To-Do List Toppers For Superior Bus Operations

Tom Holden
Posted on May 7, 2018

The following is a sample of how a roadside inspection will occur. This is an actual inspection guide from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Our DOT consultant Randy London has been working with us using this as a training practice. This is what your drivers should expect and mechanics should use to do a pre-trip inspection. Make sure you have copies of the FMCSA safety regulations book, motorcoach/bus version.

STEP 1   Inspection Preparation: Use pre-inspection checklist. Ensure safety considerations are observed.

STEP 2   Greet and Prepare the Driver and Passengers: Observe the driver’s overall condition (392.3,4,5). If passengers are present, again explain the purpose of the inspection and how it will be conducted.

STEP 3   Collect Driver’s Documents: Collect the driver’s license (391.11(b)(7)), medical examiner’s certificate (391.41) and waiver (391.49), record of duty status (395.8), documentation of periodic inspection (396.17), and trip envelope.

STEP 4   Interview The Driver: Talk to the driver about the trip.

STEP 5   Identify The Carrier

STEP 6   Examine Commercial Driver’s License (CDL): Check the expiration date, birthdate, proper class and/or endorsements, and status (383.153).

STEP 7   Check Medical Examiner’s Certificate & Waiver: Ensure documents are current and signed (certificate and waiver are valid for 24 months unless otherwise specified). Check requirements for corrective lenses and/or hearing aids (391.43&49).

STEP 8   Check Record Of Duty Status: Check for violations of the 10,15, and 60/70 rules; and check accuracy, currency, and last seven days of logbook (395.8)

STEP 9   Review Vehicle Inspection Report: Check the periodic inspection report (396.17).

STEP 10 Check Passenger Area: Check standee line (393.90), standee line sign (393.90), floor (393.84), seats (393.91), windows (393.62&63), emergency doors (393.92), and emergency exit access (393.9(c)(3)).

STEP 11 Check Driver’s Compartment: Check the driver’s seatbelt (392.16), low air pressure warning device (393.51), and steering wheel lash and column (393.209).

STEP 12 Inspect The Front Of The Motorcoach: Check headlights, turn signals, emergency flashers (all lamps 393.9&11), windshield wipers (393.78), and windshield (393.60).

STEP 13 Inspect Rear Of Motorcoach: Check exhaust system (393.83); tail, stop, and turn lamps; and emergency flashers (393.9&11).

STEP 14 Inspect Left Side Of Motorcoach: Check wheels and rims (393.205), tires (393.75), and fuel caps (393.65).

STEP 15 Inspect Right Side Of Motorcoach: Check wheels and rims (393.205) and tires (393.75).

STEP 16 Place Inspection Ramps: Place ramps either in front of or behind the wheels, as appropriate. Direct the driver to drive carefully up the ramps and stop at the top. Insert chock blocks at the front and rear of the right drive wheels. Instruct the driver to release the brakes and turn off the engine.

STEP 17 Inspect The Undercarriage: Check the steering system (393.209), front and rear suspension (393.207), front and rear brakes (393.48), frame (393.201), fuel tank (393.67), and drive shaft (393.89).

STEP 18 Air Loss Rate: If a leak is suspected, check air loss rate with air reservoir at 80 or 90 PSI and full brakes applied. Pressure should be maintained or increased (393.50).

STEP 19 Check For Presence Of Hazardous Materials: Motorcoaches transporting hazardous materials are subject to the same regulations as a truck plus additional requirements (177.870).

STEP 20 Complete The Inspection: Complete all paperwork. Return documents to the driver. Explain violations to the driver. Direct driver off ramps.

STEP 21 Take Appropriate Enforcement Action: Refer to out-of-service criteria. Inform passengers of the necessary action and arrangements. Reinspect repaired vehicle.

STEP 22 Apply CVSA Decal: If the vehicle passes, apply CVSA decal on passenger door window as close to inspector’s eye level as possible (393.17(c)2).

Electronic Log Devices

For, the following, I asked our provider Saucon Technologies and Mike McDonal for a few key points. We have used Saucon for the past five years, and when it was time to comply with the new FMSCA laws on ELDs, it only made sense to continue working with our provider who has helped us with our GPS/IFTA fuel reports. We look forward to adding more technology as we continue to grow and our needs for more safety measure increase. As of April 1, the FMCSA extra learning period ended. If you are still having problems with your ELD’S or have not installed them, you need HELP! For more information on Saucon contact Mike Deeb at (484) 241-2514.

  • Choose the right provider.
  • How many of their customers are your type of company? (most are truck-based and struggle with the different hours of service rules).
  • Are they hardwired or Bluetooth connected; many companies are having significant Bluetooth connectivity issues on buses.
  • What about after the sale support and backing up the product?
  • What other telematics services can your provider do for you and grow with you at what cost?
  • Training for drivers and admins is key. Who will do it and how often does training need to be updated?
  • The hours of service regulations have not changed. We still drive 10 and on duty 15 and work no more than 70 in an eight-day period. Most importantly, get eight hours off between report times to reset those clocks.
  • Company policies for drivers and staff to comply with all of the new items that come in the regulation to include coercion and harassment.
  • Technology policies that spell out discipline if anyone tampers with technologies on the bus.
  • How to communicate to customers that if trips may have done a particular way for years, they can no longer do the same ways in the electronic world.

When all is done, ELD should stand for Easier Life for Drivers.

Tom Holden is the GM/operations manager of Rose Chauffeured Transportation in Charlotte, N.C. He can be reached at [email protected]

Related Topics: buses, ELDs, federal regulations, FMCSA, industry regulations, motorcoaches, passenger safety, regulatory enforcement, Safety, safety inspections, vehicle safety

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