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Probably really stupid questions. . .

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cpritch, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. cpritch

    cpritch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    In my current job, I deal with a lot of regulatory stuff and I ran across something today - a dockett where the state commission has a filing against a Lawn & Landscape company for violations against the Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. The two violations they were cited for are 1. failure for the driver to maintain a complete record of duty and 2. for operating a commercial vehicle without submitting it to prior periodic inspections.

    SO - my first question - does everyone operatate under a commercial license, even part timers?

    Second question - What is a complete record of duty? Is that something you obtain from your state?

    I read our state's complete Motor Carrier Regulations and that seems more geared towards the trucking industry, delivery (like UPS), Agriculture and the transport of hazardous materials. I sent an email to our Commission, but I thought I would check here too. Call me naive, I guess I wasn't prepared to go out and get a commercial license, etc., not even knowing if I'm going to have business this summer yet!! :eek:
  2. maintenanceguy

    maintenanceguy LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 156

    All states are different but...

    I suspect this company was operating commercial vehicles like tractor trailers rather than pickup trucks towing trailers.

    "Big Rig" operators are required to keep a record of hours driven each day so they can prove they didn't go over the federal limits that require so many hours of rest for so many hours driving. They probably didn't have such a log in the truck.

    The driver also may have gotten pulled over in the first place for not stopping at a weigh/inspection station alongside the interstate highway. That's the "failure to submit to inspections" violation.

    Unless you drive an 18 wheeler across state lines, you probably don't have much to worry about.
  3. JB1

    JB1 LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,904

    Its where the magical number # 10001 pounds comes into play.
  4. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    Here in Michigan, it is a completely different thing. Our law states that ANY,..and I mean ANY one that drives a vehicle for any sort of commercial activity MUST have a commercial license of a chauffer's license, AND the vehicle must be registered commercially. This includes some little lawn service that pulls a trailer with the family mini-van. It may sound ludicrous, but that's the way it is. I have had many dealings with our state police carrier control, and this has come up at different times. Now, this of course includes ANY pickup that pulls a trailer and equipment for professional use (earning). These trucks must have the co. name, city and state, and phone number(s) pacarded on the DOORS of the truck, and they are to be atLEAST 3" tall per letter. Now, does everyone abide by this? HA! A small fraction of them do. However, the COOL thing is, is that more and more of these smaller municipalities are jumping on the bandwagon and producing their own carrier control type entities. We have one in our township, there is one in Flint Township, and the city and township of Grand Blanc (a wealthy fast growing area just 10 minutes south of us) has two of them. They are having a FIELD DAY on all these lawn services out there - great revenue! Anyway, there are alot of other things that go along with this. For instance, any truck/trailer combo that exceeds 10,000 combined GVW (gross vehicle weight) is required to have a commercial license, registration, and in order to operate, the driver must have a current D.O.T. physical card from a D.O.T. sanctioned. physician. Now, again,..does everyone abide by this? No. Now, check THIS out...We also have a law that states that ANY stake truck (or dump truck) that pulls a trailer is required to have a GVW registration (24,000 lb. is the minimum available) which basically is a fancy name for a $500 a year license plate.

    CLARK LAWN LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,526

    any vehicle with a GCWR of 10001 # or more must have an annual DOT inspection it most have a valid sticker on the drivers side of the truck if you dont have it thats a violation. alot of companies dont doesn't matter if you are full time or part time it goes by wieght. a 1/2 ton truck pulling a tandem axle trailer is over 10000 # so it applies to just about every one on here. and even if you dont drive an 18 wheeler across state lines you still have to obey DOT laws and they come into play at 10001#
  6. Cracker Station

    Cracker Station LawnSite Member
    Messages: 66

    The law that states any vehicle 10.001 lbs or more abide by regulations and be inspected is a FEDERAL law, all states are supposed to be enforcing it. As far as the log of vehicle use, I am sure they are talking about the use of a log book. As long as you are less than 100 miles from your company base, you are exempt from keeping such a log. I was stopped in my home state by a small town part-time police officer and had a full D.O.T. inspecion performed. This law has been turned into a revenue builder around here and is a major headache when Barney Fife decides his gun and badge is to be a source of fear for every one coming into his jurisdiction. Also any vehicle of 10K GVW is supposed to have D.O.T. numbers displaced on both sides of the vehicle. Depending on your local law officers, most don't bother with the small locals.
  7. cpritch

    cpritch LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    I really appreciate the info. I don't have a trailer yet, currently in the market for one though. As soon as I make that purchase I'll go ahead and get everything started in motion. I knew about the 10,001 rule, but didn't really think I would hit that - but I probably will. Is that truck/trailer weight or is that truck/loaded trailer weight?

    I think I'll head down to the local "Barney Fife" station and just grill them on what I need to do. They should be able to answer my questions and take the time to do it, since they'll be the ones busting my hump if I'm not in compliance.

    Thanks again for the input, I appreciate it!
  8. fyrcall

    fyrcall LawnSite Member
    Messages: 1

    Hey CP...I have a 6 x 12 single axle with drop gate for sale. Also have an equipment cage that bolts up front. Send me an email if you are interested. It's located in Lenexa.

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