Forest Industry Safety & Training Alliance, Inc.

Ben Parsons, FISTA Training Coordinator

May 2014

What’s Your Trucking Problem?

The days are long gone where truck drivers were viewed as Heroes of the Highway.   If we were to ask most “four wheelers” on the road today their opinion of a big rig, most would consider trucks the most frightening hazard on the road.  The log truck scene in the movie, Final Destination 2 didn’t help that perception any, either.  Despite the number of commerce – passenger accidents being caused by the passenger car, (81% according to the American Trucking Association) when the pressure is on, who bears the brunt of new regulation?  You got it…the commercial drivers.  Every year, FISTA takes a number of calls dealing with trucking questions.  Usually, we can get an answer for you fairly quickly, although, sometimes we need to dig a little deeper and consult with other experts on the subject.

The FMCSA has implemented several changes and they’re not done yet.  Their Map 21 plan still has several stages to go before it’s implemented in full swing.  How many of you reading this didn’t know what FMCSA stands for?  (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration)  Or how many of you have ever heard of Map 21?  If you are a driver or owner of a fleet, it’s time to register for a DOT for Compliance workshop!

One particular workshop scheduled for May 13 will focus on interstate trucking issues between WI and MN.  Let’s see how well you know your interstate requirements.  The following scenarios were brought to my attention by Dave Chura and the staff at MLEP.  Test your DOT compliance knowledge by carefully reading each one.  Let’s see if you agree with the required solutions:

Scenario 1:
At 3:00am a logger heads out into the woods near Park Falls, WI, loads his truck, and heads to a mill in Cook, MN.  At 5:30 pm, the logger is finishing his return trip and is 5 miles from his home in Mercer, WI when a drunk driver crosses over the centerline and crashes into the log truck head on and is killed.  The log truck driver is sued by the drunk driver’s family.

Question:  Can the log truck driver be held liable?
Answer:  Yes, the log truck driver was driving after being on duty for more than 14 hours.

Scenario 2:
A truck driver loads pulpwood in Two Harbors and travels to Carlton to drop it at the Carlton rail siding where it will be loaded on a railcar and transported to LP’s siding mill in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Question:  Does the truck driver need time records or a log book?
Answer:  Yes

Question:  Does this involve interstate or intrastate transportation?
Answer:  Interstate

Question:  How old does the driver need to be?
Answer:  21

Scenario 3:
A logging business truck driver loads pulpwood in the Bemidji, MN area and transports it to a mill in Cook, MN (over 100 miles).

Question:  Does the truck driver need time records or a log book?
Answer:  No

Question:  Does an exemption apply?  If so, what exemption applies?
Answer:  MN State Statutes 221.025 and 221.031

Question:  What if the truck driver is a for hire owner operator?
Answer:  Same exemption applies

Scenario 4:
A truckload of bolts is loaded in the Grand Marais area and trucked to Superior, WI using the US Hwy 2 Bridge (US Hwy 2 is not an Interstate).  The distance one-way is just over 100 miles.

Question:  Does the truck driver need time records or a log book?
Answer:  Yes

Question:  Does an exemption apply?  If so, what exemption applies?
Answer:  No exemptions apply because the transportation is interstate.  Logbooks would be required because the transportation is beyond the 100-air mile radius.

Scenario 5:
A truckload of chips is loaded in the Two Harbors, MN area and trucked to a chip dump in Wisconsin.  The distance one-way is under 100 miles.

Question:  Does the truck driver need time records or a log book?
Answer:  Yes - either would suffice

Question:  Does an exemption apply?  If so, what exemption applies?
Answer:  No exemptions apply because the transportation is interstate.

Scenario 6:
A contract for hire owner/operator moves pulpwood from a logger’s wood yard at the logger’s shop to a mill.

Question:  Does the truck driver need time records or a log book?
Answer:  Yes

Question:  Does it matter if the distance from his shop to the mill is greater than 100 miles?
Answer:  No

Question:  Does an exemption apply?  If so, what exemption applies? 
Answer:  No exemptions apply

Scenario 7:
A load of bolts is moved from the North Shore to a Mill on SE MN. On the way, the trucker passes through WI briefly on WI 35. 

Question:  Does the truck driver need time records or a log book?
Answer:  Yes

Scenario 8:
A logger has a bulk fuel tank (more than 119 water gallons) in the back of his pickup.  The tank is half full and he uses the truck to travel from Isabella, MN to a dealership in Superior, WI to pick up some parts.

Question:  What laws apply?
Answer:  All regulations would apply and the bulk fuel tank (more than 119 water gallons) would require placarding.  Needs a CDL, D & A testing, $1,000,000 insurance, accident reporting, DQ files, logbooks, annual inspection, daily inspection, maintenance files, HM driver training, HM registration from PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration), shipping papers, and placarding.

So did any of these scenarios put your brain out of service?  Do you have another scenario you would like to see addressed?  If so, be sure to register for one of the remaining DOT for Compliance training workshops scheduled with FISTA this year.  Here’s hoping you always keep the sticks on the stacks with the shiny side up and greasy side down!

A special shout out to Dave with MLEP for permission to use this information!  


Ben Parsons, FISTA Training Coordinator, is originally from West “By God”, Virginia as they say in that part of the Appalachian Mountains. His family’s deeply rooted philosophy of living off the land was monumental in deciding to earn a degree in Forest Management from West Virginia University.  Throughout his career, Ben has had the opportunity to tackle a wide variety of assignments.  He measured Forest Inventory and Analysis research plots in Virginia and Georgia, been involved with urban and utility forestry operations throughout the Appalachian region, procured lowland hardwood timber in the swamps of South Georgia, managed logging contracts and harvest operations in Arkansas and specialized in water quality and harvest planning as well as fighting forest fires in Virginia. As FISTA Training Coordinator, helping to meet your safety and educational needs is the number one priority here at FISTA.  For more information, contact Ben at 800-551-2656 or ben.parsons@fistausa.org