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Questions & answers

Donna Ryun

Question: I went to take a random drug test and was told to remove everything from my pockets. Is this normal procedure? I don’t remember having to do this before, but they told me there is a new DOT rule about this.

Answer: Up until Aug. 1, 2001, this was not normal procedure. Prior to that date, according to interpretations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Handbook, requiring a donor to remove everything from his/her pockets was prohibited as a common practice unless the collection site person noticed an indication (such as bulging or overstuffed pockets) of an attempt to tamper with the specimen.

However, after Aug. 1, 2001, new Part 40 FMCSA rules instruct collection site personnel to have you empty your pockets. Here’s the regulation taken from Section 40.61:

“You must direct the employee to empty his or her pockets and display the items in them to ensure that no items are present which could be used to adulterate the specimen. If nothing is there that can be used to adulterate a specimen, the employee can place the items back into his or her pockets. As the employee, you must allow the collector to make this observation.”

Although it appears the collection site person was following the regulations in your case, there’s certainly no harm in questioning procedures to ensure the collection process is in compliance.

If you believe proper collection procedures are not being followed, you should advise your employer or motor carrier, as they are responsible for seeing that specimens are collected in accordance with part 40 of the regulations. If you get no response to your complaints or no corrective action is taken, be sure to contact the DOT office whose jurisdiction covers your employer or motor carrier.

Question: When will I be able to make payments to OOIDA online? I don’t want to have to wait on the mail.

Answer: There’s good news for those readers who want the convenience of making online payments. Simply go to our Web site at and look to the left side of the home page at the top of the fast-find menu, where you will see a “Pay On Line” icon. Click on the icon and follow the instructions to make your payment online.

Question: One of our customers requested our SCAC code for a load we were moving for them, and we were unable to provide it. This is a load we are hauling for the government. Can you tell me what a SCAC code is and how we would go about obtaining one?

Answer: SCAC is the abbreviation for Standard Carrier Alpha Code. The National Motor Freight Traffic Association Inc. (NMFTA) developed these codes during the late 1960s to make it easier for the transportation industry to become “computerized.”

All U.S. government agencies, as well as many commercial shippers, require SCACs, particularly those involved with the petroleum and chemical industries. In addition, carriers who use the Uniform Intermodal Interchange Agreement (UIIA) are required to have a valid SCAC.

Contact NMFTA at (703) 838-1810 or visit their Web site at to find out more or to obtain an online application form.

Question: Have you heard any news about a new federal law that it is now illegal to hang containers off a step deck? We’ve heard rumors, but nothing in writing yet.

Answer: Section 393.126 (c) of the “North American Standard for Protection Against Shifting and Falling Cargo; Final Rule” addresses this question as follows:

“Securement of loaded intermodal containers transported on vehicles other than container chassis vehicle(s). (1) All lower corners of the intermodal container must rest upon the vehicle, or the corners must be supported by a structure capable of bearing the weight of the container and that support structure must be independently secured to the motor vehicle.”

Regarding empty intermodal containers, the ruling goes on to say:

“Securement of empty intermodal containers transported on vehicles other than container chassis vehicle(s). Empty intermodal containers transported on vehicles other than container chassis vehicles do not have to have all lower corners of the intermodal container resting upon the vehicle, or have all lower corners supported by a structure capable of bearing the weight of the empty container, provided (1) the empty intermodal container is balanced and positioned on the vehicle in a manner such that the container is stable before the addition of tiedowns or other securement equipment; and (2) the amount of overhang for the empty container on the trailer does not exceed five feet on either the front or the rear of the trailer; (3) the empty intermodal container must not interfere with the vehicle’s maneuverability; and, (4) the empty intermodal container is secured to prevent lateral, longitudinal or vertical shifting.”

The final rule was published in late September 2002 and was effective Dec. 26, 2002, with motor carriers expected to ensure compliance by Jan. 1, 2004. LL

If you have questions you’d like answered, please e-mail them to or send them to me at PO Box 1000, Grain Valley, MO 64029. Although we won’t be able to publish all questions in Land Line, you will receive a response.