Wednesday, April 1, 2009

My neck size? Excuse me?

Over the past few days, Land Line Now on Sirius XM radio has been reporting on the fatigue driving evaluation checklist, a tool used by patrol officers in two states to determine whether truckers are “fatigued.” The special series is written and voiced by Host Mark Reddig. And it’s created quite a stir.

The fatigue questionnaire is in use by Minnesota and Indiana state police, and in both states it’s voluntary.

The list was created by Captain Ken Urquhart, a District Commander with the State Police with the Commercial Enforcement Division.

It wants to know details like what is your neck size, do you have a TV, cell phone, computer inside the sleeper, and so on. Is there a pet in the truck? Is there a full wastebasket? Do you have reading material? Empty soda cans present? Do you have dental problems?

Urquhart has been part of Commercial Enforcement since 1997, roughly 12 years. Mark says in the interest of fairness, he wanted to give Urquhart the chance to respond to some of the concerns others had raised about the checklist, and about the process that checklist is part of.

So Mark called the captain for a talk. I had the opportunity to preview the interviews Mark did for the show. The last one I did as I ate lunch at my desk, and twice nearly choked on a French fry. Aside from the checklist being ridiculous in its assumptions, truckers often are unaware that they’re going through an interview process that can result in an OOS tag or big fine.

I’m simply speechless.

So part three airs Wednesday night. Meanwhile, OOIDA continues to get calls from truckers who say they are not fatigued, and who do have hours on their logbook to drive, but who are being put out of service for getting too many checkmarks on the list and the process that goes with it.

Tomorrow, Mark says Land Line Now will wrap up the series on the fatigued driving checklist – which also is being used in Indiana – with a look at consequences. And he tells me he will look at the case of another trucker who had a permissible medical condition that ended up being used against him by an officer using the checklist.

If you have satellite radio, you just can’t miss this one. That’s Sirius Channel 147 and XM 171, 7-8 p.m. and 11 p.m.-12 a.m. EST.

You’ll be speechless, too. Or maybe not.


  1. The one BIG thing that all truckers can count on is that State DOTs and FMSCA are working overtime to find new ways to control every aspect of a trucker's life! It's easy for the gov't to convince the general public that these rules are for their best interest because those big vehicles cause almost all of the accidents. If you read any news story about an accident involving a trucker, it is almost always slanted to make it appear that the fault is with the trucker, whether it is or not!

    This "Checklist" is yet another form of discrimination being used to penalize truckers. The bigger questions are: Is there any legality to this questionaire? What happens if you don't answer? Hey truckers, there are some things that you DON'T have to answer when stopped. You need to find out what they are so you don't get yourself in a pickle!!!

    All I can say is that we have two choices: we can sit back and take it; OR, we can unite to fight this kind of "class warfare." So far the other side is winning so decide soon or watch your profession be regulated into oblivion!!!

  2. This "list" is totally stupid! Yes, I have a cell phone, I have a laptop computer, and my waste basket is full - because I didn't throw it out on the side other road! But I will think twice about littering in their state if it is going to be held against me now.

    What a stupid concept! Anyone that would make a stupid list like that should be taken off the force. This will be challenged in court I am sure, and done away with.

  3. I think this is absolutely INSANE!!!! What is it with people constantly trying to bring down the men and women that help keep our country moving??? I'm so sick of this stuff. And worst of all its usually people that have absolutely no idea what all is involved with trucking. I think they should take those check lists and have a big bon fire with them. That man has got way too much time on his hands!!!!

  4. Just one more example of the powers that be trying to stick it to the little man. The trucking industry has been going down hill since deregulation, especially for the owner operator.

  5. One thing to remember is the phrase:

    I decline to answer that question and I am invoking my fifth amendment rights

  6. I guess we are all going to have to have a lawyer ride shot gun with us.

    I have a cell phone, have a dog, have a full waste baskeit, bad teeth, need a shave, and I have been a over the road drive almost 40 years. If I was a DOT guy for 40 years nobody would question anything I do or say. Would they?

  7. Sure sometimes I have a full trash can, and need a shave . . . it's because I opted to sleep instead of taking care of some "minor" housekeeping in my rig. How in the world can that equate to my being fatigued . . . sometimes I just think that these officers are just nuts and that we really are living in the Communist States of America.

  8. Does the DOT have the right to look in your truck, without a warrant? Can we,as drivers, refuse to allow anybody to enter our "home area" the sleeper. When I present my logbook to DOT it is a legal document I have prepared that states what I have done. If the DOT officer wishes to contest my paperwork then issue me a legal document of his own, and we will each present our cases in a court, to a judge, and sort it out.

  9. Well here we go again. Someone with a political agenda trying to make brownie points. When are we going to wake up and demand our 14th amendment rights. If they do this to every vehicle driver guess how long there actions would continue.

  10. Is there a link to where we can view this list? I would love to see it..

  11. ok I found it.. Here a a link to a pdf brochure where this captain is se3lling a telephone seminar on the subject... have fun with this one guys.

  12. Mark, Jim & Todd & Sandi, Joe - all you crazy OOIDA people, Thank God we have you to expose this insane stuff. Get it out in the light of public scrutiny. Ive been listening to the show. Get after them, Mark!!!!! Im with Joe. ITS A BUNCH OF CRAP.

  13. If you have sleep apnea and were placed OOS by MN using this analysis tool you NEED to call OOIDA.

    I had looked into the checklist before Land Line ran the series. I tried to file a complaint with the Special Litigation Section of the US Department of Justice. This is the entity that handles complaints on Ameicans with Disabilities Act compliance for law enforcement agencies.

    MN even asking if you have sleep apnea is a violation of the ADA.

    But, since I personally was not affected by the discrimination of MN in asking about sleep apnea I can not file a complaint.

    SO.. If you have sleep apnea and were placed OOS by MN after going through the checklist

    CALL OOIDA!!!!!

    I would love to help you draft a complaint letter to USDOJ on the topic.

    Bob Stanton
    (just a truck driver with sleep apnea)

  14. This one just might land me in jail after 30+ year out on the road this just goes beyond safty being raised my law enforcement officers i was tought to respect the police officer but i will plaed the 5TH and refuse to answer and where go form there is up to him.

  15. I am now ashamed to say I am from MN. I was paranoid about going over the b.s. 24hr scales on I-94wb coming from Wisconsin, and now I know why. Who of us out here on the road keep their trucks immaculate and w/o any of the items listed on the checklist? I would venture to say not many. OOIDA, I hope you take the state of MN and the State Patrol trucker nazis to court over this.

  16. Its really sad what states and fmsca are trying to do. the check list is crap.let alone this crap FMCSA Medical Review Board.let em put the bmi in there i will be the first one to jump and sue them.we need to stop this insanity or alot of us maybe out of jobs.

    Fitness for duty matrix
    The rule would require drivers who have either a condition or meet one of a long list of medical criteria to increase their DOT physicals or be barred from driving altogether.

    The matrix would punish drivers who exhibit more than one of the following conditions:

    •diabetes (medicinally treated),
    •cardiovascular disease,
    •obstructive sleep apnea,
    •a Body Mass Index of 35 or greater (A 5-foot-8 inch tall male weighing 230 pounds has a BMI of 35),
    •opioid or benzodiazepine use,
    •renal disease,
    •pulmonary disease,
    •musculoskeletal disease requiring medical surgical or prosthetic treatment,
    •requirement for visual exemption (vision not meeting 20-40 after corrective lenses),
    •major psychiatric illness, and
    •“other conditions as identified by FMCSA.”

  17. While I have every respect for the State Patrol working to keep the roads safe for everyone and recognize the need to keep our industry "honest". I have to take issue with the Police Officer who has taken it upon himself to create a checklist that he is not qualified to produce.

    Something like this makes no more sense than the current hours of service regulations but at least the HOS was dreamed up by qualified people. Does Officer Urquhart have a medical degree? Perhaps a degree is sleep studies? Somehow I doubt it.

    If the questionaire is voluntary then nobody should volunteer, simple.

    Paul Stallibrass

  18. as far as i can tell this list of things that these officers are asking drivers amounts to the same thing as racial profiling except its profession profiling. didnt we go through the same thing with a man named mccarthy how can you convict someone with just suspicion i thought we had some rights as americans i guess that dont count if you drive a truck for a living . your guilty untill proven innocent. that is if you can afford to go to court . signed Ed 37 years of pratice on the road

  19. i think its time for a class action law suit against these states to stop this insanity.Cause if we dont stand up now or we have all had it. stop the insanity

  20. The problem with this insanity, is that when it becomes entrenched, drivers with real medical problems will try and "hide" their conditions, for fear of job loss. I recall an old driver who was a type 2 insulin dependant diabetic, but kept good control. He didn't tell his company for years and used another Dr in another state, with a fake id. The DOT piss test showed nothing, so he got away with it. The whole point being, if this becomes law, there will be MORE accidents not less as they claim.


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