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Author Topic: driving unsafe vehicles  (Read 4675 times)
Len Silva
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« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2010, 06:57:43 AM »

Driving in Boston, you either need brakes or a good horn, but not both.
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« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2010, 06:59:45 AM »

Sometimes we do things that we would rather not do. The main thing is to be in a position to make a well informed decision - as opposed to a misinformed decision.

We also don't want to be cavilear when endorsing 'risky' behaviour either. (Yes, driving with part of the braking system disabled is risky behaviour.)

To get a feel for the level of risk, I'd need to run some numbers so I would have a better idea as to what to expect.
If braking effect is proportional to axle weight,
If the axle weights are-
front = 11,000
drive = 18,000
tag = 5,000
total = 34,000

Based on that, the drive axle provides 18,000 / 34,000 % of the braking (~53%)
So, if you remove half of that, you remove a bit over 1/4 of the available braking capacity of a perfect system.

I would have to consider the route & other traffic before I decided to make that trip. But, if normal stops on the planned trip were only light pedal application, I'd probably take the chance - but, I'd have a chase car to make sure things went as safely as practical.

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« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2010, 07:13:44 AM »

Kyle, this is part of what I don't get.  Given that it's illegal to operate the bus with whatever is broken still broken (I really had no intent of making this all about a missing brake chamber), and given that whatever is broken is non-trivial in nature, why is our collective attitude that it's ok to perform an illegal act if we probably won't get caught, die, kill someone else, or otherwise have a catastrophe?  Why isn't our attitude that the bus is out of service, parked, until it's fixed?  Why is it OK to make some "calculation" that convinces us it's OK to go?

This has really bothered me for some time.  I'm all about innovation and McGyvering things, but not on the public roads.  Maybe it really is just me.  I didn't even take my bus for a test drive until I had my upgraded drivers license in my hand (we need Air Brake endorsement up here).  I could have, I wouldn't have gotten caught (90% of the guys who drive the big MH's up here don't have anything close to the correct license, at least the one's I've asked) and if I got caught the fine would have been trivial.  But it's illegal so I didn't do it.  Maybe I am just a big wuss...   Huh

Brian
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« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2010, 07:21:02 AM »

 If it was a choice of driving with one less brake a short distance on dry roads or driving with full brakes in the snow, i would opt for not driving in the snow. How many of you drive in snow?  On any given day you might see a wreck of two or you might go for months without seeing one. On a snowy day, especially the first snow of the season, there is a good chance you will see dozens if not hundreds of crashed rigs, i know i have.  I won't take the chance of driving my bus in snow even though i am comfortable driving my car in the snow.  We all take a risk every day when we get out on the roads with any vehicle. To be perfectly safe you better stay at home.  Everybody has to figure out what their comfort level is......ever see the pictures of the plane in Alaska that got torn up by a bear and the guy patched it up with duct tape and flew it back out of the bush?   Huh  Grin
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« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2010, 07:50:10 AM »

Brian is right, illegal is still illegal, but at what point do we all make adjustments to our morals on a daily basis, I'd be willing to bet that we've all crossed the street in the middle of the block at one point or another, what we do each day is weigh the risk and danger of most of what we do before we make our choice, another factor that may come into play is cost. Yesterday I didn't have my 5 servings of vegetables but yet I didn't lay awake worrying about it, my choices are normally based on many factors which include cost, danger, legality and yes sometimes it's even the chance of getting caught.  Laws are written to protect us and sometimes that means protecting us from ourselves, I resent the requirement that I wear a helmet on the bike but I also see the logic behind it, I guess we all do things that we probably shouldn't from time to time.  Michigan has thousands of laws involving motor vehicle codes, I couldn't possibly be familier with even a fraction of them so I probably break a lot of them each day, I just try to operate in as safe a manner as I can and hope I do alright in the long run.
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kyle4501
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« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2010, 07:55:54 AM »

Brian,
I'm all for understanding the machine one is operating, but just because you are 'legal' does not ensure 100% success, just as being 'illegal' does not ensure 100% failure.
I'm more concerned for safety (myself & others) than strict adherence to the law.  Cool
The fact is each trip (bus, car, walking, etc) poses potential dangers & we need to consider them before we leave (like Cody said).

Taking a bus with a known problem & driving it a short distance on familiar roads with minimal traffic is a VERY DIFFERENT thing than embarking on a long trip over unfamiliar roads with sometimes heavy traffic with unknown problems. - Of course, this assumes you modify your driving style when you know about a problem.

To take it to the extreme, your stance could support the argument that old vehicles shouldn't be allowed on the roads at all since so much of the aluminium structure is not inspectable & we all know that aluminium does not have an endurance limit & as a result will eventually fail in fatigue unless it is re-annealed. Sure, you can pass all the DOT inspections - but what about the hidden problem that no one could see - (the air tank that ruptures, the diaphragm that ruptures, the tire that blows out . . . .)

I think there should be a distinction between 'limp home' vs. standard operating procedure. BTW, I don't think 'limp home' includes continuing a vacation.  Shocked


While ignorance is not an excuse, many use it as a reason.

These discussions are good reminders to the full scope of what is involved in operating a heavy commercial vehicle.
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« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2010, 07:58:20 AM »

One factor not mentioned so far is how it is driven at times like that (well, Kyle just beat me to it).  Under normal driving conditions, you "expect" the brakes to work and drive normally, at normal speed and with normal practices.  When in "limp home" mode you are highly sensitive to whatever problem is noted.  You are likely to drive much slower and maintain substantially larger clear space ahead of you.

That is of course more of an "ethical" consideration than a "legal" one because from the legal perspective, the bus doesn't move down the road under its own power until the problem is fixed.  Also keep in mind that by law, it is not legal to drive 75 in a 70 zone, 70 in a 65, 60 in a 55 or 35 in a 30.  The legal speed limit for trucks at night in many places is 55. When you approach a curve that is marked 45mph, it is not legal to go 55.  In many states it is not legal to drive in the rain without your headlights on.  In Tennessee it is not legal to drive with a cracked windshield.  How about that U-Haul trailer that can't be towed over 45mph? It isn't legal to drive without your properly secured seatbelts latched.  In many places it is not legal to have a loaded handgun on board.  In state or federal parks it is not legal to have a gun on board period, no matter how secured or removed from its ammo.  It has been cynically said by many that every citizen is a criminal in today's heavily legislated society.
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« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2010, 07:59:56 AM »

Well, I got it off my chest, at least.  Thank you for the conversation about this, I feel better now...   Smiley

Brian
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« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2010, 08:13:58 AM »

These discussions are good reminders to the full scope of what is involved in operating a heavy commercial vehicle.

That's the key phrase - "heavy commercial vehicle".  And its not just us owners of wore out busses.  All the bulgemobiles riding around on Freightshaker chassis are just 10 or 15 years away from joining our ranks. 

We maintained a fleet of worn out trucks which we used in seasonal service.  We thought anything less than 10 years old was a new vehicle.  Its not impossible to keep the old equipment in compliance but you have to keep on it.  If you let it slide for several years and then try to bring it into compliance the bill can easily be more than the vehicle is worth.  The problem is that this stuff is so heavily built that it can go a long time before it absolutely lets us down.  I've seen brake cam bushings on bus conversions so badly worn out that you can literally move the slack adjuster over an inch side to side.  That's an automatic failure and a huge legal problem if something bad (think little schoolgirl with a cute kitten) ever happens.  Is it "dangerous"?  I dunno but the people who write the regs think so and that's all that really matters.

Its a daily occurance for us to assess risk and assume risks that are technically illegal.  Exceeding the speed limit is the most common example.  Most of us are more able to accurately assess the risk of that kind of "dangerous" behaviour because we are familiar with it.  Most of us are not commercial equipment operators so our ability to assess the risk of non-standard behaviour with commercial equipment is impaired.
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« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2010, 08:27:57 AM »

The posts here keep referencing "buses" but in reality we mostly drive RV's for the purpose of inspections and licensing. If every rv on the road was weighed and inspected I think our "Bus / RV" would be safe to operate long after all the old winnebagos and toyota truck campers were taken off the road.  We compare our "Bus / RV" to commercial vehicles and that is an apples to oranges comparison. As a commercial vehicle our "Bus / RV" would / could be out of compliance however I think that we a group are MUCH more aware of the safety factors than most people who jump in their motorhome and drive across the country.

Melbo
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« Reply #25 on: May 19, 2010, 08:40:14 AM »

Guys anyway you slice this pie we are driving a unit that was taken out of revenue service because they were too old and mainatince was to costly like Meblo says they are on their 2nd life as a RV.
I read some where cities have a 10 or 12 year limit on years of service for transit operations and here in AZ they have a 10 year on school buses. 


good luck be safe 
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Just Dallas
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« Reply #26 on: May 19, 2010, 09:09:04 AM »

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« Reply #27 on: May 19, 2010, 09:20:35 AM »

Dallas, that is funny I had a brand new Pete (1000 miles) me and my driver went from Tulsa to Coffeyville Ks 3000 bucks and 2 days later we were on the road back to Tulsa I thought that only happens to me. 

good luck
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Just Dallas
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« Reply #28 on: May 19, 2010, 09:35:34 AM »

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« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2010, 09:46:29 AM »

I hear you Brian.  I'm afraid we're one dead schoolgirl with a cute kitten away from having to follow a commercial inspection regime. 

Nope.

If the thousands of people who have died as sticks and staples broke up around them, fallen on them, or been unable to stop because the truck chassis they're built on couldn't handle the extra two tons of toad haven't forced a change in safety standards for RVs, nothing that WE can do would have any effect.

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