Can You Fuel and Pretrip — At The Same Time?


Can a driver fuel and pre-trip at the same time?

Background facts:

Activities of truck drivers are regulated by DOT rules. When not driving, a driver is covered by OSHA rules.

OSHA rules require a safe working environment and incorporate NFPA Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code.

Some municipalities have also enacted various rules against leaving your vehicle unattended while pumping fuel.

“Can a driver fuel and pre-trip at the same time?”

Simple answer — a driver may not — because even if not illegal, per se, to do so, he would not be in a position to attend to the fueling, if checking things out at the same time.

(1.) Most fuel pumps have signs posted — instructing fuel pump operators not to overfill gas tanks or leave them unattended while fueling.

(2.) Some local fire chiefs have issued fines for leaving a fuel hose unattended while fueling.

(3.) Even if there are no local rules prohibiting the practice, a company could be cited by OSHA for a “de minimis violation.” De minimis violations are violations of existing OSHA standards that have no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health. This is a kind of a warning.

A reasonable person should conclude by the above that a driver could: pre-trip and then fuel the truck.

Both practices are considered “on-duty” activities, so when filling out the logsheet, the driver may lump the two together and write in remarks: “Pretrip & Fuel.”

Company policy may differ from the above, so always follow company policy or the law, whichever is the higher standard.