Discussion on Vehicle Maintenance
Our CNS Spotlight for the month of June is on Rohrer’s Quarry Inc. and their vehicle maintenance practices. With the CVSA Roadcheck Blitz on June 4th – 6th focusing on steering and suspension, we decided to ask Ryan Zimmerman, VP of Rohrer’s Service Center, a division of Rohrer’s Quarry his thoughts on how he maintains his fleet. Rohrer’s Quarry has a fleet of 51 power units and does a great job in maintaining their fleet. Below is the Q&A and some great insight from a company that does it the right way.
Rohrer’s Quarry Inc. has been a staple of Lancaster County, and the Lititz community for many generations now. Rohrer’s came from humble beginnings in the 1800’s to the thriving business it is today and has been family owned and operated since 1937. Ryan, who has been with Rohrer’s since 1997 handling their fleet maintenance, knows the importance of keeping his vehicles in great shape and in good working order.
Q1. With the upcoming Road check focused on steering and suspension systems what should a driver look for to make sure they are compliant?
A thorough pre-trip can catch most issues before the DOT inspector can. Pay close attention to the easy things an officer can pick out. Check for broken springs or loose hardware and U-bolts in the suspension, look for rust trails or shined-up components, an indication of shifting front and back. With the engine off, check the steering shaft from column to steering gear box; there should be no play in shaft or u-joints. Start the engine and rotate steering shaft back and forth and observe the drag link and tie rod ends you can see from the left side, looking for loose components. Look for power steering system leaks and rubbed or frayed hoses.
Q2. What do you see as the most common defects in steering and suspension systems?
The most over looked component is the steering gear input shaft. Any play in this component is non-compliant with the DOT. Another common defect if you are operating a vocational truck in rough jobsites, the suspension springs will get weak and break over time.
Q3. How often do you recommend drivers check for defects in steering and suspension systems?
I feel it is a good practice to check steering and suspension systems at the start of every shift with your pre-trip. Not only will it give you peace of mind in the event of a DOT inspection, this check also allows you to get to your destination and back home safely and without a roadside service call.
Q4. How often should a truck come in for preventive maintenance?
How often your truck requires maintenance depends mostly on how it is being used. Is your truck in a vocational, city, or over-the-road application? All truck manufactures have specific service guidelines based on fuel consumption and idle/PTO time that will give a description of normal, heavy or severe duty. It can be calculated by engine hours or mileage; this is generally 500 – 1300 hours or 5,000 – 45,000 miles. If you are unsure of how often to seek preventative maintenance ask your local independent service provider or dealership, they will partner with you to fit your application and needs. Know your truck and take care of it, it will provide reliable service to you.
Q5. What are the key items that should be checked for during a preventive maintenance check in?
A lot of roadside/breakdown issues and DOT issues can be addressed during PMs. This is an area where it can be costly to cut corners. These are some of the key items you or your service provider should be checking:
- Brakes; lining adjustment, automatic brake slack operation, wheel seals, cracks and hardware issues
- Steering/Suspension; Springs/air bags, Kingpins, wheel bearings/seals, steering links
- Oil level checks and lube necessary brake, steering and suspension components, and check for fluid leaks, filters and fluids that need replaced
- Belts and hoses, tire condition, exhaust leaks, and general operation of truck.
We want to thank Ryan and Rohrer’s for their time and insight on this topic. All in all, it pays to be Proactive and get ahead of any issues that are in question. Any questions about your Vehicle Maintenance, feel free to reach out to CNS at email@example.com
“Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”
Speeding and unsafe driving will be the focus this year during the CVSA Safe Driver Week held between July 14th and 20th.
This year’s focus comes from NHTSA’s 2015 report regarding Traffic Safety Facts. NHTSA states that 94 percent of all traffic crashes are caused by Drivers’ actions. More reporting from NHTSA in 2017 reveals that speeding was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities, just under 10,000 lives lost due to speeding.
2018 Operation Safe Driver Week
Last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week produced just under 17,000 citations for passenger carriers and slightly under 2,000 citations for commercial motor carriers.
What will law enforcement look for?
Law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers engaging in unsafe driving behaviors and will be pulling over drivers to issue a warning and/or citation.
It has been reported that the use issuance of citations, although very unpopular with Commercial Drivers, does have an effect on driver behavior. A study conducted in 2014 states that a 1 percent increase in citations issued led to a 28 percent reduction in motor vehicle crashes.
This reduction in crashes is a major reason law enforcement has backed and promoted CVSA’s focus on speeding and the message, “Late won’t kill you, speeding will.”
Landscapers Beware! DOT will be doing spot checks and roadsides this spring and summer looking for trucks and trailers without the proper weight combinations, DOT numbers, medical cards and insurance requirements. DOT knows this is the time of year that companies avoiding regulation will be out operating. The DOT is doing more than just occasional checks, they are hunting the non compliant companies. Don’t wait until your driver is suspended and you have costly fines adding up, because it doesn’t just stop there… The more your company exposes roadside violations the more likely your company will be picked for a DOT audit.
Common questions and notes for Landscaper Outfits:
Remember any PA Intrastate Carriers operating a CMV over 17,001lbs gross vehicle weight rating or combination are required to have a US DOT number.
Interstate carriers operating a CMV over 10,001lbs gross vehicle weight rating or combination are required to have a US DOT number.
Interstate carriers are required to file their UCR by May 2019.
Anyone driving a CMV (vehicle with DOT # on the side) is required to fill out a Driver Qualification File, which basically states that the driver is fit and qualified to drive the CMV.
DOT drivers are required to have a medical card.
Anyone driving a CMV gvwr or combination weight over 26,001lbs should have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL)
All CDL drivers must be enrolled into a random drug and alcohol consortium and have taken a Pre-Employment Drug Test prior to driving for any company or must have been previously enrolled in a Drug and Alcohol Consortium for at least a year or have had a negative drug result within the last 6 months in order to omit the pre-employment test.
These are the most common issues discovered during audits for Landscape Outfits .
For more questions visit us at : http://www.cnsprotects.com/DOT requirements
Meet Michael, our newest Account Manager.
Mike enjoys spending time with his wife and son, lifting weights, hiking, reading, and video games.
Mike’s favorite food …. Pizza!
Favorite Vacation spot… Captiva Island (Florida)
He has a German Shepard named Phoenix and a Yellow Lab named Barkley.
His favorite movie(s)…. Lord of the Rings trilogy
His favorite TV show is ….. Seinfeld (a CNS favorite)
Stop in to say hello to Michael and if you are a Proactive Safety Management client you will be hearing from him soon enough!
Meet Hoyt, our new Project Coordinator.
Hoyt’s favorite hobbies and pastimes include spending time with his wife Melanie, son Rhys and daughter Karys. He enjoys playing fantasy football, reading, working out and wrestling(especially Penn State’s team)
Favorite Food…. is 5 Guys – Burgers and Fries, as well as Pizza!
His Favorite Vacation spot…… is going to the NCAA wrestling championships each year..
Hoyt has one cat named Max and a turtle named Flash.
Favorite Movies…. To name a few among many favorites… Mad Max- Fury Road, The Big Lebowski, and Requiem for a Dream.
His Favorite TV show is….. Real Time with Bill Maher
If you do not survive a DOT Safety Audit- Compliance Review, you may be looking forward to meeting Hoyt sooner than you think!