This Is Gonna Leave a Mark

Anthony Technical Support Specialist Kirkwood, Pennsylvania Posted   Latest   Edited  

There are many Topics this can be listed under. After giving it a bit of thought, I gave up and settled on the listed two.

A quick story, or two. When I was at Ryder, I worked 2nd shift. It was primarily a PM shift though we'd finish some of the work from 1st shift and do our own work also. First shift primarily put out the fires and did the heavy work. Third shift would finish up the follow-ups from our PMs or whatever other work we had left over. On paper, it all made sense.

Ryder's PM forms and maintenance stickers are/were not your average oil change sticker. When signed, you're actually attesting that you have completed a Federal Highway Administration safety inspection and that the vehicle passed said inspection. Minor management at my location stated that Ryder's policy is/was that the tech is required to sign the PM sheet and the sticker. Me being the go-along to get-along person that many know me as, suggested they may be better served introducing themselves carnally to a female mountain lion if the vehicle didn't pass FHWA.

I PM'd a Mack Midliner (RVI) one evening. Now, don't get me wrong. I can find something wrong with a brand new vehicle and often did because it was my job. This was a clapped out POS that barely had junk value. I had 105 follow-ups on this Midliner. (I still have a copy of the PM and follow-up sheets somewhere.) Over 80 of them were not BS items; i.e. driver's door falling off, broken pivot for the cab (there are only 2), etc. I turned over my work to the 3rd shift leadman (foreman). He asked why I didn't sign off on the form and place a sticker on the truck. (And they used to drug test me!) I asked which of those word thingies was giving him difficulty. 

Oh, BTW, this vehicle also needed a PA safety inspection. PA safety inspection has more stringent requirements than FHWA. Therefore, an FHWA sticker is not really needed on a PA registered truck. But since like any other idiot who only knows what they know, we would put them on, because DOT inspectors don't always know the rules. (I've actually seen documentation from them making up inspection infractions. When asked how I know, I told management because I have the damn book. Don't you?)

I came in the following day and saw this unit in the "Ready Row". It had a brand new FHWA sticker and a brand new PA safety sticker on it. Neither were signed. For shits & grins, I pulled up the PM sheet. It wasn't signed either.

So what does this have to do with the title? Here's a recent one.

newyork​.​cbslocal​.​com…bra…

Here's one from not too very long ago. I'll spare you my personal opinion though I wonder who paid for his legal fees.

courant​.​com/news/connectic…

The one that I was looking for, but couldn't find, was of a western PA mechanic charged with homicide or involuntary manslaughter. If memory serves, there was a brake failure of a minibus due to fluid loss. The driver crashed into a drive through. The master cylinder cap wasn't there when the bus was inspected by the accident investigators. Since his name was on the brake repair, he was it. At the time, it looked like he was railroaded but.... (The expert witness was using descriptions and illustrations from Popular Mechanics magazine. Why he wasn't using OEM information is beyond me though it was most definitely available then.) He was found guilty and sentenced to jail (7 years?) but I don't recall what happened on appeal, assuming there was one.

In the last 2 …es, they were school buses and the public doesn't go for that especially near election time. In the Mavis …e, it will be interesting to see what happens since it is around election time. Twas a bridal party and they thought they were doing the responsible thing by hiring a driver. Hmm, an alleged illegal driver, operating an alleged illegal vehicle, illegally signed off by an alleged vehicle maintenance professional. (I wonder if NBC is looking for ideas to bring back the Mystery Movie.)

People in this trade with a certain confidence level (age/experience) aren't as susceptible to "persuasion" as newer (younger?) people in the trade or those who "need this job". In my …e, it was a combination of not being broke, having another half who made twice what I did and a l'il of the good ole fashioned typical East Coast Bad Attitude prevalent from Bahstan to Balmor.

Today, ADAS, FEA and other procedures may have you signing off. Who usually gets these types of jobs? I'll give you a hint. It's the same people who were assigned to perform inspections (emission or safety), PDI, Inserves, etc. You know. The guys with less experience or back-talk. Be careful what you sign. I'm not saying don't sign it. But if you do sign it, make sure that it happened. And if it is insisted that you sign or else, well you're not long for the place. The only thing left to be determined is if you're leaving of your accord or theirs. If theirs, the termination letter may just come with jewelry as a memento (handcuffs). 

HTH,

Guido 

+10
George Owner/Technician
Skagway, Alaska
George Default
 

I do roughly 50 required annual inspections a summer. I shake my head every time A state Dot inspector comes to town. What a joke. The drivers that actually do their pre trips do a better job. With that being said when a bus comes in for it's inspection If it ain't right it doesn't get a sticker until it gets repaired. I was asked several times why I took a bus out of service. I had to get the…

+4 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Eric Technician
West Frankfort, Illinois
Eric Default
 

My boss doesnt understand any of this. He thinks nothing will happen. And if it does it will just be the business that gets sued and not the individuals who did the work. He used to get mad when I wouldnt patch a tire that the puncture was outside of where the DOT regs say you can repair. He finally figured out that I am not going to do it no matter how much he complains.

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
George Owner/Technician
Skagway, Alaska
George Default
 

…boss dude)"Oh,come on it's just a tire. It's barely outside the area. You can do this..........".(Me) "No , I can't." (BD) "He'll just take it some place else then......" (Me) "Let him". I've been fortunate that most of my supervisors and bosses have been good about it. A few are just waiting to get sued. It's not a question of if but when. I wouldn't sign off on one 2 yrs ago. No 1st aid…

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
James Owner/Technician
Santa Barbara, California
James Default
 

Nice write up Guido! I worked at a shop doing Pa inspections for a short time, why a short time? I was “ordered” to sign off inspections that did not pass. i refused, ” if you don’t , you won’t work here” was their reply... I said “exactly” and quit. i also drove an 18 wheeler the last 8 years of my career, did a pre trip and post trip inspection for every trip. i guess my years as a C 141…

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
George Owner/Technician
Skagway, Alaska
George Default
 

I wish I could get more drivers to do the pre and post trip stuff. A proper pre trip should find a lot of issues. I shouldn't have to find them. I was under another bus and could see the inside dual was flat. I asked the driver if he had anything to report. "No" was his answer. I wasn't very happy with this. I took his bus out of service. He wasn't very happy with me. Another driver wanted me…

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

But, what is the response to hot-button accidents? More legislation! If half of what is already in place was consistently implemented and obeyed, the results would be astounding! But, no, they just act like they care by writing more laws which will be little enforced. The CMV inspection game has been degraded about like "oil changes". Someone might as well start a drive-through for them. It…

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Marlin: If you're looking for an argument, you're in the wrong place. :) At the risk of repeating myself.... diag​.​net/msg/m6ry25sk62… Guido

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

I saw that earlier, but I am too fed up and busy right not to comment. Just more of the same anyway. In other news, the sun is, no, WAS shining today. True statement!

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
Martin Default
   

Hi Guido. Good write-up. Unfortunately, it seems that ineptness and greed, falsification of inspection documents really haven't changed much in many years. I completed many commercial and private vehicle inspections at the dealership over the years. Commercial vehicles required inspections every 6 months and also would receive an inspection out on the highway by the Commercial Vehicle Inspection…

+2 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Rusty Owner/Technician
Oakham, Massachusetts
Rusty Default
 

No entity should be permitted to perform an official inspection on: a vehicle that they own or a vehicle that they’ve sold.

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
   

Hi Rusty: While I appreciate your sentiment, that would eliminate "Fleet Safety Inspection" stations in PA. They are not permitted conduct inspections for the general public and are limited to vehicles registered/operated by them. (I'm not even sure about the operated part anymore.) But that is a state thing. Let's look at FHWA. Suppose you work for me in a trucking company. I, or one of my…

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Rusty Owner/Technician
Oakham, Massachusetts
Rusty Default
 

Regardless of regulations, allowing an owner to perform an “official” inspection on his own equipment or a vehicle that they’ve sold is a Rx for fraud. Here in MA,, regular independent inspection stations (decentralized program) that have opacity equipment and a CDL licensed inspector can inspect CMVs over 26,000. CDL is NOT required to inspect CMVs 10,000-26,000 The inspection criteria is…

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Rusty: While I understand your position, it is untenable. While states can do what they want, and that includes nothing, an FHWA inspection is required, at a minimum. And trust me, the inspections are about as minimum as you can get. A CMV starts at 10,001. A CDL really doesn't enter into it. One of the reasons that trucking associations were squawking is because you could go to Safer Web…

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

What happened here is that one of the county weigh masters got shot dead just down the road from us, as he was walking up the stopped vehicle. The county closed the weigh master/inspection program in response.

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Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Marlin: That left a mark. Sorry to hear that. The response seems extreme though, especially given the alleged motivation. I did a quick look up of that, the perp got off easy. Guido

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Owner/Technician
Milton, Ontario
David Default
 

Hi Martin. GREAT to see you here. I have been thru what you are describing. But how long does one have to keep the pictures/documentation in their own personal files? Does one have to make 2 copies to protect one self if the higher ups don't really care. And if the higher ups/owners want to protect themselves and destroy your documentation then what happens. A lawyers' feast with the one with…

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
David Owner/Technician
Milton, Ontario
David Default
 

Hey Guido: I know EXACTLY what you mean. It happens up here all to often. Even the Enforcement officers are not to sure of what the rules are. I have been involved with a heavy truck that was pulled over for a roadside inspection. It failed. It was written up for a shifted front spring leaf and an audible air leak on the firewall. It was towed out of the impound area but the plates were allowed…

0 Default Ð Bounty Awarded
Anthony Technical Support Specialist
Kirkwood, Pennsylvania
Anthony Default
 

Hi Harley: I feel for you. Once upon a time, we had to keep inspection records for 2 years after the close of the book. In the Aftermarket, we used new books for every inspection campaign (period). Then it was changed to retaining the sheet for 2 years. Two years, one day? Gone! (At Ryder, we used the same book with a new sheet and kept them for 6 years.) A few years back, the PA regs were…

+1 Default Ð Bounty Awarded