
be tailgated in the following circumstances:
To know how much space you have, wait until the
vehicle ahead passes a shadow on the road, a pavement
marking, or some other clear landmark, then count off
the seconds (i.e., one thousand one, one thousand two,
and so on) until you reach the same spot. Compare
your count with the rule of one second for every ten
feet of length. If you are driving a 40-foot truck and
only counted up to two seconds, you’re too close. Drop
back a little and count again until you have 4 seconds of
following distance (or 5 seconds, if you’re 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.
 When you are traveling slowly: Drivers trapped
behind slow vehicles often follow too closely.
 In bad weather: Many car drivers follow large
vehicles closely during bad weather, especially
when it is hard to see the road ahead.
If you find yourself being tailgated, here are some
things you can do to reduce the chances of a crash.
 Avoid quick changes. If you have to slow down
or turn, signal early, and reduce speed very
gradually.
2-23
 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.
your vehicle. This is especially important when towing
van type trailers and flatbeds with high loads while
traveling on roadways with bridges and/or overpasses
that have restricted height limits.
 Don’t assume that the heights posted at bridges
and overpasses are correct. Re-paving or
packed snow may have reduced the clearances
since the heights were posted.
 Don’t speed up. It’s safer to be tailgated at a
low speed than a high speed.
 Avoid tricks. Don’t turn on your taillights or
flash your brake lights. Follow the suggestions
above.
 The weight of a cargo van changes its height.
An empty van is higher than a loaded one.
Because you were able to go under a bridge
when you were loaded, does not mean that you
can do it when you are empty.
2.7.3 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 others.
 If you doubt you have safe space to pass under
an object, go slowly. If you aren’t sure you can
make it, take another route. Warnings are
often posted on low bridges or underpasses;
however, sometimes they are not.
Staying Centered in a Lane: You need to keep your
vehicle centered in the lane to keep a safe clearance on
either side. If your vehicle is wide, you have little room
to spare.
 Some roads can cause a vehicle to tilt. There
can be a problem clearing objects along the
edge of the road, such as signs, trees, or bridge
supports. Where this is a problem, drive a little
closer to the center of the road.
Traveling Next to Others: There are two dangers in
traveling alongside other vehicles:
 Before you back into an area, get out and check
for overhanging objects such as trees, branches,
electric wires or a building’s roof. It’s easy to
miss seeing them while you are backing (Also
check for other hazards at the same time).
1. Another driver may change lanes suddenly and
turn into you.
2. You may be trapped when you need to change
lanes.
2.7.5 Space Below
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.
Many drivers forget about the space under their
vehicles. That space can be very small when a vehicle is
heavily loaded. This is often a problem on dirt roads
and in unpaved yards. Don’t take a chance on getting
hung up. Drainage channels across roads can cause the
ends of some vehicles to drag. Cross such depressions
carefully.
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, going over bridges and driving through
mountain passes. Don’t drive alongside others if you
can avoid it.
Railroad tracks can also cause
problems, particularly when
pulling trailers with a low
underneath clearance. Don’t
take a chance on getting hung
up halfway across the tracks.
2.7.4 Space Overhead
Hitting overhead objects is a danger. Make sure you
always have the appropriate overhead clearance for
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2.7.6 Space for Turns
If you must cross into the oncoming lane to make a
turn, watch out for vehicles coming toward you. Give
them room to go by or to stop; however, don't back up
for them, because you might hit someone behind you
(See Figure 2.12)
The space around a truck or bus is important in turns.
Because of the wide turning and off-tracking
characteristics of longer vehicles, large vehicles can hit
other vehicles or objects during turns (especially the
right turn).
Right Turns: Here are some rules to help prevent rightturn crashes:
Turn slowly to give yourself and others more time to
avoid problems. If you are driving a truck or bus that
cannot make the right turn without swinging into
another lane, turn wide as you complete the turn when
possible. Keep the rear of your vehicle close to the
curb, because this will stop other drivers from passing
you on the right. (See Figure 2-12a)
Left Turns: On a left turn, make sure you have reached
the center of the intersection before you start the left
turn. If you turn too soon, the left side of your vehicle
may hit another vehicle, obstacle or pedestrian because
of the off-tracking characteristics of longer vehicles. If
there are two turning lanes, always take the right turn
lane. Don’t start in the inside lane because you may
have to swing right to make the turn and drivers on
your left can more readily be seen (See Figure 2.13).
Figure 2-12a Example of a "Button Hook" right turn
Unless you can’t avoid it, (sharp turn onto a narrow
roadway) don’t turn wide to the left into oncoming
traffic as you start the turn. A following driver may
think you are turning left and try to pass you on the
right, and you may crash into the other vehicle as you
complete your turn.
Figure 2.13
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Correct Execution of Left Turns
2.7.7 Space Needed to Cross or Enter Traffic
2.8.2 Hazardous Roads
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:
Slow down and be very careful if you see any of the
following road hazards:
Work Zones: When people are working on the road, it
is a hazard. There may be 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 and, if necessary, use your four-way flashers
or brake lights to warn drivers behind you.
 Because of slow acceleration and the space
large vehicles require, you may need a much
larger gap to enter traffic than you would in a
car.
 Acceleration varies with the load. Allow more
room if your vehicle is heavily loaded.
Drop Off: 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 (going off the road or coming back
on), and may cause your vehicle to rollover.
 Before you start across a road, make sure you
can get all the way across before traffic reaches
you.
2.8 SEEING HAZARDS
2.8.1 Importance of Seeing Hazards
Foreign Object: Things that have fallen on the road can
be hazards. They can damage your tires, wheel rims
and electrical and brake lines. Objects can also be
caught between dual tires and cause severe damage to
your vehicle or other drivers. Some obstacles that
appear to be harmless can be very dangerous. For
example, cardboard boxes may be empty, but they may
also contain some solid or heavy material capable of
causing damage. The same is true of paper and cloth
sacks. One of the most common hazards on the road is
rubber from a blown tire (also known as a gator) that, if
run over, can cause extensive damage to brake and/or
hydraulic lines. It is important to remain alert for
objects of all sorts, so you can see them early enough to
avoid them without making sudden, unsafe moves. If
you hit an object on the road, stop as soon as you can
and inspect your vehicle for damage.
What Is a Hazard: A hazard is any road condition or
other road user (driver, bicyclist, pedestrian) that is a
possible danger. For example, a car in front of you is
headed toward the freeway exit, but his brake lights
come on and he begins braking hard. This could mean
that the driver is uncertain about taking the off ramp,
and he might suddenly return to the highway. This car
is a hazard. If the driver of the car 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 act if you see hazards before they become
emergencies. In the example above, you might make a
lane change or slow down to prevent a crash if the car
suddenly cuts in front of you. Seeing this hazard gives
you time to check your mirrors and signal a lane change.
Being prepared reduces the danger. A driver who did
not see the hazard until the slow car pulled back on the
highway in front of him would have to do something
very suddenly. Sudden braking or a quick lane change is
much more likely to lead to a crash.
Off Ramps/On Ramps: Freeway and turnpike exits can
be particularly dangerous for commercial vehicles. Off
ramps and on ramps often have speed limit signs
posted. Remember, these speeds may be safe for
automobiles, but may not be safe for larger vehicles or
heavily loaded vehicles. Exits that go downhill and turn
at the same time can be especially dangerous. The
downgrade makes it difficult to reduce speed and
braking and turning at the same time can be a
dangerous practice. Make sure you are going slowly
enough before you get on the curved part of an off
ramp or on ramp.
Learning to See Hazards: There are often clues that will
help you see hazards. The more you drive, the better
you can learn to see hazards. This section will talk
about hazards that you should be aware of.
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2.8.3 Drivers Who May Pose a Hazard
Approaching Stationary Police / Emergency Vehicles:
Generally, it is a good safe practice to slow down and
use caution when approaching stationary emergency
vehicles and personnel engaged in activities on the
road. Some states (including Idaho) have enacted
specific laws addressing this issue, and the specific
conduct and responsibility they expect of the driver.
Commercial vehicles are inherently a risk factor when
approaching a stationary vehicle of any kind due to their
size, weight, stopping distance and maneuverability
limitations.
In order to protect yourself and others, you must know
when other drivers may do something hazardous.
Some clues to this type of hazard are discussed below.
Blocked Vision: Drivers who cannot see clearly pose a
very dangerous hazard. Be alert for vehicles with vision
limitations. Vans, loaded station wagons, and cars with
the rear window blocked are examples. Rental trucks
should be watched carefully, because 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.
In Idaho, if you are approaching a stationary police
and/or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, you
are required to:
 On a highway with two (2) or more lanes
carrying traffic in the same direction (interstate
or divided highway):
Vehicles May Be Partly Hidden By Blind Intersections
Or Alleys: If you can only see the rear or front end of a
vehicle but not the driver, then he/she can’t see you.
Be alert because he/she may back out or enter into your
lane. Always be prepared to stop.
1. Immediately reduce your speed to below
the posted speed limit.
Delivery Trucks: Packages or vehicle doors often block
the driver’s vision. Drivers of step vans, postal vehicles,
and local delivery vehicles often are in a hurry and may
suddenly step out of their vehicle or drive their vehicle
into the traffic lane.
2. Proceed with extreme caution.
3. Change lanes as soon as it is possible to do
so safely.
Parked Vehicles: This is especially true when people
start to get out of them. They may also suddenly start
up and drive into your way without looking. Watch for
movement inside the vehicle or movement of the
vehicle itself that shows people are inside. Watch for
brake lights or backup lights, exhaust, and other clues
that a driver is about to move.
4. Remain alert for emergency personnel
directing traffic and entering and/or exiting
the area.
 On a highway with one (1) lane for each
direction of travel:
1. Immediately reduce your speed to below
the posted speed limit.
Stopped Bus: Passengers may cross in front of or
behind the bus, and they often can’t see you.
2. Proceed with extreme caution.
4. If safe to do so, change lanes until you are
completely past the stationary emergency
vehicle(s).
Pedestrians and Bicyclists: Walkers, joggers, and
bicyclists may be on the road with their back to the
traffic, so they can’t see you. Sometimes they wear
portable stereos with headsets, so they can’t hear you
either. This can be dangerous. On rainy days,
pedestrians may not see you because of hats or
umbrellas. They may be hurrying to get out of the rain
and may not pay attention to the traffic.
5. Remain alert for emergency personnel
directing traffic and entering and/or exiting
the area.
Distractions: People who are distracted are hazards.
Watch for where they are looking. If they are looking
elsewhere, they can’t see you; however, still be alert
3. Maintain a safe speed for the road, weather
and traffic conditions until completely past
the stationary emergency vehicle(s).
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even when they are looking at you, because they may
believe they have the right of way.
Slow Drivers: Motorists who fail to maintain normal
speed are hazards. Seeing slow moving vehicles early
can prevent a crash. Some vehicles, by their nature, are
slow and seeing them is a hazard clue (mopeds, farm
machinery, construction machinery, tractors, etc.).
Watch for the “slow moving vehicle” warning placard: a
red triangle with an orange center.
Children: Children tend to act quickly without checking
traffic. Children playing with one another may not look
for traffic and are a serious hazard.
Talkers: Drivers or pedestrians talking to one another
may not be paying close attention to the traffic.
Drivers Signaling a Turn May Be a Hazard: Drivers
signaling a turn may slow more than expected or stop.
If they are making a tight turn into an alley or driveway,
they may go very slowly. If pedestrians or other
vehicles block them, they may have to stop on the
roadway. Vehicles turning left may have to stop for
oncoming vehicles.
Workers: People working on or near the roadway can
be a hazard. The work creates a distraction for other
drivers and the workers themselves may not see you.
Ice Cream Trucks: Someone selling ice cream can be a
hazard. Children may be nearby and may not see you.
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 and 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. Be aware of this and watch for
drivers who are in a hurry.
Disabled Vehicles: Drivers changing a tire or fixing an
engine often do not pay attention to the danger that
roadway traffic is to them, so they are often careless.
Passengers, children and animals may also be around
the vehicle while it is being worked on and dart out in
front of you before you can react. Jacked-up wheels or
raised hoods are hazard clues.
Accidents:
Accidents are particularly hazardous.
People involved in the accident may not look for traffic,
because they are upset, injured or on their cell phones.
Passing drivers tend to look at the accident and cause
traffic congestion problems by driving excessively slow.
People often run across the road without looking.
Vehicles may slow or stop suddenly.
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).
Shoppers: People in and around shopping areas are
often not watching traffic, because they are looking for
stores or looking into store windows.
 Stopping at the wrong time (stopping at a green
light, or waiting for too long at a stop).
Confused Drivers: Confused drivers often change
direction suddenly or stop without warning. Confusion
is common near freeway or turnpike interchanges and
major intersections. Tourists unfamiliar with the area
can be very hazardous. Clues to tourists include car-top
luggage and out-of-state license plates. Unexpected
actions (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.
 Open window in cold weather.
 Speeding up or slowing down suddenly,
driving too fast or too slow.
Be alert for drunk drivers and sleepy 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 aren’t on. Drivers making over-the-
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5. What is a hazard?
shoulder checks may be going to change lanes. These
clues are most easily seen in motorcyclists and
bicyclists. Watch other road users and try to tell
whether they might do something hazardous.
6. Why make emergency plans when you see a
hazard?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.7 and 2.8.
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 turnpike on-ramps)
and where there are needed lane changes (such as
the end of a lane, forcing a move to another lane of
traffic). Other situations include slow moving or stalled
traffic in a traffic lane and accident 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.
2.9 DISTRACTED DRIVING
Whenever you are driving a vehicle and your attention
is not on the road, you’re 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.
2.8.4 Always Have a Plan
You should always be looking for hazards. Continue
to learn to see hazards on the road; however, don’t
forget why you are looking for the hazards - they may
turn into emergencies. You look for the hazards in
order to have time to 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 your own
safety as well as the safety of all road users.
Activities that can distract your attention include:
talking to passengers; adjusting the radio, CD player, or
climate controls; 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 a cell phone or CB radio; texting,
using devices such as GPS navigation systems, pagers,
etc.; daydreaming or being occupied with other mental
distractions.
2.9.1 Don’t Drive Distracted
Subsections 2.7 and 2.8
If drivers react just one half second slower because of
distractions, crashes double. Some tips to follow so you
won’t become distracted:
Test Your Knowledge
1. How do you find out how many seconds of
following distance space you have?
2. If you are driving a 30-foot vehicle at 55 mph,
how many seconds of following distance
should you allow?
 Pre-program radio stations and have your other
music or media at hand. Preview and be totally
familiar with all of the safety and usage features
on any in-vehicle electronics, including your cell
phone, before you drive.
3. You should decrease your following
distance if somebody is following you too
closely. True or False?
 Pre-program cell phones with commonly called
numbers (Speed Dial) if you intend to dial any
numbers while driving (see 2.9.2).
4. If you swing wide to the left before turning
right, another driver may try to pass you on the
right. True or False?
 Review maps and plan your route before you
begin driving. Program your GPS and preview
your route to avoid surprises.
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 Clear the vehicle of any unnecessary objects.
Adjust all mirrors for best all-round visibility
before you start your trip.
Because Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers are held to
higher standards, FMCSA believes it is in the best
interest of public safety to restrict a CMV driver's use of
such devices. Therefore, new Federal rules require that
only hands-free devices can be used while driving a
CMV.
 Don’t attempt to read or write while you drive.
Do not attempt to type or read messages on
your satellite system or other device while
driving.
 Avoid smoking, eating, and drinking while you
drive. Don’t engage in complex or emotionally
intense conversations with other occupants of
your vehicle.
2.9.2 In-vehicle Communication Equipment
Mobile Telephones (Cell Phones)
U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) research
indicates that both reaching for and dialing a mobile
telephone increase the odds of a CMV driver's
involvement in a safety- critical event, such as a crash,
near crash, or unintended lane departure. These
increases in risk are mostly because the driver's eyes
are off the forward roadway.
Driver using Wireless headset
This rulemaking restricts a CMV driver from holding a
mobile telephone to conduct a voice communication,
dialing a mobile telephone by pressing more than a
single button, or reaching for a mobile phone in an
unacceptable and unsafe manner (e.g. reaching for any
mobile telephone on the passenger seat, under the
driver's seat, or into the sleeper berth).
While no State has completely banned mobile
telephone use, some States have very restrictive rules
for certain categories of drivers. Many States prohibit
the use of all mobile telephones while driving a school
bus, transit bus, or motor coach. Other States have
traffic laws prohibiting all motor vehicle drivers from
using a hand-held mobile telephone while driving.
Federal Law §392.82 reads in part:
1. No driver shall use a hand-held mobile
telephone while driving a CMV.
2. No motor carrier shall allow or require its
drivers to use a hand-held mobile telephone
while driving a CMV.
3. For the purposes of this section, driving means
operating a commercial motor vehicle on a
highway, including being temporarily stationary
because of traffic, a traffic control device, or
other momentary delays.
“Driving” does not include operating a commercial
motor vehicle when the driver has moved the vehicle to
the side of, or off, a highway and has halted in a
location where the vehicle can safely remain stationary.
In an emergency, using a hand-held mobile telephone is
permissible by drivers of a CMV when necessary to
Driver using hand-held mobile telephone
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communicate with law enforcement officials or other
emergency services.
A driver of a CMV who desires to use a mobile phone
to make and receive calls while driving must ensure
that:
the mobile telephone is located in close
proximity to the driver
The telephone is accessible when the driver is
in the normal seated driving position and
properly restrained by a seat belt.
The telephone has a hands-free mobile speaker
phone function or is connected to a wired or
wireless earphone.
the driver is able to make, answer, or terminate
a call by touching a single button on the phone
or on a headset
use of the phone does not require the driver to
take his or her eyes off of the forward roadway
for an extended period--comparable to using
vehicle controls or instrument panel functions,
such as the radio or climate control system.
Keep conversations short. Never use the cell
phone for social visiting while driving.
can result. Any violation of this restriction may result in
a civil penalty imposed on drivers in an amount up to
$2,750. Employers who fail to require their drivers to
comply with safety regulations can be fined up to
$11,000. A first offense could result in a civil penalty
against the driver. If a driver is convicted of committing
a second hand-held mobile telephone use violation
within 3 years, he or she would be disqualified for 60
days, in addition to being subject to the applicable civil
penalty. For three or more hand-held mobile telephone
use convictions for violations committed within 3 years,
a driver would be disqualified for 120 days, in addition
to being subject to the applicable civil penalty.
NOTE: Nothing in the rule authorizes enforcement
officers to require a driver to make a mobile telephone
available so that the officer can review call history for
purposes of enforcing this rule.
Texting prohibited
FMCSA has several studies showing the dangers of
texting. “Total eyes-off-road time when texting while
driving is extremely risky” and “research shows that the
odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g.,
crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) is 23.2
times greater when texting while driving.”
While a headset or other device helps keep your hands
free, you may still become distracted while talking on a
mobile phone while driving. If possible, turn the cell
phone off until your destination is reached, or let calls
go to your voicemail and return them when it is safe to
do so.
The Idaho legislature recently passed a law which
prohibits texting while driving in any motor vehicle
(Idaho Code 49-1401A). A violation of this law is an
infraction.
If you do not have a “compliant” mobile phone (one
that has a speaker or other hands free connection) and
you must use your cell phone, pull off the road in a safe,
legal place when making or receiving a call. Do not
place a call while driving.
Federal law §392.80 prohibits a driver from texting
while operating a CMV. If you are convicted of texting,
you may be disqualified from operating a CMV and your
employer cannot allow you to operate the vehicle. Your
employer is also prohibited from requiring or allowing
their drivers to engage in texting while driving a CMV.
Hang up in demanding traffic situations. It is not safe
to talk on a mobile phone, with or without a hands free
device, while driving in heavy traffic, road construction,
heavy pedestrian traffic, or severe weather conditions.
 Texting while operating a CMV is illegal and is
considered a serious offense
PUSH TO TALK MOBILE PHONES: Because the push-to
talk features use commercial mobile radio services to
transmit and receive voice communications, the device
is a mobile telephone; and it also requires the driver or
user to hold it. Therefore, its use while driving a CMV is
the same as that of a hand-held mobile telephone and is
prohibited.
 Texting means manually entering alphanumeric
text into, or reading text from, an electronic
device
 This action includes, but is not limited to, short
message service, emailing, instant messaging, a
command or request to access a World Wide
Web page, pressing more than a single button
to initiate or terminate a voice communication
A violation of the hands free cell phone rule is
considered to be a serious violation and stiff penalties
2-31
using a mobile telephone, or engaging in any
other form of electronic text retrieval or entry,
for present or future communication.
Aggressive driving and road rage are not new problems;
however, in today’s world, where heavy and slowmoving traffic and tight schedules are the norm, more
and more drivers are taking out their anger and
frustration in their vehicles.
Texting does not include:
 Inputting, selecting, or reading information on
a global positioning system or navigation
system;
Crowded roads leave little room for error, leading to
suspicion and hostility among drivers and encouraging
them to take personally the mistakes of other drivers.
 Pressing a single button to initiate or terminate
a voice communication using a mobile
telephone
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.
 Using a device capable of performing multiple
functions (e.g., fleet management systems,
dispatching devices, smart phones, citizens
band radios, music players, etc.) for a purpose
that
is
not
otherwise
prohibited.
Road rage is operating a motor vehicle with the intent
of doing harm to others or physically assaulting a driver
or their vehicle.
2.10.2 Don’t Be an Aggressive Driver
2.9.3 Watch Out for Other Distracted Drivers
 How you feel before you even start your vehicle
has a lot to do with how stress will affect you
while driving.
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 crash. Watch for:
 Reduce your stress before and while you drive.
Listen to “easy listening” music.
 Give the drive your full attention. Don’t allow
yourself to become distracted by talking on
your cell phone, eating, etc.
 Vehicles that may drift over the lane divider
lines or within their own lane.
 Vehicles traveling at inconsistent speeds.
 Be realistic about your travel time. Expect
delays because of traffic, construction, or bad
weather and make allowances.
 Drivers who are preoccupied with maps, food,
cigarettes, cell phones, or other objects.
 Drivers who appear to be involved
conversations with their passengers.
 If you’re going to be later than you expected –
deal with it. Take a deep breath and accept the
delay.
in
 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.
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.
 Slow down and keep your following distance
reasonable.
2.10 AGGRESSIVE DRIVERS/ROAD RAGE
 Don’t drive slowly in the left lane of traffic.
2.10.1 What Is It?
 Avoid gestures. Keep your hands on the wheel.
Avoid making any gestures that might anger
another driver.
Even seemingly harmless
2-32
expressions of irritation like shaking your head
can trigger anger in another driver.
5. What should you do when confronted with an
aggressive driver?
 Be a cautious and courteous driver. If another
driver seems eager to get in front of you, say,
“Be my guest”. This response will soon become
a habit, and you won’t be as offended by other
drivers’ actions.
6. What are some things you can do to reduce
your stress before and while you drive?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read subsections 2.9 and 2.10.
2.10.3 What You Should Do When Confronted by
an Aggressive Driver
2.11 DRIVING AT NIGHT
2.11.1 More Dangerous
 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.
You are at greater risk when you drive at night. Drivers
can’t see hazards as quickly as in daylight, so they have
less time to respond. Drivers caught by surprise are less
able to avoid a crash. The problems of night driving
involve the driver, the roadway, and the vehicle.
 Avoid eye contact.
2.11.2 Driver Factors
 Ignore gestures and refuse to react to them.
Vision: People can’t see as sharply at night or in dim
light. Also, their eyes need time to adjust to seeing in
dim light. Most people have noticed this when walking
into a dark movie theater.
 Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate
authorities by providing a vehicle description,
license plate number, location, and if possible,
direction of travel.
Glare: Drivers can be blinded for a short time by bright
light. It takes time to recover from this blindness. Older
drivers are especially bothered by glare. Most people
have been temporarily blinded by camera flash units or
by the high beams of an oncoming vehicle. 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 1/2 the distance of a
football field during that time. Don’t look directly at
bright lights when driving. Look at the right side of the
road and watch the sidelines when someone coming
toward you has very bright lights on.
 If you have a cell phone, and can do 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.
Subsections 2.9 and 2.10
Fatigue and Lack of Alertness: Fatigue (being tired) and
lack of alertness are bigger problems at night. The
body’s need for sleep is beyond a person’s control.
Most people 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 crash 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.
Test Your Knowledge
1. What are some tips to follow so you won’t
become a distracted driver?
2. How do you use in-vehicle communications
equipment cautiously?
3. How do you recognize a distracted driver?
4. What is the difference between aggressive
driving and road rage?
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2.11.3 Roadway Factors
Other Lights: In order for you to be seen easily, the
following must be clean and working properly:
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 other areas will
have poor lighting. On most roads you will probably
have to depend entirely on your headlights.
 Reflectors.
 Marker lights.
 Clearance lights.
Less light means you will not be able to see hazards as
well as in the daytime. Road users who do not have
lights are hard to see. There are many accidents at
night involving pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, and
animals.
 Taillights.
 Identification lights.
Even when there are lights, the road scene can be
confusing. Traffic signals and other hazards can be hard
to see against a background of signs, shop windows,
and the glare of other lights.
Turn Signals and Brake Lights: At night your turn
signals and brake lights are even more important for
telling other drivers your intentions. Make sure you
have clean, working turn signals and stop lights.
Drive slower when lighting is poor or confusing. Drive
slowly enough to be sure you can stop in the distance
you can see ahead.
Windshield and Mirrors: It is more important at night
than in the daytime to have a clean windshield and
clean mirrors. Bright lights at night can cause dirt on
your windshield or mirrors to create a glare of its own
and block your view. Most people have experienced
driving toward the sun just as it has risen or is about to
set and found that they can barely see through a
windshield that seemed to look OK in the middle of the
day. Clean your windshield on the inside and outside
for safe driving at night.
Drunk Drivers: Drunk drivers and drivers under the
influence of drugs are a hazard to themselves and to
you. Be especially alert around the closing times for
bars and taverns. Watch for drivers who have trouble
staying in their lane or maintaining speed, who stop
without reason, or show other signs of being under the
influence of alcohol or drugs.
2.11.5 Night Driving Procedures
2.11.4 Vehicle Factors
Pre-trip 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
eyeglasses, make sure they are clean and unscratched
and don’t wear sunglasses at night. Do a complete pretrip inspection of your vehicle and make sure all lights
are operational and light lenses, reflectors and reflector
tape are clean. Clean those you can reach.
Headlights: 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 with your
headlights as you see in the daytime. With low beams
you can see ahead about 250 feet and with high beams
about 350-500 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 cuts down your
ability to see, and makes it harder for others to see you.
Make sure your lights are clean and working.
Headlights can be out of adjustment. If they don’t point
in the right direction, they won’t give you a good view,
and they can blind other drivers. Have a qualified
person make sure they are adjusted properly.
Avoid Blinding Others: Glare from your headlights can
cause problems for drivers coming toward you. They
can also bother drivers going in the same direction you
are when your lights shine in their rearview mirrors.
Dim your lights before they cause glare for other
drivers. Dim your lights within 500 feet of an oncoming
vehicle and when following another vehicle within 500
feet.
Avoid Glare from Oncoming Vehicles: Do not look
directly at lights of oncoming vehicles. Look slightly to
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the right at a right lane or edge marking, if available. If
other drivers don’t switch their headlights to low
beams, don’t try to “get back at them” by switching
your headlights to high beams. This increases glare for
oncoming drivers and increases the chance of a crash.
is ahead of you. The vehicle may not be on the
road at all.
 Use roadside highway reflectors as guides to
determine how the road may curve ahead of
you.
Use High Beams When You Can: Some drivers make
the mistake of always using low beams. This seriously
cuts down on their ability to see ahead. Use high beams
when it is safe and legal to do so. Use them when you
are not within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle. 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
to still be able to read the gauges.
 Listen for traffic you cannot see.
 Avoid passing other vehicles.
 Don’t stop along the side of the road, unless
absolutely necessary.
2.13 DRIVING IN WINTER
2.13.1 Vehicle Checks
If You Get Sleepy, Stop Driving at the Nearest Safe
Place: People often don’t realize how close they are to
falling asleep even when their eyelids are falling shut. If
you can safely do so, look at yourself in a mirror, if you
look sleepy, or you just feel sleepy, stop driving! You
are in a very dangerous condition and the only safe cure
is to sleep.
Make sure your vehicle is ready before driving in winter
weather. You should make a regular pre-trip inspection
paying extra attention to the following items:
Coolant Level and Antifreeze Amount: 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.
2.12 DRIVING IN FOG
Fog can occur at any time. Fog on highways can be
extremely dangerous. Fog is often unexpected, and
visibility can deteriorate rapidly. You should watch for
foggy conditions and be ready to reduce your speed.
Do not assume that the fog will thin out after you enter
it. The best advice for driving in fog is don’t. It is
preferable that you pull off the road into a rest area or
truck stop until visibility is better. If you must drive, be
sure to consider the following:
Defrosting and Heating Equipment: Make sure the
defrosters work. They are needed for safe driving.
Make sure the heater is working, and that you know
how to operate it. If you use other heaters and expect
to need them (i.e., mirror heaters, battery box heaters,
cargo heaters and fuel tank heaters), check their
operation.
Wipers and Washers: Make sure the windshield wiper
blades are in good condition. Make sure the wiper
blades press against the window hard enough to wipe
the windshield clean, otherwise they may not sweep off
snow or water properly. Make sure the windshield
washer works and there is washing fluid in the washer
reservoir. Use windshield washer antifreeze to prevent
freezing of the washer liquid. If you can’t see well
enough while driving (for example, if your wipers fail),
stop safely and fix the problem.
 Obey all fog-related warning signs.
 Slow down before you enter fog.
 Use low-beam headlights and fog lights for the
best visibility even in daytime, and be alert for
other drivers who may have forgotten to turn
on their lights.
 Turn on your 4-way flashers. This will give
vehicles approaching you from behind a quicker
opportunity to notice your vehicle.
Tires: Make sure you have enough tread on your tires.
The drive tires must provide traction to push the vehicle
over wet pavement and through snow. The steering
tires must have traction to steer the vehicle. Having
enough tread is especially important in winter
conditions. You must have at least 4/32 inch tread
 Watch for vehicles on the side of the roadway.
Seeing taillights or headlights in front of you
may not be a true indication of where the road
2-35
depth in every major groove on front tires and at least
2/32 inch on other tires (more tread would be even
better). Use a gauge to determine if you have enough
tread for safe driving.
Slippery Surfaces: Do not use your cruise control or
engine retarder (Jake Brake) while traveling on slippery
surfaces. Drive slowly and smoothly on slippery roads.
Start Gently and Slowly: When first starting, get the
feel of the road. Don’t hurry.
Tire Chains: You may find yourself in conditions where
you can’t drive without chains. This may be true even
to get to a place of safety. Carry the right number of
chains and extra cross-links. Make sure they will fit
your drive and trailer 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 and ice. Check the chain laws of
each state you will drive through in order to determine
their chain requirements on different vehicle
configurations.
Check for Ice: Check for ice on the road, especially
bridges and overpasses. A lack of spray from other
vehicles indicates ice has formed on the road. Also,
check your mirrors and wiper blades for ice. If they
have ice, the road most likely will be icy as well.
Adjust Turning and Braking to Conditions: Make turns
as gently as possible. Don’t brake any harder than
necessary, and don’t use the engine brake or speed
retarder. (They can cause the driving wheels to skid on
slippery surfaces).
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 properly.
Adjust Speed to Conditions: Do not use your cruise
control while traveling on slippery surfaces. Don’t 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 don’t brake while in the curves. Be aware
that as the temperature rises to the point where ice
begins to melt, the road becomes even more slippery.
Slow down more.
Windows and Mirrors: Remove any ice, snow, etc.,
from the windshield, windows, and mirrors before
starting on your trip. Use a windshield scraper, snow
brush, and windshield defroster as necessary.
Hand Holds, Steps, and Deck Plates: Remove all ice
and snow from hand holds, steps, and deck plates. This
will reduce the danger of slipping.
Adjust Space to Conditions: Don't drive alongside
other vehicles and keep a longer following distance.
When you see a traffic jam ahead, slow down or stop to
wait for it to clear. Try hard to anticipate stops early
and slow down gradually. Watch for snowplows, as well
as salt and sand trucks and give them plenty of room.
Radiator Shutters and Winter-front: Remove ice from
the radiator shutters. Make sure the winter-front is not
closed too tightly. If the shutters freeze shut or the
winter-front is closed too much, the engine may
overheat and stop. Watch the engine temperature
gauge for signs that the engine is over-heating.
Wet Brakes: When driving in heavy rain or deep
standing water, your brakes will get wet. Water in 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 not, you
should:
 Slow down and place transmission in a low
gear.
Exhaust System: Exhaust system leaks are especially
dangerous when cab ventilation may be poor (windows
rolled up, etc.). Loose connections could permit
poisonous carbon monoxide to leak into your vehicle.
Carbon monoxide gas will cause you to be sleepy and in
large enough amounts can kill you and/or your
passengers. Check the exhaust system for holes, loose
parts and for sounds and signs of leaks.
 Gently put on the brakes. This presses linings
against brake drums or discs and keeps mud,
silt, sand, and water from getting in.
2.13.2 Driving
2-36
 Increase engine rpm and cross the water while
keeping light pressure on the brakes.
soon as safely possible and try to find out what is
wrong.
 When out of the water, maintain light pressure
on the brakes for a short distance to heat them
up and dry them out.
Some vehicles have sight glasses, see-through coolant
over- flow containers, or coolant recovery containers.
These permit you to check the 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.
 Make a test stop when safe to do so. Check
behind you to make sure no one is following,
then apply the brakes to be sure they work well.
If not, dry them out further as described above.
(CAUTION: Do not apply too much brake
pressure and accelerator at the same time, or
you can overheat the brake drums/rotors and
linings/pads.)
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 you can touch the radiator cap with
your bare hand, it is probably cool enough to open.
2.14 DRIVING IN VERY HOT WEATHER
If coolant has to be added to a system without a
recovery tank or overflow tank, follow these steps:
2.14.1 Vehicle Checks
Do a normal pre-trip inspection, but pay special
attention to the following items:
1. Shut engine off.
2. Wait until engine has cooled.
Tires: Check the tire mounting and air pressure.
Inspect the tires every two hours or every 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.
3. Protect hands (use gloves or a thick cloth).
4. Turn radiator cap slowly to the first stop, which
releases the pressure seal.
5. Step back while pressure is released from
cooling system.
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.
6. When all pressure has been released, press
down on the cap and turn it further to remove
it.
7. Visually check level of coolant and add more
coolant if necessary.
Engine Coolant: Before starting out, make 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, check the water
temperature or coolant temperature gauge from time
to time to make sure the vehicle is operating 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
8. Replace cap and turn all the way to the closed
position.
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 over-heating. Also, check belts for cracking or
other signs of wear.
2-37
Hoses: Make sure coolant hoses are in good condition.
A broken hose while driving can lead to engine failure
and even fire.
2.14.2 Driving
Watch for Bleeding Tar: Tar in the road pavement
frequently rises to the surface in very hot weather.
Spots where tar “bleeds” to the surface are very
slippery.
Go Slowly Enough to Prevent Overheating: High
speeds create more heat for tires and the engine. In
desert conditions the heat may build up to the point
where it is dangerous. The heat will increase chances of
tire failure, fire, and engine failure.
Subsections 2.11, 2.12, 2.13, and 2.14
Test Your Knowledge
Figure 2.15 Railroad Crossing Signs
1. You should use low beams whenever you can.
True or False?
2.15.1 Types of Crossings
Passive Crossings: This type of crossing does not have
any type of traffic control device. The decision to stop
or 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.
2. What should you do before you drive if you are
drowsy?
3. What effects can wet brakes cause? How can
you avoid these problems?
4. You should let air out of hot tires so the
pressure goes back to normal. True or False?
5. You can safely remove the radiator cap as long
as the engine isn’t overheated. True or False?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
all of them, re-read subsections 2.11, 2.12, 2.13, and
2.14.
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.
2.15 RAILROAD-HIGHWAY CROSSINGS
2.15.2 Warning Signs and Devices
Railroad-highway grade crossings are a special kind of
intersection where the roadway crosses train tracks.
These crossings are always dangerous. Every such
crossing must be approached with the expectation that
a train is coming.
Advance Warning Signs: The round, black-on-yellow
warning sign is placed ahead of a public railroadhighway 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 (See
Figure 2.14)
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Figure 2.14 Railroad Crossing Warning Sign
Figure 2.16 Crossbuck Sign
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 (See Figure 2.15).
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 grade 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
(See Figure 2.16).
Flashing Red Light Signal: 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. Many railroadhighway 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 (See Figure
2.17).
Figure 2.17 Railroad Crossing Gate and Light with
Multiple Track Warning Sign
2.15.3 Driving Procedures
Never Race a Train to a Crossing: Never attempt to
race a train to a crossing. It is extremely difficult to
judge the speed of an approaching train.
Reduce Speed: Speed must be reduced in accordance
with your ability to see approaching trains in any
direction, and the speed must be held to a point which
2-39
will permit you to stop short of the tracks in case a stop
is necessary.
Do not shift gears while crossing railroad tracks. It is
against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
and Idaho Code to shift gears while crossing railroad
tracks.
Don’t Expect to Hear a Train: Because of noise inside
your vehicle, you cannot expect to hear the train horn
until the train is dangerously close to the crossing.
2.15.6 Special Situations
Don’t Rely on Signals: You should not rely solely upon
the presence of warning signals, gates, or flagmen to
warn of the approach of trains. Be especially alert at
crossings that do not have gates or flashing red light
signals.
Be Aware! The following trailers can get stuck on raised
crossings:
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.
 Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its
landing gear set to accommodate a tandem-axle
tractor.
 Low slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving
van, possum-belly livestock trailer).
If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get out of
the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check signposts
or signal housing at the crossing for emergency
notification information. Call 911 or other emergency
number and give the location of the crossing using all
identifiable landmarks, especially the DOT number, if
posted.
Yard areas and grade crossings in cities and towns are
just as dangerous as rural grade crossings. Approach
them with as much caution.
2.15.4 Stopping
Crossings
Safely
at
Railroad-Highway
2.16 MOUNTAIN DRIVING
A full stop is required at grade crossings whenever:
In mountain driving, gravity plays a major role. On any
upgrade, gravity slows you down. 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 coming down long, steep
downgrades, gravity causes the speed of your vehicle to
increase. You must select an appropriate safe speed,
use a low gear, and proper braking techniques. You
should plan ahead and obtain information about any
long steep grades along our planned route of travel. If
possible, talk to other drivers who are familiar with the
grades to find out what speeds are safe.
 The nature of the cargo makes a stop
mandatory under state or federal regulations.
 A stop is otherwise required by law.
When stopping be sure to:
 Check for traffic behind you while stopping
gradually. Use a pullout lane, if available
 Turn on your four-way emergency flashers.
2.15.5 Crossing the Tracks
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 until you cannot slow down or stop at all.
Also, over-heated brakes can catch fire. Before starting
down a hill, check your brakes by gently applying the
foot brake to ensure that they are functioning properly.
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.
2-40
2.16.1 Select a “Safe” Speed
2.16.3 Brake Fading or Failure
Your most important consideration when faced with a
steep downgrade is to select a safe speed that is not too
fast for the following circumstances:
Brakes are designed so brake shoes or pads rub against
the brake drum or rotors 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 engine braking effect.
 Total weight of the vehicle and cargo.
 Length of the grade.
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 enough braking available to control the vehicle.
Brakes can get out of adjustment quickly, especially
when they are used a lot; also, brake linings wear faster
when they are hot. Therefore, brake adjustment must
be checked frequently.
 Steepness of the grade.
 Road conditions.
 Weather.
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.
2.16.4 Proper Braking Technique
You must 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 rpm setting, 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.
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:
1. Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a
definite slowdown.
2.16.2
Select the Right Gear before Starting
Down the Grade
2. When your speed has been reduced to
approximately five mph below your “safe”
speed, release the brakes (This brake
application should last for about three
seconds).
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 and also lead
to loss of all engine braking effect.
3. When your speed has increased to your “safe”
speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
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.
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 and
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 modern trucks may have to use
lower gears going down a hill than would be required to
go up the hill. You should know what is right for your
vehicle.
Truck Escape Ramps: Escape ramps have been built on
many steep mountain downgrades. These ramps are
made to stop runaway vehicles safely without injuring
drivers and passengers. Escape ramps use a long bed of
loose soft material to slow a runaway vehicle,
2-41
sometimes in combination with an up-grade. All ramps
are clearly signed with easily accessible entrances.
 Smoking brakes.
Note: The only charge for using an escape
ramp in Idaho is the tow charge to back your
vehicle out.
 Fading brakes or diminished stopping power.
 The engine rpm starts to exceed normal cruise
rpm.
If you use an escape ramp, make sure to lock your
brakes after stopping. Use your cell phone or flag a
motorist down who can contact a towing service, or use
your CB radio tuned to channel nine to call for help.
Know the escape ramp locations on your route. Signs
show drivers where ramps are located. Escape ramps
save lives, equipment, and cargo. Use them if you lose
your brakes.
Subsections 2.15 and 2.16
Test Your Knowledge
1. What factors determine your selection of a
“safe” speed when going down a long, steep
downgrade?
2. Why should you be in the proper gear before
starting down a hill?
The major problems you may encounter on Idaho’s
mountain highways are:
3. Describe the proper braking technique when
going down a long, steep downgrade.
 Failing to shift into a lower gear at the top of
the hill.
4. What type of vehicles can get stuck on a
railroad-highway crossing?
 Driving too fast.
5. How long does it take for a typical tractor-trailer
unit to clear a double track?
 Using brakes too much.
 Falling rocks.
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read subsections 2.15 and 2.16.
 Large animals on the road (livestock, deer and
elk).
2.17 DRIVING 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 manual can help prevent emergencies.
But if an emergency does happen, your chances of
avoiding a crash depend upon how well you take action.
Actions you can take are discussed below.
 Aggressive, impatient drivers.
 Narrow, winding roads.
The danger signs to watch for when driving down
mountain highways are:
 Any air application over 10 p.s.i. to the brakes.
2-42
2.17.1 Steering to Avoid a Crash
but someone may be passing you on the left.
You will know if you have been using your
mirrors.
Stopping is not always the safest thing to do in an
emergency. When you don’t have enough room to
stop, you may have to steer away from what's ahead.
Remember, you can almost always turn to miss an
obstacle more quickly than you can stop; however, topheavy vehicles and tractors with multiple trailers may
flip over.
 If you are blocked on both sides, a move to the
right may be best. At least you won’t force
anyone into an opposing traffic lane and into a
possible head-on collision.
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.
Keep Both Hands on the Steering Wheel: In order to
turn quickly, you must have a firm grip on the steering
wheel with both hands. The best way to have both
hands on the wheel, if there is an emergency, is to keep
them there all the time.
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.
How to Turn Quickly and Safely: A quick turn can be
made safely, if it’s done the right way. Here are some
points that safe drivers use:
Avoid Braking: If possible, avoid using the brakes until
your speed has dropped to about 20 mph and then
brake very gently to avoid skidding on a loose surface.
 Do not apply the brake while you are turning.
It’s very easy to lock your wheels while turning,
and if that happens, you may skid out of control
and/or cause your vehicle to rollover.
Keep One Set of Wheels on the Pavement, if Possible:
This helps to maintain control.
 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.
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:
 Be prepared to “counter-steer,” that is, to turn
the wheel back in the other direction, once
you’ve passed whatever was in your path.
Unless you are prepared to counter-steer, you
won’t be able to do it quickly enough. You
should think of emergency steering and
counter-steering as two parts of one driving
action.
 Hold the wheel tightly and turn sharply enough
to get right back on the road safely. Don’t try to
edge gradually back on the road. If you do, your
tires might grab unexpectedly and you could
lose control.
 When both front tires are on the paved surface,
counter-steer immediately. The two turns
should be made as a single “steer, countersteer” move.
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.
2.17.2 How to Stop Quickly and Safely
If something is blocking your path, the best direction to
steer will depend on the situation.
If somebody suddenly pulls out in front of you, your
natural response is to hit the brakes. This is a good
response if there’s enough distance to stop, and you
use the brakes correctly.
 If you have been using your mirrors, you’ll know
which lane is empty and can be safely used.
 If the shoulder is clear, going right may be best.
No one is likely to be driving on the shoulder
2-43
You should brake in a way that will keep your vehicle in
a straight line and allow you to turn if it becomes
necessary. Unless you have ABS on your vehicle, you
can use the “controlled braking” method or the “stab
braking” method.
Pump the Brakes: Sometimes pumping the brake pedal
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.
Therefore, it 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.
Controlled Braking: With this method, you apply the
brakes as hard as you can without locking the wheels.
Keep steering wheel movements very small while doing
this. If you need to make a larger steering adjustment
or if the wheels lock, release the brakes. Re-apply the
brakes as soon as you can.
Find an Escape Route: While slowing the vehicle, look
for an escape route - an open field, side-street, or
escape ramp. Turning uphill is a good way to slow and
stop the vehicle. Make sure the vehicle does not start
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.
Stab Braking:
 Apply your brakes all the way.
 Release brakes when wheels lock up.
 As soon 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 re-apply the brakes before
the wheels start rolling, the vehicle won't
straighten out).
Brake Failure on Downgrades:
Going slow enough and braking properly will almost
always 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.
Don’t Jam on the Brakes: Unless you have ABS on your
vehicle, 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.
2.17.3 Brake Failure
Brakes kept in good condition rarely fail. Most
hydraulic brake failures occur for one of two reasons
(Air brakes are discussed in Chapter 5):
1. Loss of hydraulic pressure.
2. Brake fade on long hills.
Loss of Hydraulic Pressure: When
the system won’t build up pressure,
the brake pedal will feel spongy or
go to the floor. Following are some
things you can do.
Your best hope is to use an escape ramp. If there is one,
there’ll be signs telling you about it. Ramps are usually
located a few miles from the top of the downgrade.
Every year, hundreds of drivers avoid injury to
themselves or damage to their vehicles by using escape
ramps.
Downshift: Putting the vehicle into a lower gear will
help to slow the vehicle.
2-44
you wait, the faster the vehicle will go, and the harder it
will be to stop or avoid a serious accident.
2.17.4 Tire Failure
Recognize Tire Failure: Quickly knowing you have a tire
failure will let you have more time to react. Having just
a few extra seconds to remember what it is you’re
supposed to do can help you. The major signs of tire
failure include the following:
 Sound: The loud “bang” of a blowout is an
easily recognized sign, because it can take a few
seconds for your vehicle to react. You might
think it was some other vehicle, but any time
you hear a tire blow, you’d be safest to 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.
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.
 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.
Respond to Tire Failure: When a tire fails, your vehicle
is in danger. You must immediately Hold the Steering Wheel Firmly: If a front tire
fails, it can twist the steering wheel out of your
hand. The only way to prevent this is to keep a
firm grip on the steering wheel with both hands
at all times.
 Stay Off the Brake: It’s natural to want to
brake in an emergency. However, braking when
a tire has failed could cause loss of control.
Unless you’re about to run into something, stay
off the brake until the vehicle has slowed down,
and then brake very gently, pull off the road,
and stop.
Special Note: Any driver who loses brakes going
downhill should use an escape ramp if it’s available.
There is no fine or penalty for using an escape ramp! If
you don’t use it, your chances of having a serious crash
may be much greater.
 Check the Tires: After you’ve come to a stop,
get out and check all the tires. Do this even if
the vehicle seems to be handling all right.
Check the inflation and condition of each of
your dual tires and look for other damage a
blowout may have caused.
If no escape ramp is available, take the least hazardous
escape route you can - such as an open field or a side
road that flattens out or turns uphill. Make the move as
soon as you know your brakes don’t work. The longer
2-45
2.18 ANTILOCK BRAKING SYSTEMS (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.
2.18.1 How Antilock Braking Systems Work
2.18.2 Vehicles Required to Have Antilock
Braking Systems
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations requires
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 lbs or
more built on or after March 1, 1999.
Many commercial vehicles built before these dates have
been voluntarily equipped with ABS.
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 Warning
Light
ABS works far faster than the driver can respond to
potential wheel lockup. At all other times the brake
system will operate normally.
2.18.3 How to Know If Your Vehicle Is Equipped
with ABS
2-46
Tractors, trucks, and buses will have yellow ABS
malfunction lamps on the instrument panel.
2.18.5 ABS on the Tractor Only or Only on the
Trailer
Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps on the
left side, either on the front or rear corner.
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.
If all vehicles in a combination are equipped with
working ABS, during an emergency stop when hard
braking is required, apply continuous pressure on the
brake pedal. Do Not Pump the Brake Pedal as this will
defeat the system’s design and reduce the effectiveness
of the ABS and cause the vehicle to increase its stopping
distance. The ABS will activate immediately, allowing
you to retain full steering control during hard braking
and on slippery surfaces; however, ABS does not
decrease stopping distances.
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.
During hard braking with ABS, the system actually
pumps the brakes for you at a higher rate than you
could do yourself. This pumping action causes a noise
from the ABS pump motor, and you may feel a
noticeable pulse through the brake pedal. Do not be
concerned by the noise and pulsation, because this is
normal and there is no reason for concern. Knowing
you will hear the pump motor and feel the pulse will
help you resist the natural instinct to remove your foot
from the brake pedal.
In the case of towed units manufactured before it was
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 ECU and wheel speed sensor
wires coming from the back of the brakes.
2.18.4 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.
2.18.6 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.
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.
 Brake the same way, regardless of whether you
have ABS on the bus, tractor, the trailer, or
both.
2-47
 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.
 ABS won’t compensate for bad brakes or poor
brake maintenance.
 Remember, the best vehicle safely feature is
still a safe driver.
 If all vehicles in a combination are equipped
with working ABS, during an emergency stop
when hard braking is required, apply
continuous pressure on the brake pedal and Do
Not Pump The Brakes.
 Remember: drive so you never need to use your
ABS.
 Remember: if you need it, ABS could help to
prevent a serious crash.
2.18.7 Braking If ABS Is Not Working
 Remember: don’t pump the brakes during an
emergency stop if the ABS is working on all
vehicles in the combination.
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.
2.19 SKID CONTROL AND RECOVERY
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 or the ABS sensors could merely be covered in
mud or dirt. Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you
still have regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the
system serviced soon.
A skid happens whenever the tires lose their grip on the
road. This is caused in one of four ways:
Over-braking: Braking too hard and locking up the
wheels. Skids also can occur when using the cruise
control and speed retarder when the road is slippery.
Over-steering: Turning the wheels more sharply than
the vehicle can turn.
2.18.8 Safety Reminders
Over-acceleration: Supplying too much power to the
drive wheels, causing them to spin.
 ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow
more closely, or drive less carefully.
Driving Too Fast: Most serious skids result from driving
too fast for road conditions. Drivers who adjust their
driving to conditions don’t over-accelerate and don’t
have to over-brake or over-steer from too much speed.
 ABS won’t 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.
2.19.1 Drive-wheel Skids
 ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping
distance. ABS will help maintain vehicle control,
but not always shorten stopping distance.
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. Taking your foot off the
accelerator can easily stop them (If it is very slippery,
push the clutch in. Otherwise, the engine can keep the
wheels from rolling freely and regaining traction).
 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 braking 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.
Rear wheel braking skids occur when the rear drive
wheels lock. Because locked wheels have less traction
than rolling wheels, the rear wheels usually slide
sideways in an attempt to “catch up” with the front
wheels. In a bus or straight truck, the vehicle will slide
sideways in a “spin out.” With vehicles towing trailers,
2-48
a drive-wheel skid can let the trailer push the towing
vehicle sideways, causing a sudden jackknife (See Figure
2.18).
to let the vehicle slow down. Stop turning and/or
braking so hard. Slow down as quickly as possible
without skidding.
Subsections 2.17, 2.18, and 2.19
Test Your Knowledge
1. Stopping is not always the safest thing to do in
an emergency. True or False?
2. What are some advantages of going right
instead of left around an obstacle?
3. What is an “escape ramp?”
4. If a tire blows out, you should put the brakes on
hard to stop quickly. True or False?
5. How do you know if your vehicle has antilock
brakes?
6. What is the proper braking technique when
driving a vehicle with antilock brakes?
7. How do antilock brakes help you?
2.19.2 Correcting a Drive-wheel Braking Skid
Do the following to correct a drive-wheel braking skid:
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read subsections 2.17, 2.18, and 2.19.
Stop Braking: This will let the rear wheels roll again,
and keep the rear wheels from sliding any.
2.20 ACCIDENT PROCEDURES
When you’re in an accident and not seriously hurt, you
need to act to prevent further damage or injury. The
basic steps to be taken at any accident are to:
Counter-steer: As a vehicle turns back on course, it has
a tendency to keep on turning. Unless you turn the
steering wheel quickly the other way, you may find
yourself skidding in the opposite direction.
 Protect the area.
Learning to stay off the brake, turn the steering wheel
quickly, push in the clutch, and counter-steer in a skid
takes a lot of practice. The best place to get this
practice is on a large driving range or “skid pad.
 Notify the authorities.
 Care for the injured.
2.20.1 Protect the Area
2.19.3 Front-wheel Skids
The first thing to do at an accident scene is to keep
another accident from happening in the same spot. To
protect the accident area:
Driving too fast for conditions causes most front-wheel
skids. Other causes include lack of tread on the front
tires and cargo loaded so not enough weight is on the
front axle. In a front-wheel 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
 If your vehicle is involved in the accident, try to
get it to the side of the road. This will help
prevent another accident and allow traffic to
move.
2-49
 If you’re stopping to help, park away from the
accident. The area immediately around the
accident will be needed for emergency vehicles.
 Electrical System:
Short circuits due to
damaged insulation, loose connections.
 Fuel: Driver smoking, improper fueling, loose
fuel connections, leaking fuel tanks and lines.
 Put on your flashers.
 Set out reflective triangles to warn other traffic.
Make sure other drivers can see them in time to
avoid the accident.
 Cargo: Flammable cargo improperly sealed, or
loaded cargo with poor ventilation.
 Brakes: Truck and/or trailer(s) due to heat
generated by excessive braking or locked
brakes.
2.20.2 Notify Authorities
If you have a cell phone or CB, call for assistance before
you get out of your vehicle. If not, wait until after the
accident scene has been properly protected, then
phone or send someone to phone the police. Try to
determine where you are so you can give the exact
location.
2.21.2 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 the
fire extinguisher to ensure it is fully charged and
appropriately rated for the vehicle driven.
2.20.3 Care for the Injured
If a qualified person is at the accident and helping the
injured, stay out of the way unless asked to assist.
Otherwise, do the best you can to help any injured
parties. Here are some simple steps to follow in giving
assistance:
Power units used to transport hazardous
materials in a quantity that requires
placarding must be equipped with a fire
extinguisher having a UL rating of 10 B:C or
better.
 Don’t move a severely injured person unless the
danger of fire or passing traffic makes it
necessary.
Power units that are not used to transport
hazardous materials must be equipped with
a fire extinguisher having a UL rating of 5
B:C or better, or two 2) fire extinguishers
having a UL rating of 4 B:C or more.
 Stop heavy bleeding by applying direct pressure
to the wound.
 Keep the injured person warm.
 En Route Inspection: Check the tires, wheels,
and truck body for signs of heat whenever you
stop during a trip.
2.21 FIRES
Truck fires can cause damage and injury. Learn the
causes of fires and how to prevent them. Know what to
do to extinguish fires.
 Follow Safe Procedures: Follow correct safety
procedures for fueling the vehicle, using brakes,
handling flares, and other activities that can
cause a fire.
2.21.1 Causes of Fire
The following are some causes of vehicle fires:
 Monitoring: Check the instruments and gauges
often for signs of overheating and use the
mirrors to look for signs of smoke from tires,
brakes, cargo, or the vehicle.
 After Accidents: Spilled fuel, improper use of
flares.
 Tires: Under-inflated tires and duals that touch.
 Caution: Use normal caution in handling
anything flammable.
2-50
2.21.3 Fire Fighting
Class/Type of Fires
Class Type
Knowing how to fight fires is important. 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.
A
B
Pull Off the Road: The first step is to get the vehicle off
the road and stop. In doing so:
C
 Park in an open area, away from buildings,
trees, brush, other vehicles, or anything that
might catch fire.
D
 Don’t pull into a service station!
Wood, Paper, Ordinary Combustibles
Extinguish by Cooling and Quenching Using Water or
Dry Chemicals
Gasoline, Oil, Grease, Other Greasy Liquids
Extinguish by Smothering, Cooling or Heat Shielding
Using Carbon Dioxide or Dry Chemicals
Electrical Equipment Fires
Extinguish with Non-conducting Agents such as
Carbon Dioxide or Dry Chemicals. DO NOT USE
WATER.
Fires in Combustible Metals
Extinguish by Using Specialized Extinguishing
Powders
Table 2.2
 Notify emergency services of your problem and
your location.
Keep the Fire from Spreading: Before trying to put out
the fire, make sure that it doesn’t spread any further.
 With an engine fire, turn off the engine as soon
as you can. Don’t open the hood if you can
avoid it. Discharge the contents of your fire
extinguisher (UL rated B:C or better) through
the front grill or under side of the vehicle.
 For a cargo fire in a van or box trailer, keep the
doors shut, especially if your cargo contains
hazardous materials. Opening the van doors
will supply the fire with oxygen and can cause it
to burn very fast.
Extinguish the Fire: Here are some rules to follow in
putting out a fire:
 When using the extinguisher, stay as far away
from the fire as possible.
 The “A:B:C” type is designed to work on:
burning wood, paper and cloth; electrical fires,
and burning liquids.
 Aim at the source or base of the fire, not up in
the flames.
 Water can be used on wood, paper, or cloth,
but don’t use water on an electrical fire (can
cause shock) or a gasoline fire (it will spread the
flames).
Use the Right Fire Extinguisher
 Tables 2.2 and 2.3 detail the type of fire
extinguisher to use by class of fire.
 A burning tire must be cooled. Lots of water
may be required.
 The “B:C” type fire extinguisher is designed to
work on electrical fires and burning liquids.
 If you’re not sure what to use, especially on a
hazardous materials fire, wait for
2-51
This is a fixed rate, so only time, not black coffee or a
cold shower, will sober you up. 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 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
commonly measures the amount of alcohol in your body
(See Table 2.4).
firefighters.
 Position yourself upwind. Let the wind carry
the extinguisher to the fire.
 Continue until whatever was burning has been
cooled. Absence of smoke or flame does not
mean the fire cannot restart.
Effects Of Increasing
Blood Alcohol Content
Blood Alcohol Content is the amount of alcohol in your blood
recorded in milligrams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood. Your
BAC depends on the amount of blood (which increases with weight)
and the amount of alcohol you consume over time (how fast you
drink). The faster you drink, the higher your BAC, as the liver can
only handle about one drink per hour—the rest builds up in your
blood.
Subsections 2.20 and 2.21
Test Your Knowledge
1. What are some things to do at an accident
scene to prevent another accident?
2. Name two causes of tire fires.
BAC
.02
3. What kinds of fires is a “B:C” extinguisher not
good for?
.05
Effects on Body
Mellow feeling, slight body
warmth.
Noticeable relaxation.
.08
Effects on Driving Condition
Less inhibited.
Less alert, less self-focused,
coordination
impairment
begins.
Drunk driving limit, impaired
coordination & judgment.
Reduction in reaction time.
Definite impairment in
coordination & judgment .
.10*
Noisy, may exhibit
embarrassing behavior,
mood swings.
.15
Impaired
balance
& Unable to drive.
movement, clearly drunk.
.30
Many lose consciousness.
.40
Most lose consciousness,
some die.
.50
Breathing stops, many die.
BAC of .10 means that 1/10 of 1 % (or 1/1000) of your total blood
content is alcohol.
4. When using your extinguisher, should you
get as close as possible to the fire?
5. Name some causes of vehicle fires.
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 2.20 and 2.21.
2.22 ALCOHOL, OTHER DRUGS, AND DRIVING
2.22.1 Alcohol and Driving
Table 2.4
Drinking alcohol and then driving is very dangerous
and a serious problem. People who drink alcohol are
involved in traffic accidents resulting in over 20,000
deaths every year.
What Is a Drink? It is the alcohol in drinks that
affects human performance. It doesn’t make any
difference whether that alcohol comes from “a couple
of beers,” or from two glasses of wine, or two shots of
hard liquor.
Alcohol impairs muscle coordination, reaction time,
depth perception, and night vision. It also affects the
parts of the brain that control judgment and inhibition.
For some people, one drink is all it takes to show signs of
impairment.
All of the following drinks contain the same amount of
alcohol:
 A 12-ounce glass of 5% beer.
How Alcohol Works: Alcohol goes directly into the
blood stream and is carried to the brain. After passing
through the brain, a small percentage is removed in
urine, perspiration, and by breathing, while the rest is
carried to the liver. The liver can only process onethird an ounce of alcohol per hour, which is
considerably less than the alcohol in a standard drink.
 A 5-ounce glass of 12% wine.
 A 1.5-ounce shot of 80 proof liquor (40%
alcohol).
What Determines Blood Alcohol Content? BAC is
determined by the amount of alcohol you drink (more
2-52
 Running over the curb.
alcohol means higher BAC), how fast you drink (faster
drinking means higher BAC), and your weight (a small
person doesn’t have to drink as much to reach the same
BAC).
 Weaving.
As BAC continues to build, It is the alcohol in drinks
Alcohol and the Brain: Alcohol affects more and more
of the brain as BAC builds up. The first part of the brain
affected controls judgment and self-control. One of the
bad things about this is it can keep drinkers from
knowing they are getting drunk, and, of course, good
judgment and self-control are absolutely necessary for
safe driving.
that affects human performance. It doesn't make
any difference whether that alcohol comes from "a
couple of beers,” or from two glasses of wine, or
two shots of hard liquor. Approximate Blood
Alcohol Content
Drinks
As BAC continues to build up, muscle control, vision,
and coordination are affected more and more. Effects
on driving may include:
Effects
Body Weight in Pounds
1
8
0
2
0
0
2
2
0
2
4
0
0
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
.00
1
.04
.03
.03
.02
.02
.02
.02
.02
2
.08
.06
.05
.05
.04
.04
.03
.03
3
.11
.09
.08
.07
.06
.06
.05
.05
4
.15
.12
.11
.09
.08
.08
.07
.06
5
.19
.16
.13
.12
.11
.09
.09
.08
6
.23
.19
.16
.14
.13
.11
.10
.09
7
.26
.22
.19
.16
.15
.13
.12
.11
8
.30
.25
.21
.19
.17
.15
.14
.13
9
.34
.28
.24
.21
.19
.17
.15
.14
10
.38
.31
.27
.23
.21
.19
.17
.16
 Straddling lanes.
 Quick, jerky starts.
 Not signaling, failure to use lights.
 Running stop signs and red lights.
 Improper passing.
These effects mean increased chances of a crash and
excellent chances for being arrested and losing your
driver’s license. Accident statistics show that the
chance of a crash is much greater for drivers who have
been drinking than for drivers who have not.
Blood Alcohol Content is the amount of alcohol in your
blood recorded in milligrams of alcohol per 100
millimeters of blood or milligrams. Your BAC depends
on the amount of blood (which increases with weight)
and the amount of alcohol you consume over time (how
fast you drink). The faster you drink, the higher your
BAC, as the liver can only handle about one drink per
hour - the rest builds up in your blood (See Table 2.5).
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:
Legally Intoxicated
Criminal Penalties
1
6
0
Driving Skills Significantly
Affected
Criminal Penalties
1
4
0
Impairment
Begins
1
2
0
Only Safe
Driving
Limit
1
0
0
 Increased reaction time to hazards.
Subtract .01% for each 40 minutes of drinking. One drink is 1.25
oz. of 80 proof liquor, 12 oz. of beer, or 5 oz. of table wine.
 Driving too fast or too slow.
 Driving in the wrong lane.
Table 2.5
2-53
Schedule Trips Safely: Try to arrange your schedule so
you are not in “sleep debt” before a long trip. Your
body gets used to sleeping during certain hours. If you
are driving during those hours, you will be less alert. If
possible, try to schedule trips for the hours you are
normally awake. Many heavy motor vehicle accidents
occur between midnight and 6 a.m. Tired drivers can
easily fall asleep at these times, especially if they don’t
regularly drive at those hours. Trying to push on and
finish a long trip at these times can be very dangerous.
2.22.2 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 being under
the influence of any “controlled substance,”
amphetamines (including “pep pills,” “uppers,” and
“bennies”), narcotics, or any other substance, which can
make the driver unsafe. This could include a variety of
prescription and over-the-counter drugs (cold
medicines), which may make the driver drowsy or
otherwise affect his/her safe driving ability. However,
possession and use of a drug given to a driver by a
doctor is permitted if the doctor informs the driver that
it will not affect his/her safe driving ability.
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.
Pay attention to warning labels for legitimate drugs and
medicines, and to doctor’s orders regarding possible
side effects of the drug. Stay away from illegal drugs.
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.
Don’t use any drug that hides fatigue - the only cure for
fatigue is rest. Alcohol can make the effects of other
drugs much worse. The safest rule is don’t mix drugs
with driving at all.
Use of drugs can lead to traffic accidents resulting in
death, injury, and property damage. Furthermore, it
can lead to arrest, fines, and jail sentences. It can also
mean the end of a person’s driving career.
Avoid Medication: Many medicines can make you
sleepy, and those that do usually 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.
2.23 STAYING ALERT AND FIT TO DRIVE
Driving a vehicle for long hours is tiring. Even the best
of drivers will become less alert. However, there are
things that good drivers do to help stay alert and safe.
Visit Your Doctor: Regular checkups literally can be
lifesavers. Illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and
skin and colon cancer can be detected easily and
treated if found in time.
2.23.1 Be Ready to Drive
Get Enough Sleep: Sleep is not like money. You can’t
save it up ahead of time and you can’t borrow it later;
however, just as with money, you can go into debt with
it. If you don’t sleep enough, you “owe” more sleep to
yourself. This 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.
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.
2.23.2 While You Are Driving
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.
2-54
Take Breaks: Short breaks can keep you alert, but the
time to take them is before you feel really drowsy or
tired, not after. Stop often and 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.
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.
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. Here 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.
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: Don’t 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.
 Your eyes close or go out of focus by themselves.
2.23.4 Illness
 You have trouble keeping your head up.
Once in a while, you may become so ill that you cannot
operate a motor vehicle safely. If this happens to you,
you must not drive; however, in case of an emergency,
you may drive to the nearest place where you can safely
stop.
 You can’t stop yawning.
 You have wandering, disconnected thoughts.
2.24 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS RULES FOR ALL
COMMERCIAL DRIVERS
 You don’t remember driving the last few miles.
 You drift between lanes, tailgate, or miss traffic
signs.
All drivers should know something about hazardous
materials. You must be able to recognize hazardous
cargo, and you must know whether or not you can haul
it without having a hazardous materials endorsement
on your license.
 You keep jerking the truck back into the lane.
 You have drifted off the road and narrowly missed
crashing.
2.24.1 What Are Hazardous Materials?
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.
Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to
health, safety, and property during transportation (See
Table 2.6)
2.23.3 When You Do Become Sleepy
2.24.2 Why Are There Rules?
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.
You must follow the many rules about transporting
hazardous materials. The intent of the rules is to:
 Contain the product.
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
 Communicate the risk.
 Ensure safe drivers and equipment.
2-55
Hazard Class Definitions
Class
Class Name
1
After an accident or hazardous material spill or leak, you
may be injured and unable to communicate the hazards
of the materials you are transporting. Firefighters and
police can prevent or reduce the amount of damage or
injury at the scene if they know what hazardous
materials are being carried. Your life, and the lives of
others, may depend on quickly locating the hazardous
materials shipping papers. For that reason, you must
tab shipping papers related to hazardous materials or
keep them on top of other shipping papers. You must
also keep shipping papers:
Example
Explosives
Ammunition,
Dynamite,
Fireworks
Gases
Propane, Oxygen,
Helium
Flammable
Gasoline
Acetone
2
3
Fuel,
 In a pouch on the driver’s door, or
4
Flammable
Solids
Matches, Fuses
Oxidizers
Ammonium
Nitrate,
Hydrogen
Peroxide
Poisons
Pesticides,
Arsenic
Radioactive
Uranium,
Plutonium
Corrosives
Hydrochloric
Acid, Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Hazardous
Materials
Formaldehyde,
Asbestos
None
ORM-D (Other
Regulated
MaterialDomestic)
Hair Spray
Charcoal
None
Combustible
Liquids
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Fluid
5
 In clear view within reach while driving, or
 On the driver’s seat when out of the vehicle.
2.24.3 Lists of Regulated Products
Placards are used to warn others of hazardous
materials. Placards are signs put on the outside of a
vehicle that identify the hazard class of the cargo. A
placarded vehicle must have at least four identical
placards. They are put on the front, rear, and both
sides. Placards must be readable from all four
directions. They are at least 10 3/4 inches square,
turned upright on a point, in a diamond shape. Cargo
tanks and other bulk packaging display the
identification number of their contents on placards or
orange panels.
6
7
8
9
Identification Numbers are a four digit code 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 U.S. DOT Emergency Response
Guidebook (ERG) identifies the chemicals to which all
identification numbers are assigned.
or
Table 2.6
Not all vehicles carrying hazardous materials need to
have placards. The rules about placards are given in
Chapter 9 of this manual. You can drive a vehicle that
carries hazardous materials if it does not require
placards. If it requires placards, you cannot drive it
unless your driver’s license has the hazardous materials
endorsement (See Figure 2.19).
To Contain the Product: Many hazardous products can
injure or kill on contact. To protect drivers and others
from contact, the rules tell shippers how to package
safely. Similar rules tell drivers how to load, transport,
and unload bulk tanks. These are containment rules.
To Communicate the Risk: The shipper uses a shipping
paper and diamond shaped hazard labels to warn
dockworkers and drivers of the risk.
The rules require all drivers of placarded vehicles to
learn how to safely load and transport hazardous
products. They must have a commercial driver’s license
2-56
with a hazardous materials endorsement. To get the
required endorsement, you must pass a written test on
material found in Chapter 9 of this manual. A tank
endorsement is required for certain vehicles that
transport liquids or gases. The liquid or gas does not
have to be a hazardous material. A tank endorsement is
only required if your vehicle needs a Class A or B CDL,
and your vehicle has a permanently mounted cargo
tank of any capacity; or your vehicle is carrying a
portable tank with a capacity of 1,000 gallons or more.
Test Your Knowledge
1. Common medicines for colds can make you
sleepy. True or False?
2. What should you do if you become sleepy while
driving?
3. Coffee and a little fresh air will help a drinker
sober up. True or False?
4. What is a hazardous materials placard?
5. Why are placards used?
6. What is “sleep debt”?
7. What are the danger signals of drowsy driving?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read subsections 2.22, 2.23, and 2.24.
2.25 SHARING THE ROAD
2.25.1 Introduction.
As a professional driver, you
will be faced with the daily
challenges of driving a large
heavy commercial vehicle in
several different traffic and
weather
environments.
Traffic is of constant concern
to the commercial vehicle
driver, so he/she must pay
specific attention to the
limitations and characteristics of the equipment they
operate (i.e., off-tracking, visibility blind spots – The No
Zone, See Figure 2.20, acceleration and stopping
characteristics of the vehicle, etc.).
Drivers who need the hazardous materials endorsement
must learn the placard rules. If you do not know if your
vehicle needs placards, ask your employer. Never drive
a vehicle needing placards unless you have the
hazardous materials endorsement. To do so is a crime.
When stopped you will be cited and you will not be
allowed to drive your truck further. It will cost you time
and money. A failure to placard when needed may risk
your life and others if you have an accident. Emergency
help will not know of your hazardous cargo.
The commercial driver must also be concerned with the
effects their equipment may have (i.e., air turbulence,
spray, flying debris, etc.) on others sharing the road or
being next to it (i.e., smaller vehicles, motorcycles,
bicycles and pedestrians).
Hazardous materials drivers must also know which
products they can load together, and which they
cannot. These rules are also in Chapter 9. Before
loading a truck with more than one type of product, you
must know if it is safe to load them together. If you do
not know, ask your employer.
The keys to minimizing hazards to others you share the
roadway with are:
 Patience
Subsections 2.22, 2.23, and 2.24
 Courtesy
2-57
commercial vehicle’s blind spot. Because it may be hard
to judge the distance to motorcycles, or to tell how fast
they are moving, be alert to their presence and be extra
cautious. Approximately one-half of all motorcycle
crashes involve another motor vehicle, so it is important
to practice safe driving in order to help avoid collisions.
Here are some situations that call for special attention
when motorcycles are around.
 Respect for the rights of others
 Heightened awareness of potential problems
 Abundance of caution
Left turns: Vehicles turning left in front of an oncoming
motorcycle cause nearly 40 percent of serious
car/motorcycle crashes. Drivers may fail to see a
motorcycle rider in the traffic scene, or a driver may fail
to judge the speed of an oncoming motorcycle. As a
driver, the correct precaution is for you to look and
then look again. Make sure you see the motorcycle and
know its speed before you make a left turn.
Turn signals: Most motorcycles do not have turn
signals that turn off automatically. At times, motorcycle
riders may forget to switch the signal off. Before you
make a turn in front of a motorcycle with a signal
flashing, be sure the motorcycle is turning and not
continuing straight into your path.
Lanes: Motorcycles are entitled to the same full lane
width as all other vehicles. Good motorcycle riders are
constantly changing positions within the lane so they
can see and be seen, and to avoid objects in the
road. Never move into the same lane alongside a
motorcycle, even if the lane is wide and the
motorcyclist is riding far to one side.
Figure 2.20
Bad weather: Weather conditions and slippery surfaces
can be serious problems for motorcycles. Allow even
more following room when it’s raining or the road
surface is slick.
2.25.2 Motorcycles
Road surface: Unusual road surfaces and irregularities
in the road that don’t affect other vehicles can create
problems for motorcycles. Gravel, debris, pavement
seams, small animals, and even manhole covers may
force a motorcycle rider to change speed or direction.
Visibility: Always make a visual check for motorcycles
by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or
leaving a lane of traffic or an intersection. Motorcyclists
are often hidden in a vehicle’s blind spot or missed in a
quick look due to their smaller size. Always use turn
signals and brake lights to signal your intentions for
turning, changing lanes, merging, slowing and stopping.
This allows the motorcyclist to anticipate traffic flow
Motorcycle riders have the same rights and
responsibilities as other highway users, and they must
obey the same traffic laws. Motorcycles are smaller and
harder to see than cars. They’re easily hidden in a
2-58
and find a safe lane position. Allow more than 3
seconds following distance between your vehicle and
the motorcycle. This allows you and the motorcyclist
enough time to maneuver or stop in an emergency.
ahead of you, do not assume that you can beat
the bicycle to the turn. Misjudgment can result
in a broadside crash called the "right hook."
Avoid right-hook crashes by slowing and
remaining behind the bicyclist until he rides
past the point where you will turn. On streets
with bike lanes, remember that you are turning
across a dedicated travel lane. Always look for
and expect bicyclists.
2.25.3 Bicyclists
Every year the number of
bicycles increases on
Idaho roadways. Cycling
has
become
an
important means of
transportation as well as
recreation. Bicyclists are
legally allowed to ride on
all Idaho roadways, have
the same rights as
motorists, and are required to ride with the flow of
traffic. They must ride as close to the right-hand curb or
edge of the roadway as safety allows, except when
passing, turning left, avoiding an obstacle, or when the
roadway does not allow a bicycle and vehicle to travel
safely side by side.
 INTERSECTIONS: When proceeding through or
turning at an intersection, always scan the
corners of the intersection more than once. An
approaching cyclist can easily travel 50 to 100
feet in a few seconds, so what you saw on your
first look may change. Looking one last time
before proceeding is a good safety practice.
 DASHED BIKE LANE LINES:
Dashed lines
indicate a merging movement is allowed and
expected. Check for bicyclists first. When
turning right at an intersection it is OK to
occupy the bike lane in the dashed line area.
This prevents cyclists from approaching along
your right side and forces them to blend into
the lane of traffic that will best suit their
intentions when going through the intersection.
In Idaho, cyclists do not need to come to a complete
stop at stop signs. They must, however, yield the rightof-way to vehicles in or already at the intersection, and
then proceed with caution through the intersection.
Bicyclists may proceed with caution through a red light
after stopping and yielding the right of way to vehicles
already in the intersection. They do not need to come
to a complete stop when turning right on a red light;
however, they must yield the right of way to vehicles
already in the intersection.
 SIDEWALKS: Bicyclists can legally ride on
sidewalks in most communities although there
is no legal requirement to use them. Young
children usually ride on the sidewalk, so be
extremely cautious when pulling in or out of a
driveway.
 CHILDREN: Be aware that children riding along
the street often change direction unexpectedly,
so pass them with extra caution and distance.
Cyclists are relatively unprotected compared to motor
vehicle operators and most collisions result in injury to
the cyclist; therefore, motor vehicle operators should
be alert and use caution when encountering them.
The following are some rules you must observe when
operating your vehicle around cyclists:
 BEING IN A HURRY: Never rush a turn or
squeeze past a bicyclist just to beat traffic or a
traffic light. The few seconds you are trying to
save may cost a life.
 RIGHT TURNS WHEN STOPPED: When stopped,
never only look to the left before turning right.
Always look both left and right, checking the
right first. A cyclist riding against traffic or on
the sidewalk may be approaching on your right.
Also, a cyclist may be pulled up alongside to
turn right. A crash is easily preventable if you
look both directions before turning.
 RIGHT TURNS WHEN MOVING: If you are
preparing for a right turn and a bicyclist is
 EXPECT BICYCLISTS:
Bicyclists are not as
noticeable as motor vehicles. Their position on
the road, smaller size, and slower speed
requires drivers to consciously look for them.
Always drive with the expectation that bicyclists
are on the road.
 PASSING DISTANCE: A typical 12-foot-wide
travel lane is not wide enough to safely share
2-59
with a bicyclist. Cycling instructors and riding
manuals teach bicyclists to ride at least 3 feet
from the edge of pavement to avoid
accumulated edge debris and have enough
space to the right, away from traffic, for an
emergency maneuver.
Three feet is the
minimum passing space that motorists should
leave when passing a bicyclist. Higher speeds
require more passing space. Always wait until
you can see oncoming traffic and then safely
pass by moving partially or fully into the other
lane. This delay is usually brief.
 BE PATIENT: The design of some streets and
highways requires that for safety bicyclists must
occupy the travel lane by riding in the center,
not to the right. Do not tailgate the bicyclist.
These are usually brief stretches of narrow
roadway where it is unsafe for a motorist to
pass a bicyclist.
 PASS WITH CARE:
Check your mirrors carefully before moving
back
 COMMUNICATION: If you want to make sure a
bicyclist sees you, wave a hand or nod your
head, and wait for the bicyclist’s reaction. Do
not depend on making “eye contact.”
The wind produced by your vehicle could
cause a cyclist to swerve out of control.
In wet weather, try to stay to the far side of
the lane in order not to splash water or
spray the cyclist.
 HONKING: Never honk when close to a
bicyclist, it is startling.
 INFORMATION PAMPHLETS: Idaho Bicycling
Street Smarts and the Idaho Bicycle Commuter
Guide are available from the Idaho
Transportation Department. You may order
copies
from
the
website
at
www.itd.idaho.gov/bike_ped/Commuter_Street
Smarts.html or check with your County driver’s
license office for a copy.
 PARALLEL PARKING: Always look behind you
for approaching bicyclists before opening the
driver’s door.
 BE PREDICTABLE: Road safety depends upon
predictability. Always use your turn signal.
Bicyclists and other motorists will appreciate
knowing your intent to turn or change lanes.
2.25.4 Pedestrians
 BIKE LANES: Parking in bike lanes is not
allowed. These are designated travel lanes for
bicyclists and should not be blocked.
Vehicle-pedestrian collisions account for approximately
12 percent of all traffic deaths. When driving a
commercial vehicle, you must be aware of pedestrian
activity,
particularly
in
residential areas, near
schools, school crossings,
trail crossings, parking
lots,
intersections,
crosswalks, bus stops,
playgrounds, and parks.
 YIELD TO CYCLISTS:
Bicycles are considered vehicles
Cyclists should be given the appropriate
right of way
Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse
intersections
2-60
You always need to be alert and use caution when
driving near pedestrians. Pedestrians are unpredictable
and highly vulnerable to injury.
authorized to do so by a police officer. Do not pass the
procession in the right lane on a multi-lane highway
unless the procession is in the farthest left lane. You
may not enter an intersection when the procession is
proceeding through (regardless of the color of the
traffic light) unless you can do so without crossing the
path of the procession. Always give funeral processions
the right of way.
2.25.5 Children at Play
Take extra care when driving
in residential areas and
school zones and at times
and places where children
are likely to be found near
the roadway. Before getting
into your vehicle, walk
around it to be sure no
children are playing near it
that you may not be able to
see from the driver’s seat.
When backing out of a driveway, watch for children
who may run behind your vehicle. OBEY THE SPEED
LIMIT and be alert when vehicles are parked along the
roadway. Darting into traffic from between or around a
parked car is a common cause of serious injury to
children. They are often too short to be seen easily
when playing near parked cars, so use extra caution
when you see any children near the roadway. They may
have an unseen playmate who cannot see you either.
All vehicles in a funeral procession are required to have
their headlights and tail lights turned on. The first and
last vehicles in the procession must also have their
warning lights flashing to indicate the beginning and
ending points of the formation.
2.25.6 Horseback Riders
People riding horses
are allowed to use
most public roads.
They also have the
same rights as motor
vehicle operators and
must obey the same
rules.
When
approaching someone
riding a horse, take
care
to
avoid
frightening the animal—
slow down and allow plenty of room when passing.
Never sound your horn because you may frighten the
horse and cause an accident. If you encounter a rider
that is having difficulty controlling an animal, be sure to
use extreme caution when going around them. Stop if
necessary to prevent becoming a part of the hazard.
2.25.8 Open Range
Horses, cattle, sheep,
goats,
and
other
livestock that are
under
controlled
movement over a
highway or road have
the right of way in
Idaho.
When you
meet or overtake any
livestock herds, be careful and cooperate with the
workers in charge.
2.25.7 Funeral Processions
Livestock also run at large in much of Idaho’s range
country, and they have the right of way. Drivers must
be alert for animals grazing unattended on “open
If you see a funeral procession on the road, do not drive
between or join vehicles in the formation unless you are
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2.26.4 Who Must Stop:
range,” which means almost all areas outside of city
limits and herd districts upon which livestock by
custom, license, lease, or permit, are grazed or
permitted to roam. The presence of fences does not
necessarily mean that animals are not present or do not
have the right of way.
Idaho requires any Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV)
with a Maximum Gross Weight or Registered Gross
Weight of 26,001 lbs. or more to stop and submit to
weighing and inspection at all established Idaho Ports of
Entry, this includes roving ports of entry set up at
various locations through the state.
Be especially careful driving at night. If you strike and
injure or kill livestock or domestic animals that are on
the open range or under controlled movement, the
owner of the animal(s) is not liable for damages to you
or your vehicle; however, you may be liable for the
injuries or death of the animal if you are found to have
been negligent.
Idaho also requires any vehicle, or combinations of
vehicles, with a Maximum Gross Weight of 10,000
pounds or more transporting livestock or placardable
quantities of hazardous materials to stop at all ports of
entry or checking stations established by the Idaho
Transportation Department.
2.26 IDAHO PORT OF ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
AND SIZE & WEIGHT LIMITS
2.26.5
Size:
See chart on following page
2.26.6 Weight: Laws governing Idaho Allowable
Weight limits are found in Idaho Code §49-1001. The
weight limits vary depending on the commodity being
hauled and the routes being traveled. General weight
limits are as follows:
Special Note:
The following is for information
purposes only. You will not be tested on the contents
of section 2.26.
2.26.1 PORT OF ENTRY:
Laws
regarding
the
establishment
and
stopping requirements at
the Idaho Ports of Entry
are found in Idaho Code
§40-510 & §40-511.
Single Axle: 20,000 lbs.
Tandem axles:
34,000 lbs. (Interstate System.
formula §49-1001(1))
2.26.2 Gross Weight Idaho Code §49-108(4)
Refer to bridge
37,800 lbs ( Interstate System) (gross weight is
limited to 79,000 lbs hauling exempt commodities
– logs, pulpwood, stull, poles or pilings, ores,
concentrates, sand & gravel, and aggregates
thereof, in bulk; unprocessed agricultural products
including livestock. Refer to §49-1001(2)).
Means the weight of a
vehicle without load plus
the weight of any load on
that vehicle.
37,800 lbs. (Non-Interstate System. Gross weight
limited to 80,000 lbs. Refer to §49-1001(9)).
2.26.3 Maximum Gross Weight - Idaho Code §49114 (6)
Maximum Weight on Interstate without an Over-legal
Permit:
 80,000 lbs
Maximum Weight on Interstate with an Over-legal
Permit:
 105,500 lbs
Maximum Weight on Secondary Routes (no Over-legal
permit required):
 105,500 lbs
Means the scale weight of a vehicle, equipped for
operation, to which shall be added the maximum load
to be carried as declared by the owner in making
application for registration. When a vehicle against
which a registration fee is assessed is a combination of
vehicles, the “maximum gross weight” means the
combined maximum gross weights of all vehicles in the
combination.
2-62
2.26.5 SIZE: Laws governing Idaho size limitations are found in Idaho Code §49-1010.
LEGAL DIMENSIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:
Width: 8ft. 6in. (102”)
Height: 14 ft.
Length:
Single motor vehicle
Trailer or Semi-Trailer (Off National Network)
Trailer or Semi-Trailer (On National Network
Motor Vehicle with One or more Trailers
(except as noted below)
Double Trailers (Off National Network)
Double Trailers (On National Network)
Dromedary Tractor (Stinger Steered)
Dromedary Tractor (Non-stinger Steered)
Auto or Boat Transporter (Stinger Steered)
Auto or Boat Transporter (Non-stinger
steered)
Saddle-mount Combinations (On National
Network)
Saddle-mount Combinations (Off National
Network)
Overhang:
Front of Vehicle
Beyond the end of a vehicle
Front and Read combined overhang for Auto
or Boat Transporter
45’
48’
53’
75’
61’ of trailers or 75’ overall
68 ft. of trailers
75 ft.
65 ft.
75 ft.
65 ft.
97 ft.
75 ft.
4’
10’
7’
The national network is defined as the interstate system and routes designated as such on the Extra-Length Map which
the Idaho Over-legal Permit office maintains.
Other size limitations exist in Idaho code and for loads exceeding these limitations, see Idaho Over-legal Permit
Conditions Manual. http://itd.idaho.gov/dmv/poe/documents/permits.pdf
2-63
Chapter 3 : Transporting Cargo Safely
This Chapter Covers:
hazardous materials endorsement. Chapter 9 of this
manual has the information you need to pass the
hazardous materials test.
Inspecting Cargo
Cargo Weight and Balance
Securing Cargo
Cargo Needing Special Attention
3.1 INSPECTING CARGO
As part of your pre-trip inspection, make sure the truck
is not overloaded and the cargo is balanced and secured
properly.
This chapter tells you about hauling cargo safely. You
must understand basic cargo safety rules to get a CDL.
If you load cargo wrong or do not secure it, 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 could hurt or kill you during
a quick stop or crash. Your vehicle could be damaged
by an overload. Steering could be affected by how a
vehicle is loaded, making it more difficult to control the
vehicle.
After Starting the Trip: Inspect the cargo and its
securing devices again within the first 50 miles after
beginning a trip. Make any adjustments needed.
Re-check: Re-check the cargo and securing devices as
often as necessary during a trip to keep the load secure.
A good habit is to inspect again:
 After you have driven for 3 hours or 150 miles.
Whether or not you load and secure the cargo yourself,
you are responsible for:
 After every break you take during driving.
 Inspecting your cargo.
Federal, state, and local regulations for commercial
vehicle weight, securing cargo, covering loads, and
where you can drive large vehicles vary from place to
place. Know the rules where you will be driving.
 Recognizing overloads and poorly balanced
weight.
3.2 WEIGHT AND BALANCE
 Knowing your cargo is properly secured and
does not obscure your view ahead or to the
sides.
You are responsible for not being overloaded. The
following are some definitions of weight you should
know.
 Knowing your cargo does not restrict your
access to emergency equipment.
3.2.1 Definitions You Should Know
Exception to the inspection rule: Per Federal Motor
Carrier Rule 392.9 (b) (4) you are not responsible for
inspecting the cargo of a commercial motor vehicle
and/or trailer, if it bears a “Seal” and you are ordered
not to open the unit and inspect the cargo. You are also
not responsible for inspecting the cargo of a commercial
motor vehicle and/or trailer if the cargo is loaded in
such a manner that makes an inspection impracticable
(such as a container).
Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW): The total weight of a
single vehicle plus its load.
Gross Combination Weight (GCW): The total weight of
a powered unit, plus trailer(s), plus the cargo.
Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): The maximum
Gross Vehicle Weight specified by the manufacturer for
a single vehicle plus its load. This is also called the
placarded weight and is on plate attached to the
truck/tractor and trailer(s).
If you intend to carry hazardous material that requires
placards on your vehicle, you will also need to have a
3-1
steering. It can damage the steering axle and tires.
Under-loaded front axles (caused by shifting 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 and cause the drive
wheels to spin more easily. During bad weather, the
truck may not be able to keep going. Weight that is
loaded so there is a high center of gravity causes a
greater chance of rollover. On flat bed vehicles, there is
also a greater chance that the load will shift to the side
or fall off (See Figure 3.1).
Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR):
The
maximum Gross Combination Weight specified by the
manufacturer for a specific combination of vehicles plus
its load.
Axle Weight: The weight transmitted to the ground by
one axle or one set of axles.
Tire Load: The maximum safe weight 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.
3.2.2 Legal Weight Limits
You must keep weights within legal limits. States have
maximums for GVWs, GCWs, and axle weights. Often,
maximum axle weights are set by a bridge formula. A
bridge formula permits less maximum 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, and they may gain too much speed
on downgrades. Stopping distance increases and brakes
can fail when forced to work too hard. During bad
weather or in mountains, it may not be safe to operate
at legal maximum weights. Take this into account
before driving.
3.2.3 Don’t Be Top-heavy
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 tip over. It is most dangerous in
curves, or if you have to swerve to avoid a hazard. It is
very important to distribute the cargo so it is as low as
possible. Put the heaviest parts of the cargo under the
lightest parts.
3.3 SECURING CARGO
3.3.1 Blocking and Bracing
3.2.4 Balance the Weight
Blocking (also known as dunnage) 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
Poor weight balance can make vehicle handling unsafe.
Too much weight on the steering axle can cause hard
3-2
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.
3.3.2 Cargo Tie-down
On flatbed trailers or trailers without sides, cargo must
be secured to keep it from shifting or falling off. In
closed vans, tie-downs can also be important to prevent
cargo shifting that may affect the handling of the
vehicle. Tie-downs must be of the proper type and
proper 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 tie-down equipment must be used, including
ropes, straps, chains, and tensioning devices (winches,
ratchets, clinching components). Tie-downs must be
attached to the vehicle correctly (hooks, bolts, rails,
rings). See Figure 3.2 and 3.2a.
3.3.3 Header Boards
Cargo should have at least one tie-down for each ten
feet of cargo. Make sure you have enough tie-downs to
meet this need. No matter how small the cargo, it
should have at least two tie-downs.
Front-end header boards (“headache racks”) protect
you from your cargo in case of a crash or emergency
stop. Make sure the front-end structure is in good
condition. The front- end structure should block the
forward movement of any cargo you carry.
There are special requirements for securing heavy
pieces of metal, pipe, and coiled steel, to name a few.
Find out what they are if you are to carry such loads.
3.3.4 Covering Cargo
There are two basic reasons for covering cargo:
1. To protect people from spilled cargo.
2. To protect the cargo from weather.
Spill protection is a safety requirement in many states.
Be familiar with the laws in the states in which you
drive.
You should look at your cargo covers in the mirrors from
time to time while driving. A flapping cover can tear
loose, uncovering the cargo, and possibly block your
view or someone else’s.
3.3.5 Sealed and Containerized Loads
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 tie-down devices or locks
that attach directly to a special frame. Others have to
3-3
be loaded onto flatbed trailers and must be properly
secured just like any other cargo.
Section 3
Test Your Knowledge
You cannot inspect sealed loads, but you can and
should check that you don't exceed gross weight and
axle weight limits, because you are still responsible for
an over loaded vehicle.
1. What four things related to cargo are drivers
responsible for?
2. How often must you stop while on the road to
check your cargo?
If you accept a sealed load, you should make sure the
bill of lading states something to the effect of: “Shipper
loaded & secured-sealed load”. Police can break a seal
on a load in an emergency, but you should not open a
sealed load without the express permission of the
shipper and your company.
3. How is Gross Combination Weight Rating
different from Gross Combination Weight?
4. Name two situations where legal maximum
weights may not be safe.
3.4 CARGO NEEDING SPECIAL ATTENTION
5. What can happen if you don’t have enough
weight on the front axle?
3.4.1 Dry Bulk
Dry bulk tanks require special care because they have a
high center of gravity, and the load can shift. Be
extremely cautious (slow and careful) going around
curves and making sharp turns.
6. What is the minimum number of tie-downs for
any flatbed load?
7. What is the minimum number of tie-downs for
a 20 foot load?
3.4.2 Hanging Meat
8. Name the two basic reasons for covering cargo
on an open bed.
Hanging meat (suspended beef, pork, lamb) 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 off ramps and on ramps. Go
slowly.
9. What must you check before transporting a
sealed load?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Chapter 3.
3.4.3 Livestock
Livestock can move around in a trailer, causing unsafe
handling characteristics. 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. This shifts the center of
gravity and makes rollover more likely.
3.4.4 Oversized Loads
Over-length, over-width, and/or overweight loads
require special transit permits. Driving is usually limited
to certain times. 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.
3-4
Chapter 4 : Transporting Passengers Safely
This Chapter Covers:
the previous driver if no defects or deficiencies were
noted.
Vehicle Inspection
Loading
On the Road
Post-trip Vehicle Inspection
Prohibited Practices
Use of Brake-Door Interlocks
4.1.1 Vehicle Systems
Make sure the following components are in good
working order before driving:
 Service brakes, including air hose couplings (if
your bus has a trailer or semitrailer).
Bus drivers must have a commercial driver license if
they drive a vehicle designed to seat 16 or more people,
including the driver.
 Parking brake.
Bus drivers must have a passenger endorsement on
their commercial driver’s license.
To get the
endorsement, you must pass a knowledge test on
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of this manual. If your bus has air
brakes, you must also pass a knowledge test on Chapter
5. You must also pass the skills tests in a passenger
vehicle of the license class you wish to drive. If you
operate a vehicle that requires a passenger
endorsement (bus), you will only be authorized to
operate the class of vehicle that you used in your
passenger endorsement skills test (i.e., If you skills test
in a Class C bus you cannot drive a Class B bus, but if
test in a Class B bus, you can drive both Class B and C
buses).
 Steering mechanism.
4.1 VEHICLE INSPECTION
 Wheels and rims.
You must complete a pre-trip safety inspection of your
bus at the beginning of each day and/or shift. If the
motor carrier is required to have their drivers prepare a
Driver Vehicle Inspection Report by the Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations, you must review the last
driver vehicle inspection report at the beginning of your
workday to ensure any items listed on the last report
that affect the safety of the bus have been repaired or
were found to be unnecessary by the mechanic
performing the repairs. The mechanic must certify the
repairs were performed by placing his/her signature on
the original inspection report. You must sign the same
report certifying you have reviewed the report and
accept the bus. You do not have to sign a report from
 Emergency equipment.
 Lights and reflectors.
 Tires (front wheels must not have recapped or
re-grooved tires).
 Horn.
 Windshield wipers.
 Rear-vision mirror or mirrors.
 Coupling devices (if present).
4.1.2 Access Doors and Panels
As you check the outside of the bus, close any open
emergency exits. Also, close any open access panels
(baggage, battery, restroom service, engine, etc.) before
driving.
4.1.3 Bus Interior
People sometimes damage unattended buses. Always
check the interior of the bus before driving to ensure
rider safety. Aisles and stairwells should always be
4-1
 Protects riders from injury if carry-on baggage
falls or shifts.
clear. The following parts of your bus must be in safe
working condition:
 Each handhold and railing.
4.2.1 Hazardous Materials
 Floor covering.
Watch for cargo or baggage containing hazardous
materials. Most hazardous materials cannot be carried
on a bus.
 Signaling devices, including the restroom
emergency buzzer, if the bus has a restroom.
The Federal Hazardous Materials Table shows which
materials are hazardous. They pose a risk to health,
safety, and property during transportation. The rules
require shippers to mark containers of hazardous
material with the material’s name, identification
number, and hazard label. There are nine different four
inch, diamond-shaped hazard labels (See Table 4.1).
Watch for the diamond-shaped labels and do not
transport any hazardous material unless you are sure
the rules allow it.
 Emergency exit handles.
The seats must be safe for riders. All seats must be
securely fastened to the bus.
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.
4.1.4 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’s higher
clearance while driving with them open.
Make sure your bus has the fire extinguisher and
emergency reflectors required by law. The bus must
also have spare electrical fuses, unless equipped with
circuit breakers.
4.1.5 Use Your Seatbelt!
The driver’s seat should have a seat belt in good
working order. Always use it for safety, and because it’s
the law.
4.2 LOADING AND TRIP START
Do not allow riders to leave carry-on baggage in a
doorway or aisle. There should be nothing in the aisle
that might trip other riders. Secure baggage and freight
in ways that avoid damage and that:
 Allows the driver to move freely and easily.
4.2.2 Forbidden Hazardous Materials
 Allows riders to exit by any window or door in
an emergency.
Buses may carry small-arms ammunition labeled ORMD, emergency hospital supplies, and drugs. You can
carry small amounts of some other hazardous materials
4-2
if the shipper cannot send them any other way. Buses
must never carry the following:
4.3 ON THE ROAD
4.3.1 Passenger Supervision
 Division 2.3 poison gas, liquid Class 6 poison,
tear gas, irritating material.
Many charter and intercity carriers have passenger
comfort and safety rules. Mention rules about smoking,
drinking, or use of radio and tape players at the start of
the trip. Explaining the rules at the start will help to
avoid trouble later on.
 More than 100 pounds of solid Class 6 poisons.
 Explosives in the space occupied by people,
except small arms ammunition.
 Labeled radioactive materials in the space
occupied by people.
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 their
arms and heads inside the bus.
 More than 500 pounds total of allowed
hazardous materials, and no more than 100
pounds of any one class.
4.3.2 Stops
Riders can stumble when getting on or off the bus, and
when the bus starts or stops. Caution riders to watch
their step when leaving the bus. Wait for them to sit
down or brace themselves before starting. Starting and
stopping should be as smooth as possible to avoid rider
injury.
Riders sometimes board a bus with an unlabeled
hazardous material. Do not allow riders to carry on
common hazards such as car batteries or gasoline.
4.2.3 Standee Line
No rider may stand forward of the rear of the driver’s
seat. 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.
Occasionally, you may have a drunk or disruptive rider.
You must ensure this rider’s safety as well as that of
others. Don’t discharge such riders where it would be
unsafe for them. It may be safer at the next scheduled
stop or a well-lighted area where there are other
people. Many carriers have guidelines for handling
disruptive riders.
4.2.4 At Your Destination
When arriving at the destination or intermediate stops,
announce in a clear voice:
4.3.3 Common Accidents
 The location.
The Most Common Bus Accidents: Bus accidents often
happen at intersections. Use caution, even if a signal or
stop sign controls other traffic. School and mass transit
buses sometimes scrape off mirrors or hit passing
vehicles when pulling out from a bus stop. 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 and wait for
the gap to open before leaving the stop. Never assume
other drivers will brake to give you room when you
signal or start to pull out.
 Reason for Stopping.
 Next departure time.
 Bus number.
Remind riders to take carry-on baggage with them if
they get off the bus. If the aisle is on a lower level than
the seats, remind riders of the step-down. It is best to
tell them before coming to a complete stop.
4.3.4 Speed on Curves
Crashes on curves that kill people and destroy buses are
the result of excessive speed, often when rain or snow
has made the road slippery. Every banked curve has a
Charter bus drivers should not allow riders on the bus
until departure time. This will help prevent theft or
vandalism of the bus.
4-3
safe “design speed.” In good weather, the posted
speed is safe for cars, but it may be too high for many
buses. If there is good traction, the bus may roll over;
with poor traction, it might slide off the curve;
therefore, you must reduce speed for curves! If your
bus leans toward the outside on a banked curve, you
are driving too fast.
 The bridge has an attendant or traffic officer
who controls traffic whenever the bridge opens.
4.4 POST-TRIP VEHICLE INSPECTION
Inspect your bus at the end of each shift. If the motor
carrier is required to have their drivers prepare a Driver
Inspection Report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety
Regulations, you must prepare a written inspection
report at the completion of each day’s work on each
bus operated. You must identify the bus(s) you
operated and list any defect or deficiency that would
affect the safe operation of the bus that would cause
the bus to suffer a mechanical breakdown. You must
also prepare a written report if no equipment defect or
deficiency is found. In all instances, you must sign the
report.
4.3.5 Railroad-highway Crossings
Stop at Railroad Crossings:
 Stop your bus between 15 and 50 feet before
railroad crossings.
 Listen and look in both directions for trains.
You should open your forward door if it
improves your ability to see or hear an
approaching train.
The Driver’s Inspection Report notifies the motor carrier
of the condition of the bus and identifies any defects or
deficiencies found that would make the bus unsafe or
cause it to break down. Depending on the motor
carrier’s policy regarding the distribution of the
inspection report, if possible, you should leave a copy of
the inspection report in the bus for at least a day so it
can be reviewed by the next driver.
 Before crossing after a train has passed, make
sure there isn’t another train coming in the
other direction on other tracks.
 If your bus has a manual transmission, never
change gears while crossing the tracks.
 You do not have to stop, but must slow down
and carefully check for other vehicles in the
following situations:
4.5 PROHIBITED PRACTICES
Avoid fueling your bus with riders on board unless it is
absolutely necessary. Never refuel in a closed building
with riders on board.
At streetcar crossings.
Where a policeman or flagman is directing
traffic.
Don’t talk with riders (check your employer guidelines),
or engage in any other distracting activity, while driving.
If a traffic signal is green.
Do not tow or push a disabled bus with riders aboard
the vehicle, unless getting off would be unsafe. Only
tow or push the bus to the nearest safe spot to
discharge passengers.
Follow your employer’s
guidelines on towing or pushing disabled buses.
At crossings marked as “exempt” or
“abandoned.”
4.3.6 Drawbridges
4.6 USE OF BRAKE-DOOR INTERLOCKS
Stop at 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 and look to
make sure the draw is completely closed before
crossing. You do not need to stop, but you must slow
down and make sure it’s safe, in the following
situations:
Urban mass transit coaches may have a brake and
accelerator interlock system. The interlock applies the
service 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.
 There is a traffic light showing green.
4-4
Chapter 4
Test Your Knowledge
1. Name some things to check in the interior of a bus during a pre-trip inspection.
2. What are some hazardous materials you can transport by bus?
3. What are some hazardous materials you can’t transport by bus?
4. What is a standee line?
5. Does it matter where you make a disruptive passenger get off the bus?
6. How far from a railroad crossing should you stop?
7. When must you stop before crossing a drawbridge?
8. Describe from memory the “prohibited practices” listed in the manual.
9. The rear door of a transit bus has to be open to put on the parking brake. True or False?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t answer them all, re-read Chapter 4.
4-5
Chapter 5 : Air Brakes
This Chapter Covers:
 The parking brake system applies and releases
the parking brakes when you use the parking
brake control.
Air Brake System Parts
Dual Air Brake Systems
Inspecting Air Brakes
Using Air Brakes
 The emergency brake system uses parts of the
service and parking brake systems to stop the
vehicle in a brake system failure.
This chapter tells you about air brakes. If you want to
drive a truck or bus with air brakes, or pull a trailer with
air brakes, you need to read this section. If you want to
pull a trailer with air brakes, you also need to read
Chapter 6, Combination Vehicles.
The parts of these systems are discussed in greater
detail below.
5.1 THE PARTS OF AN AIR BRAKE SYSTEM
You only need to take a written and skills test on the air
brake system if the vehicle you intend to drive has an
air brake system and requires that you have a CDL to
operate it. The air brake test is not an endorsement, it
is a restriction (L) placed on a CDL when an applicant
has not taken a written and/or skills test with a vehicle
equipped with air brakes. To remove the restriction,
you need to pass the written test and a modified skills
test consisting of the pre-trip inspection and the road
test. You do not have to take the basic control test.
You can test in any class of vehicle to remove the
restriction as long as it has an air brake system. Once
you have passed a test in a vehicle with air brakes, the
restriction is permanently lifted, and you can take any
other endorsement test requiring a skills test (i.e.,
school bus or passenger) in a vehicle not equipped with
air brakes without having the restriction being placed
on your CDL.
There are many parts to an air brake system.
should know about the parts discussed here.
You
5.1.1 Air Compressor
The air compressor pumps air into the air storage tanks
(reservoirs). The air compressor is connected to 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.
5.1.2 Air Compressor Governor
The governor controls when the air compressor will
pump air into the air storage tanks. When air tank
pressure rises to the “cut-out” level (around 125 pounds
per square-inch or "psi"), the governor stops the
compressor from pumping air. When the tank pressure
falls to the “cut-in” pressure (around 100 psi), the
governor allows the compressor to start pumping again.
Air brakes use compressed air to make the brakes work.
Air brakes are a good and safe way of stopping large,
heavy vehicles; however, the brakes must be well
maintained and used properly.
5.1.3 Air Storage Tanks
Air brakes are really three different braking systems:
service brake, parking brake, and emergency brake.
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.
 The service brake system applies and releases
the brakes when you use the brake pedal during
normal driving.
5-1
5.1.4 Air Tank Drains
5.1.5 Alcohol Evaporator
Compressed air usually has some water and some
compressor oil in it, which is bad for the air brake
system. For example, the water can freeze in cold
weather and cause brake failure. The water and oil
tend to collect in the bottom of the air tank, so be sure
that you drain the air tanks completely.
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 valves and other parts during cold
weather. Ice inside the system can make the brakes
stop working.
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.
Each air tank is equipped with a drain valve in the
bottom. There are two types:
1. Manually operated by turning a quarter turn or
by pulling a cable. You must drain the tanks
yourself at the end of each day of driving (See
Figure 5.1).
5.1.6 Safety Valve
A safety relief valve is installed in the first tank the air
compressor pumps air to. The safety valve protects the
tank and the rest of the system from too much
pressure. The valve is usually set to open at 150 psi. If
the safety valve releases air, something is wrong. Have
the fault fixed by a mechanic.
2. Automatic - the water and oil are automatically
expelled. These tanks may be equipped for
manual draining as well.
Automatic air tanks are available with electric heating
devices. These help prevent freezing of the automatic
drain in cold weather.
5.1.7 The Brake Pedal
You put on the brakes by pushing down the brake pedal
(also called the foot valve or treadle valve). Pushing the
pedal down harder applies more air pressure. Letting
up on the brake pedal reduces the air pressure and
releases the brakes. Releasing the brakes lets some
compressed air go out of the system, so the air pressure
in the tanks is reduced. It must be made up by the air
compressor.
Pressing and releasing the pedal
unnecessarily can let air out faster than the compressor
can replace it. If the pressure gets too low, the brakes
won’t work.
5.1.8 Foundation Brakes
Foundation brakes are used at each wheel. The most
common type is the S-cam drum brake. The parts of the
brake are discussed below.
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 make the brakes stop working (also called fade).
5-2
Figure 5.2a
Wedge Brake
S-cam Brakes: When you push the brake pedal, air is let
into each brake chamber. Air pressure pushes the rod
out, moving the slack adjuster, thus twisting the brake
camshaft. This turns the S-cam (so called because it is
shaped like the letter “S”). 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 (See Figure 5.2).
Wedge Brakes: In this type of brake, 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
5-3
chambers pushing wedges in at both ends of the brake
shoes. Wedge type brakes may be self-adjusting or may
require manual adjustment (See Figure 5.2a).
can also be caused by
brakes out of adjustment,
air leaks, or mechanical
problems.
Air Disc (Disk) 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. When the brakes are applied, the
pressure of the brake chamber on the slack adjuster
turns the power screw causing the caliper to clamp two
brake pads against a rotor (like a C-clamp). Air discs,
compared to drum-type brakes, have superior ability to
resist fade. Wedge brakes and disc brakes are less
common than S-cam brakes See Figure 5.2b).
5.1.11 Low Air Pressure Warning
A low air pressure warning signal is required on vehicles
with air brakes. A warning signal you can see must
come on before the air pressure in the tanks falls below
60 psi (or one half
the compressor
governor cutout
air pressure on
older vehicles).
The warning is
usually a red
light. A buzzer
may also come
on.
Another type of
warning found on
some old trucks and
busses is the “wig
wag.”
This device
drops a mechanical
arm into your view
when the pressure in
the system drops
below 60 psi. An
automatic wig wag
will rise out of your
view
when
the
pressure
in
the
system goes above
60 psi. The manual
reset type must be
placed in the “out of view” position manually, and it will
not stay in place until the pressure in the system is
above 60 psi.
Figure 5.2b
5.1.9 Supply Pressure Gauges
All vehicles with air brakes have a 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 a single
gauge with two needles.
Dual systems will be
discussed later. These
gauges tell you how
much pressure is in the
air tanks.
5.1.10 Application Pressure Gauge
This gauge shows how much air pressure you are
applying to the brakes (This gauge is not on all vehicles).
Increasing application pressure to hold the same speed
means the brakes are fading. You should slow down
and use a lower gear. The need for increased pressure
On large buses it is common for the low pressure
warning devices to signal at 80-85 psi.
5-4
5.1.12 Stop Light Switch
(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.
Drivers behind you must be warned when you put your
brakes on. The air brake system does this with an
electric switch that works by air pressure. The switch
turns on the brake lights when you put on the air
brakes.
The braking power of spring brakes depends on the
brakes being in adjustment. If the brakes are not
adjusted properly, neither the regular brakes nor the
5.1.13 Front Brake Limiting Valve
Some older 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 were used to reduce the
chance of the front wheels skidding on slippery
surfaces; however, they actually 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 put on very hard (60 psi or more
application pressure).
These valves cannot be
controlled by the driver.
5.1.14 Spring Brakes
emergency/parking brakes will work right.
All trucks, truck tractors,
and
buses
must
be
equipped with emergency
brakes and parking brakes.
They must be held on by
mechanical force, because
air pressure can eventually
leak away. Spring brakes
are usually used to meet
these needs. 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 which applies the brakes (the linings will
be forced against the drums). A leak in the air brake
system, which causes all the air to be lost, will also
cause the springs to put on the brakes.
5.1.15 Parking Brake Controls
In newer vehicles with air
brakes, you put on the
parking brakes using a
diamond-shaped, yellow,
push-pull control knob.
You pull the knob out to
put the parking brakes
(spring brakes) on, 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! Never 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. Brake compounding can occur in a spring
brake parking system due to the mechanical and
Tractor and straight truck spring brakes will come fully
on when air pressure drops to a range of 20 to 45 psi
5-5
pneumatic nature of the chamber. It will occur in
unprotected systems when parking AND service brake
applications are made at the same time. An example of
this situation occurs when a vehicle is parked on a steep
incline; the driver holds the service brakes applied
(preventing the vehicle from rolling backward), then
actuates the park control which "sets" or applies the
spring brakes. For a brief time, the air applied service
brakes and the mechanical spring brakes both exert a
braking force on the slack adjusters and foundation
brakes. The forces of the spring and air applications are
additive and can cause damage to the foundation brake
components (cam shaft splines, shoes, drum, etc.)
and/or slack adjuster.
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. Do not use the modulating control valve to
park a vehicle. Use the parking brake(s).
Dual Parking Control Valves: 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 pushpull 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 the vehicle.
An anti-compounding system is especially important in
protecting the adjusting mechanism of automatic slack
adjusters from damage caused by over torque that
occurs during a compounded application of the brakes.
The
anti-compounding
system
prevents
the
simultaneous application of both the air and spring
brakes by directing application air to the spring brakes
when both are applied at once. The double check valve
allows service application air to apply the service brakes
AND move into the spring cavity if they are also applied
(no air pressure and springs are also applying brakes).
The anti-compounding function of the double check
valve is built into several air brake devices, 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 steering
column or dash
board may be
used to apply the
spring
brakes
gradually. This is
called
a
modulating valve
(also known as a
Trolley Valve or
Johnson Bar). It
is spring-loaded
so you have a feel
for the braking
Figure 5.3
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. Therefore, plan carefully when
moving the bus, otherwise, you may be stopped in a
dangerous location when the separate air supply runs
out (See Figure 5.3).
5-6
5.1.16 Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
In the case of towed units manufactured before it was
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.
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 antilock brakes.
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.
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.
Subsection 5.1
Vehicles with ABS have yellow malfunction lamps to tell
you if something isn’t working. 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.
Test Your Knowledge
1. Why must air tanks be drained?
2. What is a supply pressure gauge used for?
3. All vehicles with air brakes must have a low air
pressure warning signal. True or False?
4. What are spring brakes?
5. Front wheel brakes are good under all
conditions. True or False?
6. How do you know if your vehicle is equipped
with antilock brakes?
These questions may be on your test.
answer them all, re-read subsection 5.1.
If you can’t
5.2 DUAL AIR BRAKE
Most 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. The
other is called the “secondary” system (See Figure 5.4
and Air Brake Appendix 1 at end of this chapter).
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
at one or more wheels.
5-7
Figure 5.4 Air Brake System Components and Location
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). Pay attention to the low air pressure warning
light and buzzer. The 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 60 psi.
are discussed below, in the order they fit into the
seven-step method.
5.3.1 During Step 2: Engine Compartment Checks
Check Air Compressor Drive Belt (if compressor is beltdriven). If the air compressor is belt-driven, check the
condition and tightness of the belt. It should be in good
condition.
5.3.2 During Step 5: Walk-around Inspection
The warning light and buzzer should come on before
the air pressure drops below 60 psi in either system. If
this happens while driving, you should stop right away
and safely park the vehicle. 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
brakes system fixed.
Check Slack Adjusters on S-cam Brakes: Park on level
ground and chock the wheels to prevent the vehicle
from moving. Turn off the parking brakes so you can
move the slack adjusters. Use gloves and pull hard on
each slack adjuster that you can reach. If a slack
adjuster moves more than about one inch where the
push rod attaches to it, it probably needs adjustment.
Adjust it or have it adjusted. Vehicles with too much
brake slack can be very hard to stop. Out-of-adjustment
brakes are the most common problem found in
roadside inspections. Be safe and check the slack
adjusters.
5.3 INSPECTING AIR BRAKE SYSTEMS
You should use the basic seven-step inspection
procedure described in Chapter 2 to inspect your
vehicle. There are more things to inspect on a vehicle
with air brakes than one without them. These things
5-8
All vehicles built since 1991 have automatic slack
adjustors. Even though automatic slack adjustors
adjust themselves during full brake applications, they
must be checked.
head of the bolt. Other types have a dust cap that must
first be removed and a bolt inserted. In some cases, a
special wrench is required. Instructions on how to
“cage” is usually on the body of the parking brake
chamber. If all air is lost and the vehicle has to be
towed, the parking brakes can be released by caging
them. Always block the wheels when caging the
parking brake spring.
Automatic adjusters 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 adjusters, when the
pushrod stroke exceeds the legal brake adjustment
limit, it is an indication that a mechanical problem exists
in the adjuster itself, a problem with the related
foundation brake components, or that the adjuster was
improperly installed.
WARNING: Spring parking brake chambers should never
be disassembled without first compressing the spring
with a caging bolt. These springs are under extreme
pressure and could cause serious personal injury if
disassembly is attempted by anyone not experienced in
servicing these units. Disassembly of a spring brake
chamber should only be performed by a qualified
mechanic or technician.
Figure 5.4a
The manual adjustment of an automatic adjuster to
bring a brake pushrod stroke within legal limits is
generally masking a mechanical problem and is not
fixing it. It may be dangerous because it can give the
vehicle operator a false sense of security about the
effectiveness of the braking system. Continued routine
adjustment of most automatic adjusters will likely result
in premature wear of the adjuster itself.
It is
recommended that when brakes equipped with
automatic adjusters are found to be out of adjustment,
the driver 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 are made by different
manufacturers and do not all operate the same;
therefore, the specific manufacturer’s Service Manual
should be consulted prior to troubleshooting a brake
adjustment problem.
Drums (or Rotors), Linings, (or Pads) and Hoses: Brake
drums (or rotors) must not have cracks longer than one
half the width of the friction area. Brake linings, or pads
(friction material) must not be loose or soaked with oil
or grease.
They must not be dangerously thin
(approximately 1/4 inch minimum linings or pads
present). Mechanical parts must be in place, not
broken or missing. Check the air hoses connected to
the brake chambers to make sure they aren't cut or
worn due to rubbing.
Mechanical Release (Caging): Some spring parking
brakes can be released mechanically by “winding them
off” or “caging” them (See Figure 5.4a). Caging means
the brakes are being released. During your inspection,
be sure the brakes have not been “caged” by another
driver.
Caging the brakes is achieved with a bolt that runs
through the center of the chamber body, which is
turned to compress the spring. It may be necessary to
first remove a lock plate and stud to gain access to the
5-9
Test Low Pressure Warning Signal: Shut the engine off
when you have enough air pressure so that the low
pressure warning signal is not on. Turn the electrical
power on and step on and off the brake pedal to reduce
air tank pressure. The low air pressure warning signal
must come on before the pressure drops to less than 60
psi in the air tank (or tank with the lowest air pressure,
in dual air systems) (See Figure 5.5).
5.3.3 During Step 7: Final Air Brake Check
Do the following checks instead of the hydraulic brake
check shown in Chapter 2, Step 7: Check Brake System.
Check Rate of Air Pressure Buildup: When the engine
is at normal operating speed, 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 build up
from 50 to 90 psi within 3 minutes with the engine at an
idle speed of 600-900 rpm.
If air pressure does not build up fast enough, your
pressure may drop too low during driving requiring an
emergency stop. Don't drive until you get the problem
fixed.
Check Air Compressor Governor Cut-in and Cut-out
Pressures: Pumping by the air compressor should start
at about 100 psi and stop at about 125 psi (check
manufacturer’s specifications). Run the engine at a fast
idle.
The air governor should cut-out the air
compressor at about the manufacturer’s specified
pressure. The air pressure shown by your gauge(s) will
stop rising. With the engine idling, step on and off the
brake to reduce the air tank pressure. The compressor
should cut-in at about the manufacturer's specified cutin pressure. The pressure should begin to rise.
If the air governor does not work as described above, it
may need to be fixed. A governor that does not work
properly may not keep enough air pressure for safe
driving.
Figure 5.5
Test Air Leakage Rate: With a fully-charged air system
(typically 125 psi), turn off the engine, release the
parking brake, and time the air pressure drop. The loss
rate should be less than two psi in one minute for single
vehicles and less than three psi in one minute for
combination vehicles. Then apply 90 psi or more with
the brake pedal. After the initial pressure drop, if the
air pressure falls more than three psi in one minute for
single vehicles (more than four psi for combination
vehicles), the air loss rate is too much. Check for air
leaks and fix before driving the vehicle. Otherwise, you
could lose your brakes while driving.
If the warning signal doesn’t work, you could lose air
pressure and you would 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 Spring Brakes Come On Automatically: Continue
to fan off the air pressure by stepping on and off the
brake pedal to reduce tank pressure. The tractor
protection valve and parking brake valve should close
(pop out) on a tractor-trailer combination vehicle, and
the parking brake valve should close (pop out) on other
combination and single vehicle types when the air
5-10
pressure falls to the manufacturer’s specification (20 –
45 psi). This will cause the spring brakes to come on.
Test Parking Brake: Test the parking brake on single
vehicles using the following method:
Subsections 5.2 and 5.3
Test Your Knowledge
1. What is a dual air brake system?
 Apply the parking brake.
2. What are the slack adjusters?
 Place the vehicle in low gear.
3. How can you check slack adjusters?
 Drive forward slowly and pull gently against the
4. How can you test the low pressure warning
signal?
brake.
5. How can you check that the spring brakes come
on automatically?
 If
the brake doesn't stop the vehicle from
moving forward, it is faulty and must be fixed
before you travel.
6. What are the maximum leakage rates?
Test the parking brakes on combination vehicles using
the following method:
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 5.2 and 5.3.
 Apply the Parking brake (pull out) and release
5.4 USING AIR BRAKES
(push in) the Tractor Protection Valve.
5.4.1 Normal Stops
 Place the vehicle in low gear.
Push the brake pedal down. Control the pressure so the
vehicle comes to a smooth, safe stop. If you have a
manual transmission, don’t push the clutch in until the
engine rpm is down close to idle. When stopped, select
a starting gear.
 Drive forward slowly and pull gently against the
brake.
If the brake doesn't stop the vehicle from moving
forward, it is faulty and must be fixed before you travel.
5.4.2 Braking with Antilock Brakes
 Apply
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.
the Tractor Protection Valve (pull out)
and release (push in) the parking brake.
 Place the vehicle in low gear.
 Drive forward slowly and pull gently against the
ABS helps you avoid wheel lock up. The computer
senses impending lockup, reduces the braking pressure
to a safe level, and you maintain control.
brake.
If the brake doesn't stop the vehicle from moving
forward, it is faulty and must be fixed before you travel.
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.
Test Service Brakes: Wait for normal air pressure,
release the parking brake, move the vehicle forward
slowly (about five mph), and apply the brakes firmly
using the brake pedal. Note any vehicle “pulling” to one
side, unusual feel, or delayed stopping action. This test
may show you problems, which you otherwise wouldn't
know about until you needed the brakes on the road.
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.
5-11
5.4.3 Emergency Stops
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.
If somebody suddenly pulls out in front of you, your
natural response is to hit the brakes. This is a good
response if there's enough distance to stop, and you use
the brakes correctly.
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.
You should brake in a way that will keep your vehicle in
a straight line and allow you to turn if it becomes
necessary. Unless you have ABS on your vehicle, you
can use the “controlled braking” method or the “stab
braking” method.
When you drive a tractor-trailer combination with ABS,
you should brake as you always have. In other words:
Controlled Braking: With this method, you apply the
brakes as hard as you can without locking the wheels.
Keep steering wheel movements very small while doing
this. If you need to make a larger steering adjustment
or if the wheels lock, release the brakes. Re-apply the
brakes as soon as you can.
 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.
Stab Braking
 Apply your brakes all the way.
 Release brakes when wheels lock up.
There is only one exception to this procedure. During
an emergency stop (with working ABS on both tractor
and trailer) when hard braking is required, apply
continuous pressure on the brake pedal. Do Not Pump
the Brake Pedal as this will defeat the system’s design
and reduce the effectiveness of the ABS and cause the
vehicle to increase its stopping distance. The ABS will
activate immediately, allowing you to retain full steering
control during hard braking and on slippery surfaces;
however, ABS does not decrease stopping distances.
 As soon 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 re-apply the brakes before
the wheels start rolling, the vehicle won't
straighten out).
5.4.4 Stopping Distance
Stopping distance was described in Chapter 2 under
"Speed and Stopping Distance." With air brakes there is
an added delay - “Brake Lag”. This is 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 a little time (one half second or more)
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.
During hard braking with ABS, the system actually
pumps the brakes for you at a higher rate than you
could do yourself. This pumping action causes a noise
from the ABS pump motor, and you may feel a
noticeable pulse through the brake pedal. Do not be
concerned by the noise and pulsation, because this is
normal. Knowing you will hear the pump motor and
feel the pulse will help you resist the natural instinct to
remove your foot from the pedal.
Without ABS, you still have normal brake functions.
Drive and brake as you always have. Remember, if your
ABS malfunctions, you still have regular brakes. Drive
normally, but get the system serviced soon.
Perception Distance + Reaction Distance + Brake Lag
Distance + Effective Stopping Distance = Total Stopping
Distance (See Figure 5.6)
5-12
The air brake lag
distance
mph
on
pavement
at
55
dry
adds
about 32 feet. So
at 55 mph for an
average
under
traction
driver
good
and
brake conditions,
the total stopping
distance is over
450 feet.
Figure 5.6
5.4.5 Brake Fading or Failure
5.4.6 Proper Braking Technique
Brakes are designed so brake shoes or pads rub against
the brake drum or disks 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 engine braking effect.
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:
1. Apply the brakes just hard enough to feel a
definite slowdown.
Excessive use of the service brakes results in
overheating and leads to brake fade. Brake fade results
from excessive heat causing chemical changes in the
brake lining, which reduce friction, and also causing
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 reduced. Continued overuse may increase
brake fade until the vehicle cannot be slowed down or
stopped.
2. When your speed has been reduced to
approximately five mph below your “safe”
speed, release the brakes (this application
should last for about three seconds).
3. When your speed has increased to your “safe”
speed, repeat steps 1 and 2.
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.
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 enough braking available to control the vehicle(s).
Brakes can get out of adjustment quickly, especially
when they are hot; therefore, check brake adjustment
often.
5-13
5.4.7 Low Air Pressure
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.
If the low air pressure warning comes on, stop and
safely park your vehicle as soon as possible. There
might be an air leak in the system. 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 of 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. It is much
safer to stop while there is enough air in the tanks to
use the foot brakes.
Never leave your vehicle unattended without applying
the parking brakes or chocking the wheels. Your vehicle
might roll away and cause injury and damage.
Subsection 5.4
Test Your Knowledge
1. Why should you be in the proper gear before
starting down a hill?
5.4.8 Parking Brakes
2. What factors can cause brakes to fade or fail?
Any time you park, use the parking brakes, except as
noted below. Pull the parking brake control knob out to
apply the parking brakes, push it in to release. 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).
3. The use of brakes on a long, steep downgrade is
only a supplement to the braking effect of the
engine. True or False?
4. If you are away from your vehicle only a short
time, you do not need to use the parking brake.
True or False?
Don’t use the parking brakes if the brakes are very hot
(from just having come down a steep grade), or if the
brakes are very wet in freezing temperatures. If parking
brakes are used while the brakes are very hot, they can
be damaged by the heat. If they are used in freezing
temperatures when the brakes are very wet, they can
freeze so the vehicle cannot move. 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.
5. How often should you drain air tanks?
6. How do you brake when you drive a tractortrailer combination with ABS?
7. You still have normal brake functions if your
ABS is not working. True or False?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer
them
all,
re-read
subsection
5.4.
5-14
Appendix 1- the Air Brake System
5-15
5-1
Chapter 6 : Combination Vehicles
This Chapter Covers:
to the ground as possible, and 2) drive slowly around
turns. Keeping cargo low is even more important in
combination vehicles than in straight trucks. Also, keep
the load centered on your vehicle. If the load is to one
side so it makes a trailer lean, a rollover is more likely.
Make sure your cargo is centered and spread out as
much as possible (Cargo distribution is covered in
Chapter 3 of this manual).
Driving Combinations
Combination Vehicle Air Brakes
Antilock Brake Systems
Coupling and Uncoupling
Inspecting Combinations
This chapter provides information needed to pass the
tests for combination vehicles (tractor-trailer, doubles,
triples, straight truck with trailer). The information is
only to give you the minimum knowledge needed for
driving common combination vehicles. You should also
study Chapter 7 if you need to pass the test for doubles
and triples.
Rollovers happen when you turn too fast. Drive slowly
around corners, on ramps, and off ramps. Avoid quick
lane changes, especially when fully loaded.
6.1.2 Steer Gently
Trucks with trailers have a dangerous “crack-the-whip”
effect. When you make a quick lane change, the crackthe-whip effect can turn the trailer over. There are
many accidents where only the trailer has overturned.
6.1 DRIVING COMBINATION VEHICLES SAFELY
“TROUBLE FOLLOWS!” These are words to live by when
towing any type of trailer(s). You must pay close
attention to what is happening to your trailer(s) and
cargo (if visible) as you drive through various traffic,
road and weather conditions. If you don’t pay
attention, your trailer(s) will most assuredly cause you
severe problems and maybe your life or the lives of
others.
“Rearward amplification” causes the crack-the-whip
effect Figure 6.1 shows eight types of combination
vehicles and the rearward amplification each has in a
quick lane change. Vehicles with the least crack- thewhip effect are shown at the top and those with the
most, at the bottom. Rearward amplification of 2.0 in
the chart means that the rear trailer is twice as likely to
turn over as the tractor. You can see that triples have a
rearward amplification of 3.5. This means you can roll
the last trailer of triples 3.5 times as easily as a five-axle
tractor.
Combination vehicles are usually 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 talk about some
important safety factors that apply specifically to
combination vehicles.
Steer gently and smoothly when you are pulling trailers.
If you make a sudden movement with your steering
wheel, your trailer could tip over. Follow far enough
behind other vehicles (at least 1 second for each 10 feet
of your 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 with your
headlights before it is too late to change lanes or stop
gently. Slow down to a safe speed before going into a
turn.
6.1.1 Rollover Risks
More than half of truck driver deaths in crashes are the
result of truck rollovers. When more cargo is piled up in
a truck, the “center of gravity” moves higher up from
the road. The truck becomes easier to turn over. Fully
loaded vehicles are ten times more likely to roll over in
a crash than empty vehicles. The following two things
will help you prevent rollover, 1) keep the cargo as close
6-1
Figure 6.1
6.1.3 Brake Early
 Single-axle tractor pulling a long trailer with its
landing gear set to accommodate a tandem-axle
tractor.
Control your speed whether fully loaded or empty.
Large combination vehicles take longer to stop when
they are empty 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. Your trailer can swing out and
strike other vehicles. Your tractor can jackknife very
quickly. 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 tractorsemitrailer loaded to maximum gross weight.
If for any reason you get stuck on the tracks, get out of
the vehicle and away from the tracks. Check signposts
or signal housing at the crossing for emergency
notification information. Call 911 or other emergency
number and give the location of the crossing using all
identifiable landmarks, especially the DOT number, if
posted.
6.1.5 Prevent Trailer Skids
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” (See Figure
6.2).
In any combination vehicle, allow lots of following
distance and look far ahead, so you can brake early.
Don't be caught by surprise and have to make a “panic”
stop.
6.1.4 Railroad-highway Crossings
The procedure for stopping a trailer skid is the
following:
Railroad-highway crossings can also cause problems,
particularly when pulling trailers with low underneath
clearance. These trailers can get stuck on raised
crossings:
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’s very difficult to prevent a jackknife.
 Low-slung units (lowboy, car carrier, moving
van, possum-belly livestock trailer).
6-2
Stop Using the Brake. Release the brakes to get traction
back. Do not use the trailer hand brake (if you have
one) to “straighten out the vehicle.” This is the wrong
thing to do since the brakes on the trailer wheels
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.
wheels of the rearmost trailer axle follow a path several
feet inside the path of the tractor’s steering axle. This is
called low-speed off-tracking (See Figure 6.3).
Figure 6.3 – Low Speed Off-tracking
6.1.6 Turn Wide For Off-Tracking
Excessive low-speed off-tracking may make it necessary
for the driver to swing wide into adjacent lanes when
making a turn to avoid climbing curbs, striking fixed
objects, vehicles or pedestrians. When making a turn to
the right at an intersection, keep the rear of your
vehicle close to the curb. This maneuver will stop other
drivers from passing you on the right and getting caught
between you and the curb. If you cannot complete your
turn without entering another traffic lane, utilize the
on-coming traffic lane in the direction you are turning
to complete the turn (Button Hook Method see Figure
6.4). If at all possible, do not make a turn by swinging
out into on-coming traffic before initiating the turn (Jug
Handle Method see Figure 6.4).
One of the greatest causes of accidents in the trucking
industry is due to trailer off-tracking (i.e. sideswiping a
car at an intersection while turning). Off-tracking is
when a vehicle makes a turn and its rear wheels do not
follow the same path as its front wheels. The difference
between the front axle path and the rear axle path of
the vehicle increases with the spacing between the
axles and decreases for larger radius turns. Off-tracking
of passenger cars is negligible because of their relatively
short wheelbases; however, combination trucks and
trailers off-track considerably. From the second a driver
places his/her truck in gear at the beginning of the day
until they shut it off at night, off-tracking issues will be a
constant concern and challenge. There are two types of
off-tracking. Low-speed off-tracking occurs when the
vehicle is traveling at low speeds and negotiating turns,
such as intersections. High-speed off-tracking occurs on
the open road at highway speeds.
There are instances; however, where the road is too
narrow and the turn at the intersection is too tight to
utilize the Button Hook Method. On these occasions
you will be forced to use the Jug Handle Method to
complete the turn successfully; however, these
instances are rare. You must use the Button Hook
Method if at all possible, because it is the safest and
Low–Speed Off-tracking: When a combination vehicle
makes a low-speed turn (90-degree intersection) the
6-3
most practical way to complete a turn successfully.
When using exit ramps, excessive off-tracking can result
in the trailer(s) tracking inward onto the shoulder or
over curbs.
At still higher speeds, the rear trailer axles will track
outside the track of the tractor steering axle. The speed
dependent component of off-tracking is primarily a
function of the spacing between truck axles, the speed
of the truck, and the radius of the turn. It also depends
on the loads carried by the truck axles and the truck
suspension characteristics. Figure 6.3A illustrates highspeed off- tracking for a standard tractor-semitrailer.
The amount of off-tracking truck and trailer(s)
combinations experience is due to two key factors: (1)
the distance from the tractor fifth wheel and trailer
kingpin attachment (pivot point) to the center of the
trailer(s) rear axle or axle group, and (2) the amount of
sideway drag of the rear tires.
Figure 6.3A High-Speed Off-tracking
Swept Path: “Swept path” is the amount of roadway
space the truck needs to make the turn without hitting
something. The most appropriate descriptor of offtracking for many roadway design applications is the
“Swept Path Width.” This is shown in Figure 6.3B as the
difference in paths between the outside front tractor
tire and the inside rear trailer tire(s) of the vehicle. The
maximum swept path is equal to the width of the
vehicle plus the off-tracking distance. If this maximum
swept path is greater than the width of the travel lane,
the vehicle will encroach into adjacent lanes, onto the
shoulder, or run off the road during the turning
maneuver.
Pivot Points: In the case of double and triple trailer
combinations, the overall length of the combination is
broken up by multiple pivot points. Because of the
multiple pivot points and the utilization of trailers with
shorter wheelbases, the standard double-trailer
combination (two 28-foot trailers) and triple-trailer
combination (three 28–foot trailers) will have better
low speed off-tracking performance than a standard
tractor and 53-foot semitrailer combination.
Sideways Drag: Sideways drag of the rear tires
increases the amount of off-tracking a vehicle will
experience. Sideways drag increases with the number
of tires on the ground; therefore, tandem axles will
have more sideway drag and greater off-tracking than
does a single rear axle.
As we have discussed in previous sections, the distance
of the truck fifth wheel and trailer kingpin connection
(pivot point or kingpin setting) to the center of the
trailer’s rear axle group is critical in calculating the offtracking characteristics of different types of truck and
trailer(s) combinations.
Kingpin settings can be
changed by the driver for various reasons by moving the
fifth wheel or sliding the rear axles of the trailer forward
or backward.
High-Speed Off-tracking: High-speed off-tracking is the
tendency of the rear of the trailer(s) to move outward
due to the lateral acceleration of the truck as it follows
a curve at higher speeds (See Figure 6.3A). As the
speed of the truck increases through the curve, the
trailer will drift to the inside of the curve at the slower
speed and move outward as speed increases until the
rear trailer axles follow exactly the tractor steering axle.
6-4
kingpin settings are introduced to various truck and
trailer configurations. As an example, the truck and
trailer combinations with two (2) and three (3) short
trailers off-track less than a tractor with a 41-foot
kingpin setting and a 48-foot trailer. The two (2)
semitrailer combinations with lengths of 53-feet and
57.5 feet show the sensitivity of off-tracking to the
kingpin setting. A 53-foot semitrailer with a 41-foot
kingpin setting would off-track the same as the 48-foot
semitrailer combination, but the back of the trailer
would swing out a little further due to the additional 5
feet from the center of its trailer axle group to the back
of the trailer.
The effect of having multiple pivot points can be seen
by comparing the off-tracking of the 57.5-foot
semitrailer with that of the Rocky Mountain Double, a
combination with 53-foot trailer, and a 28-foot trailer
which has an additional 23.5 feet in cargo box length.
The combination with the worst off-tracking
characteristics is the Turnpike Double with two (2) 53foot trailers.
The table in Figure 6.4A will help you understand what
off-tracking characteristics will occur when various
6-5
Figure 6.4 Common Combination Vehicles
Highway Restrictions: We have discussed the various
off-tracking situations a driver will experience every day
he/she operates a large commercial vehicle. Knowing
what off-tracking is, and how it affects your vehicle, will
help you understand the reason behind highway
restrictions. Transportation engineers take into
consideration several factors when determining the
type and size of vehicles a highway can safely support.
Two (2) of the factors engineers consider when setting
restrictions on a highway, is the off- tracking and swept
path characteristics of the various truck and trailer
combinations. Narrow, mountain roads with steep
grades and sharp curves present unique challenges for
both the driver and the engineer.
Figure 6.4B is a regulatory sign stating the legally
allowed vehicle combinations lengths that can operate
on a specific highway or section of highway. Vehicles in
excess of the listed dimensions may operate on a
highway or section of highway with an over-legal
permit. The permit will contain additional operating
requirements that must be met such as off-tracking and
overall length restrictions.
These additional
requirements help to ensure the vehicle configuration
remains in the lane of travel and not drift into oncoming
traffic. Figure 6.4B also reinforces the principle that a
single truck and trailer combination has greater offtracking and swept path issues than the double trailer
combination.
6.1.7 Backing with a Trailer
When backing a car, straight truck, or bus, you turn the
top of the steering wheel in the direction you want to
go. When backing a trailer, you 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 up with a trailer, try to position
your vehicle so you can back in a straight line. If you
6-6
must back on a curved path, back to the driver’s side so
you can see (See Figure 6.5).
Subsection 6.1
Test Your Knowledge
1. What two things are important to prevent
rollover?
2. When you turn suddenly while pulling doubles,
which trailer is most likely to turn over?
3. Why should you not use the trailer hand brake
to straighten out a jackknifing trailer?
4. What is off-tracking?
5. When you back a trailer, you should position
your vehicle so you can back in a curved path to
the driver’s side. True or False?
6. What type of trailers can get stuck on railroadhighway crossings?
Figure 6.5 Backing a Trailer
Special Note: If you steer with your hand on the
bottom of the steering wheel to back up a trailer, you
will not have any difficulty determining which
direction the trailer will go. Move your hand to the
left, and the rear of the trailer will go LEFT. Move your
hand to the right, and the rear of the trailer will go
RIGHT.
These questions may be on your test.
answer them all, re-read subsection 6.1.
If you can’t
6.2 COMBINATION VEHICLE AIR BRAKES
You should study Chapter 5: Air Brakes before reading
this section. In combination vehicles, the braking
system has parts to control the trailer brakes in addition
to the parts previously described in Chapter 5. These
parts are described below.
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.
6.2.1 Trailer Hand Valve
The trailer hand valve (also called the Trolley Valve or
Johnson Bar) operates the trailer(s) brakes only and is
entirely independent of the tractor 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.
(See Figure 6.5.A)
Use Mirrors on Both Sides: Check the outside mirrors
on both sides frequently. Get out of the vehicle and reinspect your path if you are unsure.
Back Slowly: This will let you 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 top of the steering wheel in the direction of the
drift.
Pull Forward: When backing a trailer, make pull-ups to
reposition your vehicle as needed.
6-7
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 into the range of 20 to 45 psi.
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.
6.2.4 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:
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. Depending
on how hard you press the foot brake or pull the hand
valve, the pressure in the service line will similarly
change. The service line is connected to relay valves.
These valves allow the trailer brakes to be applied more
quickly than would otherwise be possible.
Emergency Air Line: The emergency line (also called
the supply 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, thus tearing
apart the emergency air hose, or it could be caused by a
hose, metal tubing, or other part breaking, letting the
air out. When the emergency line loses pressure, it also
causes the tractor protection valve to close (the air
supply knob will pop out).
6.2.2 Tractor Protection Valve
The tractor protection valve keeps air in the tractor or
truck brake system should the trailer break away or
develop 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. The tractor protection valve
will close automatically if air pressure is low (in the
range of 20 to 45 psi). When the tractor protection
valve closes, it stops any air from going out of the
tractor. It also lets the air out of the trailer emergency
line which causes the trailer emergency brakes to come
on. If the emergency brakes are activated, you could
possibly lose control of your vehicle (Emergency brakes
are covered later).
Emergency lines are often coded with the color red (red
hose, red couplers, or other parts) to keep from getting
them mixed up with the blue service line.
6.2.5 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
6.2.3 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
6-8
connecting the glad hands, press the two seals together
with the couplers at a 90-degree angle to each other. A
turn of the glad hand attached to the hose will join and
lock the couplers.
are not in use. This will prevent water and dirt from
getting into the coupler and the air lines. Use the
dummy couplers when the air lines are not connected
to a trailer. If there are no dummy couplers, the glad
hands can sometimes be locked together (depending on
the couplings). It is very important to keep the air
supply clean.
When coupling, make sure to couple the proper glad
hands together. To help avoid mistakes, colors are
sometimes used. Blue is used for the service lines and
red for the emergency (supply) lines. Sometimes, metal
tags are attached to the lines with the words “service”
and “emergency” stamped on them (See Figure 6.6).
6.2.6 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. 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 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.
6.2.7 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.
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.
6.2.8 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.
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 wouldn’t have trailer brakes. This would
be very dangerous. Always test the trailer brakes
before driving with the hand valve or by pulling the air
supply (tractor protection valve) control. Pull gently
against them in a low gear to make sure the brakes
work. Some vehicles have “dead end” or dummy
couplers to which the hoses may be attached when they
6-9
A major leak in the emergency line will cause the tractor
protection valve to close and the trailer emergency
brakes to come on, but 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 when you park trailers without
spring brakes.
and wheel speed sensor wires coming from the back of
the brakes.
6.3.2 Braking with 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.
ABS does not necessarily shorten your stopping
distance, but it does help you keep the vehicle under
control during hard braking.
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.
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.
Subsection 6.2
Test Your Knowledge
1. Why should you not use the trailer hand valve
while driving?
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.
2. Describe what the trailer air supply control
does.
3. Describe what the service line is for.
4. What is the emergency air line for?
5. Why should you use chocks when parking a
trailer without spring brakes?
6. Where are shut-off valves?
Figure 6.7 – ABS Test Light. The Amber Light will come
on and stay on if there is a problem with the ABS
System
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 6.2.
6.3 ANTILOCK BRAKE SYSTEMS
When you drive a tractor-trailer combination with ABS,
you should brake as you always have. In other words:
6.3.1 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 the system.
Trailers will have yellow ABS malfunction lamps on the
left side, either on the front or rear corner (See Figure
6.7). Dollies manufactured on or after March 1, 1998
are required to have a lamp on the left side.
 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.
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
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still have
regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the system
 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.
6-10
serviced soon. ABS won’t allow you to drive faster,
follow more closely, or drive less carefully.
Wheel tilted down toward rear of tractor.
Jaws open.
6.4 COUPLING AND UNCOUPLING
Safety unlocking handle in the automatic lock
position.
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is basic
to safe operation of combination vehicles. Wrong
coupling and uncoupling can be very dangerous.
General coupling and uncoupling steps are listed below.
There are differences between different vehicles, so
learn the details of coupling and uncoupling the truck(s)
you will operate.
If you have a sliding fifth wheel, make sure it is
locked.
Make sure the trailer kingpin is not bent or
broken.
6.4.1 Coupling Tractor-Semitrailers
Step 2: Inspect Area and Chock Wheels
Step 1: Inspect Fifth Wheel
Make sure area around the vehicle is clear.
Be sure trailer wheels are chocked or spring
brakes are on.
Check that cargo (if any) is secured against
movement due to tractor being coupled to the
trailer.
Step 3: Position Tractor
Put the tractor 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 for damaged/missing parts.
Check to see that mounting to tractor is secure,
no cracks in frame, etc.
Check position, using outside mirrors, by
looking down both sides of the trailer.
Be sure that the fifth wheel plate is greased as
required. Failure to keep the fifth wheel plate
lubricated could cause steering problems
because of friction between the tractor and
trailer.
Step 4: Back Slowly
Back until fifth wheel just touches the trailer.
Check if fifth wheel is in proper position for coupling:
Don’t hit the trailer.
Step 5: Secure Tractor
Put on the parking brake.
Put transmission in neutral.
6-11
Make sure air lines are safely supported where
they won't be crushed or caught while the
tractor is backing under the trailer.
Step 6: Check 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
Step 8: Supply Air to Trailer
From cab, push in “air supply” knob or move
tractor protection valve control from the
“emergency” to the “normal” position to supply
air to the trailer brake system.
needed. If the trailer is too low, the tractor may
strike and damage the trailer nose. If the trailer
is too high, it may not couple correctly.
Wait until the air pressure is normal.
Check that the kingpin and fifth wheel are
aligned.
Check brake system for crossed air lines.
Shut engine off so you can hear the brakes.
Step 7: Connect Air Lines to Trailer
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 glad hand seals and connect tractor
emergency air line to trailer emergency glad
hand.
Check air brake system pressure gauge for signs
of major air loss.
When you are sure trailer brakes are working,
start the engine.
Make sure air pressure is up to normal.
Step 9: Lock Trailer Brakes
Pull out the “air supply” knob or move the
tractor protection valve control from “normal”
to “emergency.”
Check glad hand seals and connect tractor
service air line to trailer service glad hand.
6-12
If there is space, something is wrong (kingpin
may be on top of the closed fifth wheel jaws,
and trailer would come loose easily).
Step 10: Back under Trailer
Go under trailer and look into the back of the
fifth wheel. Make sure the fifth wheel jaws
have closed around the shank of the kingpin.
Use lowest reverse gear.
Back tractor slowly under trailer to avoid hitting
the kingpin too hard.
Stop when the kingpin is locked into the fifth
wheel.
Step 11: Check Connection for Security
Raise trailer landing gear slightly off ground.
Pull tractor gently forward while the trailer
brakes are still locked to check that the trailer is
locked onto the tractor.
Check that the fifth wheel locking lever is in the
“lock” position.
Check that the safety latch is in position over
locking lever (on some fifth wheels the catch
must be put in place by hand).
Step 12: Secure Vehicle
Put transmission in neutral.
Put parking brakes on.
Shut off engine and take the key with you so
someone else won't move truck while you are
under it.
Step 13: Inspect Coupling
If the coupling isn’t right, don’t drive the
coupled unit, get it fixed.
Use a flashlight, if necessary.
Make sure
there is no
space
between
the apron
on
the
trailer and
the fifth
wheel
skid plate.
Step 14: Connect Electrical Cord/ Check Air
Lines
Plug the electrical cord into the trailer and
fasten the safety catch.
Check both air lines and electrical line for signs
of damage.
6-13
6.4.2 Uncoupling Tractor-Semitrailers
Make sure air and electrical lines will not hit any
moving parts of the vehicle.
The following steps will help you to uncouple safely:
Step 1: Position Vehicle
Step 15: Raise Trailer Landing Gear
 Make sure surface of parking area can support
weight of trailer.
 Have tractor lined up with the trailer (pulling
out at an angle can damage landing gear).
Step 2: Ease Pressure on Locking Jaws
 Shut off trailer air supply to lock trailer brakes.
 Ease pressure on fifth wheel locking jaws by
backing up gently. This will help you release the
fifth wheel locking lever.
 Put parking brakes on while tractor is pushing
against the kingpin. This will hold the vehicle
with pressure off the locking jaws.
Use low gear range (if so equipped) to begin
raising the landing gear. Once free of weight,
switch to the high gear range.
Step 3: Chock Trailer Wheels
 Chock the trailer wheels if the trailer doesn’t
have spring brakes or if you're not sure. The air
could leak out of the trailer air tank, releasing
its emergency brakes. Without chocks, the
trailer could move.
Raise the landing gear all the way up. Never
drive with landing gear only part way up as it
may catch on railroad tracks or other things.
After raising landing gear, secure the crank
handle safely.
Step 4: Lower the Landing Gear
 If the trailer is empty, lower the landing gear
until it makes firm contact with the ground.
When the full weight of the trailer is resting on
tractor:
 If the trailer is loaded, after the landing gear
makes firm contact with the ground, turn crank
in low gear a few extra turns (about 7 turns).
This will lift some weight off the tractor. Do not
lift trailer off the fifth wheel. This will:
Check for enough clearance between rear
of tractor frame and landing gear (when the
tractor turns sharply, it must not hit the
landing gear).
Check that there is enough clearance
between the top of the tractor tires and the
nose of the trailer.
Make it easier to unlatch fifth wheel.
Make it easier to couple next time.
Step 16: Remove Trailer Wheel Chocks
Step 5: Disconnect 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.
Remove and store wheel chocks in a safe place.
6-14
 Hang electrical cable with plug down to prevent
moisture from entering it.
2. After coupling, how much space should be
between the trailer apron and fifth wheel plate?
 Make sure lines are supported so they won’t be
damaged while driving the tractor.
3. You should look into the back of the fifth wheel
to see if it is locked onto the kingpin. True or
False?
4. To drive you need to raise the landing gear only
until it just lifts off the pavement. True or
False?
Step 6: Unlock Fifth Wheel
 Raise the release handle lock.
5. How do you know if your trailer is equipped
with antilock brakes?
 Pull the release handle to “open” position.
 Keep legs and feet clear of the rear tractor
wheels to avoid serious injury in case the
vehicle moves.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 6.3 and 6.4.
6.5 INSPECTING A COMBINATION VEHICLE
Step 7: Pull Tractor Partially Clear of Trailer
 Pull tractor forward until fifth wheel comes out
from under the trailer.
Use the seven-step inspection procedure described in
Chapter 2 to inspect your combination vehicle. There
are more things to inspect on a combination vehicle
than on a single vehicle (for example, tires, wheels,
lights, reflectors, etc.); however, there are also some
new things to check, which are discussed in this section.
 Stop with the tractor frame under the trailer
(prevents trailer from falling to ground if
landing gear should collapse or sink).
Step 8: Secure Tractor
6.5.1 Additional Things to Check During a WalkAround Inspection
 Apply parking brake.
Do these checks in addition to those already listed in
Chapter 2.
 Place transmission in neutral.
Step 9: Inspect Trailer Supports
Coupling System Areas:
 Make sure the ground is supporting the trailer.
Check fifth wheel (lower):
 Make sure the landing gear is not damaged.
Securely mounted
to frame.
Step 10: Pull Tractor Clear of Trailer
 Release parking brakes.
No missing or damaged parts.
 Check the area and drive tractor forward until it
clears.
Enough grease.
No visible space between trailer apron and fifth
wheel plate.
Subsections 6.3 and 6.4
Test Your Knowledge
Locking jaws around the shank, not the head of
kingpin (See Figure 6.8).
1. What might happen if the trailer is too high
when you try to couple?
6-15
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.
Release arm properly seated and safety
latch/lock engaged.
Sliding fifth wheel:
Slide not damaged or parts missing.
Check fifth wheel (upper):
Properly greased.
Glide plate securely mounted to trailer frame.
All locking pins present and locked in place.
Kingpin not damaged.
If air powered - no air leaks.
Check that fifth wheel is not so far forward that
tractor frame will hit landing gear, or the cab
will hit the trailer during turns.
6-16
Landing Gear
range specified by the manufacturer (usually within the
range of 20 to 45 psi).
Fully raised, no missing parts, not bent or
otherwise damaged.
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 and result in a possible loss of control of the
vehicle.
Crank handle in place and secured.
If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
6.5.2 Combination Vehicle Brake Check
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.
Do these checks in addition to Section 5.3, Inspecting
Air Brake Systems.
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.
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).
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 vehicle and open the emergency line
shut-off valve at the rear of the last trailer. You should
hear air escaping; thereby, 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 to see that the shut-off valves on the
trailer(s) and dolly(s) are in the OPEN position. You
MUST have air all the way to the back of the last trailer
in the combination for all the brakes to work.
Subsection 6.5
Test Your Knowledge
1. Which shut-off valves should be open and
which closed?
2. How can you test that air flows to all trailers?
3. How can you test the tractor protection valve?
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 and
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
4. How can you test the trailer emergency brakes?
5. How can you test the trailer service brakes?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer all of them, re-read subsection 6.5.
6-17
Chapter 7 : Doubles and Triples
This Chapter Covers:
7.1.4 Look Far Ahead
Pulling Double/Triple Trailers
Coupling and Uncoupling
Inspecting Doubles and Triples
Checking Air Brakes
Doubles and triples must be driven very smoothly to
avoid rollover or jackknife; therefore, look far ahead so
you can slow down or change lanes gradually when
necessary.
7.1.5 Manage Space
This chapter has information you need to pass the CDL
knowledge test for driving safely with double and triple
trailers. It tells about how important it is to be very
careful when driving with more than one trailer, how to
couple and uncouple correctly, and about inspecting
doubles and triples carefully (you should also study
Chapters 2, 5, and 6).
Doubles and triples take up more space than other
commercial vehicles. They are not only longer, but also
need more space because they can’t be turned or
stopped suddenly. Allow more following distance and
make sure you have large enough gaps before entering
or crossing traffic. Be certain you are clear at the sides
before changing lanes.
7.1 PULLING DOUBLE/TRIPLE TRAILERS
Take special care when pulling two and three trailers.
There are more things that can go wrong, and
doubles/triples are less stable than other commercial
vehicles. Some areas of concern are discussed below.
Of all the space around your vehicle, it is the area ahead
of the vehicle - the space you're driving into - that is
most important.
The Need for Space Ahead: You need space ahead in
case you must suddenly stop. According to accident
reports, the vehicle that trucks and buses most often
run into is the one in front of them. The most frequent
cause 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 if you are following
too closely.
7.1.1 Prevent Trailer from Rolling Over
To prevent trailers from rolling over, you must steer
gently and go slowly around corners, on ramps, off
ramps, 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.
7.1.2 Beware of the Crack-the-Whip Effect
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 greater speeds, you must add one
second for safety. For example, if you are driving a 40foot vehicle, you should leave four seconds between
you and the vehicle ahead. In a 60-foot vehicle, you’ll
need six seconds. Over 40 mph, you’d need five
seconds for a 40-foot vehicle and seven seconds for a
60-foot vehicle (See Figure 7.A). To know how much
space you have, wait until the vehicle ahead passes a
shadow on the road, a pavement marking, or some
other clear landmark, then count off the seconds like
this: “one thousand-one, one thousand-two,” and so
on, until you reach the same spot. Compare your count
with the rule of one second for every ten feet of length.
Doubles and triples are more likely to turn over than
other combination vehicles because of the “crack-thewhip” affect. You must steer gently when pulling
trailers. The last trailer in a combination is most likely
to turn over. If you don't understand the crack-thewhip affect, study subsection 6.1.2 of this manual.
7.1.3 Inspect Completely
There are more critical parts to check when you have
two or three trailers. Check them all and follow the
procedures described later in this section.
7-1
7.1.8 Antilock Braking Systems on Converter
Dollies
If you are driving a 40-foot truck and only counted up to
two seconds, you’re too close. Drop back a little and
count again until you have 4 seconds of following
distance (or 5 seconds, if you’re 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.
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.
7.2 COUPLING AND UNCOUPLING
Knowing how to couple and uncouple correctly is basic
to safe operation of doubles and triples. Wrong
coupling and uncoupling can be very dangerous.
Coupling and uncoupling steps for doubles and triples
are listed below.
7.2.1 Coupling Twin Trailers
Secure Second (Rear) Trailer
If the second trailer doesn’t 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 if you have any doubt
about the brakes. For the safest handling on the road,
the more heavily loaded semitrailer should be in first
position behind the tractor, and the lighter trailer
should be in the rear.
A converter gear on a 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 tractor-trailer combination
forming a double bottom vehicle (See Figure 7.1).
7.1.6 Adverse Conditions
Be more careful in adverse conditions. In bad weather,
slippery conditions, and mountain driving, you must be
especially careful if you drive double and 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.
7.1.7 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.
7-2
 Lock pintle hook.
Position Converter Dolly in Front of Second (Rear)
Trailer
Release dolly brakes by opening the air tank petcock
(valve), or if the dolly has spring brakes, use the dolly
parking brake control.
If the distance is not too great, wheel the dolly into
position by hand so it is in line with the kingpin. If the
distance is too far between the dolly and the trailer, use
the tractor and first semitrailer to pick up the converter
dolly:
 Secure dolly support in raised position.
 Pull dolly into position as close as possible to
nose of the second semitrailer.
 Lower the dolly support.
 Unhook the dolly from the first trailer.
 Wheel the dolly into position in front of the
second trailer in line with the kingpin.
 Position combination as close as possible to
converter dolly.
Connect Converter Dolly to Front Trailer
 Move dolly to rear of first semitrailer and
couple it to the trailer.
 Back first semitrailer into position in front of
dolly tongue.
7-3
 Hook dolly to front trailer.
 Test the coupling by pulling against the pin of
the second semitrailer.
Lock pintle hook.
 Make a visual check of coupling (no space
between the trailer apron and the fifth wheel
plate, and the locking jaws are closed around
the kingpin).
Secure converter gear support in raised
position.
Connect Converter Dolly to the Rear Trailer
 Connect the safety chains, air hoses, and light
cords.
 Make sure the trailer brakes are locked and/or
wheels chocked.
 Close the converter dolly air tank petcock
(valve). Also close the service and emergency
air shut-off valves at the rear of the second
trailer.
 Make sure the 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 it).
 Back the converter dolly under the rear trailer.
 Open the service and emergency air shut-off
valves at rear of the first trailer and on the
converter dolly (if so equipped).
 Raise the landing gear slightly off of the ground
to prevent damage if the trailer moves.
7-4
 Raise the landing gear completely.
 Slowly drive the tractor forward with the first
semitrailer and dolly still attached in order to
pull the dolly out from under the rear
semitrailer.
 Charge the trailer brakes (push “air supply”
knob in), and check for air at rear of second
trailer by opening the emergency air line shutoff. If air pressure isn't there, something is
wrong and the brakes won't work.
Uncouple Converter Dolly
 Lower the dolly landing gear.
 Disconnect the safety chains.
 Apply the converter gear spring brakes or chock
the wheels.
 Release the pintle hook on the first semi-trailer.
 Slowly pull clear of the dolly.
Never unlock the pintle hook with the dolly still under
the rear trailer. The dolly tow bar may fly up, possibly
causing you injury, and making it very difficult to recouple the equipment.
7.2.3 Coupling and Uncoupling Triple Trailers
7.2.2 Uncoupling Twin Trailers
Couple Tractor & First Semitrailer to Second, Third
Trailers
Uncouple Rear Trailer
 Couple the tractor to the first trailer. Use the
method already described for coupling tractorsemitrailers.
 Park the vehicle in a straight line on firm level
ground.
 Apply the parking brakes so the vehicle won’t
move.
 Move the converter dolly into position and
couple first trailer to second trailer using the
method for coupling doubles. The triple trailer
combination is now complete.
 Chock the wheels of the second trailer if it
doesn't have spring brakes.
Uncouple Triple-trailer Combination
 Lower the landing gear of the second
semitrailer enough to remove some of the
weight from the dolly.
 Close the air shut-off valves at the rear of the
first semitrailer (and on the dolly if so
equipped).
 Uncouple the third trailer by pulling the dolly
out, then unhitching the dolly using the method
for uncoupling doubles.
 Uncouple the remainder of the vehicle as you
would any double-bottom vehicle using the
method already described.
 Disconnect all of the dolly air and electric lines
and secure them.
7.2.4 Coupling & Uncoupling
Other Combinations
 Release the dolly brakes.
 Release converter dolly fifth wheel latch.
The methods described so far apply to the more
common tractor-trailer combinations. However, there
7-5
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
manual. You must learn the right way to couple the
vehicle(s) you will drive according to the manufacturer
and/or owner.
Air lines properly connected to glad hands, no
air leaks, properly secured with enough slack
for turns.
All lines free from damage.
7.3 INSPECTING DOUBLES AND TRIPLES
Sliding fifth wheel:
Use the seven-step inspection procedure described in
Chapter 2 to inspect your combination vehicle. There
are more things 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
(for example, tires, wheels, lights, reflectors, etc.);
however, there are also some new things to check.
These are discussed below.
Slide not damaged or parts missing.
Properly greased.
All locking pins present and locked in place.
If air powered, no air leaks.
Check that fifth wheel is not so far forward
that tractor frame will hit the landing gear, or
the cab of the tractor hit the trailer during
turns.
7.3.1 Additional Checks
Do these checks in addition to those already listed in
Chapter 2, Step 5: Do the Walk-around Inspection.
Landing Gear:
Coupling System Areas
Fully raised, no missing parts, not bent or
otherwise damaged.
Check fifth wheel (lower):
Securely mounted to frame.
Crank handle in place and secured.
No missing or damaged parts.
If power operated, no air or hydraulic leaks.
Enough grease.
Double and Triple Trailers:
No visible space between trailer apron and fifth
wheel plate.
Shut-off valves (at rear of trailers, in service and
emergency lines).
Locking jaws around the shank, not the head, of
the kingpin.
Rear of front trailers: OPEN.
Rear of last trailer: CLOSED.
Fifth wheel release arm properly seated and
safety latch/lock engaged.
Converter dolly air tank drain valve:
CLOSED.
Check fifth wheel (upper):
 Be sure air lines are supported and glad hands
are properly connected.
Glide plate (apron) securely mounted to the
trailer frame.
 If spare tire is carried on converter gear (dolly),
make sure it’s secured.
Kingpin not damaged.
Air and electric lines to trailer.
 Be sure pintle-eye of dolly is in place in pintle
hook of trailer(s).
Electrical cord firmly plugged in and secured.
7-6
 Make sure pintle hook is latched.
range specified by the manufacturer (usually within the
range of 20 to 45 psi).
 Safety chains should be secured to trailer(s).
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 and result in a possible loss of control of the
vehicle.
 Be sure light cords are firmly in sockets on
trailers.
7.3.2 Additional Things to Check During a WalkAround Inspection
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.
Do these checks in addition to subsection 5.3,
Inspecting Air Brake Systems.
7.4 DOUBLES/TRIPLES AIR BRAKE CHECK
Check the brakes on a double or triple trailer as you
would any combination vehicle. Subsection 6.5.2
explains how to check air brakes on combination
vehicles. You must also make the following checks on
your double or triple trailers.
Test Trailer Service Brakes: Check for normal air
pressure, release the parking brakes, move the vehicle
forward slowly, and 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.)
7.4.1 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 the 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 vehicle and open the
emergency line shut-off valve at the rear of the last
trailer. You should hear air escaping indicating the
entire system is charged. Close the emergency line
valve and 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.
7.5
LONG
COMMERCIAL
CERTIFICATION
VEHICLE
(LCV)
Special Note: FMCSRs §380.113 – Employer
responsibilities; §380.201 – General requirements;
§380.203 - LCV Doubles, and §380.205 – LCV
Triples outline the special training and
certification requirements an employer and driver
must follow before the driver can legally operate
vehicles towing double and/or triple trailers.
If you do NOT hear air escaping from both lines, check
that the shut-off valves on the trailer(s) and dolly(s) are
in the OPEN position. You MUST have air all the way to
the back of the last trailer in the combination for all the
brakes to work.
Section 7
Test Your Knowledge
1. What is a converter dolly?
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 and
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
2. Do converter dollies have spring brakes?
3. What three methods can you use to secure a
second trailer before coupling?
4. How do you check to make sure the trailer
height (apron to fifth wheel) is correct before
coupling?
7-7
5. What do you check when making a visual check
of coupling?
a set of doubles? On the middle trailer of a set
of triples?
6. Why should you pull a dolly out from under a
trailer before you disconnect it from the trailer
in front?
9. How can you test that air flows to all trailers?
10. How do you know if your converter dolly is
equipped with antilock brakes?
7. What should you check for when inspecting the
converter dolly? The pintle hook?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Chapter 7.
8. Should the shut-off valves on the rear of the last
trailer be open or closed? On the first trailer in
7-8
Chapter 8 : Tank Vehicles
This Chapter Covers:
 Check the tank’s body or shell for dents or
leaks.
Inspecting Tank Vehicles
Driving Tank Vehicles
Safe Driving Rules
 Check the intake, discharge, and cut-off valves.
Make sure the valves are in the correct position
before loading, unloading, or moving the
vehicle.
This chapter has information needed to pass the CDL
knowledge test for driving a tank vehicle (you should
also study Chapters 2, 5, and 6). A tank endorsement is
required for certain vehicles that transport liquids or
gases. The liquid or gas does not have to be a
hazardous material. A tank endorsement is only
required if your vehicle needs a Class A or B CDL, and
you want to haul a liquid or liquid gas in a permanently
mounted cargo tank rated at 119 gallons or more or a
portable tank rated at 1,000 gallons or more. A tank
endorsement is also required for Class C vehicles when
the vehicle is used to transport hazardous materials in
liquid or gas form in the above described rated tanks.
 Check pipes, connections, and hoses for leaks,
especially around joints.
 Check manhole covers and vents. Make sure
the covers have gaskets and they close
correctly. Keep the vents clear so they work
correctly.
8.1.2 Check Special Purpose Equipment
If your vehicle has any of the following equipment,
make sure it works:
Before loading, unloading, or driving a tanker, you must
inspect the vehicle. This ensures that the vehicle is safe
to carry the liquid or gas and is safe to drive. Be familiar
with tank vehicle loading and unloading procedures.
Some liquids or gases require that a qualified person be
within 25 feet of the tank when unloading.
 Vapor recovery kits.
 Grounding and bonding cables.
 Emergency shut-off systems.
8.1 INSPECTING TANK VEHICLES
 Built in fire extinguisher.
Before loading, unloading, or driving a tanker, you must
inspect the vehicle. This assures that the vehicle is safe
to carry the liquid or gas and is safe to drive.
Never drive a tank vehicle with open valves or open
manhole covers.
8.1.3 Special Equipment
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 manual to make sure
you know how to inspect your tank vehicle.
Check the emergency equipment required for your
vehicle. Find out what equipment you’re required to
carry and make sure you have it (and it works).
8.1.1 Leaks
8.2 DRIVING TANK VEHICLES
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, because to do so is a crime. You will be
cited and prevented from driving further. You may also
be liable for the clean-up of any spill. In general, check
the following:
Hauling liquids in tanks requires special skills because of
the high center of gravity and the liquid movement (See
Figure 8.1).
8-1
8.2.1 High Center of Gravity
8.2.3 Bulkheads
Some liquid tanks are divided into several smaller tanks
by bulkheads. When loading and unloading the smaller
tanks, the driver must pay attention to weight
distribution. Don’t put too much weight on the front or
rear of the vehicle.
Fuel Trailer with bulkheads can carry different grades of fuel
High center of gravity means that much of the load’s
weight is carried high up off the road. This makes the
vehicle top-heavy and easy to roll over. Liquid tankers
are especially easy to roll over. Tests have shown that
tankers can turn over at the speed limits posted for
curves. Take highway curves and on ramp/off ramp
curves well below the posted speeds.
8.2.2 Danger of Surge
8.2.4 Baffled Tanks
Liquid surge results from movement of the liquid in
partially filled tanks. This movement can have bad
effects on handling. For example, when coming to a
stop, the liquid will surge back and forth and 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 out into an intersection.
Baffled liquid tanks have bulkheads in them with holes
that let the liquid flow through. The baffles help to
control the forward and backward liquid surge;
however, side-to-side surge can still occur which can
cause a rollover.
The driver of a liquid tanker must be very familiar with
the handling characteristics of the vehicle.
8-2
8.2.7 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 the tanks with heavy liquids. The
amount of liquid to load into a tank depends on:
 The amount the liquid will expand in transit.
Baffled Liquid Tank
 The weight of the liquid.
8.2.5 Un-baffled Tanks
 Legal weight limits.
Un-baffled liquid tankers (sometimes called “smooth
bore” tanks) have nothing inside to slow down the flow
of the liquid; therefore, forward-and-back surge is very
strong.
Un-baffled tanks are usually those that
transport food products such as milk (sanitation
regulations forbid the use of baffles because of the
difficulty in cleaning the inside of the tank). Be
extremely cautious (slow and careful) in driving smooth
bore tanks, especially when starting and stopping.
8.3 SAFE DRIVING RULES
In order to drive tank vehicles safely, you must
remember to follow all the safe driving rules. A few of
these rules include the following:
8.3.1 Drive Smoothly
Because of the high center of gravity and the surge of
the liquid, you must start, slow down, and stop very
smoothly. You must also make smooth turns and lane
changes.
8.3.2 Controlling Surge
8.2.6 Outage
Keep a steady pressure on the brakes and do not
release them too soon when coming to a stop. Brake
far in advance of a stop and increase your following
distance.
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 when hauling liquids in bulk.
If you must make a quick stop to avoid a crash, use
controlled or stab braking. If you do not remember
8-3
how to stop the vehicle by using these braking methods,
review subsection 2.17.2. Also, remember that if you
steer quickly while braking, your vehicle may roll over.
Section 8
Test Your Knowledge
8.3.3 Curves
1. How are bulkheads different than baffles?
Slow down before curves, then accelerate slightly
though the curve. The posted speed for a curve may be
too fast for a tank vehicle.
2. Should a tank vehicle take curves, on ramps, or
off ramps at the posted speed limits?
3. How are smooth bore tankers different to drive
than those with baffles?
8.3.4 Stopping Distance
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.
4. What three things determine how much liquid
you can load?
8.3.5 Skids
6. How can you help control surge?
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 immediate action to restore traction to the wheels.
7. What two reasons make special care necessary
when driving tank vehicles?
5. What is outage?
These questions may be on the test. If you can’t answer
them all, re-read Chapter 8.
8-4
Chapter 9 : Hazardous Materials
The Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) is found
in parts 100 - 185 of title 49 of the Code of Federal
Regulations. The common reference for these
regulations is 49 CFR 100 - 185
This Chapter Covers:
The Intent of the Regulations
Bulk Tank Loading, Unloading, and Marking
Driver Responsibilities
Driving and Parking Rules
Communications Rules
Emergencies
Loading and Unloading
Hazardous Materials Endorsement Process
The Hazardous Materials Table in the regulations
contains a list of these items. However, this list is not
all-inclusive. Whether or not a material is considered
hazardous is based on its characteristics and the
shipper's decision on whether or not the material
meets a definition of a hazardous material in the
regulations.
You must have a CDL with the hazardous materials
(hazmat) endorsement before driving vehicles
placarded for hazmat. To get this endorsement, you
must pass a written test about hazmat rules and
regulations and you must undergo a security threat
assessment (background check) as required by the
USA PATRIOT Act of 2001. If you intend to keep your
hazmat endorsement, you must re-take the written
test and pass the background investigation every
time you renew your CDL (every 4 years).
The regulations require vehicles transporting certain
types or quantities of hazardous materials to display
diamond-shaped, square on point, warning signs
called placards.
This section is designed to assist you in
understanding your role and responsibilities in
hauling hazardous materials. Due to the constantly
changing nature of government regulations, it is
impossible to guarantee absolute accuracy of the
materials in this section. An up-to-date copy of the
complete regulations is essential for you to have.
Included in these regulations is a complete glossary
of terms.
The federal Transportation Security Administration
(TSA) and the United States Department of
Transportation (USDOT) have issued rules that states
must follow as part of the threat assessment process.
The security threat assessment will include the
collection of an individual’s fingerprints and
verification of United States citizenship or permanent
legal presence in the United States. More specific
information regarding the threat assessment process
can be obtained at any county sheriff’s office.
Information regarding the application process is also
located at the end of this chapter.
You must have a commercial driver license (CDL) with
a hazardous materials endorsement before you drive
any size vehicle that is used to transport hazardous
material as defined in 49 CFR 383.5. You must pass a
written test about the regulations and requirements
to get this endorsement.
Everything you need to know to pass the written
test is in this manual, in Chapters 8 & 9. However,
this is only a beginning. Most drivers need to know
much more on the job. You can learn more by
reading and understanding the federal and state
rules applicable to hazardous materials, as well as,
attending hazardous materials training courses. Your
employer, colleges and universities, and various
associations usually offer these courses. You can get
copies of the Federal Regulations (49 CFR) through
your local Government Printing Office bookstore and
various industry publishers. Union or company
offices often have copies of the rules for driver use.
Hazardous materials are products that pose a risk to
health, safety, and property during transportation.
The term often is shortened to HAZMAT, which you
may see on road signs, or to HM in government
regulations. Hazardous materials include explosives,
various types of gas, solids, flammable and
combustible liquid, and other materials. Because of
the risks involved and the potential consequences
these risks impose, all levels of government regulate
the handling of hazardous materials.
9-1
Find out where you can get your own copy to use on
the job.
The regulations require training and testing for all
drivers involved in transporting hazardous materials.
Your employer or a designated representative is
required to provide this training and testing.
Hazardous materials employers are required to keep
a record of training for each employee as long as that
employee is working with hazardous materials, and
for 90 days thereafter. The regulations require that
hazardous materials employees be trained and tested
at least once every three years.
9.1.1 Contain the Material
Transporting hazardous materials can be risky. The
regulations are intended to protect you, those
around you, and the environment. They tell
shippers how to package the materials safely and
drivers how to load, transport, and unload the
material. These are called "containment rules."
9.1.2 Communicate the Risk
To communicate the risk, shippers must warn
drivers and others about the material's hazards. The
regulations require shippers to put hazard warning
labels on packages, provide proper shipping papers,
emergency response information, and placards.
These steps communicate the hazard to the shipper,
the carrier, and the driver.
All drivers must be trained in the security risks of
hazardous materials transportation. This training
must include how to recognize and respond to
possible security threats.
The regulations also require that drivers have special
training before driving a vehicle transporting certain
flammable gas materials or highway route controlled
quantities of radioactive materials. In addition,
drivers transporting cargo tanks and portable tanks
must receive specialized training. Each driver’s
employer or his/her designated representative must
provide such training.
9.1.3 Assure Safe Drivers and Equipment
In order to obtain a hazardous materials
endorsement on a CDL, you must pass a written test
about transporting hazardous materials. To pass the
test, you must know how to:
Identify what are hazardous materials.
Some locations require permits to transport certain
explosives or bulk hazardous wastes. States and
counties also may require drivers to follow special
hazardous materials routes. The federal government
may require permits or exemptions for special
hazardous materials cargo such as rocket fuel. Find
out about permits, exemptions, and special routes
for the places you drive.
Safely load shipments.
Properly placard your vehicle in accordance
with the rules.
Safely transport shipments.
Learn the rules and follow them. Following the rules
reduces the risk of injury from hazardous materials.
Taking shortcuts by breaking rules is unsafe. Noncompliance with regulations can result in fines and
jail.
Inspect your vehicle before and during each trip.
Law enforcement officers may stop and inspect your
vehicle. When stopped, they may check your
shipping papers, vehicle placards, and the hazardous
materials endorsement on your driver’s license, and
your knowledge of hazardous materials.
9-2
9.2 Hazardous Materials
Transportation: Who Does What?
 Refuses improper shipments.
 Reports accidents and incidents involving
hazardous materials to the proper
government agency.
9.2.1 The Shipper
 Sends products from one place to another by
truck, rail, vessel, or airplane.
9.2.3 The Driver
 Uses the hazardous materials regulations to
determine the product’s:
Proper shipping name.
 Makes sure the shipper has identified,
marked, and labeled the hazardous materials
properly.
Hazard class.
 Refuses leaking packages and shipments.
Identification number.
 Placards vehicle when loading, if required.
Packing group.
 Safely transports the shipment without
delay.
Correct packaging.
 Follows all special rules about transporting
hazardous materials.
Correct label and markings.
 Keeps hazardous materials shipping papers
and emergency response information in the
proper place.
Correct placards.
 Must package, mark, and label the materials;
prepare shipping papers; provide emergency
response information; and supply placards.
9.3 Communication Rules
 Certify on the shipping paper that the
shipment has been prepared according to the
rules (unless you are pulling cargo tanks
supplied by you or your employer).
9.3.1 Definitions
Some words and phrases have special meanings
when talking about hazardous materials. Some of
these may differ from meanings you are used to. The
words and phrases in this chapter may be on your
test. The meanings of other important words are in
the glossary at the end of this chapter.
9.2.2 The Carrier
 Takes the shipment from the shipper to its
destination.
A material's hazard class reflects the risks associated
with it. There are nine different hazard classes. The
types of materials included in these nine classes are
in Figure 9.1.
 Prior to transportation, checks that the
shipper correctly described, marked, labeled,
and otherwise prepared the shipment for
transportation.
9-3
After an accident or hazardous materials spill or leak,
you may be injured and unable to communicate the
hazards of the materials you are transporting.
Firefighters and police can prevent or reduce the
amount of damage or injury at the scene if they know
what hazardous materials are being carried. Your life,
and the lives of others, may depend on quickly locating
the hazardous materials shipping papers. For that
reason the rules require:
Hazardous Materials Class
Class
Division
1
1.1
1.2
1.3
1.4
1.5
1.6
2
2.1
2.2
2.3
3
-
4
4.1
4.2
4.3
5
6
5.1
5.2
6.1
6.2
7
8
9
e
-
-
-
Name of Class or
Division
Examples
Mass Explosion
Projection Hazard
Fire Hazard
Minor Explosion
Very Insensitive
Extremely
Insensitive
Flammable Gases
Non-Flammable
Gases
Poisonous/Toxic
Gases
Dynamite
Flares
Display Fireworks
Ammunition
Blasting Agents
Explosive Devices
Flammable
Liquids
Flammable Solids
Spontaneously
Combustible
Dangerous When
Wet
Oxidizers
Organic Peroxides
Gasoline
Poison (Toxic
Material)
Infectious
Substances
Radioactive
Corrosives
Miscellaneous
Hazardous
Materials
ORM-D (Other
Regulated
MaterialDomestic)
Combustible
Liquids
 Shippers to describe hazardous materials
correctly and include an emergency response
telephone number on shipping papers.
Propane
Helium
 Carriers and drivers to quickly identify
hazardous materials shipping papers, or keep
them on top of other shipping papers and keep
the required emergency response information
with the shipping papers.
Fluorine, Compressed
Ammonium
Picrate,
Wetted
White Phosphorus
Sodium
 Drivers to keep hazardous materials shipping
papers:
In a pouch on the driver's door, or
Ammonium Nitrate
Methyl Ethyl Ketone
Peroxide
Potassium Cyanide
In clear view within immediate reach while
the seat belt is fastened while driving, or
On the driver's seat when out of the
vehicle.
Anthrax Virus
Uranium
Battery Fluid
Polychlorinated
Biphenyls (PCB)
9.3.2 Package Labels
Shippers put diamond-shaped hazard warning labels on
most hazardous materials packages. These labels
inform others of the hazard. If the diamond label won't
fit on the package, shippers may put the label on a tag
securely attached to the package. For example,
compressed gas cylinders that will not
hold a label will have tags or decals.
Labels look like the examples in
Figure 9.2.
Food Flavorings,
Medicines
Fuel Oil
Figure 9.1
A shipping paper describes the hazardous materials
being transported. Shipping orders, bills of lading, and
manifests are all shipping papers. Figure 9.6 shows an
example shipping paper.
Figure 9.2
9-4
9.3.3 Lists of Regulated Products
1. Section 172.101, the Hazardous Materials
Table.
Placards: Placards are used to warn others of
hazardous materials. Placards are signs put on the
outside of a vehicle and on bulk packages, which
identify the hazard class of the cargo. A placarded
vehicle must have at least four identical placards. They
are put on the front, rear, and both sides of the vehicle
(See Figure 9.3). Placards must be readable from all
four directions. They are at least 10 3/4 inches square,
square-on-point, in a diamond shape. Cargo tanks and
other bulk packaging display the identification number
of their contents on placards or orange panels or white
square-on-point displays that are the same size as
placards.
2. Appendix A to Section 172.101, the List of
Hazardous
Substances
and
Reportable
Quantities.
3. Appendix B to Section 172.101, the List of
Marine Pollutants.
The Hazardous Materials Table: Figure 9.4 shows part
of the Hazardous Materials Table. Column 1 tells which
shipping mode(s) the entry affects and other
information concerning the shipping description. The
next five columns show each material's shipping name,
hazard class or division, identification number,
packaging group, and required labels.
Six different symbols may appear in Column 1 of the
table.
(+) Shows the proper shipping name, hazard class, and
packing group to use, even if the material doesn't meet
the hazard class definition.
(A) Means the hazardous material described in
Column 2 is subject to the HMR only when offered or
intended for transport by air unless it is a hazardous
substance or hazardous waste.
(W) Means the hazardous material described in
Column 2 is subject to the HMR only when offered or
intended for transportation by water unless it is a
hazardous substance, hazardous waste, or marine
pollutant.
Examples of HAZMAT Placards Figure 9.3
Identification numbers are a four-digit code used by
first responders to identify hazardous materials. An
identification number may be used to identify more
than one chemical. The letters “NA or “UN” will
precede the identification number. The United States
Department of Transportation’s Emergency Response
Guidebook (ERG) lists the chemicals and the
identification numbers assigned to them.
(D) Means the proper shipping name is appropriate
for describing materials for domestic transportation,
but may not be proper for international transportation.
(I) Identifies a proper shipping name that is used to
describe materials in international transportation. A
different shipping name may be used when only
domestic transportation is involved.
There are three main lists used by shippers, carriers,
and drivers when trying to identify hazardous
materials. Before transporting a material, look for its
name on three lists. Some materials are on all lists,
others on only one. Always check the following lists:
(G) Means this hazardous material described in
Column 2 is a generic shipping name. A generic
9-5
Figure 9.4
Symbols Hazardous
Materials
Description &
Proper
Shipping
Names
49 CFR 172.101 Hazardous Materials Table
Identification
PG
Label
Special
Numbers
Codes Provisions
(172.102)
Hazard
Class
or
Division
Packaging (173. ***)
Exceptions
Non
Bulk
Bulk
(1)
(2)
(3)
(4)
(5)
(6)
(7)
(8A)
(8B)
(8C)
A
Acetaldehyde
ammonia
9
UN1841
III
9
IB8, IP6
155
204
240
shipping name must be accompanied by a technical
name on the shipping paper. A technical name is a
specific chemical that makes the product hazardous.
Column 5 shows the packing group (in Roman numeral)
assigned to a material.
Column 6 shows the hazard warning label(s) shippers
must put on packages of hazardous materials. Some
products require use of more than one label due to a
dual hazard being present.
Column 2 lists the proper shipping names and
descriptions of regulated materials. Entries are in
alphabetical order so you can more quickly find the
right entry. The table shows proper shipping names in
regular type. The shipping paper must show proper
shipping names. Names shown in italics are not proper
shipping names.
Column 7 lists the additional (special) provisions that
apply to this material. When there is an entry in this
column, you must refer to the federal regulations for
specific information. The numbers 1-6 in this column
mean the hazardous material is a poison inhalation
hazard (PIH). PIH materials have special requirements
for shipping papers, marking, and placards.
Column 3 shows a material's hazard class or division, or
the entry "Forbidden." Never transport a "Forbidden"
material. Placard hazardous materials shipments based
on the quantity and hazard class. You can decide which
placards to use if you know these three things:
Column 8 is a three-part column showing the section
numbers covering the packaging requirements for each
hazardous material.
1. Material's hazard class.
2. Amount being shipped.
Note: Columns 9 and 10
transportation by highway.
3. Amount of all hazardous materials of all classes
on your vehicle.
Column 4 lists the identification number for each
proper shipping name. Identification 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. Police and
firefighters use this number to quickly identify the
hazardous materials.
9-6
do
not
apply
to
Figure 9.5
Appendix B to 49 CFR 172.101 – List of Marine
Pollutants
Appendix A to 49 CFR 172
List of Hazardous Substances
And Reportable Quantities
Hazardous
Substances
Appendix B is a listing of chemicals that are toxic to
marine life. For highway transportation, this list is only
used for chemicals in a container with a capacity of 119
gallons or more without a placard or label as specified
by the HMR.
Reportable Quantity (RQ)
Pounds
Kilograms
Phenyl mercaptan @
100
(45.4)
Phenylmercury acetate
100
(45.4)
N-Phenylthiourea
100
(45.4)
Phorate
10
(4.54)
Phosgene
10
(4.54)
Phosphine
100
(45.4) *
Phosphoric acid
5000
(2270)
Any bulk packages of a Marine Pollutant must display
the Marine Pollutant marking (white triangle with a fish
and an “X” through the fish). This marking (it is not a
placard) must also be displayed on the outside of the
vehicle. In addition, a notation must be made on the
shipping papers near the description of the material:
“Marine Pollutant”.
9.3.4 The Shipping Paper
The shipping paper shown in Figure 9.6 describes a
shipment. A shipping paper for hazardous materials
must include:
Phosphoric acid, diethyl
100
(45.4)
4-nitrophenyl ester
Phosphoric acid, lead
10
(.454)
salt
* Spills of 10 pounds or more must be reported.
 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".
Appendix A to 49 CFR 172.101 --The List of Hazardous
Substances and Reportable Quantities: The DOT and
the EPA want to know about spills of hazardous
substances. They are named in the List of Hazardous
Substances and Reportable Quantities (See Figure 9.5).
Column 3 of the list shows each product's reportable
quantity (RQ). When these materials are being
transported in a reportable quantity or greater in one
package, the shipper displays the letters RQ on the
shipping paper and package. The letters RQ may
appear before or after the basic description. You or
your employer must report any spill of these materials,
which occurs in a reportable quantity.
 A proper shipping description for each
hazardous material.
 A shipper's certification, signed by the shipper,
saying they prepared the shipment according
to the regulations.
Figure 9.6 shows a shipping paper where:
Phosgene is the proper shipping name from
Column 2 of the Hazardous Materials Table.
2.3 is the Hazard Class from Column 3 of the
Hazardous Materials Table.
If the words INHALATION HAZARD appear on the
shipping paper or package, the rules require display of
the POISON INHALATION HAZARD or POISON GAS
placards, as appropriate. These placards must be used
in addition to other placards, which may be required by
the product's hazard class. Always display the hazard
class placard and the POISON INHALATION HAZARD
placard, even for small amounts.
Un1076 is the Identification Number from
Column 4 of the Hazardous materials Table
“RQ” means that this is a reportable quantity.
9-7
in the hazardous materials regulations. The description
must also show:
Shipping Paper
FROM:
DEF Corp.
55 High Mountain Dr.
Anytown, ID
Quantity
HM
1 cylinder
RQ
TO:
ABC Chemical Corp.
88 Valley Street
Anywhere, VT
Description
Phosgene, 2.3,
UN1076
Poison, Inhalation
Hazard,
Zone A
Page
1 of 1
 The total quantity and unit of measure.
 The letters RQ, if a reportable quantity.
Weight
35
lbs.
 If the letters RQ appear, the name of the
hazardous substance.
 For all materials with the letter “G” (Generic) in
Column 1, the technical name of the hazardous
material.
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 United
States Department of Transportation.
Shipper: DEF Corporation
Per:
Bruce W.
Date:
July 23, 2012
Shipping papers also must list an emergency response
telephone number.
The emergency response
telephone number is the responsibility of the shipper.
It can be used by emergency responders to obtain
information about any hazardous materials involved in
a spill or fire. Some hazardous materials do not need a
telephone number. You should check the regulations
to determine which do need a telephone number.
Carrier:
Belveal Transport
Per:
Brad
Date: July 25, 2012
Special Instructions: 24 hour
Emergency Contact:
D. Jacobsen 1-800-555-5555
Figure 9.6 – The Shipping Paper
Shippers also must provide emergency response
information to the motor carrier for each hazardous
material being shipped. The emergency response
information must be able to be used away from the
motor vehicle and must provide information on how to
safely handle incidents involving the material. It must
include information on the shipping name of the
hazardous materials, risks to health, fire, explosion, and
initial methods of handling spills, fires, and leaks of the
materials.
9.3.5 The Item Description
If a shipping paper describes both hazardous and nonhazardous products, the hazardous materials will be
either:
 Described first.
 Highlighted in a contrasting color.
Such information can be on the shipping paper or some
other document that includes the basic description and
technical name of the hazardous material. Or, it may
be in a guidance book such as the Emergency Response
Guidebook (ERG). Motor carriers may assist shippers
by keeping an ERG on each vehicle carrying hazardous
materials. The driver must provide the emergency
response information to any federal, state, or local
authority responding to a hazardous materials incident
or investigating one.
 Identified by an "X" placed before the shipping
name in a column captioned "HM". The letters
"RQ" may be used instead of "X" if a reportable
quantity is present in one package.
The basic description of hazardous materials includes
the proper shipping name, hazard class or division, the
identification number, and the packing group, if any, in
that order. The packing group is displayed in Roman
numerals and may be preceded by "PG".
Total quantity must appear before or after the basic
description. The packaging type and the unit of
measurement may be abbreviated. For example:
Shipping name, hazard class, and identification number
must not be abbreviated unless specifically authorized
9-8
shown on the packages. If you are not familiar with the
material, ask the shipper to contact your office.
“ 10 ctns. Paint, 3, UN1263, PG II, 500 lbs.”
The shipper of hazardous wastes must put the word
WASTE before the proper shipping name of the
material on the shipping paper (hazardous waste
manifest). For example:
If rules require it, the shipper will put RQ, MARINE
POLLUTANT, BIOHAZARD, HOT, or INHALATIONHAZARD on the package.
Packages with liquid
containers inside will also have package orientation
markings with the arrows pointing in the correct
upright direction. The labels used always reflect the
hazard class of the product. If a package needs more
than one label, the labels must be close together, near
the proper shipping name.
“Waste Acetone, 3, UN1090, PG II. “
A non-hazardous material may not be described by
using a hazard class or an identification number.
9.3.6 Shipper's Certification
9.3.8 Recognizing Hazardous Materials
When the shipper packages hazardous materials,
he/she certifies that the package has been prepared
according to the rules.
The signed shipper's
certification appears on the original shipping paper.
The only exceptions are when a shipper is a private
carrier transporting their own product and when the
package is provided by the carrier (for example, a cargo
tank). Unless a package is clearly unsafe or does not
comply with the HMR, you may accept the shipper's
certification concerning proper packaging.
Some
carriers have additional rules about transporting
hazardous materials. Follow your employer's rules
when accepting shipments.
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 identification 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?
9.3.7 Package Markings and Labels
Shippers print required markings directly on the
package, an attached label, or tag. An important
package marking is the name of the hazardous
material. It is the same name as the one on the
shipping paper. The requirements for marking vary by
package size and material being transported. When
required, the shipper will put the following on the
package:
 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.
 The name and address of shipper or consignee.
 Is a hazard class label, proper shipping name, or
identification number on the package?
 The hazardous material's shipping name and
identification number.
 Are there any handling precautions?
9.3.9 Hazardous Waste Manifest
 The labels required.
It is a good idea to compare the shipping paper to the
markings and labels. Always make sure that the
shipper shows the correct basic description on the
shipping paper, and verifies that the proper labels are
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.
9-9
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.
9.3.11 Placard Tables
There are two placard tables, Table 1 and Table 2.
Table 1 materials must be placarded whenever any
amount is transported (See Figure 9.7).
Placard Table 1
Any Amount
If Your Vehicle Contains Any Placard As…
Amount Of……
9.3.10 Placarding
Attach the appropriate placards to the vehicle before
you drive it. You are only allowed to move an
improperly placarded vehicle during an emergency, in
order to protect life or property.
Placards must appear on both sides and both ends of
the vehicle. Each placard must be:
 Easily seen from the direction it faces.
 Placed so the words or numbers are level and
read from left to right.
1.1 Mass Explosives
1.2 Project Hazards
1.3 Mass Fire Hazards
2.3 Poisonous/Toxic Gases
4.3 Dangerous When Wet
5.2 (Organic Peroxide, Type B,
liquid or solid, Temperature
controlled)
Explosives 1.1
Explosives 1.2
Explosives 1.3
Poison Gas
Dangerous When Wet
Organic Peroxide
6.1 (Inhalation hazard zone A &
B only)
7 (Radioactive Yellow III label
only)
Poison/toxic
inhalation
Radioactive
Figure 9.7
 At least three inches away from any other
markings.
Except for bulk packaging, the hazard classes in Table 2
need placards only if the total amount transported is
1,001 pounds or more including the package. Add the
amounts from all shipping papers for all the Table 2
products you have on board (See Figure 9.8).
 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.
You may use DANGEROUS placards instead of separate
placards for each Table 2 hazard class when:
 Be affixed to a background of contrasting color.
 You have 1,001 pounds or more of two or more
Table 2 hazard classes, requiring different
placards, and
 The use of “Drive Safely” and other slogans is
prohibited.
 You have not loaded 2,205 pounds or more of
any Table 2 hazard class material at any one
place. (You must use the specific placard for
this material.)
 The front placard may be on the front of the
tractor or the front of the trailer.
To decide which placards to use, you need to know:
 The dangerous placard is an option, not a
requirement. You can always placard for the
materials.
 The hazard class of the materials.
 The amount of hazardous materials shipped.
 The total weight of all classes of hazardous
materials in your vehicle.
9-10
Placards used to identify the primary or subsidiary
hazard class of a material must have the hazard class or
division number displayed in the lower corner of the
placard.
Permanently affixed subsidiary hazard
placards without the hazard class number may be used
as long as they stay within color specifications.
Placard Table 2
1,001 Pounds Or More
Category of Material
Placard Name
Figure 9.8
(Hazard class or division number
and additional description, as
appropriate)
1.4 Minor Explosion
1.5 Very Insensitive
1.6 Extremely Insensitive
2.1 Flammable Gases
2.2 Non- Flammable Gases
3 Flammable Liquids
Combustible Liquid
4.1 Flammable Solids
4.2 Spontaneously
Combustible
5.1 Oxidizers
5.2 (other than organic
peroxide, Type B, liquid or
solid, Temperature
Controlled)
6.1 (other than inhalation
hazard zone A or B)
Explosives 1.4
Explosives 1.5
Explosives 1.6
Flammable Gas
Non-Flammable Gas
Flammable
Combustible*
Flammable Solid
Spontaneously
Combustible
Oxidizer
Organic Peroxide
Placards may be displayed for hazardous materials
even if not required so long as the placard identifies the
hazard of the material being transported.
Bulk packaging is a single container with a capacity of
119 gallons or more. A bulk package, and a vehicle
transporting a bulk package, must be placarded, even if
it only has the residue of a hazardous material. Certain
bulk packages only have to be placarded on the two
opposite sides or may display labels. All other bulk
packages must be placarded on all four sides.
Subsections 9.1, 9.2, and 9.3
Test Your Knowledge
Poison
6.2 Infectious Substances
(None)
8 Corrosives
Corrosive
9 Miscellaneous Hazardous
Class 9**
Materials
ORM-D
(None)
* FLAMMABLE may be used in place of a
COMBUSTIBLE on a cargo tank or portable tank.
** Class 9 Placard is not required for domestic
transportation.
If the words INHALATION HAZARD are on the shipping
paper or package, you must display POISON GAS or
POISON INHALATION placards in addition to any other
placards needed by the product's hazard class. The
1,000 pound exception does not apply to these
materials.
1.
Shippers package in order to (fill in the blank)
the material.
2.
Driver placard their vehicle to (fill in the blank)
the risk.
3.
What three things do you need to know to
decide which placards (if any) you need?
4.
A hazardous materials identification number
must appear on the (fill in the blank) and on
the (fill in the blank). The identification
number must also appear on cargo tanks and
other bulk packaging.
5.
Where must you keep shipping papers
describing hazardous materials?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 9.1, 9.2 and 9.3.
Materials with a secondary hazard of dangerous when
wet must display the DANGEROUS WHEN WET placard
in addition to any other placards needed by the
product’s hazard class. The 1,000-pound exception to
placarding does not apply to these materials.
9-11
After loading, do not open any package during your
trip. Never transfer hazardous materials from one
package to another while in transit. You may empty a
cargo tank, but do not empty any other package while
it is on the vehicle.
9.4 Loading and Unloading
Do all you can to protect containers of hazardous
materials. Don't use any tools which might damage
containers or other packaging during loading. Don't
use hooks.
Cargo Heater Rules: There are special cargo heater
rules for loading-
9.4.1 General Loading Requirements
 Class 1 (Explosives)
Before loading or unloading, set the parking brake.
Make sure the vehicle will not move.
 Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
 Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
Many products become more hazardous when exposed
to heat. Load hazardous materials away from heat
sources.
The rules usually forbid use of cargo heaters, including
automatic cargo heater/air conditioner units. Unless
you have read all the related rules, don't load the
above products in a cargo space that has a heater.
Watch for signs of leaking or damaged containers:
LEAKS SPELL TROUBLE! Do not transport leaking
packages. Depending on the material, you, your truck,
and others could be in danger. It is illegal to move a
vehicle with leaking hazardous materials.
Use Closed Cargo Space: You cannot have overhang or
tailgate loads of Class 1 (Explosives)
Containers of hazardous materials must be braced to
prevent movement of the packages during
transportation.
 Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
 Class 5 (Oxidizers)
No Smoking: When loading or unloading hazardous
materials, keep fire away. Don't let people smoke
nearby. Never smoke around-
You must load these hazardous materials into a closed
cargo space unless all packages are:
 Class 1 (Explosives)
 Fire and water resistant.
 Class 2.1 (Flammable Gas )
 Covered with a fire and water resistant tarp.
 Class 3 (Flammable Liquids)
Precautions for Specific Hazards
 Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
Class 1 (Explosives) Materials: Turn your engine off
before loading or unloading any explosives. Then check
the cargo space. You must-
 Class 5 (Oxidizers)
Secure Against Movement: Brace containers so they
will not fall, slide, or bounce around during
transportation.
Be very careful when loading
containers that have valves or other fittings. All
hazardous materials packages must be secured during
transportation.
 Disable cargo heaters. Disconnect heater
power sources and drain heater fuel tanks.
 Make sure there are no sharp points that might
damage cargo. Look for bolts, screws, nails,
broken side panels, and broken floorboards.
9-12
 Use a floor lining with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3.
The floors must be tight and the liner must be
either non-metallic material or non-ferrous (no
iron) metal.
spontaneous combustion or heating must be in vehicles
with sufficient ventilation.
Class 8 (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 bear the
weight of the upper tiers safely.
Use extra care to protect explosives: Never use hooks
or other metal tools. Never drop, throw, or roll
packages. Protect explosive packages from other cargo
that might cause damage.
Do not transfer a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 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 others on the road.
Do not load nitric acid above any other product.
Never transport damaged packages of explosives. Do
not take a package that shows any dampness or oily
stain.
Never load corrosive liquids next to or above:
Load charged storage batteries so their liquid won't
spill. Keep them right side up. Make sure other cargo
won't fall against or short circuit them.
 Division 1.4 (Explosives C).
 Division 4.1 (Flammable Solids).
 Division 4.3 (Dangerous When Wet).
Do not transport Division 1.1 or 1.2 in vehicle
combinations if:
 There is a marked or placarded cargo tank in
the combination.
 Class 5 (Oxidizers).
 Division 2.3, Zone B (Poisonous Gases).
 The other vehicle in the combination contains:
Never load corrosive liquids with:
Division 1.1 A (Initiating Explosives).
 Division 1.1 or 1.2.
Packages of Class 7 (Radioactive)
materials labeled "Yellow III."
 Division 1.2 or 1.3).
 Division 1.5 (Blasting Agents).
Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division
6.1 (Poisonous) materials.
 Division 2.3, Zone A (Poisonous Gases).
Hazardous materials in a portable tank,
on a DOT Spec 106A or 110A tank.
 Division 4.2
Materials).
Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and Class 5 (Oxidizers)
Materials: Class 4 materials are solids that react
(including fire and explosion) to water, heat, and air or
even react spontaneously.
(Spontaneously
Combustible
 Division 6.1, PGI, Zone A (Poison Liquids).
Class 4 and 5 materials must be completely enclosed in
a vehicle or covered securely. Class 4 and 5 materials,
which become unstable and dangerous when wet,
must be kept dry while in transit and during loading
and unloading.
Materials that are subject to
9-13
Class 2 (Compressed Gases) Including Cryogenic
Liquids: If your vehicle doesn't have racks to hold
cylinders, the cargo space floor must be flat. The
cylinders must be:
Do Not Load Table
Do Not Load
Division 6.1 or
2.3 (POISON or
poison inhalation
hazard labeled
material)
 Held upright.
 In racks attached to the vehicle or in boxes that
will keep them from turning over.
 Cylinders may be loaded in a horizontal
position (lying down) if it is designed so the
relief valve is in the vapor space.
Division 2.3
(Poisonous)
gas Zone A
or
Division 6.1
(Poison)
liquids, PGI,
Zone A
Division 2.3 (Poisonous Gas) or Division 6.1
(Poisonous) Materials:
Never transport these
materials in containers with interconnections. Never
load a package labeled POISON or POISON INHALATION
HAZARD in the driver's cab or sleeper or with food
material for human or animal consumption. There are
special rules for loading and unloading Class 2 materials
in cargo tanks. You must have special training to do
this.
Charged storage
batteries
Class 1
(Detonating
primers)
Division 6.1
(Cyanides or
cyanide
mixtures)
Class 7 (Radioactive) Materials: Some packages of
Class 7 (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. To deal with this problem, the number of
packages you can load together is controlled. Their
closeness to people, animals, and unexposed film is
also controlled. 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. Table A to this section shows rules for
each transport index. It shows how close you can load
Class 7 (Radioactive) materials to people, animals, or
film. For example, you can't leave a package with a
transport index of 1.1 within two feet of people or
cargo space walls.
Nitric acid
(Class 8)
In The Same Vehicle With
Animal or human food unless the
poison package is over packed in an
approved way. Foodstuffs are
anything you swallow. However,
mouthwash, toothpaste, and skin
creams are not foodstuff.
Division 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Explosives
Division 5.1
(Oxidizers)
Class 3
(Flammable Liquids)
Class 8
(Corrosive Liquids)
Division 5.2
(Organic Peroxides)
Division 1.5
(Blasting Agents)
Division 2.1
(Flammable Gases)
Class 4
(Flammable Solids)
Division 1.1
Any other explosives unless in
authorized containers or packages.
Acids, corrosive materials, or other
acidic materials which could release
hydrocyanic acid. For Example:
Cyanides, Inorganic, n.o.s.
Silver Cyanide
Sodium Cyanide
Other materials unless the nitric acid
is not loaded above any other
material
Figure 9.9
Mixed loads: The rules require some products to be
loaded separately. You cannot load them together in
the same cargo space. Figure 9.9 lists some examples.
The regulations (the Segregation Table for Hazardous
Materials) name other materials you must keep apart.
Subsection 9.4
Test Your Knowledge
9-14
1.
Around which hazard classes must you never
smoke?
2.
Which three hazard classes should not be
loaded into a trailer that has a heater/air
conditioner unit?
3.
Should the floor liner required for Division 1.1
or 1.2 materials be stainless steel?
4.
At the shipper’s dock you’re given a paper for
100 cartons of battery acid. You already have
100 pounds of dry Silver Cyanide on board.
What precautions do you have to take?
5.
Name a hazard class that uses transport
indexes to determine the amount that can be
loaded in a single vehicle.
number must appear on each side and each end of a
portable tank or other bulk packaging that hold 1,000
gallons or more and on two opposing sides, if the
portable tank holds less than 1,000 gallons. The
identification numbers must still be visible when the
portable tank is on the motor vehicle. If they are not
visible, you must display the identification number on
both sides and ends of the motor vehicle.
Intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) are bulk packages,
but are not required to have the owner’s name or
shipping name.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 9.4.
9.5.2 Tank Loading
9.5 Bulk Packaging Marking, Loading
and Unloading
The person in charge of loading and unloading a cargo
tank must be sure a qualified person is always
watching.
This person watching the loading or
unloading must:
The glossary at the end of this chapter gives the
meaning of the word bulk. Cargo tanks are bulk
packaging permanently attached to a vehicle. Cargo
tanks remain on the vehicle when you load and unload
them. Portable tanks are bulk packaging, which are not
permanently attached to a vehicle. The product is
loaded or unloaded while the portable tanks are off the
vehicle. Portable tanks are then put on a vehicle for
transportation. There are many types of cargo tanks in
use. The most common cargo tanks are MC306 for
liquids and MC331 for gases.
 Be alert.
 Have a clear view of the cargo tank.
 Be within 25 feet of the tank.
 Know of the hazards of the materials involved.
 Know the procedures
emergency.
9.5.1 Markings
to
follow
in
an
 Be authorized to move the cargo tank and able
to do so.
You must display the identification number of the
hazardous materials in portable tanks and cargo tanks
and other bulk packaging (such as dump trucks).
Identification numbers are in column 4 of the
Hazardous Materials Table. The rules require black 100
mm (3.9 inch) numbers on orange panels, placards, or a
white, diamond-shaped background if no placards are
required. Specification cargo tanks must show re-test
date markings.
There are special attendance rules for cargo tanks
transporting propane and anhydrous ammonia.
Close all manholes and valves before moving a tank of
hazardous materials, no matter how small the amount
in the tank or how short the distance. Manholes and
valves must be closed to prevent leaks. It is illegal to
move a cargo tank with open valves or covers unless it
is empty according to 49 CFR 173.29.
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 more than 1,000
gallons and one-inch tall on portable tanks with
capacities of less than 1,000 gallons. The identification
9.5.3 Flammable Liquids
Turn off your engine before loading or unloading any
flammable liquids. Only run the engine if needed to
operate a pump. Ground a cargo tank correctly before
filling it through an open filling hole. Ground the tank
9-15
before opening the filling hole, and maintain the
ground until after closing the filling hole.
If you must park to do your job, do so only briefly.
Don't park on private property unless the owner is
aware of the danger. Someone must always watch the
parked vehicle. You may let someone else watch it for
you only if your vehicle is:
9.5.4 Compressed Gas
Keep liquid discharge valves on a compressed gas tank
closed except when loading and unloading. Unless
your engine runs a pump for product transfer, turn it
off when loading or unloading. If you use the engine,
turn it off after product transfer, before you unhook
the hose. Unhook all loading/unloading connections
before coupling, uncoupling, or moving a cargo tank.
Always chock trailers and semi-trailers to prevent
motion when uncoupled from the power unit.
 On the shipper's property.
 On the carrier's property.
 On the consignee's property.
You are allowed to leave your vehicle unattended in a
safe haven. A safe haven is an approved place for
parking unattended vehicles loaded with explosives.
Designation of authorized safe havens is usually made
by local authorities.
Subsection 9.5
Test Your Knowledge
1.
What are cargo tanks?
2.
How is a portable tank different from a cargo
tank?
3.
9.6.2 Parking a Placarded Vehicle Not
Transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3) Explosives
You may park a placarded vehicle (not laden with
explosives) within five (5) feet of the traveled part of
the road only if your work requires it. Do so only
briefly. Someone must always watch the vehicle when
parked on a public roadway or shoulder. Do not
uncouple a trailer and leave it with hazardous materials
on a public street. Do not park within 300 feet of an
open fire.
Your engine runs a pump used during delivery
of compressed gas. Should you turn off the
engine before or after unhooking hoses after
delivery?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsection 9.5.
9.6 Hazardous Materials Driving and
Parking Rules
9.6.3 Attending Parked Vehicles
The person attending a placarded vehicle must:
 Be in the vehicle, awake, and not in the sleeper
berth, or within 100 feet of the vehicle and
have it within clear view.
9.6.1 Parking with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3
Explosives
Never park with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives
within five (5) feet of the traveled part of the road
except for short periods of time needed for vehicle
operation necessities (e.g., fueling). Do not park within
300 feet of:
 Be aware of the hazards of the materials being
transported.
 Know what to do in emergencies.
 Be able to move the vehicle, if needed.
 A bridge, tunnel, or building.
 A place where people gather.
 An open fire.
9-16
9.6.4 No Flares!
You might break down and have to use stopped vehicle
signals. Use reflective triangles or red electric lights.
Never use burning signals, such as flares or fuses,
around a:
If transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives, you
must have a written route plan and follow that plan.
Carriers prepare the route plan in advance and give the
driver a copy. You may plan the route yourself if you
pick up the explosives at a location other than your
employer's terminal. Write out the plan in advance.
Keep a copy of it with you while transporting the
explosives. Deliver shipments of explosives only to
authorized persons or leave them in locked rooms
designed for explosives storage.
 Tank used for Class 3 (Flammable Liquids) or
Division 2.1 (Flammable Gas) whether loaded
or empty.
 Vehicle loaded with Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3
Explosives.
A carrier must choose the safest route to transport
placarded radioactive materials. After choosing the
route, the carrier must tell the driver about the
radioactive materials, and show the route plan.
9.6.5 Route Restrictions
9.6.6 No Smoking
Do not smoke within 25 feet of a placarded cargo tank
used for Class 3 (flammable liquids) or Division 2.1
(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 3 (Flammable Liquids)
 Class 4 (Flammable Solids)
Some states and counties require permits to transport
hazardous materials or wastes. They may limit the
routes you can use. Local rules about routes and
permits change often. It is your job as driver to find out
if you need permits or must use special routes. Make
sure you have all needed papers before starting.
 Class 4.2 (Spontaneously Combustible)
9.6.7 Refuel with Engine Off
Turn off your engine before fueling a motor vehicle
containing hazardous materials. Someone must always
be at the nozzle, controlling fuel flow.
If you work for a carrier, ask your dispatcher about
route restrictions or permits.
If you are an
independent trucker and are planning a new route,
check with state agencies where you plan to travel.
Some localities prohibit transportation of hazardous
materials through tunnels, over bridges, or other
roadways. Always check before you start.
9.6.8 10 B:C Fire Extinguisher
The power unit of placarded vehicles
must have a fire extinguisher with a
UL rating of 10 B:C or more.
9.6.9 Check Tires
Whenever placarded, avoid heavily populated areas,
crowds, tunnels, narrow streets, and alleys. Take other
routes, even if inconvenient, unless there is no other
way. Never drive a placarded vehicle near open fires
unless you can safely pass without stopping.
Make sure your tires are properly
inflated. Check placarded vehicles
with dual tires at the start of each
trip and when you park. You must
9-17
check the tires each time you stop. The only
acceptable way to check tire pressure is to use a tire
pressure gauge.
 The names and telephone numbers of people
to contact (including carrier agents or
shippers).
Do not drive with a tire that is leaking or flat except to
the nearest safe place to fix it. Remove any overheated
tire and place it a safe distance from your vehicle.
Don't drive until you correct the cause of the
overheating. Remember to follow the rules about
parking and attending placarded vehicles, because they
apply even when checking, repairing, or replacing tires.
 The nature of the explosives transported.
 The precautions to take in emergencies such as
fires, accidents, or leaks.
Drivers must sign a receipt for these documents.
You must be familiar with, and have in your possession
while driving, the:
9.6.10 Where to Keep Shipping Papers and
Emergency Response Information
 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 after a crash.
 Written emergency instructions.
 Written route plan.
 A copy of FMCSR, Part 397.
 Clearly distinguish hazardous materials
shipping papers from others by tabbing them
or keeping them on top of the stack of papers.
9.6.11 Equipment for Chlorine
 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.
A driver transporting chlorine in cargo tanks must have
an approved gas mask in the vehicle. The driver must
also have an emergency kit for controlling leaks in
dome cover plate fittings on the cargo tank.
 When not behind the wheel, leave shipping
papers in the driver's door pouch or on the
driver's seat.
9.6.12 Stop Before Railroad Crossings
Stop before a railroad crossing if your vehicle:
 Is placarded.
 Emergency response information must be kept
in the same location as the shipping paper.
 Carries any amount of chlorine.
 Has cargo tanks, whether loaded or empty used
for hazardous materials.
Papers 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 Federal Motor
Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR), Part 397. The
carrier must also give written instructions on what to
do if delayed or in an accident. The written instructions
must include:
You must stop 15 to 50 feet before the nearest rail.
Proceed only when you are sure no train is coming and
you can clear the tracks without stopping. Don't shift
gears while crossing the tracks.
9-18
9.7.3 Fires
9.7 Hazardous Materials - Emergencies
You might have to control minor truck fires on the
road. However, unless you have the training and
equipment to do so safely, don't fight hazardous
materials fires. Dealing with hazardous materials fires
requires special training and protective gear.
9.7.1 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG)
The Department of Transportation has a guidebook for
firefighters, police, and industry workers on how to
protect themselves and the public from hazardous
materials. The guide is indexed by proper shipping
name and hazardous materials identification number.
Emergency personnel look for these things on the
shipping paper. That is why it is vital that the proper
shipping name, identification number, label, and
placards are correct.
When you discover a fire, call for help. You may use
the fire extinguisher to keep minor truck fires from
spreading to cargo before firefighters arrive. 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.
9.7.2 Crashes/Incidents
As a professional driver, your job at the scene of a crash
or an incident is to:
 Keep people away from the scene.
If you discover a cargo leak, identify the hazardous
materials leaking by using shipping papers, labels, or
package location. Do not touch any leaking material-many people injure themselves by touching hazardous
materials. Do not try to identify the material or find
the source of a leak by smell. Toxic gases can destroy
your sense of smell and can injure or kill you even if
they don't smell. Never eat, drink, or smoke around a
leak or spill.
 Limit the spread of material, only if you can
safely do so.
 Communicate the danger of the hazardous
materials to emergency response personnel.
 Provide emergency responders with the
shipping papers and emergency response
information.
If hazardous materials are spilling from your vehicle, do
not move it any more than safety requires. You may
move off the road and away from places where people
gather, if doing so serves safety. Avoid stopping near
roadside rest areas, truck stops, cafes, and businesses.
Do not move your vehicle, if doing so will cause
contamination or damage the vehicle. Only move your
vehicle if you can do so without danger to yourself or
others. Keep upwind from the vehicle once stopped.
Follow this checklist:
 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.
Never continue driving with hazardous materials
leaking from your vehicle in order to find a phone
booth, truck stop, help, or similar reason. Remember,
the carrier pays for the cleanup of contaminated
parking lots, roadways, and drainage ditches. The costs
are enormous, so don't leave a lengthy trail of
contamination.
 Call for help.
 Follow your employer's instructions.
9-19
If hazardous materials are spilling from your vehicle:
Class 1 (Explosives), continued:
Remove all explosives before separating vehicles
involved in a collision. Place the explosives at least 200
feet from the vehicles and occupied buildings. Stay a
safe distance away.
 Park it.
 Secure the area.
 Stay there.
Class 2 (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 if
compressed gas is involved in
any accident.
 Send someone else for help.
 When sending someone for help, give that
person:
 A description of the emergency.
 Your exact location and direction of travel.
Unless you are fueling machinery used in road
construction or maintenance, do not transfer a
flammable compressed gas from one tank to another
on any public roadway.
 Your name, the carrier's name, and the name
of the community or city where your terminal
is located.
 The proper shipping name, hazard class, and
identification number of the hazardous
materials, if you know them.
Class 3 (Flammable Liquids): If
you are transporting a
flammable liquid and have an
accident or your vehicle breaks
down, prevent bystanders
from gathering. Warn people
of the danger. Keep them
from smoking.
This is a lot for someone to remember. It is a good idea
to write it all down for the person you send for help.
The emergency response team must know these things
to find you and to handle the emergency. They may
have to travel miles to get to you. This information will
help them to bring the right equipment the first time,
without having to go back for it.
Never transport a leaking cargo tank farther than
needed to reach a safe place. Get off the roadway if
you can do so safely. Don't transfer flammable liquid
from one vehicle to another on a public roadway
except in an emergency.
Never try to repack leaking containers. Unless you
have the training and equipment to repair leaks safely,
don't try it. Call your dispatcher or supervisor for
instructions and, if needed, emergency personnel.
Class 4 (Flammable Solids) and
Class 5 (Oxidizing Materials): If
a flammable solid or oxidizing
material spills, warn others of
the fire hazard. Do not open
9.7.4 Responses to Specific Hazards
Class 1 (Explosives) If your
vehicle has a breakdown or
accident
while
carrying
explosives, warn others of the
danger.
Keep bystanders
away. Do not allow smoking or
open fire near the vehicle. If
there is a fire, warn everyone
of the danger of explosion.
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.
9-20
9.7.5 Required Notification
Class 6 (Poisonous Materials and
Infectious Substances): It is your
job to protect yourself, other
people, and property from harm.
Remember that many products
classed as poison are also
flammable. If you think a Division
2.3 (Poison Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poison Materials)
might be flammable, take the added precautions
needed for flammable liquids or gases. Do not allow
smoking, open flame, or welding. Warn others of the
hazards of fire, of inhaling vapors, or coming in contact
with the poison.
The National Response Center helps coordinate
emergency response to chemical hazards. It is a
resource to the police and firefighters. It maintains a
24-hour toll-free line listed below. You or your
employer must phone when any of the following occur
as a direct result of a hazardous materials incident:
 A person is killed.
 An injured person requires hospitalization.
 Estimated property damage exceeds $50,000.
A vehicle involved in a leak of Division 2.3 (Poison
Gases) or Division 6.1 (Poisons) must be checked for
stray poison before being used again.
 The general public is evacuated for more than
one hour.
 One or more major transportation arteries or
facilities are closed for one hour or more.
 Fire, breakage, spillage, or suspected
radioactive contamination occurs.
If a Division 6.2 (Infectious Substances) package is
damaged in handling or transportation, you should
immediately contact your supervisor. Packages that
appear to be damaged or show signs of leakage should
not be accepted.
 Fire, breakage, spillage or suspected
contamination occur involving shipment of
etiologic agents (bacteria or toxins).
Class 7 (Radioactive Materials):
If radioactive material is
involved in a leak or broken
package, tell 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 cleaned and checked with a survey
meter.
 A situation exists of such a nature (e.g.,
continuing danger to life exists at the scene of
an incident) that, in the judgment of the
carrier, should be reported.
National Response Center
(800) 424-8802
Persons telephoning the National Response Center
should be ready to give:
Class 8 (Corrosive Materials): If
corrosives spill or leak during
transportation, be careful to
avoid further damage or injury
when handling the containers.
Parts of the vehicle exposed to
a corrosive liquid must be
thoroughly washed with water. After unloading, wash
out the interior as soon as possible before reloading.
 Their name.
 Name and address of the carrier they work for.
 Phone number where they can be reached.
 Date, time, and location of incident.
If continuing to transport a leaking tank would be
unsafe, get off the road. If safe to do so, contain any
liquid leaking from the vehicle. Keep bystanders away
from the liquid and its fumes. Do everything possible
to prevent injury to yourself and to others.
 The extent of injuries, if any.
9-21
 Classification, name, and quantity of hazardous
materials involved, if such information is
available.
Do not leave radioactive yellow - II or yellow - III
labeled packages near people, animals, or film longer
than shown in Figure 9.10
 Type of incident and nature of hazardous
materials involvement and whether a
continuing danger to life exists at the scene.
Classes of Hazardous Materials
Hazardous materials are categorized into nine major
hazard classes and additional categories for consumer
commodities and combustible liquids. The classes of
hazardous materials are listed in Figure 9.11.
If a reportable quantity of hazardous substance was
involved, the caller should give the name of the shipper
and the quantity of the hazardous substance
discharged.
Be prepared to give your employer the required
information as well. Carriers must make detailed
written reports within 30 days of an incident.
Class
1
2
CHEMTREC
(800) 424-9300
3
The Chemical Transportation Emergency Center
(CHEMTREC) in Washington also has a 24-hour toll-free
line. CHEMTREC was created to provide emergency
personnel with technical information about the
physical properties of hazardous materials.
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.
4
5
6
7
8
9
Radioactive Separation
Table A
TOTAL
Minimum Distance In TO PEOPLE
TRANSPORT
OR
Feet To Nearest
INDEX
CARGO
Undeveloped Film
None
0 - 2 Hrs
2 - 4 Hrs
4 - 8 Hrs
8 -12 Hrs
Over 12 hrs
COMPARTMENT
PARTITIONS
Figure 9.11
Hazard Class Definitions
Table B
Class Name
Example
Explosives
Ammunition,
Dynamite, Fireworks
Gases
Propane, Oxygen,
Helium
Flammable
Gasoline Fuel,
Acetone
Flammable Solids
Matches, Fuses
Oxidizers
Ammonium Nitrate,
Hydrogen Peroxide
Poisons
Pesticides, Arsenic
Radioactive
Uranium, Plutonium
Corrosives
Hydrochloric Acid,
Battery Acid
Miscellaneous
Formaldehyde,
Hazardous
Asbestos
Materials
ORM-D
Aerosol Cans
(Other
Regulated Charcoal
Material-Domestic)
Auto Batteries
Combustible
Fuel Oils, Lighter
Liquids
Fluid
None
0
0
0
0
0
0
0.1 to 1.0
1
2
3
4
5
1
Test Your Knowledge
1.1 to 5.0
3
4
6
8
11
2
1.
5.1 to 10.0
4
6
9
11
15
3
If your placarded trailer has dual tires, how
often should you check the tires?
10.1 to 20.0
5
8
12
16
22
4
2.
What is a safe haven?
20.1 to 30.0
7
10
15
20
29
5
30.1 to 40.0
8
11
17
22
33
6
3.
40.1 to 50.0
9
12
19
24
36
-
How close to the traveled part of the roadway
can you park with Division 1.2 or 1.3 materials?
Figure 9.10
None
Subsections 9.6 and 9.7
9-22
4.
How close can you park to a bridge, tunnel, or
building with the same load?
Cargo tank: A bulk packaging which1.
5.
What type of fire extinguisher must placarded
vehicles carry?
6.
You’re hauling 100 pounds of Division 4.3
(dangerous when wet) materials. Do you need
to stop before a railroad-highway crossing?
7.
At a rest area you discover your hazardous
materials shipments slowly leaking from the
vehicle. There is no phone around. What
should you do?
8.
What is the Emergency Response Guide (ERG)?
2.
3.
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read subsections 9.6 and 9.7.
This glossary presents definitions of certain terms used
in this section. A complete glossary of terms can be
found in the federal Hazardous Materials Rules (49 CFR
171.8). You should have an up-to-date copy of these
rules for your reference.
Civil aircraft.
FMCSR: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations.
Freight container: A reusable container having a
volume of 64 cubic feet or more, designed and
constructed to permit being lifted with its contents
intact and intended primarily for containment of
packages (in unit form) during transportation.
A maximum capacity greater than 450 L (119
gallons) as a receptacle for a liquid;
A water capacity greater than 454 kg (1000
pounds) as a receptacle for a gas as defined in
Sec. 173.115.
2.
EPA: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Bulk packaging: Packaging, other than a vessel, or a
barge, including a transport vehicle or freight
container, in which hazardous materials are loaded
with no intermediate form of containment and which
has:
3.
Land or water as a common, contract, or private
carrier, or
Division: A subdivision of a hazard class.
Sec. 171.8 Definitions and abbreviations.
A maximum net mass greater than 400 kg (882
pounds) or a maximum capacity greater than 450
L (119 gallons) as a receptacle for a solid; or
1.
Consignee: The business or person to whom a
shipment is delivered.
(Note: You will not be tested on this glossary)
2.
Is not fabricated under a specification for
cylinders, portable tanks, tank cars, or multi-unit
tank car tanks.
Carrier: A person engaged in the transportation of
passengers or property by-
9.8 Hazardous Materials Glossary
1.
Is a tank intended primarily for the carriage of
liquids or gases and includes appurtenances,
reinforcements, fittings, and closures (for "tank",
see 49 CFR 178.345-1(c), 178.337-1, or 178.338-1,
as applicable);
Is permanently attached to or forms a part of a
motor vehicle, or is not permanently attached to
a motor vehicle but which, by reason of its size,
construction, or attachment to a motor vehicle is
loaded or unloaded without being removed from
the motor vehicle; and
Fuel tank: A tank, other than a cargo tank, used to
transport flammable or combustible liquid or
compressed gas for the purpose of supplying fuel for
propulsion of the transport vehicle to which it is
attached, or for the operation of other equipment on
the transport vehicle.
Gross weight or gross mass: The weight of the
packaging plus the weight of its contents.
9-23
Hazard class: The category of hazard assigned to a
hazardous material under the definitional criteria of
Part 173 and the provisions of the Sec. 172.101 Table. A
material may meet the defining criteria for more than
one hazard class but is assigned to only one hazard
class.
Hazardous materials: A substance or material which
has been determined by the Secretary of
Transportation to be capable of posing an
unreasonable risk to health, safety, and property when
transported in commerce, and which has been so
designated. The term includes hazardous substances,
hazardous wastes, marine pollutants, elevated
temperature materials and materials designated as
hazardous in the hazardous materials table of
§172.101, and materials that meet the defining criteria
for hazard classes and divisions in §173, subchapter (c)
of this chapter.
This definition does not apply to petroleum products
that are lubricants or fuels (see 40 CFR 300.6).
Hazardous substance:
A material, including its
mixtures and solutions, that:
Marking: The descriptive name, identification number,
instructions, cautions, weight, specification, or UN
marks or combinations thereof, required by this
subchapter on outer packaging of hazardous materials.
1.
Is listed in Appendix A to Sec. 172.101;
2.
Is in a quantity, in one package, which equals or
exceeds the reportable quantity (RQ) listed in
Appendix A to Sec. 172.101; and
3.
Hazardous waste: For the purposes of this chapter,
means any material that is subject to the Hazardous
Waste Manifest Requirements of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency specified in 40 CFR
Part 262.
Intermediate bulk container (IBC): A rigid or flexible
portable packaging, other than a cylinder or portable
tank, which is designed for mechanical handling.
Standards for IBCs manufactured in the United States
are set forth in subparts N and O §178.
Limited quantity:
The maximum amount of a
hazardous material for which there may be specific
labeling or packaging exception.
Mixture: A material composed of more than one
chemical compound or element.
Name of contents: The proper shipping name as
specified in Sec. 172.101.
When in a mixture or solution:
(i) For radionuclides, conforms to paragraph 7 of
Appendix A to Sec. 172.101.
Non-bulk packaging: A packaging, which has:
(ii) For other than radionuclides, is in a
concentration by weight which equals or
exceeds the concentration corresponding to
the RQ of the material, as shown in Figure 9.12.
Figure 9.12
Hazardous Substance Concentrations
RQ
Concentration by Weight
Pounds (Kilograms)
5,000 (2,270)
1,000 (454)
100
(45.4)
10
(4.54)
1
(0.454)
Percent
PPM
10
2
.2
.02
.002
100,000
20,000
2,000
200
20
1.
A maximum capacity of 450 L (119 gallons) as a
receptacle for a liquid;
2.
A maximum net mass less than 400 kg (882
pounds) and a maximum capacity of 450 L (119
gallons) or less as a receptacle for a solid; or
3.
A water capacity greater than 454 kg (1,000
pounds) or less as a receptacle for a gas as
defined in Sec. 173.115.
N.O.S: Not otherwise specified.
Outage or Ullage: The amount by which a packaging
falls short of being liquid full, usually expressed in
percent by volume.
9-24
Portable tank: Bulk packaging (except a cylinder
having a water capacity of 1,000 pounds or less)
designed primarily to be loaded onto, or on, or
temporarily attached to a transport vehicle or ship and
equipped with skids, mountings, or accessories to
facilitate handling of the tank by mechanical means. It
does not include a cargo tank, tank car, multi-unit tank
car tank, or trailer carrying 3AX, 3AAX, or 3T cylinders.
Shipping paper: A shipping order, bill of lading,
manifest, or other shipping document serving a similar
purpose and containing the information required by
Sec. 172.202, 172.203, and 172.204.
Technical name: A recognized chemical name or
microbiological name currently used in scientific and
technical handbooks, journals, and texts.
Transport vehicle: A cargo carrying vehicle such as an
automobile, van, tractor, truck, semi-trailer, 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.
Proper shipping name: The name of the hazardous
materials shown in Roman print (not italics) in Sec.
172.101.
P.s.i. or psi: Pounds per square inch.
P.s.i.a. or psia : Pounds per square inch absolute.
UN Standard Packaging: A specification packaging
conforming to the standards in the UN
recommendations.
Reportable quantity (RQ): The quantity specified in
Column 2 of the Appendix to Sec. 172.101 for any
material identified in Column 1 of the Appendix.
UN: United Nations.
9.9 HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
ENDORSEMENT APPLICATION
PROCESS
RSPA now PHMSA: The Pipeline and Hazardous
Materials Safety Administration, U.S. Department of
Transportation, Washington, DC 20590.
Shipper's certification: A statement on a shipping
paper, signed by the shipper, saying he/she prepared
the shipment properly according to law. For example:
The information in this section is for informational
purposes only. You will not be tested on this subject
matter; however, you will find the information
contained in this section helpful if you intend to
obtain a HAZMAT (H) endorsement.
"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 or the
Department of Transportation." – Or --
Application Process:
"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 by * according
to applicable international and national
government regulations."
Step 1: Completing the Application
words may be inserted here to indicate mode
of transportation (rail, aircraft, motor vehicle,
vessel)
The operator at the Driver Service Center will guide you
through the process and ensure the application is
completed correctly. You can also call the TSA Agent
Driver Service Center at any time if you have questions
about the website.
You can complete the TSA HAZPRINT driver application
at:
https://hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov or,
By calling the TSA Agent Driver Service Center
at 1-877-HAZPRINT (1-877-429-7746).
9-25
NOTE: You must have the application completed prior
to arriving at the fingerprint capture location.
1. If the TSA determines you do not pose a
security threat:
TSA will issue a
“Determination of No Security Threat” and
notify you that you are clear to be issued a
hazmat endorsement. You can proceed to the
county drivers licensing office to take the
written examination and be issued a CDL with
the hazardous materials endorsement.
At the time you complete the application, you will have
to pay a processing fee. That fee is currently $86.50 (as
of the publication of this manual; subject to change
without notice). You can pay by credit card directly on
the website or by providing the information to the
operator at the TSA Agent Driver Service Center.
Electronic payments are the most secure and
convenient for you, and will save time at the fingerprint
collection site. If you choose not to pay electronically,
you must bring a money order for the processing fee to
the collection site. Cash and personal checks will not
be accepted by TSA agents.
2. If the TSA determines you pose a security
threat: The TSA will notify you directly with the
initial determination and provide you with an
appeal process.
3. If you do not appeal: The TSA will issue a
“Final Determination of Threat Assessment” to
you. The “Final Determination of Threat
Assessment” cannot be appealed; however,
you can still apply to TSA for a waiver.
Step 2: Getting Fingerprinted- You can find fingerprint
locations online at https://hazprints.tsa.dhs.gov or
call the toll-free number at 1-877 429-7746. HAZPRINT
is the best source of information on current site
locations, operating hours and driving directions. You
can be fingerprinted at any site location in any
participating state. You will be required to provide two
(2) forms of identification prior to being fingerprinted,
one of which must be a current Idaho Driver’s License.
In addition to being fingerprinted, you will be required
to review the application you previously submitted,
make corrections if necessary and electronically sign
the application to verify its accuracy.
4. Request for waivers or appeals: The request
for waivers or appeals may be sent to:
Transportation Security Administration Headquarters
Hazmat Waiver/Appeal Process
Office of Security, 5th floor
701 South 12th St.
Arlington, VA 22202
Step 5: Knowledge Testing- First time, renewal and
transfer applicants must pass the written Hazardous
Materials knowledge test and receive clearance from
the TSA prior to receiving the HAZMAT endorsement on
their CDL. The recommendation is to take the written
test prior to completing the security assessment. If you
take the written test before the assessment is
completed, your driver’s record will show the test as
being completed, but the HAZMAT endorsement will
remain in a “Pending” status until the security
clearance is received by the State of Idaho. If you
choose to wait to take the written test until the
security clearance is received by the state, you can take
the test and receive your new CDL with the H
endorsement at the same time. If you fail the hazmat
knowledge test, you must wait three days before
retesting.
Step 3: Security Threat Assessment- Based on the data
provided on your HAZPRINT application, the
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will
perform a threat assessment. TSA will check the FBI
fingerprint data base for criminal history records,
intelligence-related checks, and immigration status
records. The results of the assessment will be provided
directly to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD),
who will update your driver records accordingly. You
will also receive a letter regarding the results of their
assessment directly from TSA.
Step 4: Status- You should receive the results from TSA
approximately three (3) weeks after being
fingerprinted; however, it may take longer. The
following are the determinations the TSA can make
following their assessment:
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Renewals and Extensions:
Alien Registration Number is generally listed
below the Naturalization Number.
Your TSA security clearance is good for five (5) years
and six (6) months; however, the State of Idaho
requires you to have a security assessment and pass a
written examination to renew your hazardous
material endorsement every four (4) years. If you
have completed a security threat assessment before,
and you are transferring your hazardous materials
endorsement to Idaho, you may not have to go through
a new threat assessment for the transfer if your Idaho
license will expire within five (5) years and six (6)
months of your last assessment.
Issuance or Denial
Endorsements:
of
Hazardous
 Alien Registration Number should be nine (9)
digits long with no alphabetical characters.
When referencing naturalization documents,
the Alien Registration Number can be found
below the Naturalization Number, unless the
document was issued before 1986. Documents
issued before that date do not have Alien
Registration Numbers.
 Number Formatting: All numbers (e.g., height,
weight, CDL, phone numbers, SSN) should not
have dashes, spaces, hyphens, apostrophes,
parentheses or any other characters other than
numerals. For example, height and weight are
each three (3) digits (e.g., 5 feet 4 inches is
entered as 504, not 5’4”, 5-04, etc.). SSN and
CDL numbers must not contain dashes, slashes
or spaces.
Materials
 If the TSA has issued a “Determination of No
Security Threat” or has granted a waiver, the
department will allow issuance, renewal, or
transfer
of
the
hazardous
materials
endorsement. The applicant should return to
the county driver licensing office for issuance of
the CDL with a hazardous materials
endorsement.
 Telephone Numbers: should be ten (10) digits
only. Do not include hyphens, parenthesis, the
prefix one (1) for long distance, etc.
 If the TSA has issued a “Final Determination of
Threat Assessment,” the department will deny
issuance, renewal, or transfer of the hazardous
materials endorsement.
 Address: You must fully complete your home
address, including zip code. If the mailing
address is not different, than your home
address, leave the field blank. Do not put
“same,” “see above” or “n/a.” If your mailing
address is different from your home address,
you must be sure to list it in the appropriate
section, including the zip code.
Tips for Properly Completing the Application:
 Specify country of birth:
You can expect
significant delays in processing your application
if you fail to provide TSA with your country of
birth.
 If any field in the application does not apply to
you, do not put zeroes, “N/A”, “none” or
anything else in them. Leave the fields blank if
they are not applicable to you.
 List Alien Registration Number: If you have
ever been issued an Alien Registration Number,
you must list it in the appropriate box on the
application form. You must list the Alien
Registration Number even if you are a
naturalized citizen. A missing or wrongly listed
Alien Registration Number will significantly
delay processing your application.
 Read the questions thoroughly, because many
people don’t and confuse word meanings, like
“County” verses “Country.”
 All date fields that are applicable to you require
a valid day, month and year. Do not use a
partial date like month and year or only the
year. If the date fields are not applicable to
you, leave them blank.
 Do not list Naturalization Number:
If
referencing naturalization documents, the
9-27
 Employer name fields are a maximum of 40
characters long. If your employer’s name is
longer than 40 characters, abbreviate the
name.
application field (e.g., A12345678 would be
listed as 012345678).
Eligibility:
 Military Service: If you were in the military and
don’t know the exact date of your discharge,
you should provide your best estimate. Ensure
you use the full date (day, month and year)
when completing this information or the
application will show an error and will have to
be resubmitted.
Citizenship or Immigration Status Requirements:
 You must be a citizen of the United States and
not have renounced your U.S. citizenship;
 You must be a lawful permanent resident of
the U.S. as defined in section 101 (a) (20) of the
Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C.
1101);
 If you are still in the military at the time you
apply, you should mark the military as your
current employer and provide a future
discharge date.
 You must be a lawful nonimmigrant and in
possession of a valid, unrestricted employment
authorization;
Issues that Affect Adjudication Processing Time:
 You must be a refugee admitted under section
8 U.S.C. 1157 and in possession of a valid
unrestricted employment authorization, or
One of the greatest causes of delays in processing an
application is due to immigration issues. Most of these
issues can be avoided by proper reporting of the Alien
Registration Number.
 You must be in asylum status under section 8
U.S.C. 1158 and in possession of a valid
unrestricted employment authorization.
 If you have an Alien Registration Number, and
it is not reported or recorded accurately on the
application, your final disposition will be
substantially delayed.
Examples of Acceptable Citizenship or Immigration
Status Documents:
 An Alien Registration Number is not the same
as a Naturalization Number.
The Alien
Registration Number is typically nine (9) digits
long and preceded by an “A.” Naturalization
Numbers, on the other hand, are only eight (8)
digits long. If you have a document with a
Naturalization Number, your Alien Registration
Number can be found directly below it.
 United States Passport;
 Birth Certificate that bears an official seal and
was issued by a state, county, municipal
authority, or outlying possession of the United
States;
 Certification of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S.
Department of State (Form FS-545 or DS 1350);
 Do not use your Naturalization Number on the
application.
You must use your Alien
Registration Number without the alphabetical
prefix (e.g., Alien Registration Number
A123456789 would be listed as 123456789).
 Certificate of Naturalization (Form N-550 or N570);
 Certificate of U.S. Citizenship (Form N-560 or N561);
 Alien Registration Numbers issued years ago
contained eight (8) digits instead of nine (9). If
you have an older number with eight (8) digits,
add a zero to the beginning of the number
when completing the information in the
 Permanent Resident Card, Alien Registration
Receipt Card (Form I-551);
 Temporary I-551 stamp on foreign passport;
9-28
 Temporary I-551
Arrival/Departure
photograph, or
stamp on Form
Record
with
I-94,
your
by reason of insanity in a civilian or military jurisdiction
of any of the following crimes:
 Espionage
 Reentry Permit (Form I-327).
 Sedition
 Treason
Certification and/or Disclosure of the Following Are
Required:
 A crime listed in 18 U.S.C. Chapter 113B –
Terrorism, or a State law that is comparable
 The applicant has not been convicted or found
not guilty by reason of insanity of any of the
interim disqualifying crimes in any jurisdiction,
civilian or military, during the seven (7) years
before the date of application;
 Making any threat, or maliciously conveying
false information knowing the same to be false,
concerning the deliverance, placement, or
detonating of an explosive or other lethal
device in or against a place of public use, a
state or government facility, a public
transportation system, or an infrastructure
facility;
 The applicant has not been released from
incarceration in any jurisdiction, civilian or
military, for committing any interim
disqualifying crime during the five (5) years
before the date of application;
 A crime involving a transportation security
incident (i.e. security incident involving a
significant loss of life, environmental damage,
transportation system disruption, or economic
disruption in a particular area);
 The applicant has not been convicted or found
not guilty by reason of insanity of any
permanently disqualifying crime;
 The applicant is not wanted or under
indictment in any jurisdiction, civilian or
military, for a disqualifying crime;
 Improper transportation of a hazardous
material under 49 U.C. 5124 or a State law that
is comparable (minor infractions involving
transportation of hazardous materials will not
disqualify a driver. For instance, no driver will
be disqualified for minor roadside infractions or
placarding violations);
 The applicant has not been adjudicated as
lacking mental capacity or committed to a
mental institution involuntarily;
 The applicant is either a United States citizen
who has not renounced United States
citizenship, or a lawful permanent resident of
the United States, or meets eligibility
requirements for immigration status, or
 Unlawful possession, use, sale, distribution,
manufacture, purchase, receipt, transfer,
shipping, transporting, import, export, storage
of, or dealing in an explosive or explosive
device;
 Disclosure of the applicant’s military service
and date of discharge.
 Murder as defined in 18 U.S.C. 1111;
 Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act, 18 U.S.C. 1961, et
seq., or a State law that is comparable, where
one of the predicated acts found by a jury or
admitted by the defendant, consist of one of
the offenses listed in 4 or 8 of this section, or
DISQUALIFYING CRIMES
Permanently Disqualifying Criminal Offenses: You are
permanently disqualified from holding a hazardous
materials endorsement on your CDL if you were
convicted (convicted means any plea of guilty or nolo
contendere or any finding of guilt) or found not guilty
9-29
 Conspiracy or attempt to commit any of the
crimes listed above.
marijuana required for the offense to be
considered a felony. Typically, however, to be
convicted of felony marijuana possession, a
person must possess a quantity of marijuana
greater than an amount considered for
“personal use”);
Interim Disqualifying Criminal Offenses: You have an
interim disqualifying offense if you were convicted
(convicted means any plea of guilty or nolo contendere
or any finding of guilt) or found not guilty by reason of
insanity in a civilian or military jurisdiction, of any of the
crimes listed below, if the crime was considered to be a
felony in the appropriate jurisdiction, civilian or military
within the seven (7) years preceding the date of
application; or if you were released from incarceration
for the crime within the five (5) years preceding the
application date:
 Arson, or
 Conspiracy or attempt to commit the crimes in
this section.
 Assault with intent to murder;
UNDER WANT OR WARRANT:
You will be disqualified from holding a hazmat
endorsement on a CDL if you are wanted or under
indictment in any civilian or military jurisdiction for an
interim disqualifying or permanently disqualifying
felony listed above until the Want or Warrant is
released.
 Kidnapping or hostage taking;
APPEALS AND WAIVERS:
 Rape or aggravated sexual abuse;
You must send appeal or waiver materials to the
address listed in your initial Determination of Threat
Assessment (IDTA) letter.
 Unlawful entry into a seaport as described in 18
U.S.C. 1036, or a comparable State law;
 Unlawful possession, use, sale, manufacture,
purchase, distribution, receipt, transfer,
shipping, transporting, delivery, import, export
of, or dealing in a firearm or other weapon;
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS:
Q:
What is the rule under which TSA is
conducting the Hazmat Driver Threat
Assessment Program?
A:
On May 5, 2003, TSA published a rule to secure
the transportation of hazardous materials
(Hazmat), including explosives, by requiring
threat assessments for all individuals who apply
for, renew, or transfer a Hazardous Materials
Endorsement (HME) on their Commercial
Driver’s License (CDL). On January 25, 2007,
TSA modified this rule to include additional
disqualifiers and appeal mechanisms.
Q:
Who is affected by the rule?
A:
You must undergo a threat assessment if you
wish to transport hazardous materials requiring
vehicle placards under DOT regulations. This
rule does not apply to applicants for, or holders
of a CDL, who do not wish to transport
hazardous materials.
 Extortion;
 Dishonesty, fraud, or
including identity fraud;
misrepresentation,
 Bribery;
 Smuggling;
 Immigration violations;
 Violations of the Racketeer Influenced and
Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S.C.
1961, et seq., or a violation of a comparable
State law;
 Robbery;
 Distribution of, possession with intent to
distribute, or importation of a controlled
substance (State laws vary on the quantity of
9-30
Q:
Does this rule apply to drivers entering the
U.S. from Canada and Mexico?
A:
This rule applies only to drivers who hold a CDL
issued by a state of the U.S. Generally, this
would not include drivers from Canada and
Mexico. There is a separate rulemaking that
addresses Canadian drivers hauling explosives
into the U.S. Eventually, all drivers will have to
meet the threat assessment and eligibility
standards that are comparable to the standards
that now apply to Hazmat drivers in the U.S.
Q:
What constitutes a “hazardous material”
under the rule?
A:
Any material that requires placarding under the
DOT hazardous materials regulations is
considered a hazardous material for purposes
of this rule.
Q:
A:
You must voluntarily and immediately
surrender your Hazmat endorsement if the
standards are not met. You may apply for a
waiver if you were convicted or found not
guilty by reason of insanity of a disqualifying
criminal offense, or were adjudicated as
mentally
incompetent
or
involuntarily
committed to a mental institution, but you may
only apply for the waiver after submitting an
application and fingerprints for the threat
assessment.
What happens when a threat assessment
indicates that a driver does not meet
standards set forth under the rule?
TSA notifies you of the initial finding that a
disqualifying event or status exists and you are
given the opportunity to respond. If TSA makes
a final determination that you pose a security
threat, it will direct the state to revoke your
HME.
If TSA discovers that you have
outstanding criminal or immigration violations
or warrants, the information will be
transmitted to the proper authorities.
Q:
Is there an appeal process for drivers who are
disqualified?
A:
You may appeal the disqualification on the
grounds of mistaken identity or other
information, such as a reversed conviction.
Q:
Will TSA tell a candidate why he or she is
disqualified?
Will a conviction for a minor placarding
violation or roadside infraction involving the
transport of hazardous materials disqualify me
from holding a Hazmat endorsement?
A:
Yes, unless the information is classified.
Q:
How often must a driver be fingerprinted and
qualified under this rule?
No. Under the rule, you will be disqualified
from holding and HME if you were convicted or
found not guilty by reason of insanity of a
A:
Generally, you must renew your HME every five
(5) years and six (6) months, although some
states may require more frequent reviews.
Q:
Will a conviction for drug possession or use
disqualify me from holding a Hazmat
endorsement?
A:
What happens to drivers who currently hold
Hazmat endorsements, but who are
disqualified under this rule?
A:
You must be a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent
resident or alien with legal rights to work, and
must not pose a threat of terrorism or a threat
to national or transportation security.
Q:
Q:
Q:
Who is eligible to hold and HME under the
rule?
A:
A:
felony involving improper transportation of a
hazardous material.
Only if you were convicted of a felony within
the past seven (7) years, or were released from
prison within the past five (5) years. State laws
vary on the quantity of drugs required for the
offense to be considered a felony.
Misdemeanor drug offenses will not disqualify
you from holding a Hazmat endorsement under
the rule.
9-31
Idaho does require you to have another threat
assessment done every time you renew your
license, which is every four (4) years; therefore,
you will be required to submit new fingerprints
at that time to renew your endorsement.
Q:
Why must individual truckers and/or their
employers pay for the security threat
assessment?
A:
Congress did not appropriate funds to cover
the cost of the security threat assessment, and
so TSA must charge a fee to recover those
costs.
Currently, state motor vehicle
departments require you to bear all the costs
of applying for an HME on a CDL.
9-32
Q:
Who is not covered by this rule?
A:
You are unaffected by this rule if you don’t
wish to hold an HME. Similarly, you will not be
asked to undergo fingerprinting if you wish to
surrender4 your HME. You will not lose your
right to hold a CDL or to transport nonhazardous cargo if you were disqualified from
carrying hazardous materials due to past
criminal convictions.
Chapter 10 : School Buses
This Chapter Covers:
Danger Zones and Use of Mirrors
Loading and Unloading
Emergency Exit and Evacuation
Railroad-highway Grade Crossings
Student Management
Antilock Braking Systems
Special Safety Considerations
School bus drivers must have a commercial driver’s
license (CDL) with a passenger endorsement and a
school bus endorsement if they drive a school bus
designed to transport (seat) 16 or more persons,
including the driver.
To get a school bus endorsement, you must pass a
knowledge test on this chapter of the manual as well as
a written test for a passenger endorsement (refer to
Chapter 4). If your school bus has air brakes, you must
also pass a knowledge test on Chapter 5. You must also
pass the skills test required for the class of school bus
you drive or intend to drive.
10.1.2 Correct Mirror Adjustment
This chapter does not provide information on all the
federal and state requirements needed before you drive
a school bus. You should be thoroughly familiar with all
specific school bus procedures, laws, and regulations in
Idaho, the State Department of Education and your
school district.
10.1 DANGER ZONES AND USE OF MIRRORS
Proper adjustment and use of all mirrors is vital to the
safe operation of the school bus in order 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.
10.1.1 Danger Zones
10.1.3 Outside Left and Right Side Flat Mirrors
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 of which the first 10 feet is 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. Figure
10.1 illustrates these danger zones.
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 could extend up to 400 feet
depending on the width of the bus.
10-1
 At least one traffic lane on either side of the
bus.
Figure 10.3 shows how both the outside left and right
side convex mirrors should be adjusted.
Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you
can see:
 200 feet or 4 bus lengths behind the bus.
 Along the sides of the bus.
 The rear tires touching the ground.
Figure 10.2 shows how both the outside left and right
side flat mirrors should be adjusted:
10.1.5 Outside Left and Right Side Crossover
Mirrors
These 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
10.1.4 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 these mirrors to see:
 The entire side of the bus up to the mirror
mounts.
 Front of the rear tires touching the ground.
10-2
“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. The driver must ensure that these mirrors are
properly adjusted (See Figure 10.4).
Ensure that the mirrors are properly adjusted so you
can 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.
 The area from the front of the bus to the
service door.
 These mirrors, along with 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.
10.1.6 Overhead Inside Rearview Mirror
Figure 10.4.a
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 (See Figure
10.4.a). 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.
You should position the mirror to see:
10.2 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 you 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 the state laws and
regulations governing loading/unloading operations in
Idaho.
 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.
10.2.1 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. You
should never change the location of a bus stop without
10-3
written approval from the appropriate school district
official.
You must use extreme caution when approaching a
school bus stop. You are in a very demanding situation
when entering these areas. It is critical that you
understand and follow all state and local laws and
regulations regarding approaching a school bus stop.
This would involve the proper use of mirrors,
alternating flashing lights, moveable stop signal arm and
crossing control arm.
When approaching the stop, you should:
 Approach cautiously at a slow rate of speed.
Figure 10.4.c
 Look for pedestrians, traffic, or other objects
before, during, and after coming to a stop.
 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.
 Continuously check all mirrors.
 Activate alternating flashing amber warning
lights at least 200 feet or approximately eight to
ten seconds before the school bus stop or in
accordance with Idaho law.
 With your foot on the brake pedal, place the
transmission in Neutral or Park. During the
stop, either keep your foot on the brake pedal
or set the parking brake.
 Continuously check mirrors to monitor the
danger zones for students, traffic, and other
objects.
 Open the service door, if possible, enough to
activate the alternating red lights and deploy
the stop arm and crossing control arm when
traffic is a safe distance from the school bus.
 Maintain your position in the center of the far
right (curb-side) lane on multi-lane roadways,
and in the center of the driving lane on twolane roads (See Figures 10.4.b and 10.4.c).
 Make a final check to see that all traffic has
stopped before completely opening the door
and signaling the students to approach.
Figure 10.4.b
10.2.2 Loading Procedures
 Perform a safe stop as described in subsection
10.2.1.
 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.
10-4
10.2.3 Unloading Procedures on the Route
 Count the number of students at the bus stop
and be sure all board the bus. If possible, know
names of the students at each stop. If there is a
student missing, ask the other students where
the student is.
 Perform a safe stop at designated unloading
areas as described in subsection 10.2.1.
 Have the students remain seated until told to
exit.
 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.
 Check all mirrors.
 Count the number of students while unloading
to confirm the location of all students before
pulling away from the stop.
 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.
 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.
 If you cannot account for a student outside,
secure the bus, take the key, and check around
and underneath the bus.
 Check all mirrors again. Make sure no students
are around or returning to the bus.
When all students are accounted for and seated,
prepare to leave by:
 If you cannot account for a student outside the
bus, turn off the ignition, take the key, secure
the bus, go outside and check around and
underneath the bus.
Closing the door and deactivating the
alternating flashing red lamps and withdrawing
the stop arm and crossing control arm.
When all students are accounted for and seated,
prepare to leave by:
Engaging the transmission.
Checking traffic and all mirrors again.
Closing the door and deactivating the
alternating flashing red lamps and withdrawing
the stop arm and crossing control arm.
Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
Engaging transmission.
When it is safe to do so re-enter the traffic flow
and continue the route.
Releasing the service or parking brake.
Releasing the service or parking brake.
Checking all mirrors again.
The loading procedure is essentially the same wherever
you load students, but there are slight differences.
When students are loading at the school campus, you
should:
When it is safe to do so accelerate smoothly
and re-enter the traffic flow and continue the
route.
 Turn off the ignition switch.
Note: If you have missed a student’s unloading stop,
do not back up. Be sure to follow local procedures.
 Remove key if leaving driver’s compartment.
Additional Procedures for Students That Must Cross
the Roadway: You should understand what students
should do when exiting a school bus and crossing the
street in front of the bus. In addition, the school bus
 Position yourself to supervise loading as
required or recommended by Idaho law, or the
State Department of Education and/or school
district regulations.
10-5
driver should understand that students might not
always do what they are supposed to do. If a student or
students must cross the roadway, they should follow
these procedures:
Special Note: The school bus driver should enforce any
state or local regulations or recommendations
concerning student actions outside the school bus.
10.2.4 Unloading Procedures at School
 The student(s) should walk approximately 10
feet away from the side of the school bus to a
position where you can see them.
State and local laws and regulations regarding
unloading students at schools, particularly in situations
where such activities take place in the 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. The following procedures are meant to be
general guidelines.
 The student(s) should walk to a location at least
10 feet in front of the right corner of the
bumper, but still remaining away from the front
of the school bus.
 The student(s) should stop at the right edge of
the roadway. You should be able to see their
feet.
When unloading at the school you should follow these
procedures:
When the students reach the edge of the roadway, they
should:
 Perform a safe stop at designated unloading
areas as described in subsection 10.2.1.
 Stop and look in all directions, making sure the
road-way is clear and is safe.
 Secure the bus by:
 Check to see if the red flashing lights on the bus
are still flashing.
Placing the transmission in neutral or park.
Setting the parking brake.
 Wait for your signal before crossing the
roadway.
Turning off the ignition switch.
Upon your signal (i.e., hand motion from right to left),
the students should:
Removing the
compartment.
key
if
leaving
driver’s
 Cross far enough in front of the school bus to be
in your view.
 Have the students remain seated until told to
exit.
 Walk to the left edge of the school bus, stop,
and look again for your signal to continue to
cross the roadway.
 Position yourself to supervise unloading as
required or recommended by your state or local
regulations.
 Look for traffic in both directions, making sure
the roadway is clear.
 Have students exit in orderly fashion.
 Proceed across the roadway, continuing to look
in all directions.
 Observe students as they step from the bus to
see that all move promptly away from the
unloading area.
It is important to understand that any hand (or other)
signals given to students could be misinterpreted by
motorists that are stopped in the area.
 Walk through the bus and check for
hiding/sleeping students and items left by
students.
10-6
 Check all mirrors. Make certain no students are
returning to the bus.
the bus to confirm that they are in a safe location prior
to moving the bus.
 If you cannot account for a student outside the
bus and the bus is secure, take the key and
check around and underneath the bus.
10.2.6 Pre-trip and Post-trip Inspection
Pre-trip: Since the State of Idaho has adopted the
FMSCR for school bus operations, you must perform a
pre-trip safety inspection of your bus at the beginning
of each workday/shift and prepare a Driver Vehicle
Inspection Report. You must review the last driver
vehicle inspection report at the beginning of your shift
to ensure any items listed on the last report that affect
the safety of the bus have been repaired or were found
to be unnecessary by the mechanic performing the
repairs. The mechanic must certify the repairs were
performed by placing his/her signature on the original
inspection report. You must sign the same report
certifying you have reviewed the report and accept the
bus. You do not have to sign a report from the previous
driver if no defects or deficiencies were noted.
 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 on left turn signal.
Post-trip:
You must perform a post-trip safety
inspection of your bus at the end of each shift, and you
must prepare a written inspection report on each bus
operated. You must identify the bus(s) you operated
and list any defect or deficiency that would affect the
safe operation of the bus that would cause it to suffer a
mechanical breakdown. You must also prepare a
written report if no equipment defect or deficiency is
found. In all instances, you must sign the report. The
Driver’s Inspection Report notifies your company of the
condition of the bus and identifies any defects or
deficiencies found that would make the bus unsafe or
cause it to break down. Depending on your company’s
policy regarding the distribution of the inspection
report, if possible, you should leave a copy of the
inspection report in the bus for at least a day so it can
be reviewed by the next driver.
Checking all mirrors again
Allowing congested traffic to disperse.
 When it is safe, pull away from the unloading
area.
10.2.5 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.
During your inspection of the bus, you should walk both
through and around the vehicle looking for the
following:
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.
 Articles left on the bus.
 Sleeping students.
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
 Open windows and doors.
 Mechanical/operational problems with the bus,
with special attention to items that are unique
10-7
to school buses – mirror systems, flashing
warning lamps and stop signal arms.
dangerous environment such as downed power
lines?
 Damage and/or vandalism.
 Would moving students complicate injuries
such as neck and back injuries and fractures?
Any problems or special situations should be reported
immediately to your supervisor or school authorities.
 Is there a hazardous spill involved? Sometimes,
it may be safer to remain on the bus and not
come in contact with the material.
10.3 EMERGENCY EXIT AND EVACUATION
An emergency situation can happen to anyone,
anytime, anywhere. It could be a crash, 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.
Mandatory Evacuations: The driver must evacuate the
bus whenThe 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.
10.3.1 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.
There is an imminent danger of collision.
There is a need to quickly evacuate because of a
hazardous materials spill.
10.3.2 Evacuation Procedures
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 so doing
does not expose them to unnecessary risk or injury.
Remember, the decision to evacuate the bus must be a
timely one.
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 or other
responsible adults (law enforcement, emergency
responders, etc.).
A decision to evacuate should include consideration of
the following conditions:
 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?
Some tips to determine a safe place:
 Is the bus in the path of a sighted tornado or
rising waters?
 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.
 Are there downed power lines?
 Would removing students expose them to
speeding traffic, severe weather, or a
10-8
 Lead students upwind of the bus if fire is
present.
 If no radio or the radio is inoperable, dispatch a
passing motorist or area resident to call for
help.
As a last resort, send two older,
responsible students to go for help.
 Lead students as far away from railroad tracks
as possible, and in the direction of any
oncoming train.
 Order the evacuation.
 Lead students upwind of the bus at least 300
feet if there is a risk from spilled hazardous
materials.
 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.
 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.
Special procedures must be used to move neck
spinal injury victims to prevent further injury.
 Direct a student assistant to lead students to
the nearest safe place.
General Procedures: Determine if evacuation is in the
best interest of safety.
 Walk through the bus to ensure no students
remain on the bus.
Retrieve emergency
equipment.
Determine the best type of evacuation:
 Join waiting students. Account for all students
and check for their safety.
Front, rear or side door evacuation, or some
combination of doors.
 Protect the scene. Set out emergency warning
devices as necessary and appropriate.
Roof or window evacuation.
 Secure the bus by:
 Prepare information for emergency responders.
Placing transmission in Park, or if there is
no shift point, in Neutral.
10.4 RAILROAD-HIGHWAY CROSSINGS
10.4.1 Types of Crossings
Setting parking brakes.
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.
Shutting off the engine.
Removing ignition key.
Activating hazard warning lights
 If time allows, notify dispatch office of
evacuation location, conditions, and type of
assistance needed.
 Dangle radio microphone or telephone out of
driver’s window for later use, if operable.
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
10-9
flashing red lights, with or without bells and flashing red
lights with bells and gates.
10.4.2 Warning Signs and Devices
Advance Warning Signs: The round, black-on-yellow
warning sign is placed ahead of a public railroadhighway 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 (See
Figure 10.6).
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 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 (See Figure 10.6).
Figure 10.7
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 (See Figure
10.8).
Figure 10.8
10.4.3 Recommended Procedures
Figure 10.6
Each state has laws and regulations governing how
school buses must operate at railroad-highway
crossings. It is important for you to understand and
obey these state laws and regulations. Idaho Code §331508(2)(a) requires all school buses (with passengers or
empty) must stop at all railroad crossings, and ensure it
is safe before proceeding across the tracks.
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
(See Figure 10.7).
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 crash with a train.
10-10
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 crashes by
following these recommended procedures.
o
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.
o
Cross the tracks in a low gear. Do not change
gears while crossing.
o
If the gate comes down after you have started
across, drive through it even if it means you will
break the gate.
Approaching the Crossing:
o Slow down, including shifting to a lower gear in a
manual transmission bus, and test your brakes.
o Activate hazard lights approximately 100 feet
before the crossing. Make sure your intentions
are known.
10.4.4 Special Situations
o Scan your surroundings and check for traffic
behind you.
Bus Stalls or Trapped on Tracks: If your bus stalls or is
trapped on the tracks, get everyone out of the bus 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, because if the train hits the bus,
debris from the crash will go forward and not hit you
and/or your students.
o Stay to the right of the roadway if possible.
o Choose an escape route in the event of a brake
failure or problems behind you.
At the Crossing:
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.
o 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.
o Use your service brake (brake pedal) or parking
brake to hold the bus stationary. Place the
transmission in Neutral or Park. Follow school
district and/or company policy regarding the gear
position of the transmission and whether to use
your service brake or parking brake (some school
districts or companies allow the driver to leave
the transmission in gear and only use the brake
pedal to hold the bus in position).
o
Turn off all radios and noisy equipment, and
silence the passengers.
o
Open the service door and driver’s window.
o
Look and listen for an approaching train.
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 stop, 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 is between the intersection and the tracks. 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
Crossing the Track:
o
Check the crossing signals again and close the
service door before proceeding.
10-11
to the length of the school bus to determine an
acceptable amount of containment or storage area.
you cannot safely drive the bus, call for a school
administrator or the police to come and remove
the student. Always follow your state or local
procedures for requesting assistance.
10.5 STUDENT MANAGEMENT
10.6 ANTILOCK BRAKING SYSTEMS
The following information is a general guide for
managing students on and off the bus. In all cases,
follow the Idaho State Department of Education, school
district and/or company policies regarding student
management.
10.6.1 Vehicles Required to Have Antilock
Braking Systems
The Department of Transportation requires that
antilock braking systems be on:
10.5.1 Don’t Deal with Student Behavior
Problems When Loading and Unloading
 Air brakes vehicles, (trucks, buses, trailers and
converter dollies) built on or after March 1,
1998.
In order to get students to and from school safely and
on time, you need to be able to concentrate on the
driving task.
 Hydraulically braked trucks and buses with a
gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 lbs or
more built on or after March 1, 1999.
Loading and unloading requires all your concentration.
Don’t take your eyes off what is happening outside the
bus.
Many buses built before these dates have been
voluntarily equipped with ABS. Your school bus will
have a yellow ABS malfunction lamp on the instrument
panel if it is equipped with ABS.
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.
10.6.2 How ABS Helps You
10.5.2 Handling Serious Problems
 Follow your school’s procedures for discipline or
refusal of rights to ride the bus.
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.
 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.
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.
 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 show anger, but do
show that you mean business.
10.6.3 Braking with ABS
Tips on handling serious problems:
When you drive a vehicle with ABS, you should brake as
you always have. In other words:
 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
10-12
o
Use only the braking force necessary to stop
safely and stay in control.
o
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.
o
o
ABS won’t necessarily shorten stopping
distance. ABS will help maintain vehicle control,
but not always shorten stopping distance.
o
ABS won’t increase or decrease ultimate
stopping power. ABS is an “add-on” to your
normal brakes, not a replacement for them.
o
ABS won’t change the way you normally brake.
o
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.
o
ABS won’t compensate for bad brakes or poor
brake maintenance.
o
Remember: The best vehicle safety feature is
still a safe driver.
o
Remember: Drive so you never need to use
your ABS.
o
Remember: If you need it, ABS could help to
prevent a serious crash.
o
During an emergency stop when hard braking is
required, apply continuous pressure on the
brake pedal. Do Not Pump The Brake Pedal as
this will defeat the system’s design and reduce
the effectiveness of the ABS and cause the
vehicle to increase its stopping distance. The
ABS will activate immediately, allowing you to
retain full steering control during hard braking
and on slippery surfaces; however, ABS does
not decrease stopping distances.
During hard braking with ABS, the system
actually pumps the brakes for you at a higher
rate than you could do yourself. This pumping
action causes a noise from the ABS pump
motor, and you may feel a noticeable pulse
through the brake pedal. Do not be concerned
by the noise and pulsation, because this is
normal. Knowing you will hear the pump motor
and feel the pulse will help you resist the
natural instinct to remove your foot from the
pedal.
As you slow down, monitor your bus and back
off the brakes (if it is safe to do so) to stay in
control.
10.6.4 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. (See Figure 10.9)
ABS
Warning
Light
Figure 10.9
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
traveling, you may have lost ABS control at one or more
wheels.
Remember, if your ABS malfunctions, you still have
regular brakes. Drive normally, but get the system
serviced soon.
o
10.6.5 Safety Reminders
o
ABS won’t allow you to drive faster, follow
more closely, or drive less carefully.
o
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.
10-13
10.7 SPECIAL SAFETY CONSIDERATIONS
 Activate Four-Way emergency flashers
10.7.1 Strobe Lights
 Honk horn twice
Some school buses are equipped with roof-mounted,
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 your state or local regulations
concerning the use of these lights.
 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.
10.7.2 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:
 If you must back-up at a student pick-up point,
be sure to pick up the students before backing
and watch for late comers at all times.
 Be sure that all students are in the bus and
seated before backing.
 Keep a strong grip on the steering wheel. Try to
anticipate gusts.
 If you must back-up at a student drop-off point,
be sure to unload students after backing.
 You should slow down to lessen the effect of
the wind, or pull off the roadway and wait.
 Contact your dispatcher to
information on how to proceed.
get
10.7.4 Tail Swing
more
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. (See
figure 10.10)
10.7.3 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:
 Post a lookout inside the bus. 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.
Figure 10.10
10-14
An example of Tail Swing
Section 10
5. After unloading at school, why should you walk
through the bus?
Test Your Knowledge
6. What position should students be in front of the
bus before they cross the roadway?
7. Under what conditions must you evacuate the
bus?
1. Define the danger zone. How far does the
danger zone extend around the bus?
2. What should you be able to see if the outside
flat mirrors are adjusted properly? The outside
convex mirrors? The crossover mirrors?
8. How far from the nearest rail should you stop at
a highway-rail crossing?
3. You are loading students along the route.
When should you activate your alternating
flashing amber warning lights?
9. What is a passive highway-rail crossing? Why
should you be extra cautious at this type of
crossing?
4. You are unloading students along your route.
Where should students walk to after exiting the
bus?
10. How should you use your brakes if your vehicle
is equipped with antilock brakes (ABS)?
These questions may be on your test. If you can’t
answer them all, re-read Chapter 10.
10-15
Chapter 11 : Pre-Trip Vehicle Inspection Test
This Chapter Covers:
terminated by the examiner, and you will have to
reschedule for another time.
Lights and Reflectors
Engine Compartment
External Inspection
In-Cab Checks and Engine Start
Air Brake Restriction: If the vehicle used for the test
is not equipped with air brakes, your CDL will show
an air brake restriction (L) stating that you are not
licensed to operate vehicles equipped with air
brakes. Once you have successfully tested in a
vehicle equipped with air brakes, you may test in
other vehicle(s) without air brakes for additional
endorsements and not have the restriction applied
to your license (it’s a one-time test).
Third Party Testers: Third Party Testers conduct
CDL skills tests in Idaho. They are allowed to charge
$60 to administer the skills test. Once you have
passed the required written tests and obtained a
receipt for a skills test fee, you may make an
appointment with a Third Party Tester. A list of
testers is available at your Sheriff's Office (DMV), or
online at www.itd.idaho.gov/dmv/driverservices/.
Be sure to show up for your appointment. If you fail
to show up, and later request a test, the examiner
may be unable to test you.
Inspection Scoring Criteria: In order to pass the
vehicle inspection test, you must receive a score of:
Vehicle Type
Banking Parts of the Skills Test: The skills test is
considered one test with three parts, not three
separate tests; therefore, you must pass all three
parts to successfully complete the test. Idaho does
not allow “banking” parts of the test (i.e., being
allowed to pass one or two parts and only have to
retest on the one you failed). If you fail any part of
the test, you will be required to retake the entire
three part test again following a three day waiting
period.
Maximum
number of
Errors
Air 21
Truck/Trailer Comb, With
Brakes
Truck/Trailer Comb, No Air Brakes
Straight Truck - With Air Brakes
Straight Truck – No Air Brakes
School Bus – With Air Brakes
School Bus – No Air Brakes
Coach/Transit Bus – All Brake Sys.
20
17
16
20
19
13
Exact Terminology is not required: If you do not
remember the technical name of a component but
know the function of the component and properly
inspect it, the examiner will give you credit for
inspecting it.
Vehicle Used in the Test: Depending on your
knowledge and skill level, it will usually take
approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours to complete the test.
The test consists of a pre-trip vehicle inspection, a
basic control skills test, and a driving test. You will
need to provide a vehicle for the test or rent one
from a tester who has rental vehicles available.
Whether you use your own vehicle, a company
vehicle, or one that is borrowed from a friend, you
must have proof of insurance and current
registration to use it for the test.
For test purposes, each component is scored
separately. For example, you will need to repeat the
complete explanation of the components on both
the first and last axle.
Your vehicle may not have all the components
shown in this chapter. You are only required to
inspect components that are found on the vehicle
you are using for the test.
Be sure the vehicle is representative of the license
you are seeking; for example a Class A vehicle with
air brakes for a Class A license with air brake
endorsement,
and is in good condition and
operational. If during the inspection, any item is
found that makes the vehicle unsafe or prevents it
from operating legally on the road, the test will be
11-1
Inspection Instructions: To receive credit for
inspecting various components of the vehicle and/or
trailer:
you in inspecting the lights by observing them and
letting you know they are functioning correctly;
however, you must specifically tell the examiner
which lights you want him/her to check as you
activate them. The examiner will not prompt you
for this information.
You must point to or touch the vehicle
components you are inspecting and tell the
examiner what the components are.
You should walk all the way around your vehicle
checking for problems when conducting your pretrip inspection; however, for the purposes of the
test, you need only describe the tire checks, brake
component, etc. on one side. Some components
(battery box, fuel tank, etc.) may only be found on
one side of the vehicle. If you are in doubt, be sure
to walk all the way around as you would normally.
You must tell the inspector what defects you
are looking for if applicable.
You will not receive credit for inspecting a
component if you give the examiner general
comments like, “Tire looks good”, “Brakes are
OK”, etc.
The following is an example of the proper way to tell
the examiner what you will be looking for when you
inspect a component:
Components with Multiple Inspection Points: If a
component has multiple inspection points, (i.e.,
Brake hoses/lines – Condition, Secure and Leaks)
you must properly mention a majority of the
inspection points to receive credit for the
component. You will find the inspection points for
each component later in this chapter.
To Inspect the Front Tire (Steering Axle)
Inspection Points to remember:
Condition
4/32” Tread Depth
Inflation
Practice the Pre-trip Inspection: Applicants fail the
pre-trip inspection more than any other part of the
skills test. You should practice the inspection on the
vehicle you intend to use for the test. Study this
chapter well and have a friend, co-worker or family
member follow you during the inspection with a
copy of this manual to help you learn the proper
inspection points of each component. Remember, if
you fail any part of the skills test, you will have to
take the entire three (3) part test again and pay
additional fees, so PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!
You should tell the inspector
Something like:
“I’m checking the condition of the tire, to make
sure the tire tread is evenly worn and it doesn’t
have any cuts, bulges or other damage to the tread
or sidewalls. I’m checking to make sure the valve
caps are on and the valve stem is not damaged or
missing.
CDL Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid: You may use a
Vehicle Inspection Memory Aid from this manual
(See Figure 11.1) to help you remember inspection
items during the test; however, the memory aid
cannot have any writing or notes on it. If you have
notes on your inspection guide, the examiner will
not allow you to use it for the test. If you have
forgotten to bring the memory aid to the test, the
examiner may have one you can use.
I’m checking to make sure the tread depth of the
tire is at least 4/32 of an inch for the steering axle.
I would check the tire’s Inflation to make sure it is
properly inflated. I would use a tire gauge or strike
it on the center part of the tread with a hammer or
mallet to test it.”
You may inspect your vehicle in any order you wish,
but you must be sure to inspect the engine
compartment, the external components including
the lights, the in-cab inspections, and the engine
start-up checks. The examiner is allowed to assist
11-2
Figure 11.1 CDL MEMORY AID
11-3
Grounds for Immediate Failure of the CDL Skills Test.
The applicant will automatically fail the entire test for
any of the following reasons:
Study the following chapters that pertain to all
vehicles as well as the chapters that pertain to your
particular vehicle. Chapter 2 in this manual outlines
key locations to inspect. The following information
outlines the recommended format and knowledge
needed to take Idaho’s vehicle inspection test.
Additional inspection information is available in other
chapters of this manual.
 Applicant fails to perform the air brake system
check entirely or fails to perform all three of
the checks correctly and in the correct order;
 Applicant fails to wear a seat belt during the
Road Test;
Be sure to tell the skills test examiner what
components you are inspecting and what defects you
are looking for. This is the only way that the examiner
can assess your ability to inspect your vehicle to be
sure it is safe to operate.
 Applicant refuses to perform any maneuver
which is part of the prescribed test;
 Applicant receives a traffic citation for a
moving violation during the test;
The vehicle inspection consists of checking:
 Applicant disobeys traffic signs and signals;
 Vehicle lights.
 Applicant does not yield the right-of-way to
pedestrians or other vehicles;
 Components in the engine compartment.
 External components.
 Applicant is involved in an avoidable crash or
accident, or has physical contact with other
vehicles, objects, pedestrians;
 In cab equipment and gauges.
The vehicle components are listed in an order that may
be the most logical to follow as you make an inspection.
Your vehicle may not have all the components listed.
Inspect the components that your vehicle has.
Components repeatedly found on the vehicle such as
tires, wheels, and suspension, should be inspected
every time you come to them. Some components have
multiple inspection requirements that you must identify
to get credit for inspecting the part. This chapter will
identify the inspection criteria for all of the required
components
on
various
types
of
vehicles
(trucks/tractor, trailers, school, coach and transit
buses).
 Applicant commits a dangerous act causing
vehicles or pedestrians to take evasive actions;
 Applicant puts vehicle over curbs or sidewalks
unnecessarily, or
 Applicant commits a serious violation of a
traffic law
The vehicle inspection test evaluates your ability to
inspect important parts of a commercial vehicle. You
will be asked to correctly identify and inspect vehicle
components to ensure that the vehicle is in safe
operating condition.
11-4
STRAIGHT TRUCK & COMBINATION VEHICLE
PRE-TRIP INSPECTION
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure, Guards):
 Check
to see that drive shaft is not bent,
twisted, or cracked.
11.1 UNDER VEHICLE
11.1.1 Exhaust System
 Check that U-joints appear to be secure and
Description: Piping for removing combustion gases
from engine.
 Check guards (if present) to see they are secure
free of foreign objects.
and in good condition (Guards are only required
on buses).
Rational:
Leaks under the cab area can cause
asphyxiation of the driver and/or passengers.
Inspection Points (Condition, Leaks, Secure):
 Check
the exhaust system to ensure it is
connected tightly, mounted securely and there
are no loose clamps.
 Check the exhaust system (stack/tail pipe to
engine) for damage and signs of leaking rust or
carbon soot). The exhaust system should have
no cracks, holes, or severe dents.
11.1.3 Frame
Description: Structural members for supporting vehicle
body or trailer body.
11.1.2 Drive Shaft
Description:
drive axle.
Transmits power from transmission to
Rational: Bent shaft, loose, or worn U-joints may cause
excessive vibration. Loss of drive shaft could dig into
pavement causing loss of vehicle control. Also, shaft
may come off, hitting other traffic.
Rationale: Loose cross members may reduce vehicle
stability and cause handling and cornering problems
(i.e., wandering, possible rollover). Welds and/or the
frame may develop cracks and ultimately break,
resulting in total loss of vehicle control.
11-5
Inspection Points (Condition, Broken Welds, Holes):
Inspection Points (High Beam and Low Beam):
 Check for cracks, broken welds, or bends in
 Check
longitudinal frame members.
headlights operation (high and low
beam)
 Check
 Check high beam dashboard indicator light to
for loose, cracked, bent, broken, or
missing cross members.
ensure it is working properly.
 Look
 Check to see that headlights are clean and not
for signs of breaks or holes in box or
trailer floor.
damaged.
Special Note: Cracks in members are most likely to
appear midway between points of attachment to
vehicle assemblies (i.e., half way between tractor cab
and rear tractor wheels
11.1.4 Leaks Under Vehicle
Description: Fluid leaks from engine or fuel tanks.
Rationale: Fluid loss could indicate component failure
in areas where levels might not be readily checked (i.e.,
transmission, coolant, oil and fuel systems).
11.2.2 Clearance Lights:
Inspection Points (Fluid and Fuel):
Description: Front clearance lights.
 Look
for puddles or dripping fluids on the
ground under the fuel tanks and engine, or the
underside of the engine, and transmission.
Inspection Points (Operation):
 Check clearance light for operation.
 Check to see that the clearance lights are clean
and not damaged.
11.2 LIGHTS/REFLECTORS/REFLECTOR TAPE
11.2.3 Four-Way Emergency Flashers:
FRONT OF VEHICLE
Description: Front four-way emergency flashers.
11.2.1 Headlights (High & Low Beam/Dashboard
Lighting Indicator:
Inspection Points (Operation):
 Check front emergency flashers to make sure
Description: Headlights (high and low beam), and
dashboard indicator light.
both are operational.
11-6
11.2.4 Turn Signals (Left and Right):
Rationale: Reflectors and/or reflector tape allow other
traffic to see the side outline of the vehicle and/or
trailer(s).
Description: Front turn signals and dashboard indicator
lights.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
Inspection Points (Left and Right):
 Check all reflectors to see that they are clean,
 Check
left and right turn signals for proper
operation.
not missing or broken and are of proper color
(red on rear, amber elsewhere).
SIDE OF VEHICLE/TRAILER(S
 Check that the reflector tape is present, affixed
securely the vehicle/trailer and clean.
11.2.5 Marker Lights:
Description: Side truck and/or trailer marker lights.
REAR OF VEHICLE/TRAILERS
Rationale: Lights, reflectors and reflector tape allow
the driver of a commercial to see and be seen and to
communicate with other traffic.
11.2.7 Clearance/Identification Lights:
Description: Clearance and rear identification lights
mark the “overall width” of the design dimension of the
widest part of the vehicle, exclusive of the signal lamps,
marker lamps, outside rearview mirrors, flexible fender
extension and mud flaps. Clearance and identification
lamps are required on most buses, trucks and trailers
that are 80 inches or more in overall width. Red light on
rear corners of vehicle and/or trailer(s).
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
 Check to see the marker lights are in proper
working order.
 Check to see lenses are clean and not damaged
or missing
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
 Check to see that amber lights are in the front
 Check to see that clearance and identification
of the vehicle/trailer and red lights are located
on the rear of the vehicle/trailer.
lights are clean, not damaged, red in color and
operational. Identification lights can be either
at the top or bottom of the trailer.
11.2.6 Reflectors and/or Reflector Tape:
11.2.8 Reflectors and/or Reflector Tape:
Description: Reflectors and/or reflector tape on sides
of vehicle and/or trailer.
Description: reflectors and/or reflector tape on rear of
vehicle and/or trailer(s).
11-7
11.2.11 Brake Lights (Operational):
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check
Description: Rear brake lights on rear of vehicle and/or
trailer(s).
that reflectors are clean, none are
missing or broken, and they are of proper color
(red).
Inspection Points (Operational):
 Check that reflector tape is present, clean and
 Check
to see that lenses are clean, not
damaged and red in color.
affixed securely to the vehicle.
 Check to see that brake lights come “on” when
brakes are applied and turn “off” when brakes
are released.
11.2.12 Tail Lights:
Description:
trailer(s).
Tail lights on rear of vehicle and/or
Inspection Points (Operational):
 Check to see that tail (running) lights are clean,
11.2.9 Four-Way Emergency Flashers
not broken, and are red in color.
Description: Rear emergency 4-way flashers on vehicle
and/or trailer(s).
 Check to see that tail lights are operational.
Special Note: Tail lights must be checked separately
from signal, 4-way flasher and brake lights.
Inspection Points (Operational):
 Check that rear hazard light lenses are clean,
not damaged and red or amber in color.
 Check that 4-way flashers are operational.
11.2.10 Turn Signals (Right & Left):
Description:
trailer(s).
Rear turn signals on vehicle and/or
Inspection Points:
 Check
to see that lenses are clean, not
damaged and red or amber in color.
Note: You may ask the examiner to assist you with
these checks. You are responsible for telling the
examiner exactly which lights you want him/her to
inspect. The examiner cannot “cue” or assist you in
remembering which lights you must inspect.
 Check
to see that both left and right turn
signals are operational.
11-8
11.3 ENGINE COMPARTMENT
11.3.1 Oil Level:
Description: Dipstick used to measure amount of oil for
engine lubrication
Rationale: Adequate lubrication extends engine life and
prevents engine failure because of seizure.
should describe what he/she would look for
after removing the radiator cap.
Inspection Points:
 Check oil level while engine is off.
Special Note: If the engine is hot, do not remove the
radiator cap. If there is no sight glass or coolant
reservoir, tell the examiner that the radiator cap
would be removed to view presence of coolant
 Indicate where dipstick is located
 Check that oil level is above the refill mark, in a
11.3.3 Power Steering Fluid:
safe operating range.
Description: Hydraulic fluid for assisting steering wheel
action to front wheels. Belt drives the power steering
unit.
Special Note: You will get credit for checking the oil by
actually pulling the dipstick out (demonstrating) or
explaining that the oil should be checked by pulling the
dipstick out.
Rationale: Adequate fluid level and secure belt prevent
hard steering and possible loss of vehicle control.
Checking oil
Inspection Points:
level on
 With the engine stopped, check the dipstick
dipstick
and sees where the fluid level is relative to the
refill mark or checks sight glass. Level must be
above refill mark.
11.3.2 Coolant Level:
Description: Cools the engine
Rationale: Adequate coolant prevents engine failure
due to over-heating in hot weather or freezing in cold
weather.
Special Note: You will get credit for checking the
power steering fluid by actually pulling the dipstick out
(demonstrating) or explaining that the fluid should be
checked by pulling the dipstick out.
Inspection Points:
 Look
at sight glass on radiator or coolant
reservoir; adequate level will show in sight
glass. If no sight glass is available, the driver
11-9
11.3.4 Hydraulic Brake Fluid:
Description: Reservoir holding hydraulic brake fluid
used to engage hydraulic brakes.
Inspection Points:
 Check the fluid level in the reservoir.
Level
should be above the refill mark (may point to
and explain this process).
11.3.5 Air compressor (Secure, Leaks):
11.3.7 Engine Leaks:
Description: Maintains air pressure in air brake system
and may be belt or gear driven. (Note: Belt is inspected
with "engine compartment belts").
Description: Fluid leaks from engine.
Rationale: Fluid on the engine could indicate a current
or future component failure, loose bolts, or worn
gaskets (i.e., water pump).
Rationale: Loss of air supply can result in sudden
application of spring brakes leading to loss of vehicle
control. In cases of low air pressure, the brakes may
drag and overheat.
Inspection Points:
 Look for fluid leaks on and around the engine.
Inspection Points (Secure, Leaks):
 With
11.3.8 Hoses:
engine off, point to or touch the air
compressor.
Description: Fluid leaks from hoses in the engine
compartment.
 Check to see that the compressor is securely
mounted and not leaking.
Inspection Points (Leaks, Condition, Secure):
11.3.6 Alternator:
 Check hoses in the engine compartment for
leaks, damage or signs of excessive wear.
Description: Alternating-current generator for charging
the battery to power a vehicle’s electrical system when
the engine is running.
 Check hoses to make sure all connections are
secure.
Inspection Points (Secure, Wiring):
11.3.9 Engine Belts:
 Check
to see that alternator is securely
mounted and that all wires are securely
fastened.
Description: All belts in the engine compartment
including belts for the power steering mechanism,
water pump, alternator/generator and air compressor.
11-10
Rationale: Belts are looped strips of flexible material,
used to mechanically link two or more rotating shafts.
They may be used as a source of motion, to efficiently
transmit power, or to track relative movement.
condition of the blades (check for cracks or nicks) as fan
blades that are not balanced can set up harmonic
vibrations that can destroy water pump bearings and
other related components, leading to total system
failure.
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition):
Inspection Points (Condition, Deflection 1/2” – 3/4”):
 Check to see that engine belt(s) are not worn,
 Check to see that fan is securely mounted.
frayed or cracked.
 Check fan for missing and/or damaged blades.
 Push
the belts inward to determine the
amount of deflection. If the belt(s) deflects
more than 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch, the belt might
slip on the pulleys and should be adjusted.
11.4 STEERING COMPONENTS
11.4.1 Steering Box:
Description: Container (and hoses) for mechanism that
transform steering column action into wheel turning
action.
Checking belt deflection
Rationale: Loose bolts or cracks in the steering box
could result in loss of steering if the gear box or steering
wheel shaft become partially or fully disconnected.
11.3.10 Engine Fan:
Description: Engine coolant goes into the radiator to
dissipate the heat that it collected in the engine. The
heat is drawn off by air passing through the radiator. If
the vehicle is not moving fast enough to push air
through the radiator, the fan will come on and pull the
air through. The fan can be mounted on the water
pump shaft or elsewhere on the engine and can be
powered by the same belt that runs the water pump or
electrically. Running the fan takes power from the
engine, so it’s only turned on when it is needed. The
fan is controlled by a thermostat switch that tells it
when the temperature has risen to a point where the
fan is needed.
Rationale: Most radiator cooling fans are powered by
the engine or by electricity. When a cooling fan fails, it
causes the coolant to retain heat, forcing the engine to
run hot and eventually over heat. A fan that brakes free
of its mountings can strike the radiator and damage it
severely. The cooling fan must be maintained regularly
as part of the cooling system. This includes checking the
Inspection Points (Secure, Leaks):
 Check
that the steering box is securely
mounted and not leaking.
 Look for any missing nuts and bolts.
11-11
FRONT AXLE
 Check
to see that steering box is in good
condition and not damaged.
11.5 SUSPENSION
11.4.2 Hoses (Secure, Condition, Leaks):
11.5.1 Springs:
Description: Transmits power steering fluid to the
steering box.
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition, Leaks):
Description: Leaf or coil springs which reduce wheel
vibrations created by the road surface.
Rationale: Damaged or missing leaves may lead to a
loss of control or a rollover if the vehicle falls on the
frame or on a tire. Shifted springs may strike a tire,
causing a blowout or interference with steering.
 Check condition of hoses for abrasions, cuts or
other damage.
 Check to see that hose connections are secure.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check to see hoses are not leaking.
 Look for missing, shifted, cracked, or broken
leaf springs.
11.4.3 Steering Linkage:
 Look for broken or distorted coil springs.
Description: Transmits steering action from steering
box to wheel
Rationale: Worn, loose, or broken steering parts (i.e.,
drag link, pitman arm, tie rod ends, etc.) can cause loss
of steering action. Excessive movement in the linkage
can cause the vehicle to wander or experience other
serious control problems.
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition):
 Check
that connecting links, arms, and rods
from the steering box to the wheel are not
worn or cracked.
 Check that joints and socket are not worn or
11.5.2 Air Bags (Condition, Leaks):
loose.
Description: Air bag suspension system, often found on
tractor drive axles and newer trailers.
 Check for loose or missing nuts, bolts, or cotter
pins.
11-12
Inspection Points:
 Check
Inspection Points (Secure):
 Check
air-ride suspension for damage and
to see that U-Bolts are securely
mounted and not damaged.
leaks.
11.5.3 Spring Mounts:
11.5.5 Shock Absorber:
Description: All brackets, bolts, and bushings used for
attaching spring and/or air bag to vehicle frame.
Description: Gas or hydraulic devices that cushion the
ride and stabilize vehicle.
Rationale: Loose, worn, or broken components may
lead to loss of vehicle control or rollover.
Inspection Points (Secure, Leaks):
 Check
to see that the shock absorber is
securely mounted.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check that spring attachments (brackets, bolts,
 Check to see that the shock absorber is not
bushings) are in place.
leaking.
 Check for cracked or broken spring hangers.
Shock Absorber
 Check for missing or damaged bushings.
Spring Mount
Spring Shackle
11.6. BRAKE COMPONENTS
Leaf Spring
11.6.1 Slack Adjuster and Pushrod:
Description: The slack adjuster is the link between the
brake chamber or actuator and the foundation brake
camshaft. It transforms and multiplies the force
developed by the chamber into a torque which applies
the brakes via the brake camshaft.
11.5.4 U-Bolts:
Description: U-bolts secure the springs to the axle.
Rationale: If the stroke is too long, it will increase
stopping distance or cause vehicle to pull when
stopping. Adjustment that is too tight may cause wheel
lockup or excessive heat as a result of the brake lining
dragging against the drum. This could create a fire
hazard.
U-Bolt
11-13
AUTOMATIC SLACK ADJUSTER
Automatic slack adjusters perform the same function as
the manual units, except that it automatically adjusts
for lining wear. The entire slack adjuster operates as a
unit, rotating as a lever with the brake cam shaft as the
brakes are applied or released. The most efficient
braking action is obtained when the slack adjuster arm
travel is minimal; therefore, it is important that brake
adjustments are made as often as necessary. The
automatic slack adjuster does not require periodic
manual adjustment; however, the unit does provide for
manual adjustment.
Inspection Points (Condition, 1 Inch):
 Check that slack adjuster is securely mounted.
 Check
slack adjuster and pushrod for bent,
broken, loose, or missing parts.
 If brakes were released and when pulled by
hand, pushrod should not move more than
approximately 1 inch.
Slack Adjustor
Special Note: The following are two (2) types of slack
adjusters found in most air brake systems:
MANUAL SLACK ADJUSTER
Special Note: The 1 inch test for the brake adjustment
is a basic “Rule of Thumb” number to assist the driver
in making an educated guess on whether or not
his/her brakes may need to be adjusted. The actual
stroke adjustment requirement varies for different size
chambers (i.e., a type 6 (4 ½” diameter) chamber’s
stroke tolerance is 1 ¼” and a type 36 (9” diameter)
chamber’s stroke tolerance is 2 ¼”).
Manual slack adjusters are equipped with an adjusting
mechanism, providing a means of adjusting for brake
lining wear. Slack adjuster models are designated by a
number which represents its maximum torque rating
(i.e. a type 20 unit is rated for a maximum of 20,000
inch pounds of torque). Slack adjusters are available in
various arm configurations, lengths and spline types.
11.6.2 Brake Chamber:
Description: Converts air pressure to mechanical force
to operate wheel brakes.
Rationale: Damage may reduce braking force, cause
uneven braking, or extended stopping distance.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check
to see that brake chambers are not
leaking, cracked or dented, and are mounted
securely.
11-14
 Make
Inspection Points (Condition):
sure there are no loose or missing
clamps.
 Check brake drums or rotors for cracks, dents,
or holes. Also check for loose or missing bolts.
11.6.5 Brake Linings or Pads:
Description: The friction material that wears against
the inside of the brake drum, to slow and stop the truck
is called the lining; its effectiveness in doing this
depends on the brake surface area, surface
temperature and the brake lining material itself.
Rationale: Worn linings or pads can cause excessive
heat buildup from reduced ability to absorb and
dissipate heat.
11.6.3 Brake Hoses/Lines:
Inspection Points (Condition, 1/4”):
Description: Carries air or hydraulic fluid to wheel
brake assembly.
 Check that brake lining or pads (where visible)
Rationale: Failure may lead to loss of brake response,
or with many brakes, a sudden brake application could
result in wheel lockup and loss of control.
have approximately a minimum of a 1/4” of
lining remaining and/or pads are not
dangerously thin.
 Check condition of linings or pads for cracks
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure, Leaks):
and
 Check
that hoses or lines can supply air or
hydraulic fluid to brakes.
 Check for cracked, worn or frayed hoses, and
that all couplings and fittings are secure and
not leaking.
Special Note: If electric brakes, check that electric
lines are secure and casing is not worn or cracked
11.6.4 Brake Drum or Rotor:
Description: Brake linings, or pads, rub on the inside of
the drum or on the rotor to slow the vehicle down.
Measuring brake
lining for ¼”
minimum
thickness
Rationale: Cracked drums
or rotors may lead to loss of
brake response.
Worn
drums or rotors can cause
excessive heat buildup from
reduced ability to absorb
and dissipate heat or
possible “CAM OVER” of Scam brakes.
Brake Drums
11-15
damage.
11.6.6 Fluid or Grease on Drums / Linings or
Rotors /Pads:
11.7 WHEELS & TIRES
11.7.1 Tires:
Description: Fluid/grease from leaking axle seals or
wheel cylinders on brake drums/rotors and linings and
pads.
Description: Road wheel tires.
Rationale: Low inflation or lack of tread increases the
effect of hydroplaning, reduces cornering ability, and
increases the chance of blowout from excessive heat
buildup due to increased flexing of the tire. Stopping
distance is extended from poor contact with the road
surface.
Rationale: When an axle hub seal or hydraulic wheel
cylinder leaks, it results in oil or brake fluid being flung
over the braking surface of the linings. Since the friction
material is porous, it will absorb the oil, and the oil will
act as a lubricant, thus a lower friction rating will occur.
This will put more work on the other brakes since the
one soaked in oil will not perform as well. If this occurs,
the friction material must be replaced. Oil soaked
linings and pads can also catch fire due to the heat
generated by friction.
Over inflation increases the chance of tread separation
and tire failure. Cuts and bruises may cause tire failure,
blowout, and sudden loss of control.
Inspection Points (Condition, 4/32” Tread Depth,
Inflation):
Inspection Points:
 Check brake drums/rotors and linings/pads for
contaminants such as grease, oil, etc.
 Tread depth:
Check for minimum tread depth
of 4/32” on the steering axle 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
stem are not missing, broken or damaged.
 Tire inflation:
Check for proper inflation by
using a tire gauge or mallet.
Special Note: You will not be given credit for kicking
the tires to check for proper inflation.
11.7.2 Rims:
Description: Tires are mounted on metal rims.
Rationale: Damaged rims can result in loss of a tire
from the rim; loss of a wheel from an axle; loss of air
pressure in a tire, or a wheel rolling off a rim due to
11-16
damage to flange. A damaged wheel can result in loss
of vehicle control, leading to an accident.
Rationale: Bearing seizure and uneven braking may
result from lack of lubrication.
Inspection Points (Condition, Welds, Bent Flange):
Inspection Points (Condition, Leaks):
 Check
 Check to see that hub oil/grease seals are not
for damaged or bent rims and bent
flange.
leaking, and if a sight glass is present, that the
oil level is adequate. Be sure to look INSIDE
the tire to see if the seal is leaking on the back
side of the wheel.
 Rims should not have welding repairs.
 Check for rust trails that may indicate the rim
 Check
to see hub cap is not cracked or
damaged.
is loose on the wheel.
Rim/Flange
11.8 DRIVER/FUEL AREA
Hub Oil Cap
11.8.1 Driver’s Door:
Description: Driver entry/exit door.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
 Check to see that door is not damaged and
opens and closes properly.
 Check
to see hinges are secure with seals
intact.
Lug Nuts
11.8.2 Mirrors:
11.7.3 Lug Nuts:
Description: All mirrors for viewing traffic to the sides
and behind.
Description: Holds wheel to axle.
Rationale: Mirrors provide visibility to the sides, rear,
and inside the vehicle. The driver must be able to see
other traffic and especially in the blind areas of the
vehicle.
Rationale: Loose or missing lug nuts could result in the
loss of a wheel.
Inspection Points (All Present, Secure, No Rust Trails):
 Check that all lug nuts are present.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check
 Check
that lugs are not loose (rust trails
around nuts or black streaks on aluminum
wheels).
that all
internal
and
external mirrors
and
mirror
brackets
are
securely
mounted,
not
damaged, and
free of excessive
dirt.
 Check that there are no cracks radiating from
lug bolt holes or distortion of the bolt holes.
11.7.4 Hub Oil/Axle Seals:
Description: Seals for axle/wheel assembly lubrication.
11-17
11.8.3 Fuel Tank:
Inspection Points (Secure, Connection & Cell Caps,
Condition):
Description: Tank(s) that hold fuel.
 Check to see that battery(s) is secure.
Rationale: Leaks are a fire hazard and can cause driving
hazards to other traffic. Fuel on pavement can be very
slippery.
 Check to see that battery box door is secure
 Check to see that connections are tight and all
cell caps (if any) are present.
 Check to see that battery connections are not
excessively corroded.
11.8.5 Catwalk:
Description: Platform at rear of cab for the driver to
stand on when connecting or disconnecting trailer lines.
Rationale: If not secure, the platform could move or
shift causing injury to the driver, or it could fall off and
hit other traffic.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check that catwalk is solid, securely bolted to
Inspection Points (Secure, Cap Tight, Leaks):
the tractor frame, clear of loose objects and
not severely damaged.
 Check that fuel tank(s) are secure.
 Check that fuel cap(s) are tight.
 Check
for leaks from fuel tank(s) and fuel
cap(s).
11.8.4 Battery/Box:
Description: A battery supplies electric energy to a
vehicle for starting, lighting and ignition.
11-18
11.8.6 Steps:
REAR AXLE (TRUCK or TRAILER)
Description: Steps to enter the vehicle.
11.9 SUSPENSION
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
11.9.1 Springs:
 Check
Description: Leaf or coil springs for dampening wheel
vibration forces created by rolling over road surface.
to see entry steps are solid, securely
mounted to the vehicle, clear of loose objects,
and not severely damage.
Rationale: Damaged or missing leaves may lead to loss
of control or rollover if the vehicle falls on the frame or
on a tire. Shifted springs may strike a tire causing a
blowout or interference with steering.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Look for missing, shifted, cracked, or broken
leaf springs.
 Look for broken or distorted coil springs.
11.8.7 Truck Header Board:
Description: Prevents cargo from shifting forward and
injuring driver when the vehicle abruptly stops. Also
known as a “Headache Rack.”
Rationale: If not secure, may let cargo shift forward
causing injury to the driver or damage to the
equipment.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
Springs
 If
equipped, check the header board to see
that it is secure, free of damage, and strong
enough to contain cargo.
11-19
11.9.2 Air Bags:
 Check for worn or missing bushings.
 Check to see the torque arm is
Description: Air Bags act as springs or accompany them
as a part of the vehicle or trailer suspension.
securely
mounted.
Rationale: Like springs, air bags dampen the wheel
vibration caused by rolling over the road surface. If
they become damage or leak, the weight of the load can
shift causing a loss of control or allow the frame to
come in contact with the tire causing a blowout.
Inspection Points (Condition, Leaks):
 Check
air-ride suspension for damage and
leaks.
11.9.4 Spring Mounts:
 Check air bag mounts (bolts) are in place and
not damaged.
Description: The spring mount attaches the springs to
the frame of the vehicle.
Rationale: Broken spring mounts can cause the springs
to shift resulting in loss of vehicle control or rollover.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check for cracked or broken spring hangars
 Check to see that spring hangars are securely
mounted to the vehicle/trailer frame.
11.9.3 Torque Arm:
Description: The torque arm is a suspension member
intended to control wheel motion in the longitudinal
(fore-aft) plane. The link is connected (with a rubber or
solid bushing) on one end to the wheel carrier or axle,
on the other to the chassis of the vehicle. Torque Arms
typically are mounted ahead of the wheel. In that
position, they resist dive under braking forces and
wheel hop under acceleration. The torque arm is also a
means for adjusting the axle and keeps it from shifting
and moving. Other common names are torsion bars,
torque springs.
11.9.5 U-Bolts:
Description: U-shaped bolts and mounting bolts used
for attaching suspension assembly to the axle.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check
that the torque arm is not bent or
damaged
Rationale: Loose or broken U-bolts may lead to loss of
vehicle control or rollover.
11-20
Inspection Points (Secure):
Rationale: If the stroke is too long, it will increase
stopping distance or cause vehicle to pull when
stopping. Adjustment that is too tight may cause wheel
lockup or excessive heat as a result of the brake lining
dragging against drum. This could create a fire hazard.
 Check for broken, missing, or loose U-bolts.
Inspection Points (Condition, 90⁰ or 1” Free Play):
 Check that slack adjuster is securely mounted.
 Check
U-Bolts
slack adjuster and pushrod for bent,
broken, loose, or missing parts.
 If
the brakes are released and you pull the
slack adjuster by hand, the pushrod slack
should not exceed approximately one (1) inch,
or with the brakes set, the angle formed
between the pushrod and the slack adjuster
should not exceed 90⁰.
11.9.6 Shock Absorber:
Description: Gas or hydraulic devices that cushion and
stabilize vehicle/trailer ride.
Inspection Points (Secure, Leaks):
 Check to see that shocks are secure and not
leaking.
Special Note: The 1 inch test for the brake adjustment
is a basic “Rule of Thumb” number to assist the driver
in making an educated guess on whether or not
his/her brakes may need to be adjusted. The actual
stroke adjustment requirement varies for different size
chambers (i.e., a type 6 (4 ½” diameter) chamber’s
stroke tolerance is 1 ¼” and a type 36 (9” diameter)
chamber’s stroke tolerance is 2 ¼”).
11.10 BRAKE COMPONENTS
11.10.1 Slack Adjuster and Pushrod:
Description: A lever that connects the brake chamber
pushrod with the foundation brake camshaft. It
provides torque to rotate the brake camshaft when the
brake pedal is depressed. It also provides a means of
adjusting clearance between brake shoes and drum to
compensate for lining wear.
The 90⁰ angle is also a “Rule-of Thumb” indication that
depends on how the pushrod and slack adjuster were
adjusted at the time of installation/replacement by a
mechanic. It is still a good way to see at a glance if
your brakes might need adjustment (See figure.11.1)
11-21
Figure 11.1 - Air Brake Adjustment
Air brakes should be adjusted in the shop with the
wheels off the ground according to the manufacturer’s
instructions, but if you’re on the road and you’re
looking at several miles of a 6% downgrade, here is
what you can do if you’re not sure your brakes are
right:
 Make
sure there are no loose or missing
clamps.
See how far the adjusting arm will move with air
pressure (80 psi or above) or by manually turning the
arm with your hand or a pry bar (brakes released). It
should not go beyond the 90⁰ point illustrated in figure
B. You may or may not have the visual over-stroke
indicator on the pushrod that is shown here. At the
very least, adjust the slack until the stroke does not go
beyond the 90⁰ mark. The adjusting arms should all be
at the same angle with the same pressure applied.
Don’t over tighten. Bang the brake drum lightly with a
wrench or hammer with the pressure off. The drum
should ring hollow if the shoes are clear of the drum. A
dull thud means you still have lining-drum contact and
you should back off the adjustment. When you bring
the free play down to about 3/8”, the stroke should be
well short of the 90⁰ point.
Brake Chamber
11.10.3 Brake Hoses/Lines:
Description: Carries air or hydraulic fluid to wheel
brake assembly.
Rationale: Failure may lead to loss of brake response,
or with many brakes, a sudden brake application could
result in wheel lockup and loss of control.
11.10.2 Brake Chamber:
Description: Transforms air pressure into mechanical
force to operate wheel brakes.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure, Leaks):
Rationale: Damage may reduce braking force, cause
uneven braking, or extended stopping distance.
 Check that hoses or lines can supply air or
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check for cracked, worn or frayed hoses, and
hydraulic fluid to brakes.
that all couplings and fittings are secure and
not leaking.
 Check
to see that brake chambers are not
leaking, cracked or dented, and are mounted
securely.
11-22
Brake Rotor
11.10.4 Brake Drum or Rotor:
11.10.5 Linings or Pads:
Description: Located on the vehicle/trailer(s) axles.
Wheels are bolted to the drums.
The braking
mechanism is inside the drum. To stop, the brake
shoes are pushed against the inside of the drum. The
disc brake or disk brake is a device for slowing or
stopping the rotation of a wheel. A rotor, usually made
of cast iron or ceramic composites (including carbon,
kevlar and silica), is connected to the wheel and/or the
axle. To stop the wheel, friction material in the form of
brake pads (mounted on a device called a brake
caliper) is forced mechanically, hydraulically,
pneumatically or electromagnetically against both sides
of the disc. Friction causes the disc and attached wheel
to slow or stop.
Description: Brake shoe friction linings that rub against
the brake drums, or disc brake pads that rub against a
rotor to stop or slow a vehicle/trailer(s).
Rationale: Worn or damaged brake linings or pads
reduce the braking efficiency of the vehicle and/or
trailer(s). They can also cause excessive heat buildup
from the reduced ability to absorb and dissipate heat
and could result in the total loss of brakes.
Inspection Points (Condition, 1/4” Lining Thickness):
 Check that brake linings or disk pads (where
visible) are not worn dangerously thin
(approximately 1/4” minimum for linings).
Rationale: Cracked drums may lead to loss of brake
response. Worn linings or drums can cause excessive
heat buildup from reduced ability to absorb and
dissipate heat or possible "CAM OVER" of S-cam
brakes. Discs are usually damaged in one of four ways:
warping, scarring, cracking, or excessive rusting.
Inspection Points (Condition):
 Check that brake linings or disk pads are not
cracked or damaged.
 Check brake drums or rotors for cracks, dents,
or holes.
Also
checks
for loose
or
missing
bolts.
11-23
11.10.6
Fluid/Grease
Linings/Pads:
on
Drums/Rotors,
 Tire Inflation:
Check for proper inflation by
using a tire gauge or mallet.
Description: Fluid/grease from leaking axle seals or
wheel cylinders on brake drums/rotors and linings and
pads.
Rationale: When an axle hub seal or hydraulic wheel
cylinder leaks, it results in oil or brake fluid being flung
over the braking surface of the linings. Since the
friction material is porous, it will absorb the oil, and the
oil will act as a lubricant, thus a lower friction rating will
occur. This will put more work on the other brakes
since the one soaked in oil will not perform as well. If
this occurs, the friction material must be replaced. Oil
soaked linings and pads can also catch fire due to the
heat generated by friction.
Checking Tread Depth and Inflation
Inspection Points:
 Check brake drums/rotors and linings/pads for
contaminants such as grease, oil, etc.
11.11 WHEELS/TIRES
11.11.1 Tires:
Description: Road wheel tires.
Note: You will not be given credit for kicking the tires
to check for proper inflation.
Rationale: Low inflation or lack of tread increases the
effect of hydroplaning, reduces cornering ability, and
increases the chance of blowout from excessive heat
buildup due to increased flexing of the tire. Stopping
distance is extended from poor contact with the road
surface.
11.11.2 Rims:
Description: Rims retain tires on wheels. Damaged
rims can result in a loss of a tire from the rim, loss of a
wheel from an axle, loss of air pressure in a tire or a
wheel rolling off a rim due to damage to the flange. A
damaged wheel can result in loss of vehicle control,
which may result in an accident or other hazardous
driving situation.
Over inflation increases the chance of tread separation
and tire failure. Cuts and bruises may cause tire failure,
blowout, and sudden loss of control.
Inspection Points (Condition, 2/32” Tread Depth,
Inflation):
 Tread depth:
Inspection Points (Condition, Welds, Bent Flange):
 Check
Check for minimum tread depth
of 2/32”.
for damaged or bent rims and bent
flange.
 Tire
 Rims should not have welding repairs.
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 stem are not missing, broken, or
damaged.
 Check for rust trails that may indicate rim is
loose on wheel.
11-24
11.11.3 Lug Nuts:
Inspection Points (Condition, Leaks):
Description: Holds wheel to axle.
 Check to see that hub oil/grease seals are not
Rationale: Loose or missing lug nuts could result in the
loss of a wheel.
leaking, and if a sight glass is present, that the
oil level is adequate.
 Check
to see hub cap is not cracked or
damaged.
Inspection Points (All Present, Secure, No Rust Trails):
 Check that all lug nuts are present.
11.11.5 Spacers or Space:
 Check
that lugs are not loose (rust trails
around nuts).
Description: Axle collar between dual wheels to keep
wheels evenly separated.
 Check that there are no cracks radiating from
Inspection Points:
lug bolt holes or distortion of the bolt holes.
 Check
to see that spacers are not bent,
damaged, or rusted through.
11.11.4 Hub Oil Seal:
Description: Seals for axle/wheel assembly lubrication.
 Check to see that spacers should be evenly
Rationale: Bearing seizure and uneven braking may
result from lack of lubrication.
centered with dual wheels and tires evenly
separated.
 Check for debris between the tires and make
sure they are not touching.
11-25
 Check for a properly charged, rated (5 B:C or
11.12 IN-CAB CHECK
better) and labeled fire extinguisher(s)
securely mounted in a readily accessible
location.
11.12.1 Safety Belt:
Description: Safety Belt
Rationale: Safety belt must be available and in usable
condition.
Inspection Points:
 Check
for properly secured, mounted, and
adjusted safety belt. Safety belt should not be
ripped or frayed.
 Check
for spare electrical fuses (if used) or
identify the location of the circuit breakers.
Special Note: You must wear your safety belt during
the road test or you will automatically fail the test.
11.12.3 Mirrors:
11.12.2 Emergency Equipment:
Description: Side mirrors for viewing traffic to the
sides and rear of the vehicle.
Description: Required emergency equipment.
Rationale: Mirrors provide visibility to the sides and
rear of the vehicle. The driver must be able to see the
traffic around him/her to safely operate the vehicle.
Rationale: Emergency equipment must be available
and in usable condition.
Inspection Points (Fire Extinguisher, Reflective
Triangles, Fuses):
 Check
for three red reflective triangles.
11-26
Inspection Points (Adjust):
 Check for proper adjustment.
 Check
that visibility is not impaired due to
dirty mirrors.
11.12.4 Windshield:
Description: Windshield.
 Check to see that clutch pedal does not go all
Rationale: Cracks, stickers, glare, or dirt can cause
driver to lose sight of other traffic or changes in road
conditions.
the way to the floor before disengaging.
11.12.6 Gearshift Lever:
Inspection Points (Condition):
Description: Lever used to change gears in a vehicle.
Gearshift levers are used in both manual and automatic
transmissions.
 Check windshield to make sure it is clear and
has no obstruction or damage to the glass.
Inspection Points (Operational):
11.12.5 Clutch:
Description: In all vehicles using a transmission
(virtually all modern vehicles), a coupling device is used
to separate the engine and transmission when
necessary. The clutch accomplishes this in manual
transmissions.
Inspection Points:
 Apply
and release the pedal to check for
freedom of movement and unusual noises.
 Check to see that the gear shift lever will go
into and out of gear.
 Check to see that free-play is not less than 1
inch.
11-27
11.13 ENGINE START
Rationale: The oil pressure check will ensure that the
engine has sufficient lubrication to prevent engine
failure, seizure or breakdown
11.13.1 ABS Dashboard Indicator Light:
Description: Warning light on the instrument panel
that remains illuminated if a fault develops in any part
of the ABS. If a fault occurs in the system, the ABS
warning light will come on, and the ABS will be disabled
until the problem is rectified.
Inspection Points:
 With
the key in the “on” position and the
engine running, check that the oil pressure is
building to “normal.”
Rationale: Malfunctioning ABS can impact a driver’s
performance when reacting to an emergency situation.
 Check to see that the gauge shows increasing
or “normal” oil pressure or warning light goes
off.
Inspection Points:
 When
11.13.3 Water Temperature Gauge:
starting the engine, check the
dashboard to ensure the
ABS lighting indicator
illuminates
and
then
promptly turns off. If the
ABS lighting indicator
remains illuminated, the
ABS Warning
Light
ABS is not functioning
properly and needs to be
serviced
Description: Measures water temperature in engine
cooling system.
Inspection Points:
 With key on and engine running ensure the
temperature gauge is operational.
 Check
to see that the temperature should
begin to climb to the “normal” operating
range or temperature light should go off.
11.13.2 Oil Pressure Gauge:
Description:
adequate.
Ensures that engine oil pressure is
11-28
11.13.4 Ammeter/Voltmeter Gauge:
11.13.7 Wiper Blades:
Description:
functioning.
Description: Wipers keep windshield clear during
adverse weather conditions.
Shows if generator or alternator is
Inspection Points:
Rationale: Wipers improve visibility during adverse
weather conditions. Worn wiper blades have an
adverse
effect
and
decrease
visibility.
 With
engine running and key in the “on”
position, check to see that gauge(s) show
alternator or generator is charging or warning
light is “off.” Needle will jump and flutter,
then indicate charge.
11.13.5 Air Gauge(s):
Description: Informs the driver of the amount of air
pressure in the air brake system.
Inspection Points:
 Check
to see that the air gauge is working
properly and that the air compressor builds
the air pressure to governor cut-out at about
100 -125 psi or as specified by the
manufacturer.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
 Checks to see that wiper arms and blades are
11.13.6 Heater/Defroster:
secure, not damaged, and operate smoothly.
Description: Heats cab and/or passenger compartment
and prevents frost or condensation from forming on
windshield.
11.13.8 Windshield Washer:
Description: Windshield washers allow the driver to
clean the windows of dirt and debris to increase
visibility.
Inspection Points (Operation):
 Check
for windshield washer
fluid and that the windshield
washers are operational.
11.13.9 Horn(s):
Description: Air and/or electric horns for warning
other drivers or pedestrians.
Rationale: The defroster improves visibility, especially
during cold weather.
Rationale: The horn is a device that must function
properly in order to warn other traffic of your presence
(i.e., cars, pedestrians, and bicyclists) of vehicle
presence.
Inspection Points (Operation):
 Check
to see if heater and defroster are
operational.
11-29
11.13.11 Steering Wheel Play:
Inspection Points (Operation):
 Check
Description:
Procedure to check for excessive
looseness in the steering linkages. The free-play check
will determine the effectiveness of the steering
mechanism as it relates to vehicle control and handling.
to see that air horn and/or electric
horn(s) work.
Inspection Points (2”, or 10⁰):
 Non-Power
Steering: Work steering wheel
back and forth; should have less than 10⁰ free
play (approximately 2” at the rim of a 20”
steering wheel).
 Power Steering:
With engine running, work
steering wheel from left to right and note the
degree of free play that occurs before front
left wheel barely moves; should be less than
10⁰.
11.13.10 In-Dash Lighting Indicators:
Description: Dashboard indicator light for signals,
flashers, and headlight high beam.
Inspection Points:
 Check to see that (dash) indicators for turn
signals, flashers, and headlight high beams
illuminate when corresponding lights are
turned on.
11-30
11.14 BRAKE TEST
11.14.2 Service Brake:
11.14.1
Description: The service brake system applies and
releases the brakes on a vehicle and/or trailer(s) when
the driver pushes the brake pedal. The system can be
air, electric, hydraulic or a combination of systems (i.e.,
air over hydraulic).
Inspection Points:
Parking Brake(s): Keeps vehicle from
rolling when parked.
Rationale: The truck/tractor and trailer parking brakes
must function when a vehicle is parked, especially
when on a grade. A vehicle allowed to roll could cause
damage or injury to other vehicles, pedestrians, or
motorists. A combination vehicle will be placed “Out of
Service” if either parking brake system (truck/tractor
and trailer) cannot independently stop the vehicle from
moving.
Inspection Points (Truck/Trailer):
Release the parking
brake(s)
 Straight Truck and Buses:
With the parking
brake engaged check that parking brake will
hold vehicle by gently trying to pull forward
with parking brake on.
Pull forward at
approximately 5 mph, and
apply service brake.
Check to see that brakes
are working properly and
to see if the vehicle pulls
to one side or the other.
Special Note: The Trolley Valve (Johnson Bar) is a
modulating valve used to apply the spring brakes on
a trailer gradually. The valve is activated by pulling
down on a spring loaded handle located on the
steering column or dashboard of some
trucks/tractors. It is spring loaded so the driver will
have a feel for the braking action. The more he/she
moves the control lever, the harder the spring brakes
come on. The system allows drivers to activate and
control the spring brakes if the service brakes fail.
Although not an item to be tested, drivers should
test the system by; releasing the parking brake(s);
pulling the Trolley Valve handle all the way down,
and gently pulling against the brake to make sure it
will hold the vehicle.
 Combination Vehicles:
With the truck/tractor
parking brake engaged and the trailer brake
(Tractor Protection Valve) released, check that
the truck/tractor parking brake will hold
vehicle by gently trying to pull forward.
 With
the trailer brake (Tractor Protection
Valve) engaged and the truck/tractor parking
brake released, check that the trailer brake
will hold the vehicle by gently trying to pull
forward.
 Both
brake systems must be checked
separately to receive credit for the
component. If either one does not hold the
vehicle during the test, the vehicle is “Out of
Service” and cannot be used for the test until
repairs have been made.
11-31
11.14.3 Air Brake System Check:
Air Leak Check: Part One of Three
Description: Procedures to be followed in checking the
air brake system.
With
the
engine
running, build the air
pressure up to the
governed cut-out of 100
to 125 psi (operational
level).
Rationale: Air brake safety devices vary; however, this
procedure is designed to make certain that a given
device is operating correctly as air pressure drops from
“normal” to “low air” conditions.
Inspection Points (Leak Check, Low Air Alarm, Tractor
Protection Valve):
Shut the engine off and
turn the ignition key
back to the “ON”
position
WARNING:
You must perform
all three (3) air brake checks correctly and in
the following order to receive credit for the
air brake systems check. If you fail to do all
three checks correctly, or don’t perform any
of the checks at all, it is scored as an
automatic failure for the entire test.
Release the Tractor
Protection Valve and
Parking
brakes
by
pushing both valves in *
see note below
Fully apply the foot
brake and hold it steady
for one (1) minute.
Note: As you conduct
The Air Brake System
Checks, you must describe
to the test examiner what
you are checking for and what
the expected results will be.
You must know the critical
p.s.i. numbers. The
proper procedures for
inspecting the air brake
system are as follows:
Check the air gauge to
see if the air pressure
drops.
Air drop cannot exceed:
Single Vehicle:
3 pounds in 1 minute.
Combination Vehicle:
4 pounds in 1 minute.
Special Note: If the loss of air exceeds the above
amounts, there is a defect somewhere in the system.
*For safety purposes, in areas where an incline is
present, you must use wheel chocks during the
air brake system check.
11-32
Low Air Alarm Check:
Tractor Protection Valve/Spring
Brake Check: Part three of three
Part two of
three
Continue to fan off the air
pressure. You must tell the
examiner that the tractor
protection valve and parking
brake valve should close (pop
out) when the pressure in the
system drops between 20 and
45 psi. >On other combination
vehicle types and single vehicle
types, the parking brake valve
should close (pop out).
Make sure the engine
is off and the ignition
key is in the “ON”
position.
Fan (pump) the brake
pedal to reduce the
air pressure in the
system.
20-45 PSI, TPV Valve
should pop out
The low-air warning
devices (buzzer, light
or
flag)
should
activate before air
pressure drops below
approximately 60 psi).
Special Note: Air brake check procedures vary from
vehicle to vehicle and different drivers may have
learned different procedures; however, all
procedures are designed to confirm that the correct
safety devices operate at the appropriate times as
the air pressure drops from “normal” to “very low.”
Not all valves will pop out, but an audible discharge
of air should be recognizable. The “Air Brake System
Check” must be done correctly and in order (Leak
Down, Low Air Alarm and Tractor Protection Valve)
to pass the skills test. WHEN THE VALVE “POPS”
THE TEST IS OVER.
60 p.s.i. +/low air alarm
should come
on
Note: There is a simplified
brake check practice sheet
cut-out on page 13-6
If you forget to turn the key “on”, but recognize your
mistake before you complete the check (valve pops),
you will be permitted to start the procedure over.
11-33
11.14.4 Hydraulic Brake Check:
Description: Procedure to be followed to check
hydraulic brakes.
Inspection Points (3 X 5, Reserve System):
 Pump
the brake pedal 3 times and hold it
down for 5 seconds. The brake pedal should
not move (depress) during the 5 seconds.
 Check to see air and electrical lines are not
tangled, crimped or pinched or being dragged
against tractor parts (i.e., catwalk).
 If
equipped with a hydraulic brake reserve
(backup) system, with the key off, depress the
brake pedal and listen for the sound of the
reserve system electric motor.
11.15.2 Fifth Wheel Mounting Bolts:
Description: Bolts that hold the fifth wheel to the
tractor frame.
COUPLING SYSTEM
11.15 FIFTH WHEEL
Rationale:
Loose or missing bolts may cause
movement between the frame and the coupling
assembly resulting in handling and stability problems in
turn and curves. Loose bolts could break off, resulting
in loss of the trailer.
11.15.1 Air/Electric Lines:
Description: Carry air and electricity from power unit
to trailer(s).
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
Rationale: Air- The loss of air to the trailer will result in
a partial or total loss of braking to the towed unit. A
low air condition will cause sudden application of the
trailer’s spring brakes, which may result in loss of
control. Electric Lines- Damaged lines may result in
loss of the vehicle’s ability to communicate its
maneuvers to other drivers (no brake, turn, or stop
lights). Not being seen by other traffic at night is a
serious traffic hazard.
 Check
for loose and/or missing brackets,
clamps, bolts or nuts.
 Check
that both fifth wheel and sliding
mounting appear solidly attached in place.
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition, Leaks):
 Check
that air hoses, electrical lines and
electrical line insulation to ensure they are not
cut, cracked, chafed, spliced, taped, or worn
(steel braid/electrical conductor should not
show through) from the power unit.
11-34
11.15.3 Sliding Fifth Wheel Locking Pins:
Description: Holds the sliding fifth wheel in fixed
position along slider rails.
11.15.4 Release Arm:
Description: Releases fifth wheel locking jaws so that
the trailer can be uncoupled.
Rationale: If not locked, the trailer could move during
travel and result in loss of trailer.
Rationale: The release arm must be in the engaged
position with locking jaws completely closed around
the kingpin. This will prevent loss of the trailer during
travel.
Inspection Points (Locked):
Inspection Points (Secure):
 If equipped, look for loose or missing pins in
 Check that the release arm is secure and all
the slide mechanism of the sliding fifth wheel.
If air powered, check for leaks.
the way in (engaged position).
 Make sure locking pins are fully engaged.
 Check
that the fifth wheel is positioned
properly so the tractor frame will clear the
landing gear and the trailer won’t hit the cab
during turns.
 If equipped with safety latch, check that the
release arm is in the engaged position and the
safety latch is in place.
11.15.5 Trailer Apron:
Description: The metal plate that attaches to the
trailer that provides the surface for resting the trailer
on the fifth wheel.
Rationale: If the apron is damaged, the tractor/trailer
connection is unsecure and could result in the loss of
the trailer or other equipment damage.
Inspection Points (Condition):
 Check
to make sure the visible part of the
apron is not bent, cracked, or broken.
11-35
11.15.6 Trailer Apron – Fifth Wheel Plate Gap:
Rationale: The trailer could uncouple during travel if
the locking mechanisms is not secured.
Description: When coupled, the distance between the
fifth wheel surface and the trailer apron.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
Rationale: If there is a gap between the face of the
fifth wheel (skid plate) and the metal plate (apron) of
the trailer, the trailer is not coupled correctly and could
result in the loss of the trailer during travel.
 Check that fifth wheel locking jaws or lever
are secured around the kingpin
Inspection Points (Zero Gap):
 Check that the trailer is lying flat on the fifth
wheel skid plate (no gap).
 Check to see that there is no visible damage to
11.15.7 Fifth Wheel Platform (Skid Plate):
the locking jaws.
Description: Plate on which the trailer rests and
secures the trailer kingpin.
11.15.9 Trailer Kingpin:
Description: Pin that attaches trailer to tractor.
Rationale: Faulty skid plate and improper connection
with the tractor and fifth wheel can result in handling
problems, rollover or separation of the tractor and
semi-trailer.
Inspection Points (Condition):
Rationale: Wear or damage to the kingpin can result in
loss of trailer.
Inspection Points (Condition):
 Check
 Check
fifth wheel skid plate for proper
lubrication.
to see the kingpin is not bent or
damaged.
 Check
to see that there are no cracks or
damage to the
platform
structure.
11.15.8
Fifth Wheel
Locking Jaws:
Description: Locking jaws
maintain
a
secure
connection around the
kingpin
and
the
connection to the trailer.
11-36
11.16 OTHER COUPLING SYSTEMS
Inspection Points:
11.16.1 Air/Electric Lines:
 Check to see that the locking mechanism is
Description: Air supply hoses and/or electrical lines
connecting truck to trailer.
locked securely.
 Check to see that there are no loose or missing
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition, Leaks):
 Check to see that hoses and lines are not cut,
components.
cracked, chafed, worn, spliced or taped.
11.16.4 Hitch/Drawbar & Eye:
 Check to see that no electrical conductor or
Description: Trailer component attaching the truck to
the trailer.
steel braid is showing through.
 Listen for audible air leaks
Inspection Points:
 Check
 Make
to see that there are no cracks in
attachment welds or drawbar.
sure air and electrical lines are not
tangled, crimped, pinched, or being dragged
against truck or trailer parts.
 Check eye for welds or excessive wear.
 Check that electric trailer brake lines are not
missing, worn or damaged.
11.16.2 Coupling/Mounting bolts:
Description:
Nuts, bolts or other components
attaching the connector components on both the truck
and trailer.
Inspection Points:
 Check to see that there are no loose, missing,
or broken mounting brackets, clamps, bolts or
nuts.
11.16.3 Locking Mechanism:
11.16.5 Safety Chains/Cables:
Description: The locking system on a ball hitch would
be the lock that
keeps the hitch
locked over the
ball. On a pintle
hook,
the
locking system
would be the
part that locks
the drawbar eye
into the pintle
hook.
Description: Chains or cables attaching trailer to the
truck to prevent a run-a-way.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check to see that safety cables or chains are
secure.
 Check to see that cables or chains are free of
damage, kinks, and excessive slack.
11-37
11.16.6 Breakaway Battery Box/Cable:
TRAILER COMPONENTS
Description: Battery located on electric brake trailers
to prevent the locking of electric brakes unless the
trailer becomes un-attached from the truck.
11.17 FRONT
Inspection Points
Description: Connects air supply and electrical power
from the truck to the trailer.
11.17.1 Air / Electric Lines :
 Wherever
located, check to see that the
battery (s) is secure.
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition, Leaks):
 Check to see if connections are tight
 Check that trailer air lines and connectors are
 Make sure cell caps (if any) are present.
 Check fittings out of trailer.
 Check
 Check all connections from truck and trailer.
 Check to see that the battery box is secure.
 Check that glad hands are locked in place and
 Check battery cables to see if they are secure
 Check
sealed, in good condition and not leaking.
battery connections for excessive
corrosion.
free of damage.
that trailer electrical plug is firmly
seated and locked in place.
and free of damage, kinks and excessive slack.
 Check to see that the battery is charged.
11.17.2 Header Board (Headache Rack) or
Bulkhead:
Description: Prevents cargo from shifting forward and
injuring driver when the vehicle abruptly stops.
11-38
Rationale: If not secure, may let cargo shift forward
causing injury to the driver or damage to the
equipment.
Inspection Points:
 If
equipped, check the header board or
bulkhead to see that it is secure, free of
damage, and strong enough to contain cargo.
Inspection Points (Secure):
 Check to see that the storage area is solid and
secured to the tongue; cargo in the storage
area (i.e., chains, binders etc.) are secure.
11.18 TRAILER SIDE
 If equipped, check to see that the canvas or
tarp carrier is mounted and fastened securely.
11.18.1 Landing Gear:
 On enclosed trailers, check the front area for
Description: Supports front end of trailer when trailer
is not coupled to a truck or tractor.
signs of damage (i.e., cracks, bulges, holes or
missing
rivets).
Rationale: Landing gear must be raised properly so
that it will not strike the ground during travel. Landing
gear must be in suitable condition to support the
weight of the trailer and cargo. Its handle must be
secured to the vehicle so it will not move and strike
other traffic. Any damage to landing gear supports may
result in the trailer tipping or falling over when
disconnected.
Inspection Points (Fully Raised, Condition, Crank
Handle):
 Check that landing gear is fully raised, has no
11.17.3 Tongue Storage Area:
missing parts, crank handle is secure, and the
support frame and landing pads are not
damaged.
Description: Platform located in the tongue of the
trailer used for storage.
Rationale: If not secure, could move or shift causing
injury to the driver or fall off and hit other traffic.
11-39
 If power operated, check for air or hydraulic
Inspection Points (Condition, Broken Welds, Holes):
leaks.
 Check
for cracks or bends in longitudinal
frame members.
 Check
for loose, cracked, bent, broken, or
missing cross members.
 Look for signs of breaks or holes in box or
trailer floor.
11.18.4 Tandem Release Arm/Locking Pins:
Description: Sliding mechanism and locking pins for
sliding tandem axles on trailers.
11.18.2 Doors/Ties/Lifts:
Inspection Points (Secure):
Description: Side door, ties, chains, cables, ropes,
cinches, or other devices used to secure cargo. Lift for
loading and unloading cargo.
Rationale: Doors must be closed and latched to
prevent cargo loss.
 If equipped, make sure the locking pins are in
place and release arm is secured.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
 Check that doors and hinges are not damaged
and that they open, close and latch properly.
 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.
11.18.5 ABS Warning Light:
 Check to see that the lift is fully retracted and
Description: Procedures to be followed in checking the
anti-lock braking system (if equipped)
latched securely.
11.18.3 Trailer Frame:
Rationale: Malfunctioning ABS can impact a driver’s
performance when reacting to an emergency.
Description: Structural members for supporting vehicle
body or trailer platform over wheels. Loose cross
members may reduce vehicle stability and cause
handling and cornering problems (i.e., wandering,
possible rollover). Cracks may break, resulting in total
loss of vehicle control. Cracks in members are most
likely to appear midway between points of attachment
to vehicle assemblies.
11-40
11.19.2 Mud Flaps (Splash Guards):
Inspection Points (Operational):
 Check the ABS Light on the rear driver’s side of
Description: Heavy rubber mats located behind back
tires that prevent flying debris from hitting other
vehicles. Mud flaps are not required if the body of the
vehicle extends more than 5 feet beyond the rear
wheels, or if the rear wheels are covered or enclosed
by fenders to within 10 inches of the road surface when
the vehicle is empty. Note: Even if mud flaps are not
required, if they are present on the vehicle, they must
be inspected.
the trailer.
If the ABS light remains
illuminated, the ABS is NOT functioning
properly and needs to be serviced.
11.19 TRAILER REAR
11.19.1 Rear Door/Ties/Lifts:
Description: Rear door, ties, chains, cables, ropes,
cinches, or other devices used to secure cargo. Lift for
loading and unloading cargo.
Rationale: Doors must be closed and latched to
prevent cargo loss.
Special Note:
Idaho Code §49-949(1)(a)(b) and
(2)(a)(b) – Requirement as to fender or covers over all
wheels on motor vehicles – lists the rear fender and/or
mud flap/splash guard requirements for operating or
moving any vehicle, truck, bus, semitrailer or trailer on
any highway.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
Inspection Points (Secure, Covers Both Wheels, 10’’
From Ground):
 Check that doors and hinges are not damaged
and that they open, close and latch properly.
 If
equipped, check that mud flaps (splash
guards) are not damaged and are mounted
securely.
 Check that ties, straps, chains, and binders are
secure.
 Check to see that mud flaps
 If equipped with a cargo lift, look for leaking,
cover the width of the
tire(s).
damaged, or missing parts and explain how it
should be checked for correct operation.
 Check
 Check
to see that mud
flaps reach within 10 inches
of the road surface (vehicle
empty).
to see the lift is fully retracted and
latched securely.
11-41
11.22.2 Eight-Way Lighting Indicators:
SCHOOL BUS or
COACH / TRANSIT BUS
PRE-TRIP INSPECTION
Description:
Lighting indicators illuminate when
corresponding lights are turned on (i.e., alternating
flashing red or amber lights, strobe lights, etc).
Inspection Points:
Special Note: The “All Vehicles” section of the pre-trip
inspection form for the buses is the same as the
inspection criteria for straight trucks and combination
vehicles with the exception of the type of tires
allowed on the front of vehicles transporting
passengers. FMCSR §398.5(e) prohibits re-grooved,
re-capped, or re-treaded tires on the front wheels of
vehicles carrying passengers. This exception being
noted, only the items specific to the buses will be
covered in this section.
 Check
that internal panel lights illuminate
when corresponding systems are activated.
11.20 SCHOOL BUS INTERNAL INSPECTION
11.20.1 Student Mirror:
Description: Inside horizontal mirror over driver’s seat
Rationale: Allows the driver to monitor the activities
and movements of the students inside the bus.
11.20.3 Stop Arm Mechanism:
Inspection Points:
Description: Stop arm (sign) on the side of the bus that
swings out when students load and/or unload when the
red alternating flashing lights are activated.
 Check for proper adjustment
 Check to see that mirror is clean, not damaged
and securely mounted.
Inspection Points (Secure, Operational):
 Check the stop arm to see that it is mounted
securely to the vehicle frame.
 Check for loose fittings and damage
11-42
 Check
Inspection Points (Secure):
that stop arm extends fully when
operated.
 Check that hand rail(s) are secure and the step
 Check that stop arm lights are operational
light is working.
11.20.7 Emergency Equipment:
 If equipped, check that safety arm is securely
mounted and functions
conjunction with stop arm.
properly
in
Description: Used during a breakdown or at an
accident. School bus emergency equipment includes a
first aid kit, body fluid clean-up kit, and seat belt cutter
on buses equipped with belts and/or wheel chair tiedowns.
11.20.4 Passenger Entry Door:
Description: Bus door(s) used for normal entry or exit.
Handicap lift used for wheel chair accessibility.
Inspection Points (First Aid Kit, Body Fluid Kit, Seat
Belt Cutter):
Rationale: All passengers must be able to enter and
exit safely.
 Check
for a first aid kit meeting Idaho
standards for content.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
 Check
that the entry door is not damaged,
operates smoothly, and closes securely.
 Check for a body fluid clean-up kit
11.20.5 Passenger Entry Stairs:
 Check
for a seat belt cutter on any bus
equipped with belts or wheel chair tie-downs.
Description: Stair leading into the bus
Inspection Points (Condition):
 Check
that
entry steps are
clear with the
treads
not
loose or worn
excessively.
11.20.6 Passenger Entry Handrail:
Description:
Passenger handrail to aid students
entering and leaving the bus.
11-43
11.20 .8 Passenger Seats:
11.21 EMERGENCY EXITS
Description: Seating for passengers on buses must be
safe for passengers to sit in.
Special Note: The State of Idaho, Department of
Education, has set the standards for warning devices
on emergency exits for school buses as follows:
Emergency exit doors shall include an alarm system
that includes an audible warning device at the
emergency door exit and also in the driver's
compartment. Emergency exit side windows shall
include an alarm system that includes an audible
warning device in the driver’s compartment. Roof
hatches do not require an alarm system, but if so
equipped, they must be operable and include an
audible warning device in the driver's compartment.
Inspection Points (Seat Backs, Seat Cushions, Seat
Secured to Floor):

Check to see seat backs and frames are not
broken.
11.21.1 Windows
Description: Push out windows used for emergency
evacuation of the bus compartment.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation, Alarm):

 Demonstrate that a least one emergency exit
Check to see seat cushions are securely
attached to the seat frames and not
excessively damaged (i.e., cuts, tears, etc).
window operates smoothly, closes securely,
and is not damaged.
 Check
that an alarm sounds inside the bus
when the window is opened and shuts off
when it is closed.
 Check to see that seats are firmly attached to
the floor.
11.21.2 Rear/Side Door(s):
Description: Rear and/or side emergency exit doors.
11-44
11.22 EXTERNAL INSPECTION
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation, Alarm):
11.22.1 Mirrors:
 Demonstrate that at least one emergency exit
door(s) operates smoothly, closes securely,
and is not damaged.
Description: Side mirrors for rear view of traffic to the
sides and behind and passenger entry/exit mirrors for
observing students.
 Check
that door release handle can be
operated properly from both inside and
outside the bus.
Rationale: The driver must be able to see traffic and
observe student movement during the loading and
unloading process.
 Check to see that alarm buzzer sounds when
the door is opened and shuts off when it is
closed.
11.21.3 Emergency Roof Hatches:
Description: Emergency roof escape hatches.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation, Alarm):
 Check
that all external mirrors and mirror
brackets are not damaged and are mounted
securely with no loose fittings.
 VERBALLY DESCRIBE how the emergency roof
exit hatch(s) operate. Only one hatch has to
be discussed.
 Check
that visibility is not impaired due to
dirty mirrors.
 Describe
that the emergency exit-warning
device will sound when the hatch is opened
and closed.
11.22.2 Fuel Tank:
Description: Holds fuel.
11-45
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition, Leaks):
Inspection Points (Secure, Connection & Cell Caps,
Condition:
 Check that fuel tank(s) are secure.
 Check to see that battery(s) is secure.
 Check that fuel cap(s) are secure.
 Check to see that battery box door is secure
 Check to see that connections are tight and all
cell caps (if any) are present.
 Check to see that battery connections are not
excessively corroded.
 Check
for leaks from fuel tank(s) and fuel
cap(s).
 Check
to see that fuel access door (if
equipped) is securely latched.
11.22.4 Compartments:
Description:
Bus
compartments.
baggage
and
access
panel
11.22.3 Battery/Box:
Description: A battery supplies electric energy to a
vehicle for starting, lighting and ignition.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation):
 Check
baggage and all other
compartment doors for damage.
11-46
exterior
 Check to see that any baggage or other items
11.23.2 Drive Shaft:
are secure within the compartment.
Description:
drive axle.
 Check to see that all compartment doors are
Transmits power from transmission to
securely latched.
Rationale: Bent shaft, loose, or worn U-joints may
cause excessive vibration. Loss of drive shaft could dig
into pavement causing loss of vehicle control, serious
vehicle damage and/or penetrate the passenger
compartment. Also, shaft may come off, hitting other
traffic.
11.23 UNDER BUS
11.23.1 Exhaust System:
Description: Piping for removing combustion gases
from engine.
Rationale: Leaks under the cab area can cause
asphyxiation of driver or passengers.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure, Guards):
 See that drive shaft is not bent, twisted, or
cracked.
Inspection Points (Condition, Leaks, Secure):
 Check that U-joints appear to be secure and
 Check
that exhaust system is connected
tightly, mounted securely, and there are no
loose clamps.
free of foreign objects.
 If equipped, check drive shaft guards to see
that they are secure and not damaged.
 Check exhaust system for damage and signs of
leaking (rust or carbon soot). Exhaust system
should have no cracks, holes, or severe dents.
11.23.3 Frame:
Description: Structural members for supporting vehicle
body.
 Check
to
see that
exhaust
tail pipe
extends
outward
from
under the
bus.
Rationale: Loose cross members may reduce vehicle
stability and cause handling and cornering problems
(i.e., wandering, possible rollover). Cracks may break,
resulting in total loss of vehicle control.
11-47
Inspection Points (Condition, Broken Welds, Holes):
Inspection Points:
 Check
for cracks or bends in longitudinal
frame members.
 Check to see that all
lights illuminate and
are clean.
 Check
for loose, cracked, bent, broken or
missing cross members.
STOP!
END OF
SCHOOL BUS
PRE-TRIP
INSPECTION
SECTION
COACH/TRANSIT BUS
11.25 INTERNAL INSPECTION
11.25.1 Passenger Entry Door:
Description: Bus door(s) used for normal entry or exit.
Also includes lift mechanism for wheel chairs. All
passengers must be able to enter and exit safely.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operational):
 Check to see that passenger entry door is not
LIGHTS/REFLECTORS/TAPE
damaged, operates smoothly, and closes
securely from the inside.
11.24 FRONT & REAR
11.24.1
Lights:
Alternating Flashing Amber and Red
11.25.2 Passenger Entry Stair:
Description: Steps used by passengers to enter and
exit the bus.
Description: Alternately flashing amber lights (front
and rear), alternately flashing red lights (front and
rear), stop arm lights and strobe light (optional at this
time). These lights warn applicants that the bus is
Inspection Points (Condition):
 Check to see that step light works.
 Make sure the entry steps are clear with the
treads not loose or worn excessively.
11.25.3 Passenger Entry Handrail:
Description: Rail located in passenger entry to aid
people boarding and exiting the bus.
Inspection Points (Secure):
 Check
to see that handrails are securely
mounted.
stopping to load or unload students. 7" diameter lights
are located in upper corners on front and back of bus.
Inside lights are amber. Outside lights are red.
11-48
Inspection Points (Seat Backs, Seat Cushions, Seat
Secured to Floor):
 Check to see that there are no broken seat
backs and frames
 Check
to see that seat frames are firmly
attached to the floor.
 Check
to see that the seat cushions are
attached securely to the seat frames.
11.25.4 Passenger Lift:
Description:
accessibility.
Handicap lift used for wheel chair
Inspection Points (Condition, Operational, Secure):
 Look for leaking, damaged, or missing parts.
11.26 EMERGENCY EXITS
 Explain how lift should be checked for correct
11.26.1 Windows:
operation.
Description:
Push-out windows for emergency
passenger evacuation.
 Check
to see that lift is fully retracted and
latched securely.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation, Alarm):
 Demonstrate
that at least one emergency
window exit operates smoothly, closes
securely, and is not damaged. You must
confirm that the exit works properly
 Check
that window release handle can be
operated properly.
 If equipped, check to see that emergency exitwarning device activates when window is
opened and deactivates when it is closed.
11.25.5 Seats:
Description: Seating for passengers on buses. Seats
must be safe for passengers to sit in.
11-49
11.26.2 Doors:
Inspection Points:
Description:
Emergency Exit door(s) used for
passenger evacuation.
 Check to see vehicle is sitting level from front
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation, Alarm):
 If
to rear and side to side.
air-equipped, check for audible air leaks
from the suspension system.
 Demonstrate that at least one emergency exit
door operates smoothly, closes securely, and
is not damaged. You must confirm that the
exit works properly.
11.27.2 Mirrors:
Description: Side mirrors for rear view of traffic to the
sides and behind and passenger entry/exit mirrors.
 Check door(s) release handle to ensure it can
be operated both from inside and outside the
bus.
Inspection Points (Condition, Secure):
 Check
that all external mirrors and mirror
brackets are not damaged and are mounted
securely with no loose fittings.
 If
equipped, check that emergency exitwarning device activates when door is opened
and deactivates when it is closed.
 Check
that visibility is not impaired due to
dirty mirrors.
11.26.3 Hatches:
Description: Roof hatches used to evacuate passengers
in an emergency.
11.27.3 Fuel Tank:
Description: Tank (s) that holds fuel. Leaks are a fire
hazard and can cause driving hazards to other traffic.
Fuel on pavement can be very slippery.
Inspection Points (Condition, Operation, Alarm):
 Describe
how at least one emergency exit
hatch operates; how it must close securely,
and is not damaged.
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition, Leaks):
 Check to see that the tank is secure.
 Check hatch(s) release handle to ensure it is
 Check to see that the cap(s) is secure.
operational.
 If equipped, describe how the emergency exit-
 Check to see that the tank and lines are not
warning device activates when the hatch is
opened and deactivates when it is closed.
damaged or leaking.
11.27.4 Battery/Box:
Special Note: Do not open the emergency hatch,
because it can be very difficult to close and secure.
Verbally describe the operation and check for the roof
hatch.
Description: The vehicle battery may be located on the
side of the vehicle or in the engine compartment.
Inspection Points (Secure, Connection & Cell Caps,
Condition):
11.27 EXTERNAL INSPECTION
11.27.1 Level/Air Leaks:
 Check to see that the battery(s) is secure. Also
check the battery box and cover or door to see
that they are secure.
Description: Coach and transit buses generally have air
suspension systems.
11-50
11.27.6 Mud flaps (Splash Guards):
 Check to see that the cable connections are
Description: Heavy rubber mats located behind back
tires that prevent flying debris from hitting other
vehicles. Mud flaps are not required if the body of the
vehicle extends more than 5 feet beyond the rear
wheels, or if the rear wheels are covered or enclosed
by fenders to within 10 inches of the road surface when
the vehicle is empty.
tight and cell caps are present.
 Check to see that the battery connections are
not excessively corroded.
11.27.5 Baggage Compartment/Doors/Baggage:
Description: Bus baggage compartment doors.
Special Note: Although mud flaps may not be required
on a vehicle, if they are present, they must be
inspected.
Inspection Points (Secure, Condition, Operation):
 Check
to see that baggage and all other
exterior compartment doors are not damaged.
Inspection Points (Secure, Covers Both Wheels, 10”
From Road Surface):
 Check to see that the doors operate properly
 Check to see that mud flaps are secure and in
and latch securely.
good condition.
 Check to see that baggage and/or equipment
 Make sure mud flaps extend to each side of
(if any) is secure within the compartment.
the tires.
 Make sure mud flaps reach within 10 inches of
the road surface.
11-51
Chapter 12 : Basic Control Skills
This Chapter Covers:
Category 2 (Examiner will pick one):
Skills Test Scoring
Skills Test Exercises
1. Offset Back – Left
2. Offset Back – Right
Introduction: The basic control skills tests are designed
to test your judgment. They also test your ability to
perform basic skill maneuvers that are essential for the
safe operation of commercial vehicles. Although you
may not perform all of these particular maneuvers on
the job, the ability to control a vehicle and judge the
vehicle’s position in relation to other objects is very
important. The following exercises are designed to test
your performance of these basic control skills.
Category 3 (Examiner will pick one):
1. Sight Side Parallel Park
2. Conventional Parallel Park
3. Alley Dock
For example, you may be asked to perform a Straight
Line Backing, Offset Back – Left, and the Alley Dock
exercises for your test. It is important that you practice
and know how to perform all six (6) exercises because
you will not know which ones the examiner will ask you
to do for your test.
Test Exercises: Your basic control skills test will consist
of three (3) of the following six (6) exercises. The tests
will be conducted primarily off-road on courses set up
by the examiner, but the examiner may also ask you to
perform one or more of the exercises somewhere on
the street during the road test:
12.1 SCORING
Crossing Boundaries (encroachments)
Pull-ups
Vehicle Exits
Final Position
Straight line backing
Offset back/right
Offset back/left
You must receive 12 errors or less to pass the basic
control skills portion of the test.
Parallel Park (driver side)
Encroachments: The examiner will score the number
of times you touch or cross over an exercise boundary
line with any portion of your vehicle.
Each
encroachment will count as an error and each error is
worth two (2) points.
Parallel Park (conventional)
Alley dock
These exercises as well as the required course
dimensions are shown at the end of this chapter.
Pull-ups: When a driver stops and reverses direction to
get a better position, it is scored as a “pull-up”.
Stopping without changing direction does not count as a
pull-up. You will not be penalized for initial pull-ups;
however, an excessive number of pull-ups, will count as
errors and each error is worth one (1) point.
Category of Test Exercises: The examiner will choose
the exercise he/she wishes you to perform. The
examiner will include one exercise from each of the
following three (3) categories:
Category 1 (Always Used):
Outside Vehicle Observations (Looks): You may be
permitted to safely stop and exit the vehicle to check
the external position of the vehicle (look). When doing
1. Straight Line Back
12-1
12.2.2 Offset Back/Right
so, you must place the vehicle in neutral and set the
parking brake(s). Then, when exiting the vehicle, you
must do so safely by facing the vehicle and maintaining
three points of contact with the vehicle at all times. If
you do not safely secure the vehicle or safely exit the
vehicle it may result in an automatic failure of the skills
test.
You may be asked to back into a space that is to the
right rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight
forward and back your vehicle into that space without
striking the side boundaries marked by cones. You must
place your vehicle completely into the space so that
your front bumper is behind the first set of cones. (See
Figures 12.2 and 12.7)
The maximum number of times that you may look to
check the position of your vehicle is two (2) except for
the Straight Line Backing exercise, which allows one
look. Each time you open the door, move from a seated
position where in physical control of the vehicle or, on a
bus, walk to the back of a bus to get a better view, is
scored as a “look”. You will not receive any points for
free “looks”; however, you will not be allowed to
exceed the total number permitted for the exercise.
12.2.3 Offset Back/Left
You may be asked to back into a space that is to the left
rear of your vehicle. You will drive straight forward and
back your vehicle into that space without striking the
side boundaries marked by cones. You must place your
vehicle completely into the space so that your front
bumper is behind the first set of cones. (See Figures
12.3 and 12.7)
Final Position: It is important that you finish each
exercise exactly as the examiner has instructed you. If
you do not maneuver the vehicle into its final position
as described by the examiner, you will be penalized 10
points and could fail the skills test. You are allowed to
measure the distance from the rear of your vehicle to
the exercise boundary line. You are also permitted to
place a reference mark or object to aid you in
positioning the vehicle within the exercise boundary.
12.2.4 Parallel Park (Driver Side)
You may be asked to park in a parallel parking space
that is on your left. You are to drive past the parking
space and back into it bringing the rear of your vehicle
as close as possible to the rear of the space without
crossing side or rear boundaries marked by cones. You
are required to get your vehicle completely into the
space. (See Figures 12.4 and 12.8)
You will not be allowed to end any backing exercise
with an encroachment. If you have set the brake and
sounded the horn indicating final position and you are
over or touching a boundary line, the examiner will
instruct you to maneuver the vehicle back into the
boundary lines of the exercise. The examiner will score
you for an encroachment and a pull-up once you return
within bounds.
12.2.5 Parallel Park (Conventional)
You may be asked to park in a parallel parking space
that is on your right. You are to drive past the parking
space and back into it bringing the rear of your vehicle
as close as possible to the rear of the space without
crossing side or rear boundaries marked by cones. You
are required to get your vehicle completely into the
space. (See Figures 12.5 and 12.8)
12.2 EXERCISES & COURSE DIMENSIONS
12.2.1 Straight Line Backing
12.2.6 Alley Dock
You may be asked to back your vehicle in a straight line
between two rows of cones without touching or
crossing over the exercise boundaries.
(See Figure 12.1)
You may be asked to sight-side back your vehicle into an
alley, bringing the rear of your vehicle as close as
possible to the rear of the alley without going beyond
the exercise boundary marked by a line or row of cones.
You are required to get your vehicle completely into the
space with your entire vehicle straight within the alley.
(See Figures 12.6 and 12-9)
12-2
Figure 12.1 Straight Line Backing
12-3
Figure 12.2 Offset Backing – Right
OFFSET BACKING –RIGHT
Figure 12.3 Offset Backing – Left
OFFSET BACKING -LEFT
12-4
Figure 12.4 Parallel Park – Driver’s Side
DRIVER’S-SIDE PARALLEL PARK
Figure 12.5 Parallel Park – Conventional
CONVENTIONAL PARALLEL PARK
12-5
Figure 12.6 Alley Dock
12-6
Figure 12.7 Offset Backing Course Dimensions
12-7
Figure 12.8 Parallel Park Course Dimensions
12-8
Figure 12.9 Alley Dock Course Dimensions
12-9
 Use turn signals and safely get into the lane
needed for the turn.
Chapter 13 : Road Test
As you approach the turn-
This Chapter Covers:
Use turn signals to warn others of your
turn.
How You Will Be Tested
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 (clutch depressed or
gearshift in neutral) for more than the
length of your vehicle.
Introduction: The Road Test evaluates your ability to
drive safely in most on-the-road situations. The
objective is to identify those who lack the skill to safely
operate a commercial vehicle under normal traffic
conditions
You will drive over a test route that has a variety of
traffic situations and will take approximately 30 to 45
minutes. At all times during the test, you must drive in
a safe and responsible manner; and
 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 the intersecting road’s
curb line.
Wear your safety belt.
Obey all traffic signs, signals, and laws.
Complete the test without an accident or
moving violation.
Special Note: A stop sign is not the legal marker
for an intersection.
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.
Idaho Code, § 49-110 (10) (a) (b) (c), defines an
intersection as follows:
“Intersection” means:
(a) The area embraced within the prolongation or
connection of the lateral curb lines, or, if none,
then the lateral boundary lines of the
roadways of two (2) highways which join one
another at, or approximately at, right angles,
or the area within which vehicles traveling
upon different highways joining at any other
angle may come in conflict.
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. You must receive a score of 30 errors or less
to pass the road test portion of the skills test.
13.1 HOW YOU WILL BE TESTED
(b) Where a highway includes two (2) roadways
thirty (30) feet or more apart, then every
crossing of each roadway of the divided
highway by an intersecting highway shall be
regarded as a separate intersection. In the
event an intersecting highway also includes
two (2) roadways thirty (30) feet or more
apart, then every crossing of two (2) roadways
13.1.1 Turns:
You have been asked to make a turn:
 Check traffic in all directions.
13-1
of the highways shall be regarded as a
separate intersection.
Do not let your vehicle roll.
(c) The junction of an alley with a street or
highway shall not constitute an intersection.
Keep the front wheels aimed straight
ahead.
 When ready to turn:
Idaho Code § 49-807 (2) (a) (b) (c), discusses where
a person is required to stop at an intersection and
reads as follows:
Check traffic in all directions.
(2) Except when directed to proceed by a peace
officer or traffic-control signal, every driver of a
vehicle approaching a stop sign shall stop:
Keep both hands on the steering wheel
during the turn.
Keep checking your mirror to make sure
the vehicle does not hit anything on the
inside of the turn.
(a) at a clearly marked stop line, or
(b) before entering the crosswalk on the near
side of the intersection, or
Vehicle should not move into oncoming
traffic.
(c) at the point nearest the intersecting
highway where the driver has a view of
approaching traffic on the intersecting
highway before entering it.
Vehicle should finish turn in correct lane.
 After turn:
After having stopped, the driver shall yield the
right-of-way to any vehicle in the intersection or
approaching on another highway so closely as to
constitute an immediate hazard during the time
when such driver is moving across or within the
intersection or junction of highways.
(See Figure 13-1)
Make sure turn signal is off.
Get up to speed of traffic, use turn signal,
and move into right-most lane when safe to
do so (if not already there).
Check mirrors and traffic.
13.1.2 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 (no
coasting) behind any intersecting roadway’s
curb line, signals, sidewalks, or stop lines
maintaining a safe gap behind any vehicle in
front of you.
If stopping behind another vehicle, stop
where you can see the rear tires on the
vehicle ahead of you (safe gap).
 Your vehicle must not roll forward or backward.
13-2
 Continue to check traffic thoroughly in all
directions.
When driving through an intersection:
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
When exiting the expressway:
 Decelerate and yield to any pedestrians and
traffic in the intersection.
 Make necessary traffic checks.
 Do not change lanes while proceeding through
the intersection.
 Use proper signals.
 Decelerate smoothly in the exit lane.
 Keep your hands on the wheel.
 Once on the exit ramp, you must continue to
decelerate within the lane markings and
maintain adequate spacing between your
vehicle and other vehicles.
Once through the intersection:
 Continue checking mirrors and traffic.
13.1.6 Stop/Start
 Accelerate smoothly and change gears as
necessary.
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 right-most lane or shoulder of road.
13.1.3 Urban/Rural Straight
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 (right-most lane) and you should keep up with the
flow of traffic but not exceed the posted speed limit.
As you prepare for the stop:
 Check traffic.
13.1.4 Lane Changes
 Activate your right turn signal.
During multiple lane portions of the test, 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.
 Decelerate smoothly, brake evenly, change
gears as necessary.
 Bring your vehicle to a full stop without
coasting.
13.1.5 Freeway/Expressway
Once stopped:
Before entering the expressway:
 Vehicle must be parallel to the curb or shoulder
of the road and safely out of the traffic flow.
 Check traffic.
 Use proper signals.
 Vehicle should not be blocking driveways, fire
hydrants, intersections, signs, etc.
 Merge smoothly into the proper lane of traffic.
 Cancel your turn signal.
 Activate your four-way emergency flashers.
Once on the expressway:
 Maintain proper lane positioning, vehicle
spacing, and vehicle speed.
 Apply the parking brake.
13-3
 Move the gear shift to neutral or park.
 Look and listen for the presence of trains.
 Remove your feet from the brake and clutch
pedals.
 Check traffic in all directions.
When instructed to resume:
Do not stop, change gears, pass another vehicle, or
change lanes while any part of your vehicle is in the
crossing.
 Check traffic and your mirrors thoroughly in all
directions.
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):
 Turn off your four-way flashers.
 Activate the left turn signal.
 When traffic permits, you should release the
parking brake and pull straight ahead.
 As the vehicle approaches a railroad crossing,
activate the four-way flashers.
 Do not turn the wheel before your vehicle
moves.
 Stop the vehicle within 50 feet but not less than
15 feet from the nearest rail.
 Check traffic from all directions, especially to
the left.
 Steer and accelerate smoothly into the proper
lane when safe to do so.
 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.
 Once your vehicle is back into the flow of traffic,
cancel your left turn signal.
 Keep hands on the steering wheel as the vehicle
crosses the tracks.
13.1.7 Curve
 Do not stop, change gears, or change lanes
while any part of your vehicle is proceeding
across the tracks.
When approaching a curve:
 Check traffic thoroughly in all directions.
 Four-way flashers should be deactivated after
the vehicle crosses the tracks.
 Before entering the curve, reduce speed so
further braking or shifting is not required in the
curve.
 Continue to check mirrors and traffic.
Not all driving road test routes 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.
 Keep vehicle in the lane.
 Continue checking traffic in all directions.
13.1.8 Railroad Crossing
13.1.9 Bridge /Overpass/Sign
Before reaching the crossing, all commercial drivers
should:
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 a bridge or overpass, you may
 Decelerate, brake smoothly, and shift gears as
necessary.
13-4
 Do not put vehicle over curbs, sidewalks, or lane
markings.
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.
 Stop behind stop lines, crosswalks, or the curb
line of the intersecting roadway.
13.1.10 Student Discharge (School Bus)
If you are applying for a School Bus endorsement, you
will be required to demonstrate loading and unloading
students. Please refer to Chapter 10 of this manual for
procedures on loading and unloading school students.
 Complete a turn in the proper lane on a
multiple lane road (vehicle should finish a left
turn in the lane directly to the right of the
center line).
You will be scored on your overall performance in the
following general driving behavior categories:
 Finish a right turn in the right-most (curb) lane.
 Move to or remain in right-most lane unless
lane is blocked.
13.1.11 Clutch Usage (for Manual Transmission)
13.1.15 Steering
 Use the clutch when necessary to shift. If you
are proficient in shifting gears without the use
of the clutch (Floating the Gears), you may do
so without penalty; however, if you use this
technique and continually grind or miss gears in
shifting situations, you will be marked down
accordingly.
 Do not over or under steer the vehicle.
 Keep both hands on the steering wheel at all
times unless shifting. Once you have completed
the shift, return both hands to the steering
wheel.
 Double-clutch if vehicle is equipped with nonsynchronized transmission.
13.1.16 Regular Traffic Checks
 Do not rev or lug the engine.
 Check traffic regularly.
 Do not ride clutch to control speed, coast with
the clutch depressed, or "pop" the clutch.
 Check mirrors regularly.
 Check mirrors and traffic before, while in and
after an intersection.
13.1.12 Gear Usage (for Manual Transmission)
 Scan and check traffic in high volume areas and
areas where pedestrians are expected to be
present.
 Do not grind or clash gears.
 Select gear that does not rev or lug engine.
13.1.17 Use of Turn Signals
 Do not shift in turns and intersections unless it
is necessary to do so.
 Use turn signals properly.
13.1.13 Brake Usage
 Do not ride or pump brake.
 Activate turn signals when required.
 Activate turn signals at appropriate times.
 Do not brake harshly. Brake smoothly using
steady pressure.
 Cancel turn signals upon completion of a turn or
lane change.
13.1.14 Lane Usage
13-5
Step Three: Air Brake Check***Three Parts***
Step One: Parking Brake Test
Note: wheels should be chocked if on incline
I. Air Leak Check:
Straight Truck and Buses:
With parking brake engaged: Check parking brake
holds vehicle by gently trying to pull forward with
parking brake on.
1. Run engine; build air pressure to 100 to 125 psi
(operational level).
2. Shut ENGINE OFF/ turn IGNITION KEY ON
Combination Vehicles:
3. Release TPV & Parking brakes (push knobs in)
1. With parking brake ON & trailer brake (TPV) OFF:
check parking brake holds vehicle by gently trying
to pull forward.
4. Apply foot brake/ hold for one (1) minute.
5. Check air gauge; cannot drop more than:
Single Vehicle:
3 pounds in 1 minute.
Combination Vehicle: 4 pounds in 1 minute.
2. With trailer brake (TPV) ON & parking brake OFF:
check trailer brake holds vehicle by gently trying to
pull forward.
II. Low Air Alarm Check:
Step Two: Service Brake Test
1. ENGINE = OFF
IGNITION KEY = ON
2. Air pressure still in operational range
All Vehicles:
Release parking brake(s); pull forward at 5
mph, apply service brake. Check brakes work
properly & vehicle does not pull to side.
3. Describe what you are doing and what the
expected results will be:
4. Pump brake pedal to reduce air pressure:
Step Three: Hydraulic Brake Check:
Low Air Warning Alarm should come on
before air pressure drops below 60 psi +/-.
(if vehicle so equipped; if not go to Air Brakes Step3)
1. 1. Pump brake pedal 3 times; hold down for 5
III. Tractor Protection Valve / Spring
Brake Check:
seconds. Brake pedal should not move
2.
3. 2. If equipped with hydraulic brake reserve,
1. Continue to fan off the air pressure:
with the key off, depress brake pedal; listen
for sound of reserve system electric motor
TPV & Parking Brake Valve should close (pop
out) when pressure drops between 20 - 45 psi.
On some combination and single vehicle types,
parking brake valve should close (pop out).
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