Hours of Service

Truckers fight the clock

Up until the year 2012, trucks were not required to use Electronic Logs. We used to use paper logs to record our time and movement. We lovingly called them coloring books. They aree not always the easiest to use those paper logs and it takes a lot to remember where and what our lines looked like. Check out what they look like then:

The logs you see above used to be very easy to fudge. But that takes me away from why I am really writing this article. I could be here all day explaining the pro vs. cons of electronic logs and paper logs. But in 2015 the final mandate came down that we must use electronic logs. I will post a picture of what those look like below.

They look relatively the same. However, the system keeps track of what and when you should be working. It is out of the drivers hands anymore. So let’s get into WHY and WHAT those regulations look like.

What are your requirements?

So as a truck driver you have 14 total hours in a day you can work. Of that 14 hours you are only allowed to drive 10. After 8 hours you must take a 30 minute break. This is how the basics break down. There are many variations in this that can happen. Now when I say you have to take a break that can be what is called ON DUTY time, this is that extra three hours you see in your day that you may work. This is what is for our deliveries and traffic congestion. These “spare” 3 hours can be used in various ways, however you still have ONLY 14 hours in a day from when you start your clock until when you must STOP your movement or be parked and ready to take a 10 sleep break.

Why does it matter?

As a driver in the industry some of them feel that the hours of service should be left to the driver. That they are to heavily regulated. Here is why: We can’t stop when we are tired, we must keep driving due to the clock we are up against. We must conform to whatever hours we have to use if the job is to get done. It isn’t always easy but that clock dictates everything we do. It keeps us accountable yes, but it also makes it harder as team to stay moving. Because if we start our clocks at the same time, they run out at the same time. Which means we are as affective as a solo driver. That doesn’t work effectively if we are attempting to acheive more miles than the solo driver.

Can we be penalized for going over our hours?

We are always fighting the clock. Whether that is with the company or the company that mandates us called the Federal Motor Safey Association or FMCSA for short. They are in control of all that we do. They mandate if our truck must be scaled, if we are allowed to hold a CDL, if we are allowed to run, or if we must be shut down.

Why is this important?

As drivers we live and die on this clock. At the end of our shift we are required to be off for 10 hours before our clock renews the next day. Now it would seem it is all pretty straight forward. Except, here is the catch. We only have 70 hours in a week we can work before we are required to take 34 hours off and away from the truck.

This is not always easy to do, because we might be stuck out on the road to do this 34 hour restart. While normally this wouldn’t be an issue, however we don’t have the conveniences that everyone else. We live in a 10×20 box and don’t have a toilet or modern conveniences in a standard truck. There are trucks that do, but theye are not what we drive for our company. 

We have to monitor what we do very closely to make sure that we do not exceed our hours and become ineligible for work 

As always if you have questions or comments please ask. As for me, my clock is running, I gotta go.

Happy Trucking

Les

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