Far too often truck drivers look at DOT and scale officers as rivals. This week maybe even more so as we drivers find themselves in the midst of CVSA Roadcheck 2016. The thing of it is, though, safety on the roads is important. Enforcement of laws and regulations is vital to the trucking industry and safety on the roads. Drivers and companies should strive for safety and be in compliance at all times. If you are driving safe, legal equipment then there should not be a conflict of interest when working with DOT.
You don’t always get pulled in because something appears to be wrong with your truck. Sometimes drivers give DOT officials a reason, like tailgating and speeding through the scale. While you have a job to do and you don’t like scales because they eat into your driving time, you can’t rush the process. Rushing leads to looking suspicious and getting pulled in.
Here are a few tips to make your life easier at the scales.
Don’t Tail Gate
Part of not getting pulled in is not giving them a reason to pull you in. Stay at least 100 feet from the truck in front of you. It’s not a race. If you look like you have bad habits, say like tailgating, they may want to see what other bad or unsafe habits you have. Most scales have the signs instructing drivers stay 100 ft apart and obeying all signs, posted at a scale, is a good idea.
Don’t Speed Through the Scales
Every scale has posted speed limits. Obviously your not going to tear over the scale. But if you’re in the bypass lane, or on the approach to the scale, you may get a little careless if no one is in front of you.
Be Polite and Professional
When you do get pulled in, be polite and professional. No matter what – be polite and professional.
Most of the time DOT officers are professional and if you have a positive attitude everything will be fine. If they are less than professional, and you return the attitude, they can waste a lot of your time.
Many times if they look hard enough, they can find little things wrong with your log book or truck. It doesn’t take much, so don’t motivate them to show you who’s boss.
We should always be in compliance and legal; scales shouldn’t be a big deal. DOT officers will see hundreds of trucks – they’ll pull in the ones which they notice or stand out. Just blend in and act normal.
Working with DOT helps keep our roadways safer and if you are a safe driver, there is nothing to worry about.