There’s one rule in trucking: keep the wheels moving.
If a truck is stopped or disabled on the road or even on the side of the road, it can become a road hazard and, as such, the driver has a duty to warn motorists of its presence.
Failing to use hazard warning flashers §392.22(a) is one CSA Violation Severity point for Unsafe Driving. This citation is often paired with Failing/improper placement of warning devices §392.22(b) which racks up two more CSA Violation Severity points.
Trucking companies and other motor carriers are racking up dozens of CSA points by drivers positioned on the side of the road or in a breakdown lane without using their hazard warning flashers or properly placing their warning devices (such as safety triangles).
The regulations are clear: §392.22 says:
(a) Hazard warning signal flashers. Whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped upon the traveled portion of a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle shall immediately activate the vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section. The flashing signals shall be used during the time the warning devices are picked up for storage before movement of the commercial motor vehicle. The flashing lights may be used at other times while a commercial motor vehicle is stopped in addition to, but not in lieu of, the warning devices required by paragraph (b) of this section.
(b) . . . place the warning devices required by § 393.95 of this subchapter, in the following manner:
(i) One on the traffic side of and 4 paces (approximately 3 meters or 10 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;
(ii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction of approaching traffic; and
(iii) One at 40 paces (approximately 30 meters or 100 feet) from the stopped commercial motor vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the commercial motor vehicle and in the direction away from approaching traffic.
The above diagram appears in your state’s CDL manual.
The regs say the warning devices should be placed within 10 minutes of the stop. The reality is that safety triangles should be placed as soon as the vehicle is secure (brakes are set), especially at night or near well-lit backgrounds which can obscure a truck. Half-awake or impaired drivers have a tendency to line up with the vehicle ahead, often with tragic results. So put on the emergency flashers and get those warning devices out there any time your commercial vehicle is stopped on or next to the roadway.
Breakdown or Stopping Summary
Ensure drivers put on their hazard warning flashers and properly place their warning devices, if stopped on, next to, or near the roadway.
Ensure every commercial vehicle (over 10,001 pounds GVWR or 26,001 pounds GVWR, depending on your state) has at least three warning devices as safety triangles secured in the cab or on the vehicle.
Review with your drivers the regulations, company policies and driver’s manuals for §392.22 requirements on a periodic basis.
Thanks for reading this. Have a safe day.
John Taratuta, Risk Engineer, (989) 474-9599