SPECIAL REPORT: Safety Month success - Lawyers say logbook violations virtually nonexistent

| 6/6/2003

The best sign of how well OOIDA’s June Safety Month effort is going may not be what is happening – it may be what isn’t happening.

Jeff McConnell and James Mennella of Road Law, a firm that handles trucking court cases across the country, get 15 to 20 calls every week from truckers fighting citations for violating out-of-service orders.

That is, until two weeks ago.

Those phone calls have come to a near standstill, the two attorneys said, as the first of June approached. And they haven’t picked up since.

“There’s so many guys in such good compliance these days, that Jeff and James are sitting there twiddling their thumbs,” Rick Craig, regulatory affairs director at OOIDA, joked.

“We check the lines to make sure we’ve still got a dial tone,” McConnell threw in.

The two attorneys think the drop in calls is directly linked to the number of truckers who started to run compliant as June approached.

“It appears that everybody really took it to heart and said I will make a stand, I will try to comply, I will help out my fellow driver by complying with my rules and regs,” McConnell said. “If they’re not violated, it’s tough to get a ticket for it.”

The firm had 13 inquiries from across the country about logbook violations or citations for violating an out-of-service order in the first week of April. Of those, eight retained the firm. The first week of May, the firm received 18 calls; six of those truckers retained the firm.

“The first week of June so far, we’ve had four calls, and two have retained us,” McConnell said. “Both were for violating out-of-service. We’ve had no ‘duty status not current’ or logbook violations come through here.”

The firm did not get any additional calls Thursday. And while McConnell does expect a wave of phone calls Friday afternoon, he doesn’t expect that by the end of that day, this week will come close to measuring up to the number of calls the firm normally receives.

“It’s amazingly significant; it’s almost a 90 percent drop in ‘duty status not current’ violations,” he said. “I think the word definitely got out.”

--by Mark H. Reddig, associate editor

Mark Reddig can be reached at mark_reddig@landlinemag.com.