Minimizing Delays When Dealing with Law Enforcement

Delays are something truckers seek to avoid whenever possible. The reality is, delays are part of trucking and are sometimes unavoidable. But, how a driver handles the delay can be the secret to minimizing the time involved. Take, for example, delays associated with interaction with law enforcement officers. The encounter could occur while on-the-road or at weigh stations. Drivers understandably want to keep these delays as short as possible, knowing time is money when moving freight.

What are some tips for keeping law enforcement delays brief,” you ask?

Former Arkansas Highway Police officer Paul Claunch, who spent more than 30 years in commercial vehicle enforcement, shared these tips for minimizing delay time when being pulled over by law enforcement:


Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected

Remember the advice your mother gave you when you acted up as a child – “BE NICE”!

The same advice applies to interaction with law enforcement. These people have a job to do, so be nice to them.

The last thing you want to do is be confrontational or overreact. Even if they are having a “bad” day, you want to comply with all the officer’s requests. It helps things to go quickly and smoothly. Be prepared to show all your credentials in advance of being stopped. It shows the officer you are both professional and cooperative.

Have All Your Paperwork Ready To Show

The officer is probably going to ask to see your CDL registration, IRP registration, and bills of lading documents. Know where these are kept and be prepared to show them quickly. You don’t want to delay his review by having to dig through the cab sleeper or briefcase at the last minute looking for these papers.  If documents can’t be presented, the officer may have to get on the phone and call the company the driver’s company to get the needed information faxed or emailed to them.

Follow All Directions When Entering a Weigh Station

Obey all the signs along the ramp as you enter the station. Adhere to the posted speed, stopping at the right location on the scale. Following the signage directions makes the encounter go faster and is appreciated by the officer. If you have a permit for an over-sized or overweight load or an escort, it is always good to have the associated paperwork handy to make the review go quickly.

Keep Your Equipment in Good Condition

Companies and drivers need to be familiar with what the standards are for their equipment to be considered as being in pristine condition. The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association has guidelines that are available for review. Drivers need to comply with these guidelines and do preventative maintenance and repairs when needed to keep their vehicles in good condition. Companies need to be aware of these guidelines and have a safety person on staff to field questions from drivers related to how to keep their equipment in a good, safety-compliant condition.

At DriverSource, we understand delays are going to happen in trucking. But, being courteous and attentive during law enforcement encounters will go a long way towards expediting the time involved and getting the driver back on the road quickly. Certainly, safety will always be our top priority. whether it involves equipment maintenance, driver training, or meeting all federal compliance requirements.


Bill D for DriverSource