All That's Trucking

Helping Truckers Break the Law

April 28, 2014

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In the weeks before the Mid-America Trucking Show, my email is awash with invitations from companies who are introducing new products and want to set up an appointment to talk about it. One such invitation got me hot under the collar.

A major electronics supplier announced it was returning to the show with a stealth radar detector. I'm not going to say who it was because I'm not going to give them the free publicity.

I have a serious problem with the whole notion of truckers and radar detectors. The purpose of a radar detector is to allow you to break the law, i.e., exceed the speed limit.

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Yes, I realize that there are speed traps that will nab you for going just a few mph over an artificially slow speed limit that you get absolutely no warning about. But does that justify breaking not only the speed limit law but also a federal law banning the use of such devices by truckers?

That's right, the federal government banned the use of radar detectors by interstate truckers (vehicles over 18,000 pounds) back in 1993.

So, maybe the company is only targeting local/regional drivers who aren't affected by the interstate trucking ban? Nope. According to their press release, the device is "critical for over-the-road drivers" and is "completely undetectable to any radar detector detector."

I've got a similar issue with an app that's now available to help drivers know when weigh stations are open. Why would you need to know when a weigh station is open unless you are trying to avoid them? Why would you need to avoid them if you're running legally and your equipment is well-maintained?

I'm sure some who read this will disagree with me. If you're one of them, I ask you, are you also someone who is sick and tired of the general public having a negative stereotype of truckers? This is exactly the kind of thing that continues to perpetuate the poor image of the American trucker.

Comments

  1. 1. Toni C. [ April 28, 2014 @ 08:22AM ]

    There is a market for everything. Drugs are illegal and widely available. They just aren't allowed to advertise. Thanks for sticking to your guns and not entertaining the company that sells the units.

  2. 2. Kenny Scott [ April 29, 2014 @ 05:22AM ]

    Back in the day Cops used Radar detectors as a Saftey tool , such as in the fog to warn of an up coming slow down or just to slow people down , they used fake signals also in bad areas to slow traffic down. The only reason they are illegal now is not an safety issuse it is because Sen Frank Lautenberg hated trucks and it was a pay back for a slow down in which truckers successfully Kept
    the FHUT from going from $200 to $3000. That is the last trucker action I can remember that did good and the only reson your FHUT is still $550. As far as trucker image the reason it is bad is because large companies hire bad people. Also the pay sucks and when people do not have enough money in their pocket they don't have pride so there goes the Image.

  3. 3. Big Yellower [ April 29, 2014 @ 07:21AM ]

    The ironic things it's illegal to own a radar/laser detector/jammer in WA. State. But, you can buy them at every Electronics store.. I do what app he's refering to for scale bypass . There are several Weigh Stations in the national network that have officers that tend to break a lot of federal laws. Having knowledge on them is quite helpful and advoiding them by using Alt routes that are legal for all forms of transportation. Us as Drivers should not have to put with billergerent, ignorant, arrogant, so called law enforcement individuals who break the law and make up the law when they want too, while operating a Weigh Station.. I use Pre-Pass and don't have issues with Scales. Since Pre-Pass is tied to CSA Scores. I've only had 15 redlights in 4 Years. Anyways the law reads " only required to cross a Weigh Station if it falls within 5 miles on route traveled." The ironic part is the most of the interstate Bypass them legally..

  4. 4. Jason [ April 29, 2014 @ 08:06AM ]

    I get the weigh station thing. It's a hassle and wastes time, even when you are legal -- especially with the new HoS rules being so restrictive on time as it is. But you are absolutely right about the radar detectors.

  5. 5. Brad [ April 29, 2014 @ 04:45PM ]

    The rule states that any tire with less than 50% of it's maximum inflation capacity is flat. When the weigh station operator makes the driver (me) leave the trailer at the weigh station because it has 55 psi (only thing wrong with the combination), this is unreasonable. The unit was not loaded, and the home shop is fifty miles away. This is 2:00 AM and the driver (me) has jury duty at 8:00 AM. I had the means to inflate the tire on-site. This option was refused by the man with the badge. My options were to wait until the tire companies service trucks came to work or come back with another tire. The weigh station operator was duly addressed with the proper "Yes sir, and no sir" preferred politeness. This is one of many reasons weigh stations are avoided and their personnel scorned.

  6. 6. John [ April 29, 2014 @ 06:48PM ]

    The people that need the radar detecters, scanners, drugs, and/or whatever else, don't give a hoot about the negative stereotype of the trucking industry.

  7. 7. master [ April 30, 2014 @ 04:01PM ]

    Shame on you. The first o/o I ever drove for had a radar detector that alerted me 2 miles ahead of a fog bank where he was involved in a pile up with his radar still on. I saved lives because of a radar detector. That was 30 years ago and I still use one. Lives saved and license protected when thugs write for revenue 2miles over. Don't like it? Shove it.

  8. 8. Truckermike [ April 30, 2014 @ 11:31PM ]

    Guess she will need to include CB manufactures also.They are used to see where the speed traps are as well as if the scales are open, right? It promotes speeding and running illegal by her logic . I for one run legal but have had bad run ins with over zealous Dot officers in weigh stations that have cost me time and money for silly infractions. One example was my 53 foot trailer tandems being legal for Ca (where the load originated) but too short for the Cumberland MD scales.. After a full inspection and couldn't find a thing wrong He said I was too far from rear bumper. Cost me 175 dollars for the fine. Another example is the Mojave CA scales where my wife was told our trailer running lights pulsed with 4 ways on. That cost us 300 for road repair at 3 am ( mechanic found nothing wrong but told the officer he fixed it so we could leave) and a 75 dollar fix it ticket. That one also caused us to have a late delivery that cost my company a fine for their line being shutdown for 1 hour. Here's an example of why I want to know where the police are. My wife was driving on Highway 99 in kern county CA. She moved to the middle lane to allow traffic on an entrance ramp. After traffic cleared she moved back to the right. She was pulled over by the ChP. She was ticketed for being in the middle lane for more than 30 seconds. That one was 225 dollars ! Btw I won't change lanes to let traffic on in CA any longer.I have many examples over my 22 years of driving but I'll stop there. So yes I want to know if the scales are open and where the police are. It saves me time and money as well as my csa score.

  9. 9. William [ May 01, 2014 @ 08:32AM ]

    It is this type of blatent diregard for the law that gives all truck drivers, trucking companies and the industry a black eye. I was a driver for 27years and never recieved a citation because my dad was a CVEO in the area I drove in and he educated me as to what was expected of me as his son, and as a driver. I tried to be the best so i didn't have to deal with him...I understnad that many companies pay their drivers by the mile to motivate them to be efficient and not muck around but this mentality is the real reason for needing technology to break the law. If the truck is not moving the driver can't make a decent living. Change the pay structure of our industry and there will be no need to try and beat the system...Just my opinion. Thank you...

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Author Bio

Deborah Lockridge

Editor in Chief

All That's Trucking blog is just that – the editor's take on anything and everything related to trucking, with the help of guest posts from other HDT editors. Author Deborah Lockridge's career as an award-winning trucking journalist started in 1990.

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