North Dakota Highway Patrol puts 35 pickup drivers out of service

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | 5/15/2013

A commercial motor vehicle enforcement effort in North Dakota resulted in more than 100 citations and 35 drivers ordered out of service, according to a spokesman for the highway patrol’s office.

Troopers from across the state traveled to western North Dakota near U.S. Highway 83 and Interstate 94 last week to conduct a saturation patrol. Sgt. Mitch Rumple said the goal of the three-day effort was to identify and remove drivers from behind the wheel who were operating CMVs without proper training and licensing authority.

“Since the oil boom caught our state, there’s been a huge influx of commercial vehicle traffic of all sizes in western North Dakota,” he said. “Through our safety efforts, we’ve had concentrated patrols. The mission is to make sure the roads are safe for everyone.”

Rumple said the 35 drivers ordered out of service in the latest patrol were all pickup drivers, hauling trailers or equipment that exceeded gross vehicle weight limits. Pickup trucks pulling trailers where the gross vehicle weight exceeds 26,001 pounds require the driver to have either a Class A CDL if the trailer is over 10,000 pounds, or Class B CDL if the combination was over 26,000 pounds, but the trailer weighs less than 10,000 pounds.

“There seems to be a lot of confusion throughout the motor carrier industry and the general public about what weight is used in determining whether a CDL is required,” Rumple said. “It’s not how much the vehicle weighs that determines if a CDL is required. It’s the manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight rating. That is what we use.”

In addition to the license violations, Rumple said the patrol issued citations for other infractions, including logbook violations, hours-of-service violations, medical certificates and seatbelt violations. On each stop a driver-vehicle inspection report was undertaken as well. Patrolmen issued more than 200 violations from the inspections, many of them of the equipment variety.

The North Dakota Highway Patrol has noticed an increase in the number of CMVs being driven by operators who have not passed the necessary knowledge and skills tests for the class of vehicle they are operating. These violations occur more frequently in western North Dakota, as the demand for truck drivers is high.

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