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Tires_ Logs _ Safety - 1 TIRES_

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									                                     TIRES, LOGS & SAFETY

There’s abundant confusion and often raging controversy regarding the amount of time a driver is required
to utilize for ensuring safety before making a trip, during the trip and at the conclusion of the day’s driving.
Nonetheless, before going into the details let’s examine a few basics that lead up to this daily situation.

This effort starts with dispatch calling the homes of John and Jane to make a non-stop team/sleeper run
from their Houston terminal to Phoenix and return.

These two drivers have made similar drop and hook runs, but seldom knew whom their co-drivers would
be. Therefore, they are accustomed to the irregular hours that dispatch may call them, as well as the bizarre
circumstances they may find themselves confronted with. Consequently, they do what all drivers do in
similar working conditions – they sleep as much as possible, and wait for the phone to ring.

It’s half past midnight and the phone rings at each driver’s home. They are informed as to where the load is
going and to report for duty at 2:45AM. So, they each get ready by gathering-up trip necessities and while
flying around the house they grab something to eat on their way out the door.

Usually a couple hours warning is sufficient to get all the home chores taken care of and still be at the
terminal in plenty of time. But, as life usually is there are often extenuating circumstances that demand
immediate attention -- like children, spouses, and a myriad of last minute chores. Sometimes these little
things add up making it difficult to arrive for work on time. But what else is new? After all, this is the life
of a professional driver.

Now that the 1st mad dash has been completed and both drivers have arrived – they clock in. Next, they’re
handed the paper work (manifest) and it’s checked for discrepancies and logbook notations begin. Before
proceeding further they get their gear stowed and the bunk made. One or both conduct a Pre-Trip
Inspection. Still and all, it’s the actual driver’s responsibility to make sure that the rig is ready and safe to
roll. Besides, the other driver is supposedly getting into bed to make sure that when it comes time to drive
all is well both mentally and physically.

This sounds simple, but it’s actually not. Normally, both drivers have had sleep and are wide-eyed and
bushy-tailed. Or, neither has had enough sleep and are both tired. Yet, one of them is expected to
immediately hit the sack and instantly fall asleep, while the other gleefully drives down the road on full
alert. Naturally, this arrangement can sometimes be a distressing system. Furthermore, this type of
consistent performance I believe is a built in treadmill of constant stress, which can contribute to over-all
driver performance. But, like the 1800’s “pony express” the load must get through regardless of
circumstances that inevitably challenge all drivers every day.

Usually, and because drivers have chosen this life style they don’t complain -- they just grit their teeth or
bite their tongues. Normally, before driving they ask each other who has had the least sleep so the other can
start driving. Yet, as is often the case and regardless who drives or sleeps first - both are in the cab as the
rig strolls down the road. Therefore, the person who’s supposed to be in the sleeper and noted such in the
logbook has begun falsifying reality.

Before getting too far ahead of myself, let’s examine what takes place before leaving company property
and while the rig is setting at the ready-line. Everyone knows, except of course 4wheelers that professional
drivers are to conduct a thorough Pre-Trip inspection prior to departure and note such activity in their

To actually conduct a thorough inspection takes considerable time and effort, especially if this is attempted
at night. Yet, most logs I’ve seen indicate that a Pre-Trip Inspection and preliminaries to departure, which
includes clocking in, paper work, chit-chat, getting and stowing gear, etc., is only 15 to 30 minutes. This is
either pure rubbish, or I never learned the details of this dance.

To be sure that the rig is safe and road worthy many items must be checked. The larger companies usually
have the rig prepared to roll at the ready line before drivers arrive. Conversely, as sometimes is the case –
drivers are forced to wait for their assigned load to arrive at the ready line. In the event that this
circumstance occurs then what does a driver put on the logbook? Should this wait time be logged as on
duty or leave these minutes or hours lost in nowhere’sville? After all, if this wait time is logged then their
available duty time is less, which will affect their bottom lines in time, miles and pay. Of course, those
drivers who don’t work for a big company are expected to make sure their assigned rigs are road worthy
without any aid of the company personnel.

Theoretically, the big-boy’s maintenance crews or hostlers have checked the equipment, thus supposedly
reducing a drivers’ need to do a complete pre-trip inspection. Yet, no matter how many people may have
checked out the equipment – it’s the driver who carries the burdensome responsibility for highway safety
once the tractor-trailer is off company property. Therefore, I am forced to speculate as to what should a
driver do or not do? Obviously, the companies want the driver(s) to hit the road ASAP. But, DOT mandates
a complete safety check by the driver. Obviously, there are conflicts initiated from the moment a driver is
called to report for work.

Being a bit redundant - everyone within the transportation industry knows that many items are to be
checked before a tractor trailer begins a journey. For instance, there’s all the electrical and mechanical
components, as well as fuel & oil. But, what driver do you know will actually crawl under the rig and get
filthy dirty checking the entire brake system each and every time before making a trip? Or, how many
drivers do you see look for frame fractures, hairline cracks in wheels or rusty lug nuts, broken springs, tug
on fan belts, or check for slightly damaged air lines prior to a trip? If a driver were to actually comply with
all the DOT/Company rules, then a lot more time than a mere30 minutes would be consumed. Additionally
we have not even started the time consuming journey of checking tires. In my opinion if a driver were to
conduct a thorough inspection before starting out on every trip at least an hour or more would be
consumed. Therefore, all freight being transported would be arriving much later than desired. Naturally,
this would cause considerable financial loss to shipper, driver and carrier alike. Therefore, and from my
perspective honest inspection compliance is seldom done. So, unfortunately logbook infractions are the
norm instead of the exception.

Now we come to what I consider to be the most important inspection of all -- the Tires. How many drivers
do you know will take the 5, 10 or more minutes to use the trusty hand-held air gauge? Then again, how
trust worthy is this instrument? When was it last checked against a known accurate standard? In this
particular case, the pre-trip inspection is during the wee hours of darkness. Naturally, the darkness only
compounds the problems and the amount of time required to be assured that all is well. Yet, according to
all the logbooks I’ve seen only a total of 30 minutes are spent from the moment of clocking in to rolling out
the company gate. Surely to goodness it’s pretty darn obvious that something is amiss.

Note: Please keep in mind that this logbook graphic is not complete. All logbooks have several more spaces
to be filled in by drivers. This graphic is meant only as an example of John’s time utilization.

Technically, if a complete Pre-Trip Inspection was not properly conducted who’s to blame for this well
known (common) non-compliance procedure? Should it be the driver who accepted the responsibility? Or,
should the company management also be held accountable? After all, is not management supposed to know
what’s going on and affirm that all DOT standards are met?

In any event, and trying not to get too far ahead of myself -- John starts driving and logged that he spent a
whopping 30 minutes which includes all the duty time prior to doing a complete Pre-Trip inspection [1].
On this particular run the load is hazardous cargo, so the rig is placarded. Down the road, John, makes his
first En Route Inspection (ERI) [2]. As you can see – John noted that he is on Interstate 10 West at mile
marker 698. Question – although John noted the “mm” on I-10W -- did he just pull onto the shoulder of the
freeway to conduct this mandatory en route inspection? If so, is this a safe place to conduct this check?
According to the logbook notation John completed the inspection without spending any time doing such.
Unfortunately, John failed to make what I have seen as a DOT required 1st inspection stop at and within 25
miles of his starting point [3]. And, compounding this error he did not note on his logbook that such an
inspection occurred. Therefore, has he inadvertently set himself up for being fined should an enforcement
officer want to throw the book at him?

His next noted stop is at MM 591 on I-10W. I presume you see that he logged the stop as off duty, but this
is obviously a no no. You might ask -why? Well, first of all - he did not actually show the amount of time
spent conducting an en route inspection. The log only shows that he went off-duty. Therefore, how could
he have actually done an inspection? If he had checked the tires with a gauge it would have taken a
minimum of 5 to as much as 20 minutes [4].

In addition to the above paragraph I suspect, although not stated that John took a needed coffee break at a
roadside truck stop. This practice of taking short breaks every couple three hours is healthy for the body,
and in my opinion contributes to being a safer driver. But, unfortunately, John did not state such on the
logbook. Was this a deliberate omission, or just shoddy bookkeeping?

Despite what John did or did not do he may have intentionally not listed the name of restaurant because this
might have tended to incriminate him. Why - because he’s not supposed to leave the rig unattended, or out
of his sight [5]. Furthermore, he might not have gotten permission from the owner of the truck-stop to park
his hazardous cargo on this private property, which may be another violation of Hazmat regulations. In
addition, assuming that John parked on private property, had a piece of pie and coffee, and was not parked
along side the freeway for 30 minutes how could he have conducted the en route (ERI) as noted if he was
off duty? Consequently, and regardless of what John’s intentions may have been the logbook now clearly
indicates that serious questions could arise and challenge John’s competency as being a DOT compliant

Another intriguing question eventually arises, which is - when this log is turned into dispatch will anyone
question this type of entry? And, if not – why not? I am not bringing this matter up to create problems for
drivers or company management. Instead, just the opposite, I am trying to put some light on these
formalities. All drivers are faced with these dilemmas, whether hauling hazmat or non-placarded cargo.
And, if these issues are not properly dealt with, then eventually some drivers may well find their butts in a
sling, with nowhere to go or hide. Likewise, they could discover themselves stranded or as part of the road
debris with no one caring a tinkers-bit what happens to them. Therefore, I think its high time to bring these
issues out into the open. Is it not time to try to work out some kind of honorable arrangement that will take
away these terrible unneeded burdens all CDL drivers transport?

The next ERI occurs at mm 498. Yet, and even though the ERI is noted, apparently John spent no time
conducting such. In fact, the log only shows driving. Is John a super fast tire and vehicle inspector? Even
though John may well be fast on his feet, the question looms as to what kind of method was employed to
inspect the tires to be compliant, responsible and safe? Logbooks are broken into 15-minute segments. So,

if John was swift on his feet then it is possible that he could have taken less than half the 15 minutes, which
might allow him to not note any time lost from driving. Yet, would he be driving or should he show some
time as on duty but not driving? If he did not indicate on duty and not driving then would not his speed
from one log notation to next log notation be in error? From my own past experiences and observations –
these inspections stops are not conducted and the time supposedly used for these inspections is saved up
and used at restaurants for coffee breaks. And, while on these non-existent breaks the logbook is brought up
to date and the ideological stops are flagged depicting when and where these compliance checks were done.
Thus, speed, miles and time seem to reflect reality.

From what I’ve seen and heard -- if a driver was to cite the ever present circumstances to management -- of
not being able to comply with safety compliance standards and still arrive on time they are often branded as
whiners, crybabies or mal-contents. Worse yet is that those drivers who will challenge these policies and
rules might find themselves out of a job for some unknown reason. In my opinion, this despicable practice
of shifting blame to drivers has to end or at least be discussed so that appropriate methodologies can be
instituted that will relieve drivers of being forced to carry all the unwarranted weight. Although and
assuming that driver's are willing to shoulder this responsibility then at a minimum they should be
compensated. But, unfortunately, because most drivers need a job and want a reasonably reliable paycheck
to sustain their nasty habits of eating and living -- corporations will mostly likely continue piling up the
straws till some drivers break under the constant strain. Despite all these recognized realities -- carriers
wonder why there is so much turnover within this industry. I realize that it is not a perfect world, nor is
driving utopia. But, it sure seems like it is high time for honesty, or ethical standards to be at the forefront
instead of hidden in the unspoken hellish details.

At mm 400 a driver switch occurs. John makes his bed and theoretically immediately arrives in sleepsville.
Of course this is pure nonsense. Even though John may be tired, I’ve never met a driver who can
immediately fall asleep between the steering wheel and the bunk as logbooks so clearly depict. About Nine
hours later the horn blasts notifying John it’s time to awake. Jane has pulled into a Las Cruces, truck stop.
After a quick restroom visitation, a fast cup of coffee and another one of John’s amazingly speedy
tire/vehicle inspections the rig roars down I-10 towards Arizona.

John’s next log entry is at New Mexico’s I-10 mile marker 68. He indicates that another En Route
Inspection took place. Obviously he again did this astonishing feat so quick that it could not be logged.

Another interesting non-event is that not a single entry is logged regarding any forced stops at any of the
state weigh stations. Perhaps John’s rig is equipped with the latest electronic gadgetry that allows
bypassing these treacherous places. Of course it is possible that Lady Luck was riding on John’s shoulder
and all these time gobbling oasis’s just happened to be closed. To give those of you an example of what I
am talking about I’ll try to briefly describe one of the typical checkpoints I abhorred. When I used to
make runs into Louisiana I always felt extremely uncomfortable about having to stop at the Lafayette
weigh station. I have personally seen one of the State DOT enforcers standing out in front of the building
intimidating drivers by purposely twilling his Billy club like a Roman Gladiator might do with his ball and
chain. Perhaps this officer was just passing time and meant nothing by this impressive gesture. But, I
always took offense to what he was quietly shouting. Maybe this gesture was innocent, but all the drivers
I’ve talked to understood exactly what his antics meant, which was – I’m the boss – do as I command or it
will be Hell to pay.

Fortunately, I never had any serious confrontations with some of these Gestapo like agents. Oh sure I’ve
had to subject myself to their god-like powers, get minor citations and pay fines for a running light being
burned out, etc., etc. But never actually being put out of service or having to pay huge fines like many
drivers have had to endure [6]. Although there are some people who are issued badges, guns and clubs that
become corrupted with the power I am forced to believe that the majority of law enforcers are honorable
folks. Yet, whenever I frequented these offensive places it seemed to me that O/O’s were often the targets
of unreasonable searches to find some way of getting revenue. On the other hand, and without doubt there
are a minority of trucks that should have been relegated to the scrap yard years ago, which are a menace to
highway safety.

While on the subject of official state weigh stations (scale or inspection checkpoints) I feel I must also
speak to a few other issues. Most of the time these scale houses are open, or if not there are sometimes
surprise inspections anywhere and everywhere. I realize that these places are theoretically to stop abuses by
unscrupulous drivers and carriers. Yet, and despite the fact that these weigh and safety check stations try to
put out of service unfit rigs many a crafty driver or irresponsible carrier have alternative routes bypassing
these roadside dens of detention [7]. So, those that are caught driving unfit rigs, inadequate logbooks, etc.,
were either running the odds, stupid or in desperate need of making that extra buck.

Scale houses or inspection sites from many truckers points of view are places designed to create income for
the states [8]. At the very least these places reduce a driver's productivity and ultimately their paychecks
because time equals miles and miles equals pay. When drivers are forced to submit to searches for drugs,
weapons [9], faulty equipment, etc., I always found it interesting that it was the O/O’s that were mostly
targeted for these types of inspections, which seems discriminatory. From my seat I’d suspect that the
trucking lobby for the big carriers would not tolerate such time consuming searches, but who cares about
the little guy who doesn’t have deep pockets? Another point of contention seems to be – why don’t these
public servants issue warnings [10] instead of revenue producing citations? Sure there will be abuses; but
when a carrier or driver gets beyond a reasonable amount of warnings then pursue punitive action. Oh I
know – the state will say they don’t have the time or resources to conduct such types of endeavors.
Hogwash! But, and if this was true why does the same agency spouting such drivel think a driver or small
carrier can afford to be constantly harassed by the state – or does the state suspect that drivers have too
much free time? It’s high time that carriers, drivers and state/federal agencies got their heads together to
honestly work out ethical standards, instead of educrates controlling commerce who has obviously not
improved the flow of safe traffic [11].

John gives a short toot on the horn as he approaches the Arizona line and the San Simon truck stop. Jane
pours out of the bunk as John pulls into the Fuel Island. It’s time for a shower, food and fuel. As John and
Jane leave the rig the attendant begins fueling. Fortunately, shower stalls are available and they don’t have
to wait.

Even though time is slipping quietly by they are both keenly aware of the hammer over their heads to get a
move on. Although they are on schedule they don’t wish to squander that precious commodity called time.
So, as if they were starved to death John washes the last bits of the delightful truck stop food down with a
couple gulps of coffee. John knows darn good and well that the faster this trip is completed the better his
pay will be. Furthermore, if all goes well, perhaps he will have more quality home time or maybe he can
visit his favorite fishing hole. Regardless of what might be – John in his haste to the cab forgets to log a
DOT tire check. Nevertheless, all is well ‘cause their 80K rig is roaring towards Phoenix at 70mph.

A driver's life is portrayed as adventurous, glamorous and wonderful -- at least that’s what some recruiters
illustrate. Heaven’s to Betsey who in their right mind wouldn’t want to be a driver who is blessed with job
security and the abundance of the hurry up and wait’s? Sometimes I think a driver ought to be hired out as
a circus entertainer because even the big cats don’t have to jump through as many fiery hoops.

There’s no point in following John to Phoenix, nor back to Houston – cause it will be just more of the
same. Nevertheless, following John’s logbook has opened-up some intriguing questions, which needless to
say deserve investigation and clarification. The first of these possible questions would or should be – how
can both drivers log off or on duty, but be taking a shower leaving the Hazmat load unattended and clearly
out of sight. While hauling hazmat loads the drivers are supposed to leave their paperwork in an easy to
find location such as the drivers seat. However, because OTR drivers usually carry a lot of personal items
which they would prefer not sprout wings and fly away usually always lock their cabs while taking a
shower. Thus, how could these papers be easily accessed in case of an emergency? Adding more damage
what do you think would happen to John if a law enforcement officer paid a surprise visit and tried to
retrieve these papers while John was in the shower? Obviously the right thing would be for John to take a
shower while Jane stayed in attendance. But, this would mean that Jane’s duty status might become injured
down the road. And, of course, John’s duty status would also become restricted having to wait for Jane’s
shower and restaurant time. If the foregoing was not bad enough, the scheduled delivery time would also

become threatened, and you can just imagine what dispatch might say if these two drivers went by the

From my point of view everyone within the transportation industry contributes to the confusion and
controversy regarding the fundamentals of safety. It appears that most everyone wants to shift
responsibility away from themselves regarding the intriguing subject of highway safety. Apparently no one
(corporate carriers, insurance companies, CDL schools, drivers, tire mfg.’s, govt. agencies, brokers,
trucking associations, etc.) has broad enough shoulders to accept the burdens which are inherent within this

Oddly, while conducting online searches relating to truck tire inflation safety I am struck by the lack of data
readily available. Perhaps the information is there, but I am too simple minded to access it. Often I scratch
this baldhead wondering if the system is designed to keep the ignorant uninformed? The question is - where
can anyone, especially CDL drivers go to find relevant information on how to properly manage tire safety?
Why is it so difficult to get or find straight accurate answers at carrier, school, magazine and gov’t web
sites? Or, when I do find what appears to be relevant information why is it all knotted up in double talk
that sounds like a strange language? Surely to goodness this unintelligible chatter is not by design to further
confound and confuse?

When I go meandering down all the Govt. www alleys and training side-streets I’m struck with the absence
of pertinent information. Astonishingly, I’m bombarded with a maze of words, which can be construed to
mean almost anything. These regulations appear to be written in a cryptic code that only attorneys are able
to decipher. Goodness gracious - you don’t suppose this is done on purpose? Similarly, when I visit tire
manufacturer’s web pages I am forced to wander through a myriad of detours and corridors that often lead
to dead ends. Worse yet, when I find excellent tire information at tire manufacturers or magazine web
pages, sometimes they seem to disappear [12] after I post links to them. I wonder why?

Naturally, the distinct lack of web resources frustrates me, which usually causes me to want to give-up the
hunt. Thus, I can only imagine what the typical driver, who never has enough time must feel when
conducting a similar endeavor. Can it be that this is such a complicated subject that simple-minded folks
cannot begin to comprehend this subject? Is it possible that the experts don’t want responsible drivers to
learn the truth? If this is not the case then why is it so difficult to locate accurate information pertaining to
such an uncomplicated subject?

Generally, professional ignorance is unacceptable. Therefore, it would it seem prudent for manufacturer’s
and incumbent of public servants to provide specific information on their web sites regarding how to
accurately, properly, legally, and responsibly check truck tire inflation pressure? Question: Assuming that
these experts know this information and it is not a closely guarded secret then why is the transportation
industry keeping this vital safety data locked away or out of sight? In addition, and due to the obvious lack
of data --maybe industry and government is afraid to let the cat out of the bag. Could it be that government
agencies, tire manufacturers, insurance companies, CDL training schools and large corporate carriers are
guilty of conspiratorial collusion to keep this subject squashed? Worse yet – is it possible that those who
claim to be cognizant of the facts are criminally negligent because they continue to allow confusion, which
contributes to unsafe roads?

When I visit tire manufacturer www sites they seem to indicate that a purchaser must use truck
manufacturer’s specifications. But, when I visit truck manufacturer’s web sites I find nothing specific
regarding tires. Yet, on the other side of this continental divide when visiting Government www sites they
indicate it’s the responsibility of CDL drivers to know the rules and be responsible for the care and
management of road – tire -- safety. Talk about passing the buck!

It seems that everyone, including safety organizations are cloaked in stealthy well sounding words, which
confound the sensibilities. All these so-called experts have interesting data, but it’s never pertinent as to
how a driver is to be responsible for highway safety via tire management. They are seemingly good at
pointing to problems, but I can’t find adequate solutions other than blame or fine the drivers. Apparently it
is easier to dance around the specifics without becoming entangled in the quagmire of reality. Therefore I

am forced to ask -- why is this mode of enlightenment so pervasive? What is the end result of all this
controversial confusion of hidden agenda’s? When I step back and try to see with unprejudiced eyes it
appears that informational crashes are inevitable, thus more laws and regulations, which takes a platoon of
lawyers to understand. Could it be that there really is a conspiracy to confound and confuse? Could it be
that our so-called leaders intentionally want the confusion to reign so that they will have perpetual jobs,
power and authority? Jeepers-creepers, maybe in all the confusion I got lost on the information highway or
have misinterpreted the data?

All I can say for sure, so far, is that I cannot find anyone willing to discuss the issues in a forthright
manner. So, I must conclude that not only is something dreadfully wrong on our highways, but also within
the avenues of corporate business and govt. Therefore, what choice do I have except to at least try and
shed some light on what I perceive is wrong, ugly and downright deceptive. Of course, I stand to be
corrected for I may be one of those knucklehead drivers that can’t read or think too well.

Naturally, it’s easy to succumb to the same old rational by pointing to others as the abusing culprits,
whomever they may be. But this type of finger pointing is counter productive. Instead, I suggest that we all
merge and try to make sense of what is perceived to be trouble and arrive at real world common sense
solutions. Of course failure to do so will only perpetuate what we already have. Furthermore, if I am wrong
in my assumptions or conclusions then I urge and implore you to reveal my dents, dings and blemishes. In
addition, for those traveling on the other side of the yellow line, I hope I have not been too offensive,
because it is not my intention to cause defensive actions. Needless to say, I can only hope that industry
won’t grind me to dust under their wheels of commerce, or that officials won’t mangle me against their
windshields of perception. Please try and understand - all I am trying to do is arrive at a place of
comprehension not antagonism. Therefore, if I have caused undue misdemeanors while traveling the tire
safety lanes kindly point me in the right direction.

In many of my web pages I have tried to illustrate with pictures and words what the problems with tires are.
I have truly tried to present the facts in a manner that all can understand, and not be totally motivated by
marketing Accu-Thump® Truck Tire Thumpers. Yet, when I try to speak about the issues with those who
can make a difference I am bombarded with the same ole rhetoric -- that only the use of the gauge is
accurate, proper or acceptable. It’s as if these wise officials and experts have closed their eyes and ears and
won’t admit that perhaps there might be alternatives.

I realize that critics don’t like the use of tire thumpers. But let’s face facts -- this world we live in is not
utopia where a snap of the fingers solves all problems. Instead, situations and circumstances are as varied
as there are drivers. Therefore, it only seems rational that we admit the truth instead of hiding behind
protective self-serving dogma. Thereupon and trying to not get stuck in ruts or potholes I will attempt to
systematically show and explain as best I can each of the steps all CDL drivers are confronted with. I’ll
begin this journey as depicted by a driver’s use of logbook [13] entries regarding the Pre-Trip, En Route
and Post Trip inspections.

The Pre-Trip Inspection.

There is little doubt that the pre-trip inspection sets the stage for over-all tire performance and Highway

Regardless of what is being hauled, including being totally empty of cargo – all drivers know they are to
conduct this safety check. Yet, how a driver is to check tires is a bit puzzling. To my knowledge and
observation there’s only a few ways to conduct this search for proper, under or over inflated tires. The most
common methodologies I’ve seen are: 1) to do nothing, 2) walk around the rig using keen eyesight, 3) use
the foot to give a quick kick. But, because many drivers only wear sneakers they resort to 4) pounding the
tread with their fists. Sometimes drivers 6) use some type of hand held tool like a hammer or wood/metal
stick. Finally, 7) every once in a while I have witnessed drivers use the trust worthy air gauge.

Even though I am trying to bring this daunting subject to the forefront of understanding I must admit that I
too have been guilty of behaving inappropriately. I guess some of my past tire inspections was kind’a like -

monkey see monkey do. In other words I too got sloppy and would not take the time to even look at my
tires. Or, if I did not have some kind of club I’d kick them. Of course, always feeling the pressure to rush
did not help me to properly conduct a thorough and responsible tire check. Then again, never once did
management or safety personnel provide me with information or tools to properly conduct these tire
checks. In addition, I have over the years asked many hundreds of drivers if comp any management ever
furnished tools or info to conduct this essential check. The answers have always been – glassy eyed,
questioning stares or outright NO’s.

What is definitely known is – checking tires is said to be a driver’s responsibility and even though the
regulations require tires to be checked there’s no standard as to how this important and fundamental act
should or must be achieved. Tire experts always say that a gauge must be used. While I agree that this tool
is proper for the pre-trip inspection -- presupposing the tires have not been in recent use and the air within
the tires is at ambient temperature. Furthermore, there are several assumptions which must be made to
accept the gauge’s authenticity. For instance -- will a driver in our rushed environment actually take the
time to carefully read each tire’s load rating and be sure that all the tires are the same? Then again – how
does a driver read the tire data on the inside dual, without crawling under the rig? Then there’s another
haunting question -- What if this same rig, prior to this current inspection had had a flat and the
replacement tire is not capable of sustaining the new load and OTR speed conditions? If this last case has
any relevance then what good would the gauge be – if accuracy is key to safety?

Naturally, it’s a given that on mystical paperwork all things are possible. But, in the real world where us
humans seem to have kinship with error and misbehavior then it would seem logical that these types of
circumstances be factored into rules and conduct. While authorities may strive for perfection – it simply is
not possible to achieve. Therefore, we must change the standards so that we can all perform our work
without constant fear of corporate penalties and/or bureaucratic fines.

It’s a given that carrier management policy as well as govt. regulations require each driver perform this pre-
trip inspection without pressure to leave company property till this act is completed. But, as most of us
know all too well – global standards of just in time deliveries creates the need to circumvent time. Thus, in
our haste we make waste! So, if the govt. authorities and corporate mentality really desires making the
roads safer they will have to ensure that enough time is thoroughly made available to complete this pre-trip
task [14].

Because employee drivers are not error free robots it would seem appropriate to provide these men and
women the proper setting to conduct this pre-trip inspection. For example – what if it’s raining, freezing,
snowing, and/or at night? Is it realistic to assume or demand that drivers conduct such inspections in any of
these types of environmental conditions and expect that this pre-trip inspection was thoroughly conducted?
Obviously, the answer is no. Therefore, if safety and DOT regulatory compliance is to be the first choice
outcome then it would seem sensible to provide a setting where compliance could be accomplished.

Obviously, corporate management will most likely howl a tune of despair due to associated costs. But, if
safety and compliance is truly at the forefront of their policies then they will recognize the long term
benefits of these expenditures. If, however, corporate carriers will not set this standard then I have to
suspect that their words ring hollow or are merely meaningless lip service.

2. The En Route Inspection. [15]

As most of us know -- truck tire safety is seldom an issue till the rig is rolling down a highway. This is
where problems can or will occur. Just as night follows day there are many reasons why tires can or will
fail while en route. From my perspective and experience the most common reason why tires fail is due to
the generation of excessive heat. This unwanted heat can be created by numerous scenarios; but the most
common causes seems to be when one or a combination of the following factors exist -- mismatched tires,
traveling too fast, excessive weight, and/or the rapid or slow loss of air pressure.

Normally, tires with low air pressure are seldom seen, especially if they are on the inside dual.
Furthermore, when a rig is fully loaded I’ve found that this inside tire that may only have 20 to 60 pounds

of air will seldom be discovered with traditional tire thumping methods. Yes, a tire gauge would spot
dangerously under-inflated tires. Yet, and as history demonstrates -- the pre-trip checks are seldom done –
so would these same drivers have or take the luxury of spending this required time for an ERI when the
pedal is buried in the metal?

Attempting to locate dangerously underinflated tires has normally been a driver’s option as to what method
should be utilized. The gauge has long been the so-called standard. But this tool obviously has its
limitations. Generally, drivers the world over have long resorted to using some kind of thumping tool, such
as hammers and/or what I call sticks made of wood or metal. Critics of tire thumpers often refer to these
tools as “billie clubs” which obviously create the image of being a weapon [9]. Are these wise experts
using this terminology on purpose to point accusing fingers away from themselves? Of course, I don’t
know for sure, but it is interesting that these same so-called tire experts don’t want to consider alternatives
to the common tire gauge. Never once have I heard a so-called expert describe exactly how to conduct an
en route tire check using the gauge. My guess is as to why no driver I know of has heard such is because no
safety person has thoroughly thought through the ramifications of using the gauge. But, if this safety person
did attempt to do such for en route tire checks they would be looked upon as a fool or who is in the
business of selling/spreading fertilizer.

Because, in my opinion low inflated tires under load are difficult to find with traditional tire thumpers, and
too time consuming for the gauge I developed Accu-Thump®. Unlike hammers and wood/metal sticks
Accu-Thump®’s over-all patented design with its curved bulbous striking end creates the best possible
chance of discovering a dangerously low inflated truck type tire.

With the aforementioned stated I think it is time to discuss why catastrophic tire failures occur. First of all,
tires are a remarkable feat of engineering. Most of us take for granted that what actually transports us here
and there will never fail us in our moments of need. Generally speaking these rubber soles do a super job at
their intended purpose. Although, and even though tires are our statistically faithful friends, we
nevertheless, occasionally get rude surprises. How many times do we 4wheelers ever take the time to even
glance at them? Or, how often do we check the air pressure? The answer is – almost never. Well, I strongly
suspect that because professional driver’s, being human and always under the gun to make “Just In Time”
scheduled deliveries take the same chances 4wheelers do everyday. The difference is everyone expects
CDL holders to take this responsibility [16] much more serious than the rest of us. Sounds like double talk
doesn’t it? In other words – do as I say not as I do.

Naturally, we cannot stop tires from allowing hitchhiking nails, glass and other debris to create unfriendly
chaos and expensive downtime. But, we can, to some degree monitor tires that are in the process of losing
air. The question is – what kind of tools should be used to make tires less likely to completely fail? And,
which type of tool will most like be used often enough to reduce the causes of the hazardous road debris
known as Highway Alligators?

There are several items that drivers have always used besides the gauge and their feet. These include home
made tools as well as the common variety of stick type tire thumpers and hammers sold commercially at
most Truck Stops. Clearly, any tool, including feet and hands to detect low tires is preferential to eyeballing
or doing nothing at all. The purpose of this article is not to promote Accu-Thump®, but to bring to the
forefront of thought how to help make our roads and drivers safer. Nevertheless, in my opinion no tool
offers what Accu-Thump® can to help solve this age old issue. Accu-Thump® is not the latest electronic
widget that can do multiple functions. Nope, it does only one thing, and that is thump tires, but better than
all the rest. Yes, it is expensive tool to just do such a simple task. But, wouldn’t you want the best if your
time, miles, and bottom line means anything?

Lately there has been a push to incorporate automated tire inflation [17] or low tire detection devices as
part of the on board equipment. Without doubt, no matter what kind of equipment is used to notify drivers
that a tire is becoming underinflated or try to keep air in tires while en route will be of significant assistance
in maintaining safer roads. But, we all know that besides the up front costs there are no fail-safe products
and all electronic devices will fail eventually. Perhaps, this is why DOT regulations demand that a driver
must physically check the tires periodically? In addition, let’s assume that Samantha twitched her nose and

every new truck magically has some form of auto-inflation. But, the question now is - what about the
millions of trucks and big RV’s that don’t have these new tinker toys? Now, let’s add a tad of spice to this
blend of mishmash – do you think the Govt. regulators will delete these germane safety rules? Or, would
there now be two sets of rules? Talk about confusion and probable controversy!

Right now carriers have all the loads they can carry or want. But, whether business is good or bad the key
to survival and prosperity is the management of time. Therefore, it’s just plain ole common sense to pay
attention to those items that can make or break a business. Like human emotions, and besides being a major
expense to the bottom line – tires demand care and attention. How this is accomplished is a point of major
contention, as well as confusion. As I have said numerous times -- Tire experts suggest that only a tire
gauge [18] be used. Well, in a world where nothing ever goes wrong or mistakes are seldom made I can
agree with this mind-set. But in our world where Murphy is a driver’s constant companion and “Just In
Time” scheduling is the global standard then I must respectfully disagree.

We live in a rush, push and shove world. The demands on our time cause convenient memory loss, and
perhaps those things that should have been done often seem to get sidetracked or put-off. None of us are
immune to this type of behavior. Yet, those who don’t ride the roads for a living insist that CDL drivers do
what most us would not or could not accomplish. For instance, it’s well known by tire experts, but I
strongly doubt that the majority drivers know tires must come to rest for 2 to 4 hours before a gauge is
utilized. The reason tire experts say such is because when tires are in use and under load numerous factors
cause heat to be generated which makes air pressure rise in each tire. This heat which has caused the
pressure to rise must cool down to allow air pressure to drop back to normal or ambient temperature [19].
When this is done then an accurate air gauge can be utilized after 2 to 4 hours of waiting. Hence, the
question that jumps in the face is -- how many drivers or companies will, or can afford to wait this amount
of time so that an accurate air gauge can be utilized? The short answer is – none! Oh, there will be those
academic experts who will say that there are charts a driver can use to figure out speed to weight to air
pressure to heat ratios. I guess the cowboys of the road are supposed to be rocket scientists too. I think
anyone who says that drivers should make these mental gymnastics of consulting the charts is full of hot air
– cause I know of no driver that can use these mysterious charts, little alone find such . Besides, the only
authorized charts I know of are those listed at DOT, but it seems the brakes are applied to speeds over
60mph [20]. Maybe the tire manufacturers have complete charts, but again I never met the driver who
would know how to properly use them. Furthermore, I’ve never heard of, nor seen a company safety
representative ever explain all these details. Plus, I doubt that there is one safety expert in a 1000 that could
accomplish without error the utilization of these so-called charts. To explain why I wrote the previous
sentence there are a number of extenuating circumstances that might well cause additional confusion such
as: 1) amount of friction of tire to road, 2) unusual flexing of the tire’s side walls due to rutted asphalt
roads, 3) exceptional high road surface temperature and unusually high air temperature, 4) possible latent
heat of brake drums that’s transferred to the inside dual, 5) mismatched tires and resultant scrubbing, 6) and
the ever present likelihood of over and underburderned tires caused by uneven cargo weight. To bluntly put
all this in perspective there are simply too many factors to adequately and accurately use an air gauge while
en route.

Now onto another subject that captivates anyone wondering the fertile fields of Hazardous Materials [21].
Here again is one of the classic cases I see where the rules create unavoidable hazards. Going back to
John’s logbook I purposely left out what kind of Hazmat is being carried. It could be munitions, acids,
poisons or a load of matches. Regardless of the exact nature of this particular placarded cargo the rules
clearly indicate that all hazmat carriers are to stop every 2 hrs while en route and conduct a safety
inspection. Talk about confusion -- how in the world can a driver safely conduct a tire safety inspection
along side the road [22]? In my way of examining this dilemma there is no such ‘safe’ place. Therefore,
here is a rule that is seemingly out of sorts with reality. Yet, the driver is mandated to conduct such and if
he does not show in the log that an inspection occurred John could face fines, as well as reprimands from
his employer. This rule of stopping along side the road, while en route might have been ok when initiated.
But, today there’s too much traffic. Like the smokestacks of yesteryear that paved the way to modern
prosperity – these rules are now creating hazardous pollutants to traffic health. Therefore, if the rules of en
route checks are going to remain then it seems that the driver should use a tool that allows the tires to be
quickly and efficiently checked instead of the time consuming gauge.

 Remember the Oklahoma bombing? Well, prior to this event ammonium nitrate (fertilizer) hauling was a
common non-event that caused no bulging eyeballs. However, after the bombing anyone transporting bulk
ammonium nitrate was not only unwelcome anywhere, but also a suspected terrorist. It got so bad that
doing the simple and required driver duties like getting fuel, something to eat, resting or visiting the
restroom became an unimaginable nightmare. Even as I write this -- explosives and radioactive drivers
continue to have a very difficult job.

The whole point of this essay is about safety and the mandated compliance with the regulations to make our
highways safe. Yet, the question is – how can a driver pull safely off the road and onto a shoulder to make
an ERI inspection? Those hauling explosives and certain wastes are supposed to have every safety check
stop planned out in advance of the trip. All I can say is that I’ve traveled behind some of these guys and I
never saw them make the required en route tire checks. But, maybe they were granted some kind of
immunity from these en route safety stops? Regardless, the point is – safety, compliance and logbook
entries go hand in hand.

Drivers know that no matter how a truck became involved in any kind of mishap it’s always the driver’s
fault. Similarly, any driver who takes the liberty to pull onto the shoulder of any highway has immediately
created a potentially dangerous situation to fellow travelers. If this was not bad enough, what if some
4wheeler plowed into the back of the rig while it was parked along side the freeway for this so-called safety
stop? What do you think would happen to his/her driving privileges and employment? I submit that these
rules are not only arcane, but more dangerous than the hazardous loads being transported. Yet, do the
regulators or the carriers care about the poor driver who risks everything? Apparently not, cause so far I
have not seen any changes in the rules nor corporate policies. The only exception I can find may be the 25
mile inspection rule. But, even this is questionable – cause I can’t find where it no longer completely
applies or is not part of any of the existing rules. If this 25-mile inspection [3] is still applicable this is truly
the height of folly. For instance, can you begin to imagine a driver in LA, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, or
Houston stopping along side the road to conduct such an inspection without creating a potential hazard?

A driver who stays on the road for weeks and perhaps months at a time must log practically everything he
or she does while on duty. Because tire checks using an air gauge requires considerable time try to imagine
how many hours would be consumed over the course of each month. Assuming that all drivers always
conducted a DOT compliant en route safety check and logged such what would this do to a driver’s duty
status? More to the point, and because we all march to tune of the almighty dollar what would corporate
America say if profits began to decline because drivers thoroughly complied with the regulations? Why,
they’d all be having hissy-fits and screaming for bureaucrat blood. But, because these tire checks are so
seldom, if ever done by using the air gauge the corporate giants are not affected monetarily by this time
consumption, except occasional fines. Nope it’s the driver who gets the heat and assumes the risks. Worse
still, it’s fairly common knowledge that drivers who transport hazardous cargo actually make less money (if
for no other reason than lost time/miles while being responsible for their hazmat loads) than non-placarded
loads. Yet, these HAZMAT drivers must consume more of their most valuable asset – time -- by complying
with DOT safety inspections. Ask yourselves – if you wanted to start a new business, similar to drivers
hauling hazmat cargo and sought out venture capitalist’s do you think they’d fund the money to support
such a risky enterprise? I seriously doubt they’d be standing in line to fork over the bucks and be willing to
risk their capital if they ever read the regulations.

NEW RULES are coming Nov., 4, 2002. To view the new rules refer to [3] & [21]. Even though the
rules for periodic (hazmat) tire inspections are changing -- tires must still be inspected each time the
vehicle is parked. Therefore, in my opinion, if a driver values both physical health and road safety it would
seem appropriate to take rest breaks every 2 to 3 hours to simply maintain the cardiovascular system as
well as reduce the mental stress of driving. Consequently, the responsible driver will still be conducting
about the same number of hazmat tire inspections. Of course, there will always be those drivers who think
the buck is King and their health can take a back seat by not taking breaks, showers or eating and peeing on
the fly.

The tire experts and regulators know that heat [23] is an enemy of tires. So, during the hot summer [24]
months these same experts indicate that more frequent tire safety checks should be done. The question

becomes how many drivers can afford the time to do this? And, if they did conduct all these checks
regardless of what they are hauling what would happen to their available duty status [25]. Worse yet, if
they used a gauge as the tire experts constantly preach -- how would this be accomplished unless they
waited for the tires to cool down? There is only one logical solution, which is to use the finest tire thumping
tool available that will provide drivers with the best possible information within a minute or less.

The Post Trip Inspection

All CDL drivers are required to make sure that the equipment is in a safe condition when they quit all work
functions for the day. Should any defects be detected, which include tires drivers are required to note such
on the vehicle inspection report form [26]. In addition, each driver’s logbook is supposed to reflect the
conclusion of the day’s work with a notation that a post-trip safety inspection was conducted.

From my perspective there is no practical way for any driver to comply with DOT regulations for this Post
Trip tire check if the driver followed tire experts methodology of allowing tires to come to cool before
using the air gauge. And, if this day ended with a parked empty trailer load -- how would a driver consult
the charts to get an accurate heat range of all tires? So, here again is what I construe to be confusion, which
obviously leads to controversy. Therefore, if drivers, who are often looked upon as dumb brutes are to
comprehend the rules without engaging a battery of co-driving attorneys -- it would seem prudent that the
DOT rules either become clarified. Or, that safety management put in writing what the rules mean to each
particular organization that a driver is to adhere to. Question: If the rules are not going to be readily
understandable then what do you think should be done to help CDL holders maintain safety on our
highways? Drivers – it’s your profession and life style that’s at stake. Like it or not you are jeopardizing
your CDL privileges everyday. I know you don’t like sending emails explaining your viewpoints out of fear
of retaliation. Drivers – you take huge risks each and everyday. But, if you are not willing to be heard you
will always remain compromised.

The transportation industry (govt. agencies, common carriers, shippers, insurance companies, associations,
CDL schools, and various safety advocacy organizations) emphatically indicate that hwy safety is the #1
goal. Furthermore, it’s supposedly safety that drives these same people to lobby and create regulations. But
is safety truly their motive or could it be something else? If safety really is as important as indicated, then I
would not have to be going to the trouble of writing everything within these web pages. Either something is
seriously wrong before turning the ignition key on, or that while en route the intellectual fog is so dense
that the information highway is also a hazardous place to travel. Regardless, it’s amazing that we usually
arrive without mishap.

Based upon all the noxious facts I am amazed that flocks of vultures have not attacked and devoured the
deep pockets of the major carriers and insurance companies. In addition, it’s equally amazing that packs of
predators are not gorging themselves at the taxpayer’s slush fund, because it certainly appears that all sorts
of collusion has transpired. Apparently, the king of the road will remain this thin yellow line that divides
ignorance and understanding.

Recently, there has been a lot of hype and eagle-eyed scrutiny regarding blowouts or peeling auto tire tread
[16]. But, I wonder what will happen when several of the eager media reporters get a whiff of the large-car
tire carcasses polluting our highways? In spite of reality the experts keep screaming for more highway
safety as the airless road-hugging nightmares [27] continue to pile up? These same experts say – consult the
charts (stars) to properly inflate tires. No doubt, if these charts exist they do help inform. Unfortunately, so
far I have been unable to locate any of these charts at any of the on-line resources except at Bridgestone-
Firestone’s web site. The question is – do these pieces of paper or illusive digitized charts show the
relationship of speed, tire temperature, road surface temperature, ambient temperature, weight of load upon
tires, slightly mismatched duals, latent brake drum heat, road crown, scrubbing, water vapor in tires, and
road surface [28] differentials?

Before proceeding further I just have to say some friendly words about Bridgestone-Firestone’s commercial
tire website ( Oh I know Firestone seems to be a compromised word lately. But, if
they can withstand all the bad press perhaps, one day they will be vindicated, and not be branded as

villains. Even though a few imperfect tires may escape detection during the manufacturing process -- to
place all the blame on tire manufacturers is completely inappropriate. I feel that it’s long past time for all
vehicle drivers to admit that they are almost always guilty of failing to inspect their car/truck tires.
Therefore, in this world of don’t ask and don’t tell who should be held accountable for highway tire
problems? I have visited every truck tire site I can find and it seems as though they can’t or won’t discuss
tire inflation problems to any depth. Whereas, Firestone has a huge amount of relevant data. Now, they
have not created a big red flag directing drivers to specific tire inflation articles, nevertheless, with a little
effort the journey is well worth the time. Of course, I’d like to see a much more specific data. However, if
data availability is any reference as to who is really trying to help create safer roads then Firestone deserves
our thanks and an award of excellence. The question that gets my immediate attention is - why aren’t the
rest of the tire manufacturer’s willing to make a similar effort? Could it be that there is something to be
afraid of? Contrary to popular opinion – ignorance is not bliss. Therefore, thanks Bridgestone-Firestone for
trying to make a difference when few seem to care. While on this subject I’d also like to thank a few of the
online trucking magazines, but special appreciation goes to and for their
tire references.

I constantly hear and read how the experts rant and rave why thumping [29] tires is a bogus method of
checking tire inflation. Regardless of the OTR realities they continue preaching – always use the gauge,
consult the charts and/or don’t thump’m but pump’m. In part I agree, because prior to Accu-Thump® there
was only a variety of wood/metal sticks/clubs available. But, Accu-Thump® has revolutionized the practice
of thumping tires. However, Accu-Thump® is not intended to replace the common air gauge, but to
provide additional aid in determining tire safety. I believe that in the real world of OTR and ERI scenarios
that Accu-Thump is in many respects superior to the gauge.

I’ve listened to the outrageous pitches presented at trucking shows as to why thumping truck tires is an evil,
bad or wrong. To prove their point they usually have a set of tires, which have been carefully set at
predetermined pressure levels. Usually one of the tires is at, maybe 20 pounds low while the other is
supposedly properly inflated. When drivers take the challenge to thump these tires with traditional sticks
they almost always fail the test. I contend that this test is not only a sham or a rigged game, but smacks of
the snake oil salesman peddling misinformation. Therefor, I assert that drivers would have a lot more fun
being fooled pulling the one-arm bandits at those road-side gambling dens.

I’ve conducted hundreds of my own tests where the tires were not attached to anything. I’ve bought every
tire thumper I could get my hands on. I’ve set up groups of tires with varying amounts of air in each and
whacked/thumped each tire hundreds of times with all the various tire thumpers. My tests clearly verified
that traditional thumpers could not reliably demonstrate which one was better than the other under these
propped circumstances. Oh sure, Accu-Thump out performed them all, but not as good as I would have

When I was conducting early Accu-Thump road trials, where the tires were under loaded trailers and
confronting the merits of other thumping tools Accu-Thump always found the low tires, whereas the
common thumpers seldom accomplished this desired deed. Actually, these commercially marketed
wood/metal sticks and hammers usually indicated that all was well allowing the driver to proceed with a
false sense of security. So, finally it dawned on me that if tires do not have a load upon them then any such
thumping test would at best be skewed. As a result of this in your face revelation the lights began to glow.
Thus, being the ignoramus I am, I loaded varying amounts of weights upon the tires, which were not
connected to a trailer or tractor. It didn’t take me long to understand the thumping relationship of weighted
and unburdened tires. Unfortunately, getting this reality to be common knowledge is proving to be a
formidable task.

If the masters of thumping/gauging truth really want to prove whether or not what they say is accurate
perhaps they should demonstrate their claims by simulating actual circumstances. For instance, at the next
scheduled truck show -- contract with an owner of a 2 to 3 year old tractor trailer, which has not been
cleaned of the road dirt/mud. The point is to make this test as near real life as possible. The conditions of
the rig must be road normal to avoid any bias. Furthermore, although the test tires could be fresh off the
shelf this is seldom the norm. Therefore, the tires ought to be a little worn.

To make sure that an unadulterated demonstration occurs - the trailer must be loaded to near the maximum
legal limit. Then, before the show begins one inside and an outside trailer tire is deflated. Both sets of duals
are resting and running on a dynamometer at typical highway speeds. After several minutes the
dynamometer is stopped. Then, the rig is moved off the dynamometer to a flat surface where the air gauge
and all the various types of tire thumpers are put to the test against the time consuming air gauge. From
where I stand it would seem that by conducting such a trial in this type of arena it would approximate a
somewhat scientifically controlled, unbiased and witnessed study. Furthermore, with thousands of
witnesses, as well as magazine and newspaper personnel standing by -- the proof would be in the pudding.
Regardless of your level of expertise - what do you think the outcome of such a demonstration would be?

If the point of using the gauge is to provide accuracy then the question must asked – when was the last time
it was properly calibrated? If it is not accurate, or if the accuracy is not known then what’s the point of
using it? Whereas Accu-Thump® at least always informs the driver if a tire is dangerously or suspiciously
low in air pressure. Thus, if a tire is found to be of suspiciously low air pressure while en route, but the tire
is obviously inflated then the driver can intelligently decide as to what should be done. For example, if a
low inflated tire was discovered by either Accu-Thump® or an air gauge then the driver might continue
driving at a slower speed to a safer place such as a truck stop, rather than stay stranded along side the road.
However, my interpretations of hazmat rules indicate that driving a vehicle loaded with hazmat cargo and
with a low tire may well be unsafe, and should not continue traveling if this would expose motorists to
potential safety hazards. As most drivers realize – to continue driving on a dangerously low tire invites the
birth of a RoadGator. Let’s assume that the decision was made to continue driving to a safer place like a
highway rest stop. While this makes sense, it nevertheless exposes everyone close by in this rest-stop to
potential risk. So, what’s a driver to do? Perhaps, a decision is made to proceed to a commercial truck stop
to get the tire repaired. This procedure would of course require the driver to stay away from nearby vehicles
and people, which is seldom a reality at any truck stop. Assuming that all risks were minimized the driver
would still be forced to wait till tire cooled down to properly utilize an air gauge to determine exactly what
the inflation status really is or immediately replace the tire. If this scenario is happening to an O/O who
usually operates on thin margins of profit replacing a tire may be cost prohibitive. Then again, the driver
might have elected to wait along side of highway and have the tire vendor remove the tire to see if there is a
problem. In any event there is no nice and safe way to circumvent the horrors of unsafe tires.

Experts say that even 10 pounds of underinflation can/will effect the replacement costs of tires as well as
consuming more fuel. Some tire experts claim that driving on any type underinflated tires could create a
catastropic tire failure (RoadGator). No doubt this is a truth. But, and then why don’t the major carriers
make sure that tires are always properly inflated? Could it be that they have long ago put a pen and pencil
to this problem and have determined that ruined tires and additional fuel consumption is not as important as
“Just In Time” scheduling? Likewise, these same people say that tires running 20 pounds underinflated
can/will cause eventual premature tire failure. I don’t dispute this reality. But I do contend that the
pressures and incentives placed upon drivers is so overwhelming that our economy does not allow drivers
to properly monitor tire pressure accurately. Therefor, in my humble opinion Accu-Thump® is the only
quick and reliable tool to help reduce the growing numbers of seriously underinflated tires. And, maybe if
Accu-Thump® was used by the majority of major carriers – RoadGators could become an endangered
species. Obviously, with the visible signs of growing numbers of dangerous Gators roaming our highways
the gauge is not working to well.

For years I’ve watched to see which trucks seemed to have the largest amount of tire failures. My
observations indicate that LTL line-haul [30] carriers have frequent tire problems. Now, before anyone
goes off half-cocked, please don’t get me wrong I am not picking on these carriers as being bad guys,
because they aren’t. In fact, without all of the common carriers who’d have a job? But, in spite of this
obvious reality their trailers are used for local pickup & delivery, regional runs, and which also end-up also
hauling cross-country. Obviously, trailer tires in this type of working environment are exposed to all
manner of threat and challenge. Based upon what I read at various web sites, as well as the information I
have gathered visiting tire dealers there is no one size fit all tire for dirt, gravel, asphalt, and concrete roads.
Plus, when these trailers are used for pick up and local deliveries the tires are further insulted by constant
turning and backing, as well as the exposure to curb damage and a barrage of debris (nails). These tires are
then asked to travel long distances at sustained speeds. Surely, it’s as plain as day that these tires are asked

to perform above and beyond the call of duty. So, is it any wonder that these tires may be more prone to

Even though the result of tire failures are often seen as the dark sinister creatures sprawled all over the
roads – I’ve never heard of a driver or common carrier that looks forward to creating these ugly dangerous
beasts. In fact, every time a truck tire blows or a flat occurs considerable time and money is lost. The only
upside to these all too frequent failures is the money going to road service vendors and tire manufactures,
while the taxpayers pay road crews to clean up the mess [31].

It’s well known that there’s a shortage of drivers, especially for experience professionals. Some companies
provide a variety of perks to get and keep drivers. Even though tires and the maintenance of tires is
considered to be a major expense and always effects the bottom line -- it’s surprising that the majority seem
to prefer to not furnish drivers with the proper tools to help comply with DOT tire checks.

It’s common knowledge that drivers are constantly exposed to all kinds of stress and turbulence. Similarly,
this turmoil often causes them to switch carriers or leave the industry. Due to all the aforesaid it would
seem logical that carriers would at least provide proper inflation checking tools to make OTR life a little
easier, while at same time helping their bottom lines. Could it be that carriers are scared to actually state
what a driver is to do or not do to comply with DOT standards? Or, do the major players have some kind of
incentive to keep creating hideous RoadGators [32]?

In today’s litigious society it’s tempting to point fingers or play the blame game. But this behavior does not
produce solutions. Therefor, the question is – as an aggregate; does the industry really want safer
highways? If so, then why are monstrous lurking Gators multiplying to the point that the roads are
becoming a hazardous obstacle course? For instance, it is not uncommon to count at least one Gator every
mile near any major southern city, especially during the summer months. Evidently, RoadGators are not
going to vanish as long as there are trucks. But, the numbers of these perilous creatures can and should be
reduced. Furthermore, it’s high time for the so-called experts to assume leadership roles of providing
truthful information and stop pandering to CYA interests.

It must be said that without tire manufacturer’s, re-treaders, carriers and drivers we’d all be in pretty bad
economic circumstances. We tend to forget how good we really have it compared to 50 plus years ago. So,
even though it may be fashionable to blame companies for many of the perceived troubles it seems a bit
more judicious to start re-examining the facts. All of us have to take our proportional share of responsibility
[16]. Our highways have never been safe, and most likely never will. On the other hand, we don’t have to
make driving similar to playing Russian roulette. Any resemblance to highway safety will never be
achieved if commonsense rules are ignored and the blaming fingers continue pointing towards CDL
drivers. While I essentially agree that professional drivers should know and understand the safety rules, it
would likewise seem incumbent for the rest of the industry to share their portions of the burdens. Likewise,
continuing to force drivers to haul all the weight is not only wrong it is immoral.

When you visit the web sites below and the many others not listed here I hope you will recognize how that
these articles and experts constantly swerve to avoid discussing DOT tire safety compliance checks. In fact,
there’s seldom any lip service to suggest how rules and reality merge. Strangely, it’s as though the rules are
cousins to the dark sinister Hwy Alligators that affect each and everyone one of us.

Winding down from this long torturous pilgrimage, and before any mental brakes are applied to how Accu-
Thump® can help make our roads safer perhaps you ought to examine the differences between traditional
thumping tools and Accu-Thump® [33]. Compare all available tire checking tools against Accu-Thump®.
Please keep in mind that for the best results while thumping these wheels of commerce they should be
under-load. After all, is this not when serious tire damage and downtime normally occurs?

Time and time again I've noticed that an inside tire can be 20 to 80 pounds low in air pressure and still be
undetectable both visually and by the traditional thumping practices. Some of you may ask why? Well,
while I've never ran scientifically controlled double blind studies on this phenomena, years of experience

indicates that when the inside dual tire is underinflated the outside tire seems to carry the burden, while at
same time the inside dual gets squished by the gravitational pressure of the load.

What I mean by squished is – cargo weight pushes down on the duals causing the tires to deform, or what
the industry seems to refer to as being squashed [34]. And, if the outside tire is slightly underinflated it
becomes sort’a squished and this causes the inside dual tire which is also only partially inflated to also
become squished giving the illusion that all is well. Regardless of the foregoing and even if the outside tire
is properly inflated the weight of the cargo pressing down of the good tire still causes the squashed
condition to occur, especially if the inner tire is underinflated. In other words the outside tire is carrying
more of the load. Consequently, when a typical thumper strikes this seriously underinflated inside tire it
sounds as though it is ok due to the exerted cargo weight pressure. Unfortunately, this is an all too frequent
anomaly. Many a time I have asked drivers if I could double-check their tires after they had completed their
thumping exercises. I cannot begin to remember the number of times I would surprise these drivers by
finding an underinflated inside dual tire.

Now, it time to throw a couple thought provoking questions your way. John’s fully loaded OTR rig has an
inside dual tire, which is seriously underinflated; but the outside tire has the proper amount of air pressure.
Which tire will fail first? Will it be the underinflated or the tire that’s carrying the majority of weight?
Regardless of the outcome it’s reasonable to assume that both will be severely damaged by exc essive heat.
Next, let’s assume that John eventually discovered the inside underinflated tire and had it repaired. But,
unfortunately two months later this same trailer while being pulled by another driver experiences a
blowout. This conscientious driver knew that all the tires were checked. Yet, one of these tires failed, which
not only created a RoadGator, but created lost productivity and expensive downtime. I’ve seen this happen
countless times. Thumping and gauging will not always solve this problem. But, if Accu-Thump® was
used while en route and according to the regulations I believe there would be a meaningful reduction in
Highway Alligators and productivity would increase significantly. Ultimately, the real question is – does
the industry really want to control the bottom line and increase driver performance and safety? Or, is lip
service and the status quo going to reign as our collective destiny?

As I proceed over these incomprehensible mountains where touch-and-go curves lie in wait and before
traversing the long narrow steep grades of intellect perhaps I ought to admit that the experts might get their
way by relegating legitimate thumping to the dusty bins of history. Therefore, in the event that the
regulators decide that Accu-Thump® is an improper tool for drivers to use to help maintain safer tires and
safer roads then please advise me what is better and I will gladly stop making and selling these tire
thumpers. Regardless of the eventual outcome, and in the event that I am not shy a few bricks of a full load
I ask with sincerity for all those within this industry to help clarify what is to be done to reduce premature
tire fatalities.

The art of communicating has never been one of my better assets. Worse yet is my inability of self-editing.
So, and because I have inadvertently introduced errors I invite any/all criticism and corrections.

Finally, and even though this is painfully redundant - I again ask the following fundamental questions,
which I think deserve rational and thoughtful answers. If highway safety is so fundamental -- then why
is it so difficult to locate meaningful tire inflation information at any/all the online www sites (magazines,
tire manufacturer’s, state/federal DOT agencies, insurance companies, CDL schools, safety organizations,
or carriers.)? Due to the lack of what I can find it sure seems as though secrecy is part of the equation.
Could silence be a key to legitimize extracting money from driver’s pockets? Is this apparent secrecy
contributing to unsafe drivers and highways? Perhaps this subject is so intellectually challenging that only
through training can the subject of tire inflation become understandable [35]. If so, then I have to conclude
that all drivers throughout the world should attend “for hire” academic classes to assure the roads will be a
safe place to visit. But who is teaching the teachers whom have not solved this simple problem? In
conclusion I must ask – are government regulations designed to stimulate the selling of cryptic tire
inflation knowledge? I sure hope not. Instead, I respectfully hope that ignorance is rampant and that with a
little perseverance we can help educate one another about tire inflation safety procedures.

Below are several links, which offer a wealth of information. Many of the links I wanted to have available
unfortunately failed to work after being posted. So, several links have been trashed or I made a notation as
to how to go about locating relevant information. It is my hope that you find these links useful in your quest
to improve safety.

Note: You may wish to open a duplicate browser window so that you can view these links while
maintaining your presence at this site.

§396.3 Inspection, repair and maintenance.
a)(1) Parts and accessories shall be in safe and proper operating condition at all times. These include those
specified in Part 393 of this subchapter and any additional parts and accessories which may affect safety of
operation, including but not limited to, frame and frame assemblies, suspension systems, axles and
attaching parts, wheels and rims, and steering systems
§396.13 Driver inspection.§396.13
Before driving a motor vehicle, the driver shall:
(a) Be satisfied that the motor vehicle is in safe operating condition;
§392.7 Equipment, inspection and use.§392.7
No commercial motor vehicle shall be driven unless the driver thereof shall have satisfied
himself/herself that the following parts and accessories are in good working order, nor shall any
driver fail to use or make use of such parts and accessories when and as needed:
§392.9 Safe loading.
(b) Drivers of trucks and truck tractors. Except as provided in paragraph (b)(4) of this section, the driver
of a truck or truck tractor must --
(b)(1) Assure himself/herself that the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section have been complied with
before he/she drives that commercial motor vehicle;
(b)(2) Examine the commercial motor vehicle's cargo and its load securing devices within the first 25 miles
after beginning a trip and cause any adjustments to be made to the cargo or load securing devices (other
than steel strapping) as may be necessary to maintain the security of the commercial motor vehicle's load;
(b)(3) Reexamine the commercial motor vehicle's cargo and its load securing devices periodically during
the course of transportation and cause any adjustments to be made to the cargo or load securing devices
(other than steel strapping) as may be necessary to maintain the security of the commercial motor vehicle's
load. A periodic reexamination and any necessary adjustments must be made --
(b)(3)(i) When the driver makes a change of his/her duty status; or
(b)(3)(ii) After the commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 3 hours; or
(b)(3)(iii) After the commercial motor vehicle has been driven for 150 miles, whichever occurs first.
NOTE: If the above is still enforce then according to other regulations - when a driver stops tires must be
Question 2: Does §396.11 require that the power unit and the trailer be inspected?
Guidance: Yes. A driver must be satisfied that both the power unit and the trailer are in safe operating
condition before operating the combination.

Comment: What I gather from this rule is that in order for a driver and the company to be assured that
highway safety will be reasonably assured then a pre-trip inspection must be thoroughly conducted and not
a half-ass inspection.
NOTE: For a wonderful source of information on “pre-trip inspections” go to Transport Tropics, and
search through their News and Past Issues.
Odd how this article emphasis pre-trip and post trip inspections but leaves out en route.
inspection training kit

Comment: I’ve watched several so-called training videos pertaining to pre-trip, and to a lesser degree the
en route trips inspections. What I found remarkable about all the safety videos is that I never did see
thumping offered as an alternative to the gauge. In fact, even the gauge and how it was to be used was
glossed over quickly. I guess the knowledge is so common that experts don’t see the need to elaborate on
this vital aspect of trucking.
ATA’s information about Interpretations & Guidelines
Florida’s CDL Handbook
2.1 Vehicle Inspection
Safety. Safety is the most important and obvious reason. Inspecting your vehicle helps you know your
vehicle is safe.
Legal requirements. Federal and State laws require inspection by the driver. Federal and State inspectors
also inspect commercial vehicles. An unsafe vehicle can be put out of service until the driver or owner fixes
Pre-trip inspection. You do a pre-trip inspection before each trip to find problems that could cause a crash
or breakdown.
During a Trip.
For safety you should:
Watch gauges for signs of trouble.
Use your senses to check for problems (look, listen, smell, feel).
Check critical items when you stop:
-Tires, wheels and rims
-Brake and electrical connections to trailer
-Trailer coupling devices
-Cargo securement devices
After-trip inspection and report. You do an after-trip inspection at the end of the trip, day, or tour of duty
on each vehicle you operated. It may include filling out a vehicle condition report listing any problems you
find. The inspection report helps the vehicle owner know when to fix something.
Look for Tire Problems .
It is dangerous to drive with bad tires. Look for problems such as:
Too much or too little air pressure.
Bad wear. You need at least 4/32 inch tread depth in every major groove on front wheels. You need 2/32
inch on other wheels. No fabric should show through the tread or sidewall.
Cuts or other damage.
Tread separation.
Dual tires that come in contact with each other or parts of the vehicle.

Mismatched sizes.
Radial and bias-ply tires used together.
Regrooved, recapped, or retreaded tires on the front wheels of a bus.
when it doesn’t feel right get out and look

A vehicle does not pass an inspection if it has one of the following defects or deficiencies:
Comment: How can a driver thoroughly inspect all this within 15 minutes.
§397.17 Tires.
(a) If a motor vehicle which contains hazardous materials is equipped with dual tires on any axle,
its driver must stop the vehicle in a safe location at least once during each 2 hours or 100 miles of
travel, whichever is less, and must examine its tires. The driver must also examine the vehicle's
tires at the beginning of each trip and each time the vehicle is parked.
(b) If, as the result of an examination pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, or otherwise, a tire
is found to be flat, leaking, or improperly inflated, the driver must cause the tire to be repaired,
replaced, or properly inflated before the vehicle is driven. However, the vehicle may be driven to
the nearest safe place to perform the required repair, replacement, or inflation.
(c) If, as the result of an examination pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section, or otherwise, a tire
is found to be overheated, the driver shall immediately cause the overheated tire to be removed
and placed at a safe distance from the vehicle. The driver shall not operate the vehicle until the
cause of the overheating is corrected.
(d) Compliance with the rules in this section does not relieve a driver from the duty to comply with
the rules in §397.5 and 397.7.
§396.7 Unsafe operations forbidden.
(a) General -- A motor vehicle shall not be operated in such a condition as to likely cause an
accident or a breakdown of the vehicle.
(b) Exemption -- Any motor vehicle discovered to be in an unsafe condition while being operated
on the highway may be continued in operation only to the nearest place where repairs can safely
be effected. Such operation shall be conducted only if it is less hazardous to the public than to
permit the vehicle to remain on the highway.
Appendix to Subpart G -- Required Knowledge and Skills -- Sample Guidelines
e) Vehicle inspections: The objectives and proper procedures for performing vehicle safety inspections, as
(1) The importance of periodic inspection and repair to vehicle safety and to prevention of enroute
(2) The effect of undiscovered malfunctions upon safety.
(3) What safety related parts to look for when inspecting vehicles, e.g., fluid leaks, interference with
visibility, bad tires, wheel and rim defects, braking system defects, steering system defects, suspension
system defects, exhaust system defects, coupling system defects, and cargo problems.
(4) Pre trip/enroute/post trip inspection procedures.
(5) Reporting findings.

(e) Vehicle inspections: The objectives and proper procedures for performing vehicle safety inspections, as
(1) The importance of periodic inspection and repair to vehicle safety and to prevention of enroute
(2) The effect of undiscovered malfunctions upon safety.
(3) What safety related parts to look for when inspecting vehicles, e.g., fluid leaks, interference with
visibility, bad tires, wheel and rim defects, braking system defects, steering system defects, suspension
system defects, exhaust system defects, coupling system defects, and cargo problems.
(4) Pre trip/enroute/post trip inspection procedures
§383.111 Required knowledge.
(e) Vehicle inspections: The objectives and proper procedures for performing vehicle safety inspections, as
(e)(1) The importance of periodic inspection and repair to vehicle safety.
(e)(2) The effect of undiscovered malfunctions upon safety.
(e)(3) What safety related parts to look for when inspecting vehicles.
(e)(4) Pre trip/enroute/post trip inspection procedures.
(e)(5) Reporting findings.
Inspection by officials
Comment: This non-profit organization, which is obviously intimately aligned with government authorities
says it’s dedicated to improving commercial vehicle safety.
Questions: I wonder why this organization, does not make readily available straight forward information to
CDL drivers how to comply with tire safety regulations? Could it be possible that they really don’t realize
how important truck tires are to vehicle and highway safety? Surely, the tire safety facts they may have
accumulated are not safely tucked away in some vault waiting for a buyer?


NEW RULES effective Nov., 4, 2002 –
Even though the rules for periodic (hazmat) tire inspections are changing -- tires must still be inspected
each time the vehicle is parked. Therefore, in my opinion, if a driver values both physical health and road
safety it would seem appropriate to take rest breaks every 2 to 3 hours to simply maintain the
cardiovascular system as well as reduce the mental stress of driving. Consequently, the responsible driver
will still be conducting about the same number of hazmat tire inspections. Of course, there will always be
those drivers who think the buck is King and their health can take a back seat by not taking breaks, showers
or eating and peeing on the fly.
§392.9 Safe loading.
b) Drivers of trucks and truck tractors
(b)(2) Examine the commercial motor vehicle's cargo and its load securing devices within the first 25 miles
after beginning a trip and cause any adjustments to be made to the cargo or load securing devices (other
than steel strapping) as may be necessary to maintain the security of the commercial motor vehicle's load;
NOTE: this may have been deleted from the current rules.

Florida CDL book
Safety Inspection
Drivers of trucks and truck tractors must inspect within the first 25 miles of a trip and every 150 miles or
every 3 hours (whichever comes first) afterward.
COMMENT: Not to terribly long ago I sent out a couple emails to DOT agencies requesting clarification
on this 25 mile inspection stop. Eventually, I received from one enforcement officer an email indicating
that CDL handbooks were not to be construed as having the same force of law as regular DOT regulations.
I did not challenge this logic. But, nevertheless I have often wondered why these rules would be so clearly
stated in this handbook if the driver who is taking the CDL test did not have to adhere to them after getting
the CDL? Perhaps the CDL handbooks are out of date. If so, then why force drivers to conform to deleted
You will notice when reading these rules, which seem to be the same as most or all other CDL test
handbooks, that the reference to this 25 mile inspection stop point does not state whether or not that this
only applies to hazmat loads. In fact, I have always interpreted this to mean any tractor trailer that just
completed getting loaded and was beginning the en route transport of any commodity.
Rules, Removals, & Redundancies.
NOTE: This regards the 25 mile ruling which may be deleted from current rules. However, I suspect that
even if this 25 mile inspection, etc., has been deleted it may well still have application. The driver is still
responsible for the knowledge that the equipment is safe to be on the road.

Within this article – Bill Watson indicates that it takes about 30 minutes to gauge 18 tires. This article also
points out the possible errors of the air gauge. And, that in-cab monitors would reduce this time consuming
burden drivers face.
Comment: What about conforming to DOT regulations? Why don’t the experts ever talk about this
fundamental issue? Could it be that the experts know there’s a major flaw in their CYA reasoning?
It’s fairly obvious that the experts want some sort of automated monitors or auto-inflation devices.
But till that day arrives they shouting that thumping is wrong – while carefully avoiding the realities.

§397.5 Attendance and surveillance of motor vehicles.
(c) A motor vehicle which contains hazardous materials other than Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3, materials, and
which is located on a public street or highway, or the shoulder of a public highway, must be attended by its
driver. However, the vehicle need not be attended while its driver is performing duties which are incident
and necessary to the driver's duties as the operator of the vehicle.
(d) For purposes of this section --
(d)(1) A motor vehicle is attended when the person in charge of the vehicle is on the vehicle, awake, and
not in a sleeper berth, or is within 100 feet of the vehicle and has it within his/her unobstructed field of


Comment: A few months ago while reading one of the online magazines, or a newsletter I read where a
Georgia county sheriff would stop truckers. I have looked high and low for this article, but have not been
able to find it again. Anyway, this in itself did not catch my eye to want to read more was something truly
absurd. Supposedly, this Georgia county had drafted a rule which mandated that all CDL drivers traveling
in this county must wear steel toed boots. And, apparently this local county enforcement officer(s) would
issue citations to drivers who were not wearing these boots. Now if this does not smell like entrapment or a
revenue-producing gimmick I have never seen a speed trap.

Roadside Inspections. Inspections of vehicles and drivers while en route, primarily at weigh
stations and ports of entry. Spot Checks. Inspection of vehicles and drivers by law enforcement
officers based on probable cause or statutory authority.
targeting truckers -- putting the bad guys out of service and off the road
dangerous tires -- # of rigs ordered off the rd due to dangerous tires
road side checks

An O/O’s experience, which is a similar and all too often discussion amongst drivers.
An article at roadstaronline (10-20-00) about waste haulers and how the state uses fines to finance further
inspection programs.

[9] WEAPONS (Tire Thumpers)
More of the story

On 9-14-2000 I received an email from a gentleman who’s son is a truck driver. His message went as
“Just talked to my son Tony. He just back from a trip to Vancouver and got hassled by Canadian customs.
Among other things, they questioned him about whether or not he carried any weapons. Before he could
answer, they rattled off a verbal list of what they considered weapons to be and they included "tire
thumpers"! What gives? Does Canada consider that a weapon now? Do you have any knowledge about
Canadian law and the status of tire thumpers up there? Fortunately, he was not driving his own truck so he

didn't have his Accu-Thump with him. But just to add insult to injury, US border guards charged him a fee
to re-enter the US!”

On 9-15-2000 I received a follow-up to his 1st email message, which says:
“Actually, Tony said that he was queried about weapons twice by Canadian customs (he brought two loads
across the border). The first time, the gal asked him about it just as I described it in my first email, but the
second time it went like this:
"Are you carrying any weapons?"
"You mean that you drive all over the United States and you have nothing to protect yourself with?"
"I don't carry any weapons."
"Well how do you defend yourself?"
"I suppose I defend myself the same way everyone else defends themselves."
At this response, the bureaucrat made it clear that he thought Tony was being a smart ass and refusing to
answer his questions. (another reason I love that boy!)
But the importance of this conversation is buried in the legal-eze of what the law says constitutes a weapon.
When I had to read all those cases about weapons for my tire thumper case, I found that the law considers
a weapon to be anything that the possessor considers to be a weapon. Sure, there are the obvious examples
of weapons that don't rely upon what the possessor believes, like guns. But is a knife something used to
carve wood, cut rope or open letters? Or does the possessor intend to use it for self defense (i.e., can it be
used for a weapon)? The answer lies in what the possessor thinks the uses include. I read one case where a
boy went to jail for carrying a "dangerous weapon". It was a knife. The officer stopped him for
"questioning" and frisked him (for "officer safety"). When he found the knife, he asked the boy what he
carried it for. When the boy replied that (among other things) that he intended to use it to defend himself if
attacked, the officer arrested him for carrying a "dangerous weapon".
The importance here is this. When talking to anybody other than God, your mother or your wife, you must
always say and maintain that you never carry any weapons. ESPECIALLY, if the person you are talking to
is part of the government. It does not matter that they are use only for defense and protection and not an
otherwise unlawful purpose. It doesn't matter that some tools have potential dual use as a weapon like a
tire thumper, a wrench or the crank used for lowering the trailer wheels. As far as anybody else is
concerned, these are tools and not weapons. In Tony's case, the officer was trying to hang him with his own
Luckily he saw it coming and dodged the bullet, so to speak. So much for freedom of thought! If you
THOUGHT it could be used as a weapon someday to save your life, then you are in trouble. And what ever
happened to our God-given right to self-defense?”
Comment: Upon reading these emails I decided that it would be sensible for me to send a copy of the 1st
email to several govt. authorities and safety organizations. In general the replies, which were few, danced
around this issue like they were walking on live red-hot coals. In short, I can only speculate as to why.
 no one gave me sufficient information on this topic.
More on weapons
This well-known company sells the typical wood tire thumpers. If thumpers were weapons, or are worthless
then why would this company who sells so many safety-related items to truckers be selling a thumper?
Another company selling same tire thumper
*To help minimize confusion and eliminate the possibility that an official may construe Accu-Thump
Truck Tire Thumpers as being weapons I have STAMPED into the metal on each Accu-Thump the words:
“Accu-Thump Tire Thumper”.


D.O.T. Games and Harassment
Tire safety warnings
Safety warning – inflation

A new truck design


Oddly, many of the links relating to tire inflation mysteriously vanished or could no longer be found after
being posted only a few weeks.
I realize that web sites are constantly changing and updating. Nevertheless, if a web site maintains an
online archive of articles -- why trash, delete, hide or place these sites where they are difficult to find?
Believe it or not drivers really are hungry for information!
It is possible that if these archived articles were readily available they might help drivers make our
highways a little safer.

If you find any of these links herein unavailable please advise.

A great editorial about drivers logging requirements
Questions and answers about breaks and meal stops.

A vehicle does not pass an inspection if it has one of the following defects or deficiencies:
NOTE: How can a driver inspect all this within 15-30 minutes.

§392.2 Applicable operating rules.
Every commercial motor vehicle must be operated in accordance with the laws, ordinances, and
regulations of the jurisdiction in which it is being operated. However, if a regulation of the Federal
Highway Administration imposes a higher standard of care than that law, ordinance or regulation,
the Federal Highway Administration regulation must be complied with.
10. Tires.
a. Any tire on any steering axle of a power unit.
(1) With less than 432 inch tread when measured at any point on a major tread groove.
(2) Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall.
(3) Has any tread or sidewall separation.
(4) Has a cut where the ply or belt material is exposed.
(5) Labeled "Not for Highway Use" or displaying other marking which would exclude use on
steering axle.
(6) A tube type radial tire without radial tube stem markings. These markings include a red band
around the tube stem, the word "radial" embossed in metal stems, or the word "radial" molded in
rubber stems.
(7) Mixing bias and radial tires on the same axle.
(8) Tire flap protrudes through valve slot in rim and touches stem.
(9) Regrooved tire except motor vehicles used solely in urban or suburban service (see exception
in §393.75(e).
(10) Boot, blowout patch or other ply repair.
(11) Weight carried exceeds tire load limit. This includes overloaded tire resulting from low air
(12) Tire is flat or has noticeable (e.g., can be heard or felt) leak.
(13) Any bus equipped with recapped or retreaded tire(s).
(14) So mounted or inflated that it comes in contact with any part of the vehicle.
b. All tires other than those found on the steering axle of a power unit:
(1) Weight carried exceeds tire load limit. This includes overloaded tire resulting from low air
(2) Tire is flat or has noticeable (e.g., can be heard or felt) leak.
(3) Has body ply or belt material exposed through the tread or sidewall.
(4) Has any tread or sidewall separation.
(5) Has a cut where ply or belt material is exposed.
(6) So mounted or inflated that it comes in contact with any part of the vehicle. (This includes a
tire that contacts its mate.)
(7) Is marked "Not for highway use" or otherwise marked and having like meaning.
(8) With less than 232 inch tread when measured at any point on a major tread groove.

Note: The roads belong to one and all. We all share equally the burdens and responsibilities that driving
demands. Furthermore, it is a fact that everyone makes mistakes while driving. Therefore, let’s stop
pointing fingers away from ourselves and find ways to make our highways reasonably safe for each and
every one of us.
Comment: When it comes to checking our car tires air pressure how many of us do this simple task? While
I can only speak for myself, I can and do watch what others do. My conclusions are that we simply won’t
take the time. We have become spoiled and ungrateful brats. And, when a tire fails we conveniently forget
our blunders. Why we won’t examine our tires health is a sign of pure laziness. Perhaps, and hopefully the
media will try to expose this awful sorry mental condition we all find ourselves within.
Who’s too blame?
With all the troubles lately regarding tire blow-outs on cars it would seem that companies would be much
more diligent regarding truck tires which obviously create more blowouts and gators than cars ever do.
Lawyers’ site
4wheelers – responsibility awareness
it’s strongly implied that the public be informed, then why aren’t we getting important safety tire facts????
debris also from 4wheelers and must share in responsible safety


For more information regarding Monitors and auto-inflation visit:
http://www.accu-thump .com/tire.html

[18] GAUGE
Note: This article fortifies my belief about confusion. Dot, says truck tires are to be check at Pre-trip, while
en route, and at end of driving day. Yet this article says weekly.
This article also points out that the gauge should be properly maintained and calibrated.
Should this link become defective (not found) go to and click on Industry news. Then
go to the 9-26-00 issue on “Tips for checking your tires.”

An article at Bridgestone-Firestone as to how Knight Transportation gives an air gauge to drivers to be used
every day. I find this type of article interesting because it does not mention how to use the gauge while en
route to conform to DOT regulations.
tire pressure – general information on car type tires
check tires when they are cold and calibrated gauge
10% low is a run flat --- calibrate
checking gauges
drivers and gauges – how often tires are checked --- fifth wheel stress on tires
inflation --- 20 minutes to check
Throw away defective gauges – maintenance personnel MUST be provided with a good gauge.
Question: I wonder why drivers aren’t mentioned if drivers are so important for safety and tire
moisture & bad gauges

NOTE: This article stresses that driver’s only check tires when they are cold, and not driven for more than
a mile. In addition, it rather peculiar that truck tires should be checked weekly when DOT says much more
regularly. A properly calibrated gauge is also emphasized.
cool down wait time --- Tire Billies
wait 3 to 4hrs – 160 degrees inside tires --- hot and cold climates --- inflation mismatch
general information

[20] CHART
Subpart G--Miscellaneous Parts and Accessories
§393.75 Tires.

   a) No motor vehicle shall be operated on any tire that (1) has body ply or belt material exposed
   through the tread or sidewall, (2) has any tread or sidewall separation, (3) is flat or has an audible
   leak, or (4) has a cut to the extent that the ply or belt material is exposed.
   (b) Any tire on the front wheels of a bus, truck, or truck tractor shall have a tread groove pattern
   depth of at least 432 of an inch when measured at any point on a major tread groove. The
   measurements shall not be made where tie bars, humps, or fillets are located.
   (c) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, tires shall have a tread groove pattern
   depth of at least 232 of an inch when measured in a major tread groove. The measurement shall
   not be made where tie bars, humps or fillets are located.
   (d) No bus shall be operated with regrooved, recapped or retreaded tires on the front wheels.
   (e) No truck or truck tractor shall be operated with regrooved tires on the front wheels which have
   a load carrying capacity equal to or greater than that of 8.25-20 8 ply rating tires.
   (f) Tire loading restrictions. With the exception of manufactured homes, no motor vehicle shall be
   operated with tires that carry a weight greater than that marked on the sidewall of the tire or, in
   the absence of such a marking, a weight greater than that specified for the tires in any of the
   publications of any of the organizations listed in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 119
   (49 CFR 571.119, S5.1(b)) unless:
   (f)(1) The vehicle is being operated under the terms of a special permit issued by the State; and
   (f)(2) The vehicle is being operated at a reduced speed to compensate for the tire loading in
   excess of the manufacturer's rated capacity for the tire. In no case shall the speed exceed 80
   km/hr (50 mph).
   (g) Tire loading restrictions for manufactured homes. Effective November 16, 1998, tires used for
   the transportation of manufactured homes (i.e., tires marked or labeled 7-14.5MH and 8-14.5MH)
   may be loaded up to 18 percent over the load rating marked on the sidewall of the tire or, in the
   absence of such a marking, 18 percent over the load rating specified in any of the publications of
   any of the organizations listed in FMVSS No. 119 (49 CFR 571.119, S5.1(b)). Manufactured
   homes which are labeled (24 CFR 3282.7(r)) on or after November 16, 1998 shall comply with
   this section. Manufactured homes transported on tires overloaded by 9 percent or more must not
   be operated at speeds exceeding 80 km/hr (50 mph). This provision will expire November 20,
   2000 unless extended by mutual consent of the FHWA and the Department of Housing and
   Urban Development after review of appropriate tests or other data submitted by the industry or
   other interested parties.
   (h) Tire inflation pressure. (1) No motor vehicle shall be operated on a tire which has a cold
   inflation pressure less than that specified for the load being carried.
   (2) If the inflation pressure of the tire has been increased by heat because of the recent operation
   of the vehicle, the cold inflation pressure shall be estimated by subtracting the inflation buildup
   factor shown in Table 1 from the measured inflation pressure.
                                                           Minimum inflation pressure buildup

   Average speed of vehicle in the       Tires with 1,814 kg (4,000 lbs. )    Tires with over 1,814 kg (4,000
           previous hour                  maximum load rating or less                 lbs.) load rating

66 - 88.5 km/h (41 to 55 mi/h).                  34.5 kPa (5psi)                    103.4 kPa (15 psi)
   Speed and air pressure chart
   charts and speed

effects of high speed


NEW RULES effective Nov., 4, 2002 -
Even though the rules for periodic (hazmat) tire inspections are changing -- tires must still be inspected
each time the vehicle is parked. Therefore, in my opinion, if a driver values both physical health and road
safety it would seem appropriate to take rest breaks every 2 to 3 hours to simply maintain the
cardiovascular system as well as reduce the mental stress of driving. Consequently, the responsible driver
will still be conducting about the same number of hazmat tire inspections. Of course, there will always be
those drivers who think the buck is King and their health can take a back seat by not taking breaks, showers
or eating and peeing on the fly.


§397.7 Parking.
(b) A motor vehicle which contains hazardous materials other than Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 materials must
not be parked on or within five feet of the traveled portion of public street or highway except for brief
periods when the necessities of operation require the vehicle to be parked and make it impracticable to park
the vehicle in any other place.
A lack of parking spots at Indiana rest stops leaves truck drivers with few choices; many are parking
illegally at roadsides or driving over the hours-of-service limit, getting
§397.7 Parking.
(b) A motor vehicle which contains hazardous materials other than Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 materials must
not be parked on or within five feet of the traveled portion of public street or highway except for brief
periods when the necessities of operation require the vehicle to be parked and make it impracticable to park
the vehicle in any other place.
§397.5 Attendance and surveillance of motor vehicles.
(c) A motor vehicle which contains hazardous materials other than Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3, materials, and
which is located on a public street or highway, or the shoulder of a public highway, must be attended by its
driver. However, the vehicle need not be attended while its driver is performing duties which are incident
and necessary to the driver's duties as the operator of the vehicle.

[23] HEAT

Heat due to flexing. Driver tire abuses – such as curbs and high speed.

Brake heat
This article has a lot of information, some of which I find both interesting and disturbing.
Items of interest include: Heat is an enemy due to under/over inflation, the need for calibrated gauges, and
proper pressure.
Note: What is odd is that it says tire manufacturers urge weekly tire inspections. Obviously this would be
better than never being done. I wonder why this article does not stress DOT safety requirements?
Note: Another oddity to me is where it says, “Optimal tire inflation pressure is the rated pressure plus or
minus 10%.” If this is an accurate statement then why do the experts constantly chant that a 10% loss of air
pressure is not good, and that only a gauge can find this. Sounds like double speak to me.
Note: Just in case this article will not load go to’s library and conduct a search for
“Inflation Facts”.
Another tid-bit of data not only worth reading herein, but also worth investigating is: Temperature to
pressure to altitude.
1st go to and click on - help desk, then click on - Tire safety - then click on - Air pressure.
Notice where it says: “Seasonal changes or altitude changes create a rise or drop in air pressure (for every
10 degrees change in temperature, tire air pressures changes 1 psi)”.
(go to archives and click on - ask Peggy #83 Nov.1999)
always check pressure when cold - wait 3 or 4 hrs – items that affect air pressure
speed – heat -- risks
squash -- wait 3 to 4hrs – 160 degrees inside tires --- hot and cold climates --- inflation mismatch
brake heat
tire temp – rocks – notice the frequency tires are checked
can a load be too light --- concentrated heat
how alignment can cause tire wear and of course this wear might cause excess heat.
The next time you go down the freeway pay attention to how the trailers are tracking and you will get a
rough idea of how this condition might play apart in the creation of gators.


Hot weather tire checks (training)

Florida’s CDL Handbook
2.10 Driving in Very Hot Weather
“Do a normal pre-trip inspection but pay special attention to the following items.
Tires. Check the tire mounting and air pressure. Inspect the tires every two hours or every 100 miles when
driving in very hot weather. Air pressure increases with temperature. Do not let air out or the pressure will
be too low when the tires cool off. If a tire is too hot to touch, remain stopped until the tire cools off.
Otherwise the tire may blow out or catch fire. Pay special attention to recapped or retreaded tires. Under
high temperatures the tread may separate from the body of the tire.”
“Go Slow Enough to Prevent Overheating. High speeds create more heat for tires and the engine. In desert
conditions the heat may build up to the point where it is dangerous. The heat will increase chances of tire
failure, or even fire, and engine failure.”

In many of my cyberville travels I ran across DOT and other well respected experts which said that during
summer months because it hotter that tires should be inspected more frequently. Unfortunately, I have not
been able to re-locate them.
summer heat --- 8000 tire failures --- sequence of tire inspections
Entry level training and Hot summer months
Question: I wonder why training and safety oriented organization fails to provide information about tire
management? Is selling information more important than freely broadcasting how to properly inspect tires?
Comment: Perhaps if the cat got loose the jig would be up?

§396.11 Driver vehicle inspection report(s).
(a) Report required. Every motor carrier shall require its drivers to report, and every driver shall
prepare a report in writing at the completion of each day's work on each vehicle operated and the
report shall cover at least the following parts and accessories
Every carrier must require its drivers to prepare a daily written post trip inspection report at the end of each
driving day…

[27] ACCU-THUMP® Animated Cartoon


Handbook of Vehicle-Road Interaction


This “Tire Maintenance 101” article includes: Check tires when cold (3 hrs), Can’t get drivers to do Pre-
trip inspections, tires lose air, and heat increases air pressure.
Note: Tire Billy’s can’t find tires that are 10 to 15 pounds low on air. Based upon the article at # 23 --
what’s all the fuss about 10 pounds of air? In addition, recently I received an email which indicated that the
experts told this O/O driver let 10 to 15 pounds of air out of his drive tires to help reduce cupping.
thumping is counter productive - time to use gauge – monitors - gauges
“Don’t thump ’em, pump ’em” crusade - just in time - time is money
TRIB & anti-thumping
COMMENT: Check out what is said on the pages at: Rubber On The Road -Issues & Answers.
See if you think this site deals with reality, instead of blaming drivers and thumping.
Comments: I find it interesting that on the page “Just Limp On In” that just spending a FEW minutes a day
will greatly reduce the number of tire failures. Based upon the industries own standards it takes a lot more
than a FEW minutes to check 18 wheels. And, what about waiting for the tires too cool down for hours
before using the gauge which this site promotes?
Perhaps my opinionated comments are too caustic and unjustified. If so I apologize. But, if tire and
highway safety is what this site is trying to stress as fundamentally important then why does this promoter
of the gauge and retreads not also show the dumb, tire abusive drivers how to conform with DOT safety
regulations in a time efficient manner?
It appears to me that this type of information is designed to be none other than CYA, and to Hell with
Perhaps I have inappropriately judged the experts. Then again I wonder why the these experts when
pointing fingers don’t recognize that 3 are pointing right back at themselves. Maybe, one day the experts
will recognize that part of the solution is complete and easily found information.

Also you may want to visit to find similar related information.
COMMENT: I find it both curious and disturbing that they say they are committed to continued education
about how to reduce the incidence of RoadGator’s on the highways. Yet, all I see is pointed fingers and no
real life solutions like truly informing by spelling out how drivers can time efficiently comply with DOT
regulations, and still make “just in time” delivery scheduling.
Question: You don’t suppose that experts are afraid to tell it all because they might offend the very
companies that use retreaded tires?
Another opinion: Let’s all work together, and maybe we can actually accomplish the tremendous feat of:
1) helping reduce the number of Hwy Alligators, 2) safer highways, and 3) also, at same time make a
driver’s life a lot less hazardous. Isn’t this worth a try because what we have been doing is not working?
You’ll find more low tires on trailers than on trucks or tractors; you’ll find the inside dual wheel position
least checked and the most likely to be 20% or more underinflated.
Though drivers often claim a well-placed kick or thump with a tire billy can detect soft tires, these methods

fail miserably when put to the test at truckstops and at truck shows. The fact is it takes a gauge to spot an
underinflated tire.
Don’t thump – zippers - nitrogen
Anti-thumping crusade
Don’t thump
“kick-o-meter” or the “club-o-meter.” Slow leaks - cancerous water

line haul
mis-matched & air pressure
curb damage
tire slapping & flat spots

[31] WASTE TIRES & DUMPS =TO&Dato=20001
burning tires dump

“David M. Cambest Tue Aug 31 14:52:40 PDT 1999
Topic: Road debris
About 6 weeks ago I was riding my motorcycle to work when I was knocked off of it by a piece of road
debris. This was a very common and most dangerous type of debris, a piece of a re-cap truck tire. The
result was loss of much skin but most severe was that I suffered a compression fracture to my right
shoulder. The radius was broken off of the main humorous bine completely and the radius itself was

shattered into about 4 pieces. I am now severely restricted in movement to my right arm. I will most likely
have to go through a shoulder joint replacement operation in the future. My main point is the hazard of
these pieces of re-cap truck tires, "road gators" as we call them down here in Southern Florida. Because of
the heat it is very common to see many large pieces of these all over the roads. I am looking for others that
have either been injured or incurred damage to their vehicles so we may launch a class action law suit
against the re-cap tire industry and possibly have these outlawed or taxed to pay for the damage they cause.
If you or someone you know has encountered a road gator please write me so we can discuss action. Let's
make the roads safe for other fellow bikers.”

Here are 2 animated graphics depicting what happens when truck tires fail and result in
hazardous RoadGators, especially if a 4wheeler is following to close to the truck.
This 2nd cartoon shows what could happen and does happen to 4wheelers when they encounter
a dangerous road-hugging RoadRuler while driving at night.


A collection of instruments that are often used to thump truck tires.

[34] Squashed (squished)
squash -- heat
squash -- wait 3 to 4hrs – 160 degrees inside tires --- hot and cold climates --- inflation mismatch

Maybe, if enough money is spent drivers will eventually learn all the secrets of proper tire inflation. hosts/transport/transcourses/index.html

School bus & Trucks
Comment: I’ve made it a point to watch, from a discreet distance what drivers do before picking up the
school kids. Even though I hope this is not the norm -- I never saw a school bus driver check the tires.
Pre-trip inspection videos
Pre-trip car evaluation
Video on Pre-trip inspection
Notice how the selling of information fails to mention tire checking methods.
School(s) to learn
Great pictures about pre-trip and en route, but did not see any pictures about checking tires which is first
and foremo st before any driving.
From Jilly’s message board.

There are many private or public funded CDL schools that for a fee will train drivers to get their CDL and
know how to drive an 18wheeler.
Comment: I’ve made it a point to visit a few of these places. And, from a discreet distance I would watch
to see what methods were utilized to teach students how to check tires. So far, I have not seen a single such
place of higher learning actually show prospective drivers the various methods of checking tires. But,
perhaps I was not watching when this important event took place.
Vermont CDL requirements
Ohio CDL
Rhode Island CDL
Texas CDL
Professional Safety Consulting, Inc.
Information fees

Is air pressure and checking information for tire safety only available via cash payment(s)? In other
words – is safety and compliance standards only a money grubbing resource scheme?

Water in tires & what kind of air to fill tires with
Tire speed – inflation checks
Comment: I find it very curious that many articles say that tires are to be checked weekly – when DOT
says --- all the time.
Management & yard checks
A Firestone article . If this site does not work click Heavytruck’s library and then enter Firestone
into the search.
Road breakdowns
According to this article over half the road call services were for tire problems
Preventable accidents and associated costs
Tires & the IRS
Unfortunately, the archived information at must be done by clicking on News Search and then
conduct a search for items like: tire debris, tires, inflation, air pressure, flats, road debris, etc. This site is
worth your time for there are many very interesting topics presented at
Driver pay based on miles
Safety and truckers time used for paperwork
dangerous and 4wheelers
Changes in safety regulations
Note: it may be necessary to click on their library search to find this and related articles.

General information on inflation
General tire information (cars) tire pressure – under-inflation
40-to 80% of all vehicles are underinflated
For great information on a variety of subjects regarding truck tires, such as road debris, road rubber,
Highway Alligators, tires, tire pressure, flats, inflation, ambient temperature, heat, etc.,
Tire inflation data
“Focus on Drivers”
Driver health issues. Read the next article for expansion of this topic.
“Economy Drives Safety Rate”
A transport Topics article relating to driver health and that good economic times may cause drivers to take
risks because of the need to rush.
A simplified test for newbies that will be hauling hazmat. Look at what is mentioned about tires.
Inadequate CDL drivers
Tire repair -- Confusion/misunderstandings
Safety issues
go to their search site - upper right corner of their home page and enter "inflation" or "pressure".
Examine what they say.
Tire Failures
Items that affect tires
Effects of Tire speed

dirty, hazardous shipper domains
Note: this article is what I discussed on page 12 regarding road debris (nails)
trailer tires more likely to be underinflated – inside dual most likely underinflated
Comment: odd that this article skips over what kind of new or retread tire fails
if you don’t maintain your tires the media will sensationalize blowouts
legal liability --- number of retread tires on the road
the above 7 sites are from a message board about road debris & gators
Florida road debris and gators
scrap tires
dangers of steam cleaning tires
trapped stones
support safety, but fails to discuss how their tires are maintained in order to achieve tire safety
driver turnover – home each night -- an extra few tons of ice
Cuts in tire tread could introduce water and dirt, which might cause steel belts to rust creating the
possibility of failure
no perfect tire – fifth wheel placement
tire codes
what tires collect while on the road

insurance costs – better safety practices
drivers take risks when economy is good
speed, pressure and load
The real cost of tires
premature aging
this page should direct you to other related issues about tires
dead rubber --- go to archives – click on #48 at the July 2000 issue.

Created: 10-30-2000
Revised: 11-12-2000
Revised: 10-14-2002

For a related perspective visit:

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