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Author Topic: Should RV's Require DOT Stuff  (Read 7013 times)
Lin
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« on: September 04, 2010, 07:51:02 PM »

I am starting this thread rather than continue to tag comments onto BG6's farewell post.  Further, this is really a question since I do not claim to have all the facts needed to know. 

Since larger vehicles are capable of doing larger damage, it is arguable that the drivers should have superior training and licensing than for mere cars.  One could also say that the vehicles themselves should be subjected to greater scrutiny.  However, this may come down to a theoretic problem rather than a real one.  Does anyone know any real numbers regarding accidents with RV's--specifically those that were caused by poor maintenance and driver ability?  My guess would be that the insurance industry has "done the numbers" and our relatively good rates would imply that the real safety record is not bad at all.  I do admit that I was less than competent when I first started driving the bus (actually, I still am), but I was probably better at it than I was at driving a car when I first got my license for that.
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wal1809
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« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2010, 08:42:36 PM »

To be honest I would rather get run over by a bus than have another government agency tell me what to do.  I might go so far as saying I would like them to back up and run over me again before I pay that government agency a high fee only to have them waste it jus like the rest of my tax dollars.  So just incase we were kind if voting my vote is absolutely no DOT.
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« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2010, 09:10:47 PM »

As has been pointed out previously D.O.T isn't the be all and end all of everything. It can only be as good as the mechanics from a mechanical safety view. At a drivers safety view it's again only as a safe as the man at the moment. Anyone who has flown a plane or spent time in the aviation community can testify that plenty of very safe pilots with as much training as one can have still crash and die. I lost a few friends that way. Sometimes stuff just happens. Pilot error quite often and sometimes mechanical but it happens and more laws and government just won't really change that.

I've seen too many jury rigged cars which far exceed us on the roads in numbers. One of them is quite capable of causing as much damage as us!
I just don't hear that much about us (buses and even MH's) having that many troubles. That's not to say that it doesn't happen but the elephant lumbering down the path may not be as much of a danger as the scurrying little critters that buzz around.  
« Last Edit: September 04, 2010, 09:12:45 PM by Paladin » Logged

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bobofthenorth
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« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2010, 10:35:10 PM »

I don't have the numbers but my guess is that low insurance premiums are more a reflection of miles driven than they are indicative of risk of incident.  I've listened to the arguments against DOT involvement in the RV industry and it seems to me that they could just as easily be made for commercial trucks.  Professional drivers with professional maintenance shouldn't need any stinkin' government interference in their business.  Somebody has already suggested that the RV industry has a very effective lobby and that may be true.  I still think that collectively we are one bad incident away from a lot more regulation. 
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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 12:10:27 AM »

As a "commercial" driver myself, I'd say there's nothing magical about being commercial. A driver's ability is still largely up to the individual himself/herself, then a "class A" stamped on the liscense. There's many commercial drivers, in DOT compliant vehicles, that shouldn't be on the road. Likewise, there're non-commercial liscensed drivers that'll give most trucker a run for their money. Most commercial bus drivers today can't even budge a classic, non power steering, non synchro manual bus.

Contrarary to popular belief, getting a commercial liscense doesn't involve rigorous training such as backing up a B-train up a 25% grade with cliffs on either side, or thresthold braking a rig with trailer swinging sideways. In BC Canada, a Class 1 license simply require you to drive a rig around the city, merge on and off the hwy, and back up 20 feet in a straight line. And a stupid 45 minutes "pretrip" that 99.9% of drivers won't do (to that extent). In no way would this license make a crappy driver suddenly very competent.
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Joe Camper
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« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2010, 04:40:13 AM »

Just what we need another excuse for letting some burocrats protect us from ourselves.

Hold on to your wallet.

Have you noticed all the raddy commercial equip running down the roads currently? All the bull currently in law really remidies that hu.

Are you aware that, for example, it is leagle to run an air brake vehicle that is loosing just short of 1 pound of air per miniute? That is insane but is their guidline.

No, no thank you not even in my worst nightmare.

There is nothing they can do for me better than I and I also have complete confidence in my neighbor

If you believe that it willhelp read their publications and follow thier rules. Why do you need legeslation to get there just do it if you think it is prudent

I apoligize in advance for my tone but it is what it is
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rwc
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« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2010, 04:42:53 AM »

Short answer   NO!!!!!
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robertglines1
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« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2010, 05:01:25 AM »

is there not a overseeing body for manufacturing a new RV? I've seen a lot of wrong weight capacity tires on new RVs the industry should be self regulating..to be clear the DOT is not the answer.I do agree with all here!!!!Guess that why I drive a Bus or two   Bob
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2010, 05:24:42 AM »

I think all RV manufacturers belong to RVIA (RV Industry Assoc.) The RVIA sets standards which members are supposed to follow. Jack
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« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2010, 06:16:05 AM »

There are too damn many cops and DOT  , (Make that read 'Revenue Enhancement Agents for the State) now, if they had to inspect RV's they would simply hire another few hundred thousand!
Read the OT post about tickets for some good numbers.
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« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2010, 06:23:33 AM »

I don't think there is any need to have converted buses and RV's comply with the DOT inspection routines for highway coaches or school buses.  That would require an under-chassis inspection every 30 days, signed off by a licensed technician, and would obviously kill the industry.  I equally don't think there is any justification that our converted buses and RV's should not be able to pass the inspection at any time, and as I said earlier my clear understanding is that we are already obliged to be able to submit to a roadside inspection station at any time, and pass.

Driver licensing is another question.  I don't think that having a commercial license is any miracle working guarantee of competency, I've had one since I was 19 or 20, and I wasn't particularly a rocket scientist back then...  But I also have some time for the idea that if you are driving a vehicle over a certain weight, equipped with commercial type brakes and systems, that you should be able to demonstrate that you understand them and have a certain competency at handling them.  Getting the appropriate license means, at the very least, that someone checked you out and thought that you were at least minimally competent at some point in time.  I mean, I have literally met people driving a 45 foot diesel pusher with a regular license who knew full well they were not licensed and so driving illegally, and who didn't know how to check the tire pressure on their inner dual tire.  Had never personally done it.  I would love to have them have to take a class or two and pass the tests!

To a certain extent it's all about the other guy.  I know that I am perfect, it's the rest of the people out there that scare me!  (tongue in cheek, sarcasm, and by "I" I of course include all converted bus owners and drivers... Wink  )

Brian
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« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2010, 06:39:00 AM »

  I still think that collectively we are one bad incident away from a lot more regulation. 


  Honestly, that is how many humans think today. The first incident that happens and a bunch of moms run out screaming for more laws. Only now its men doing it, running around flailing their arms above their head with tears in their eyes, calling for more laws, more laws, more laws. The idea that more laws and more regulation will make everything safer for everyone else is a disease that is infecting our society. Its effecting our children so bad they are either becoming reclusive, or dangerous, they have no good solid compass,.

 There will always be accidents, and people are always going to get killed from them. If we cant accept that, collectively, we will soon regulate ourselves out of existence. But your right, with our rabid news media one good accident could bring national attention to this awful deadly mess, I mean, every day you turn around these these big Bus campers are killing and maiming, there has to be a law.
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belfert
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« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2010, 06:44:25 AM »

I don't think there is any need to have converted buses and RV's comply with the DOT inspection routines for highway coaches or school buses.  That would require an under-chassis inspection every 30 days, signed off by a licensed technician, and would obviously kill the industry.  I equally don't think there is any justification that our converted buses and RV's should not be able to pass the inspection at any time, and as I said earlier my clear understanding is that we are already obliged to be able to submit to a roadside inspection station at any time, and pass.

Is the 30 day inspection a Canadian thing only?  I don't remember my buddy who was an owner operator in the USA doing anything like that.
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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2010, 07:06:00 AM »

No,

I'd rather spend the extra dollars required to support an increased bureaucracy on keeping my bus safe.
Considering how low my RV insurance is compared to my auto insurance, actuarially speaking this form of driving must be some of the safest on the road.  However, we are similar to airplanes, when we have a wreck it tends to get posted in a much broader media spectrum.  I guess size matters Roll Eyes

David
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2010, 08:13:05 AM »

I have very mixed emotions about this subject. 

I would estimate that the majority of bus owners are pretty tuned into the safety systems on our buses.  Certainly this and other boards help educate folks.  I am concerned about the minority that don't have a clue, but that is probably less of a factor than the general public.

As far as vehicles, the typical modern RV will probably be off the road by the time the safety systems need major maintenance. 

Obviously not the case with our buses.  I am concerned about folks who buy "church buses"  and feel comfortable that they must be safe (church buses is just an example).  Some folks buy a bus that has been sitting for years and drive off with 20 year old tires - perhaps not even checking tire pressure.  My guess is that these folks are just not aware of what they are doing.  DOT inspections will probably not help - I don't have a clue what would prevent these situations.

What I am concerned about it the fact that Joe public who has only driven a VW Rabbit can plunk down a ton of money and drive off in a 50K pound 45 foot motorhome without a clue.

The thing that CDL brings to the picture is mandatory medical tests.  Again, I am concerned that there are folks with medical problems who should not be driving, or are past the point where they are capable of driving.  I just had to take mine, and I was amazed at how demanding the medical requirements are.  My blood pressure is not all that high, but my doctor pointed out that I was close to the limit.  If, somehow DOT medical requirements were mandated, I think our driving ranks might be reduced.  Having said that, I think there are lots of “doctors” out there who hand out medicals willy nilly.  Look at some of the truck drivers who are obese – they could not possibly meet the blood pressure requirements.

I am not advocating government involvement.  Just trying to give a bit of a balanced picture here.

I was at a Bus Conversion Rally in Laughlin many years ago and a fellow presented a seminar on this very subject (for those of you there, he had the old Madden Cruiser).  His thesis was that we should not be governed by government regulations, but he felt, like this thread, that we were only a crash or two away from mandated regulation.  He was suggesting that we develop our own regulations that would somehow govern our hobby.  I can't remember if he got to the point of how that would be implemented.  Probably not, as the crowd became increasingly agitated (to the point of being obnoxious).  They basically ran him off before he got to fully discuss his point.

Self governing does not work.  The RVIA organization is a joke.  It is written and administered by the folks making that product.  As someone mentioned, several models of coaches have overloaded front axle weights before they leave the factory.  Some have had recalls where they upgraded to 16K front ends and special tires.  Others have just ignored the issue.

Sorry about the rambling.  I don't have an answer, but that does not keep me from feeling very uneasy about the whole situation.   

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
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