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Honored Advisor

DOT Meetings

The Farm Bureau has held information meetings for farmers with DOT officers explaining new regulations.  It`s some scary stuff out there in a truck gets a broken spring or leaky air canistor it`s placed "out of service" on the spot, if you`re 5 miles from home you can`t put a vise grip on the hose and granny it home....you`re out of commission!  Iowa and Minnesota "play well in the sandbox" and recognize our lics requirements, but Nebraska ....not so much they bust your arse. If you cross the stateline to haul a steer to the locker you probably need a DOT number(no big deal) medical card, mish mash of things depending if you`re less than 150 miles from home(look it up).  The officers said that  there are things that border states will allow but brass tacks they really don`t have to.  One trucking firm had to hire someone just to keep track of the fuel apportionment for states. This reminds me of what a person from the Soviet Union once said "There were so many obscure laws and everyone was in non-compliance something, they constantly lived in fear".  I have nothing against officers doing their jobs and safety rules.  My problem is this business stifling regulations, you could have a new truck and trailer and get nailed for something. These regs need a overhauling.

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8 Replies
Advisor

Re: DOT Meetings

Welcoem to my world.  Hog farming in NC has been regulated to the teeth for a decade or so now.  We keep up with nitrogen nutrient to the one-thousandth of a pound per acre!  Ridiculous, really, and the EMC is constantly looking at news way to over-regulate us down the road. 

The only thing I can say is that a good set of records is your best defense if push comes to shove.  When you think of it that way, doing any related bookwork is not quite as aggravating...I have to say this to Mike about three times a year, when we are giving up a day we could be producing something, in order to maintain our documentation for the farm's permit, or drving to another operator recertification class. 

You can rest assured that two factors really cause this sort of attention: Lawsuits due to poor safety compliance that have actually harned others in the past; and, political wangling somewhere over something.  The spat with Mexico did not go too well over trucking,  I recently read. 

Farm trucks have enjoyed a lot of special treatment in some states all along, and those days may be over. 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: DOT Meetings

Having involvement in the transportation business for a couple of decades plus ----these issues have been building for quite some time---always being brought on by the can I get buy with this one attitude and the weary phrase of doing it "cheaper" ---first the pork industry blaming the trucking industry for the cheap shot of lack of trade was pretty lame with all of the crime in the traffic lanes of the southwest---to remidy this why didn't the packers send thier own fleets down into Mexico----also the part of being put out of service along the road with a minor infraction --welcome to the real world of why things cost what they do---

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Senior Advisor

Size matters

The more things are regulated and controlled, the more advantage the big guys have.  First, they can afford to hire the legal and technical staff to stay current and proficient.  Secondly, they can get big enough to intimidate the local officer sometimes.  Third, they have the economic and political clout to help shape the laws, regulations and interpretations.  The little guy is dog meat.

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Advisor

Re: DOT Meetings

Kansas has agreements with neighboring states regarding farm based transport to markets across the state lines.  It's helped minimize the impact on tougher regulations somewhat.  However, this doesn't mean farmers can get by with overloading trucks and running with sub standard equipment. 

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Honored Advisor

Re: DOT Meetings

I don`t advocate running with substandard equipment, however if you`re within sight of your farm and you could "MacGyver" your way back with a escort vehicle (no cracked frame, ect)  common sense should prevail.  It`s hard to find a place that stocks leaf springs and one broken one puts you out of service right where you sit.  As "Mr Murphy" would have it it would be 20 below and you`d have to work on your sick truck on the side of a busy highway? This crap wasn`t dreamt up by someone with "safety" in mind.  I don`t like the raising of weight limits in the fall, trailers weren`t designed for that abuse and neither are the roads.  There`s a "stateline road" where if you are on the northside it`s Minnesota and southside is Iowa, so if you`re headed west you need a med card, headed east you wouldn`t...ridiculous....  A local border coop sells a fair amount of Nh3 to Minnesota customers, well one fine day the Minnesota DOT decides to "out of service" those pulling those trailers because they had no brakes...This crap is safety issues? ...No brakes?  ....Gimme a break!  

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Advisor

Re: DOT Meetings

Yes, generally, I agree.  However, one rarely experiences an incident when a spring "breaks" while driving down a major highway, even if one just came from the field.  It generally happens a long time ago, in the field or while hauling rock from the north 40 rock pile, overloaded and abused while driving down treacherous cowpaths that needed grading 50 years ago.  I've seen some really scary examples of this while commuting between the elevator and the field.  One night, I nearly rear-ended a truck on a major highway because it had only one mud-covered tail light and its headlights were so dim, you could not see evidence of it on the sides of the highway.

 

A few years back, the highway patrol conducted a safety inspection of all grain trucks near a local grain elevator.  On only one day, at least a half dozen two-ton trucks were prohibited from moving anywhere until vehicle safety infractions were addressed.  They were mostly minor things like non-working brake and signal lights and bald tires, but the message came through loud and clear; "get your truck into shape before you begin harvest".  The owners and drivers weren't pleased, obiviously, but they had all winter to inspect and make necessary repairs. 

 

I find it a bit ironic that people go to great lengths to make sure the combine is field ready, yet they hardly do more than change the oil and fill up the tires and gas tank on the trucks.

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Senior Contributor

Re: DOT Meetings

I haven't been to one. Do you know of any websites that may have this info?

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Honored Advisor

Re: DOT Meetings

I would contact your county Farm Bureau office, I believe most counties in Iowa and Illinois have or had meetings. Space is usually very limited so register early. Here is a download of Iowa DOT truck regs covered at the meetings.

http://www.iowadot.gov/mvd//omve/truckguide.pdf

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