Summer Issue 2013
HOURS OF SERVICE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
A driver’s hours of service are regulated by both federal and state agencies. On the federal level, hours of service of drivers are part of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR). They are issued and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Specifically, Part 395 of the FMCSR covers hours of service of interstate drivers and outlines the requirements and exceptions that apply. Many states also have hours-of-service requirements for intrastate operations. These requirements may match the federal requirements in whole or in part. It is your responsibility and your company’s to keep current on the hours-of-service regulations that apply to you.
Who is Regulated?
The federal regulations concerning Hours of Service and Record of Duty Status apply to carriers and drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles involved in interstate (or foreign) commerce that:
- Have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or gross combination weight rating (GCWR), or have a gross vehicle weight (GVW) or gross combination weight (GCW), of 10,001 pounds or more; or
- Transport hazardous materials which require placarding.
Responsibility for compliance with the regulations lies with both the driver and carrier.
The federal requirements contain three maximum limits established to reduce highway accidents by keeping the fatigued driver off the road:
- 11 Hours Driving Rule;
- 14 Consecutive Hours Duty Rule;
- 60/70 Hours of Service Rule.
Your knowledge and understanding of these three rules and how they apply, along with the proper application of the rules, will keep you legal and safe.
11 Hours Driving Rule
All time spent behind the wheel is considered driving time. After 11 hours of driving time, you must have 10 consecutive hours off duty before you can drive again.
The FMCSA takes this rule very seriously. Driving 3 or more hours beyond the driving limit is considered egregious violation. Drivers who commit and carriers that allow a driver to commit this egregious violation are subject to maximum civil penalties. A driver can be fined up to $2,750 for each violation. A motor carrier can be fined up to $11,000 for each violation.
14 Consecutive Hours Duty Rule
You cannot drive after 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty. You cannot drive again until you have 10 consecutive hours of rest.
Lunch breaks or other off-duty time do not extend the 14-hour period. The 14 hours are consecutive from the time you start your tour of duty.
The only time that would not count toward the 14 hours is a qualifying sleeper-berth period. The sleeper-berth provision will be discussed in another issue of News 4 the Trucker.
Mandatory Break Provision
As of July 1, 2013, you cannot drive if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of your last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.
This required break must be at least 30 minutes and can be taken at any time during your first 8 hours on duty. You may not perform any on-duty tasks during this break.
Meal breaks, resting in the passenger seat of parked vehicle, or a sleeper-berth period of 30 minutes or more all quality as a break.
The break is counted toward your 14-hour limit. It does not extend your work day.
If you are required to be in attendance on a vehicle containing Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives, you may use 30 minutes or more of attendance time to meet the break requirement.
60/70 Hours-of-Service Rule
Drivers working for a company that does not operate motor vehicles every day of the week must not drive after accumulating 60 hours on duty during any 7 consecutive days. If your company operates vehicles every day of the week, you must not drive after accumulating 70 hours on duty in any 8 consecutive days. You may, however, continue to perform non-driving duties after reaching these limits and not be in violation.
On-duty time is defined as all time from the time you begin work or are required to be ready for work until you are relieved from work and all responsibility for doing work.
On-duty time includes time spent:
- Waiting to be dispatched;
- Inspecting, servicing, or conditioning a commercial motor vehicle,
- Driving (at the controls of your vehicle);
- In or on your vehicle except:
- Time spent resting in or on a parked vehicle (except when attending to a commercial motor containing a Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 (explosive) material);
- Time spent resting in a sleeper berth; or
- up to 2 hours riding in the passenger seat of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle moving on a highway immediately before or after a sleeper-berth period of at least 8 consecutive hours;
- Loading or unloading your vehicle;
- Repairing, obtaining assistance, or attending to disable vehicle;
- Performing any other work for a motor carrier;
- Complying with drug or alcohol testing requirement; and
- Performing compensated work for any other employer.
A monthly summary sheet is one of the most convenient ways to keep track of available on-duty time. Many duty status records are in book form and contain monthly summary sheets. If, for example, you work on the 70-hour/8-day schedule, add the hours worked during the last 7 days (today plus the preceding 6 days). If it totals 70 hours or more, you have no driving hours available for the next day. Remember that you can perform non-drive activities after reaching the 70-hour limit and not be in violation.
If you work on the 60-hour/7-day schedule, the procedure is the same. You would simply total your hours for the last 6 days (today plus the preceding 5 days) and subtract from 60 to find out how many hours were available to the next day. If the total was 60 or more, you would have no driving hours available for the next day.
The regulations include an optional "restart" provision.
As of July, 1, 2013, in order to use the 34-hour restart, your off-duty period of 34 (or more) consecutive hours must include two periods of time between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
You may only use the restart once within a period of 168 consecutive hours (7 days).
For example, if you go off duty at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, in order to use the 34-hour restart, you may not report for duty again until 5:00 a.m. on Sunday. You may not use the restart provision again until 3:00 p.m. of later the following Friday.
These provisions do not prohibit you from taking more than one period of 34 or more hours off duty, but only one of the periods can be used to restart your 60-hour/7-day or 70-hour/8-day schedule.
For example, if you take two 34-consecutive hour breaks in a period of 5 days, you must indicate which one of the two 34-consecutive hour periods is being used as your restart on your duty status record.
Duty Status Record
In order to check your compliance with the above-stated rules, you must keep track of your hours of service. Your carrier has the option to select the format which best suits its operation.
A driver may record his or her duty status by using a record of duty status (daily log) that meets the requirements of Sec. 395.8 or an on-board recording device that meets the requirements of Sec. 395.15.
In this supplement, we will focus on the record of duty status (daily log) requirements.
The duty status record or daily log is to be filled out in duplicated for each 24-hour period. All entries must be legible and in your own handwriting. The following information must be included;
- A vertical or horizontal graph grid with a remark section;
- 24-hour period starting time, selected by the carrier of your terminal;
- The date;
- Total miles driving today;
- Truck or tractor and trailer numbers;
- Name of the carrier;
- Carrier’s main office address;
- Place for the driver’s signature/certification;
- Name of co-driver (if applicable);
- Total hours in each duty status (at the end of the grid); and
- Shipping document number(s) or name of shipper and commodity.
It is permissible to preprint certain information such as the carrier’s name and main office address on the duty status record.
Filling Out the Log
You must keep your logbook current to the time shown for the last change status. This means your logbook must be up-to-day at all times. If possible, use a ruler to draw the graph lines. This will give a neat appearance to your daily log. Draw the lines in the middle of the space provided for each of the categories and no one can doubt the meaning. There are four categories to be recorded:
- Off Duty;
- Sleeper Berth;
- On Duty (Not Driving).
The total of the hours shown in all four categories must add up to 24 hours. If they don’t, there’s a mistake.
The Remarks section records the location of your changes in duty status. Changes in duty status of 15 minutes or more can be shown directly on the graph with the locations shown in the Remarks section. Short stops of less than 15 minutes can be shown by simply drawing a line from the appropriate time marker into the Remarks section and noting the location and length of time stopped. It is a good idea to indicate the reason for short stops.
If a change of duty status occurs at a location other than a city, town, or village, the location can be recorded in one of the following ways: 1) the highway number and nearest milepost; 2) the highway number and the name of the service plaza; or 3) the highway numbers of the nearest two intersecting roadways. Each of these should be followed by the name of the nearest city, town, or village and the state abbreviation.
A current logbook keeps you aware of your hours of service at all times. It is most important in allowing you to calculate your availability for driving time for the next duty period.
Keep in mind that when driving in a team operation, each driver in the team must complete his or her own Record of Duty Status.
Hours of Service: What You Need To Know to be continued next month…
Driver fatigue is a serious problem. It is one of the leading causes of heavy truck crashes. And when you consider that thousands of deaths each year result from accidents involving commercial motor vehicles, you can see why there are regulations to keep tired drivers off the road. The hours-of-service regulations are based on the sensible idea that if you drive too long, you get tired… and dangerous.
Following the rules and keeping good records can help you avoid costly citations and fines, or even being placed out of service.
But most importantly, following the rules may prevent an accident, possibly even save a life. And that life could be yours.
UNSAFE DRIVING BEHAVIORS CLASSIFIED
Cintas Corp., the uniform service company, has classified the seven worst driving offenders. See how many you recognized.
- The Beauty Queen. Women who put on makeup including lipstick, mascara and nail polish while driving.
- The Hungry Commuter. Eating while driving causes distractions often resulting in accidents or near misses because they can’t react to sharp curves or properly handle lane changes.
- The Tech-Obsessed. Even though many states have laws prohibiting texting or talking on cell phones, drivers still obsess over gadgets like phones, GPS systems and music controls in vehicles.
- The Sleepy Traveler. In a 2011 poll by the AAA Foundation nearly a third of drivers admitted to driving when they had trouble keeping their eyes open.
- The Day Dreamer. Drivers who are often lost in their own thoughts and thinking about everything but driving. The CDC states that nearly 15 people die each day in the U.S. in car crashes involving distracted driving.
- The Road Ranger. They tailgate, cut others off, and become angry easily. This leads to "road rage" which can be a crime in many states.
- The Rule Breaker. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), speed is involved in about one-third of traffic deaths each year. Rule breakers don’t wear seatbelts, and frequently speed and ignore important traffic signs and signals.
The above information is taken from The Trucker Newspaper (Feb 15-28, 2013).
BE CAREFUL WITH ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES – PART 2
Part one in last month’s newsletter dealt with the effects of alcohol on the body. Now let’s look at social and workplace problems with alcoholism.
"I’m a social drinker and not an alcoholic!!" Really! Then you are able to quit drinking after one or two drinks and you don’t suffer any consequences as a result such as legal problems or other issues. Although social drinking is generally acceptable in society, it becomes an issue when the drinker has to have more drinks and may say or do things that they wouldn’t normally do, and some may forget things that happened while they were drinking.
As the drinks increase, the individual may develop a tolerance to the alcohol and find it takes more and more to achieve the same effects. Alcohol is chosen over family and friends and the drinker starts missing more days of work, or may face legal issues as a result of the alcoholism. After a while, the alcoholic has alienated everything and everyone they know and love. The alcohol consumes them and nothing is more important than getting the "next fix." When a person succumbs to alcoholism, their family, job, friends, material possessions, and life in general all take a backseat.
So saying you are a social drinker is fine , but if you find yourself drinking just a much or more after the drinking buddies are gone, chances are you have an alcohol abuse problem. If your drinking causes social disruption, poor work performance, failure to meet basic obligations, physical and mental health problems and conflicts with family and co-workers, you need to seek help. Think about this:
Almost half of all drivers who were killed in crashes and tested positive for drugs also had alcohol in their systems.
Over 1.41 million drivers were arrested in 2010 for driving under the influence.
In 2010, 211 children were killed in drunk driving crashes. Out of those 211 deaths, 121 were riding with a drunk driver.
In 2010, adults drank too much and got behind the wheel about 112 million times – almost 300,000 incidents of drinking and driving each day. One person will die every 53 minutes in drunk driving crashes and a person is injured in a drunk driving crash almost every 90 seconds.
If you are more than a social drinking, please get help. There are many social agencies and medical services who want to help you.
The above information was provided by MADD and the Communicable Disease Center (CDC)
AND NOW, A LITTLE LIGHT HUMOR TO BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY:
A police officer pulls over a guy who had been weaving in and out of the lanes. He goes up to the guy’s window and says "Sir, I need you to blow into this breathalyzer tube."
The man says "Sorry officer, I can’t do that. I am an asthmatic. If I do that I’ll have a really bad asthma attack."
"Okay, fine," says the officer. "I need you to come down to the station to give a blood sample."
"I can’t do that either. I am a hemophiliac. If I do that, I’ll bleed to death."
"Well, then we need a urine sample."
I’m sorry officer, I can’t do that either. I am also a diabetic. If I do that I’ll get really low blood sugar."
"Alright then I need you to come out here and walk this white line."
"I can’t do that, officer."
"Because I’m too drunk to do that."
Stay Safe Out There. Remember, We Are 4 the Truckers.
A WORD TO THE WISE – MAINTAIN YOUR CHAINS!
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we have had some really cold and snowy weather lately. A lot of areas don’t even have a chance to dig out before another storm hits. Most of you truckers are veterans and are used to using chains from year to year, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded how important those chains are (and some new truckers have never had the pleasure).
Chains need to be maintained – that is, kept clean and ready to use at all times. Remember, some regions have snow and ice on into late April. So, here are some reminders for you:
INSPECT ALL CHAINS: Make sure there are no broken or damaged links. That means inspect each link carefully. Also, size your chains and make sure that you have the right complement for your truck.
MAKE SURE THE CHAINS ARE ON TIGHT: After putting the chains on, run the truck for a few miles and stop to retighten them. Also listen for a banging noise, a sure notification that you’ve got loose chains.
MAKE SURE THEY ARE INSTALLED CORRECTLY: The chains need to move slightly. If they are on too tight or upside down the hooks will dig into the tires.
CHAINS NEED YEAR-ROUND ATTENTION: Check your chains at least once a season. If you see damage during the warm months, you should drop your chains off for repair to be ready for the coming winter.
Thanks to Charlie Morash of "Land Line Magazine" and Charlie Sutton of Sutton’s Tires (Portland, Oregon) for this information.
THE TAX MAN COMETH
How many of you are finished with your taxes? With the government having to reprint tax forms, most tax refunds (if you are fortunate to get one) are going to be delayed. We here at Bookkeeping 4 Truckers are extremely busy with preparing taxes for our clients who have sent us their information. We always welcome new tax clients so don’t be afraid to call us if you’d like for us to prepare your taxes. Because we are "4 The Truckers" we are familiar with what can and can’t be deducted. So call us – remember, just because the government slowed everything down, your taxes are still due on April 15th.
BE CAREFUL WITH DRINKING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES
I know, I know – you’ve heard this over and over. But, because you are a trucker and we like to take care of our truckers, permit us to remind you of the effects of too much alcohol.
An average of three or more servings per day of beer (12 oz.), whiskey (1 oz.), or wine (6 oz.) over time may result in the following health issues:
A dependency on alcohol to the extent it is necessary to drink daily or in excess more often.
Fatal liver disease – alcohol destroys the liver tissues eventually causing cirrhosis of the liver and eventually, death.
Kidney and bladder disease – alcohol inflames the lining of the urinary bladder making it unable to stretch properly. In the kidneys, alcohol causes increased loss of fluids so dehydration becomes a problem.
Pancreatitis – a disease in which the cells of the pancreas are inflamed and the digestive enzymes are blocked and begin to digest the pancreas itself leading to acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis, which can be fatal. Most people develop diabetes because of the lack of insulin from the pancreas.
Decreased sexual function due to swelling of the prostate gland.
Increased cancers of the mouth, tongue, pharynx, esophagus, rectum, breast, and malignant melanoma.
Spontaneous abortion and neonatal mortality.
The social and workplace issues resulting from too much alcohol will be addressed next month. If you feel that you may be an alcoholic, do yourself and your loved ones a huge favor – seek out medical advice and counseling.
BE SAFE OUT THERE!
TERRORISM REMINDER – WATCH YOURSELF!
These reminders were taken from the FMCSA website and are being presented to you in an effort to help you from becoming a victim of a terrorist act. All trucks are potential targets but those who transport hazardous materials capable of mass destruction or environmental damage must pay special attention. The primary rule in preventing terrorism acts is "IF SOMETHING DOESN’T SEEM RIGHT, CALL THE POLICE, THE FBI, YOUR DISPATCHER, OR 911 AND REPORT IT."
When you are on the road:
- Be alert when leaving anywhere. Criminal surveillance often begins at, or within a mile, of your origin.
- Do not discuss your cargo, destination, or other trip specifics on open channels or near people you don’t know.
- If you believe you are being followed, call 911 and your dispatcher immediately.
- Avoid being boxed in. Where possible leave room in front and behind your truck.
- Look for vehicles following you, especially if several people are in a car.
- If you believe you are being hijacked, try to keep your truck moving.
- Leave your truck in a secure parking lot or truck stop if possible; if not, be certain someone can watch your vehicle.
- If team driving, always leave one person with the truck.
- Never leave your vehicle running with the keys in it; shut off the engine and lock the doors.
- If at all possible, do not stop in "hot spots" – unsafe or high crime areas.
- Always lock the cargo door(s) with padlocks.
- Use seals to prevent and identify tampering.
- Use an engine kill switch.
- Use tractor and trailer brake locking devices.
- Criminals know about electronic tracking systems and how to dismantle them; check your system regularly, and notify dispatch when it is not working.
- If you drop a trailer, use a fifth wheel lock whenever possible.
Your role as a trucker has become more important for the security of the nation – help keep us safe!
LET’S TALK ABOUT SLEEP APNEA
Sleep apnea seems to be a nationwide problem that has serious ramifications for a person’s health and the safety of others, especially when driving.
WHAT IS SLEEP APNEA? It causes pauses in your breathing during sleep and robs you of good, quality sleep needed to be fully alert during the rest of the day. Left untreated (which is a common problem) it increases your risk for high blood pressure, motor vehicle crashes, heart attack, stroke, and other medical conditions. It can be successfully treated and the treatment will usually not interfere with your trucking job.
HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE COMMERICAL DRIVERS? Almost one-third of CMV drivers have some degree of sleep apnea. Left untreated it causes excessive daytime sleepiness, which impairs judgment, causes attention deficits, slows reaction times, and increases the risk of being involved in a fatigue-related motor vehicle crash.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA? Loud snoring; morning headaches and nausea; grasping or choking while sleeping; loss of sex drive/impotence; excessive daytime sleepiness; irritability and/or feelings of depression; disturbed sleep; concentration and memory problems; frequent nighttime urination.
In order to treat sleep apnea your doctor would usually send you to an overnight sleep center to confirm the problem. Go ahead and get tested. Don’t deny yourself a chance to feel good and improve your health and safety!
DROWSEY AT THE WHEEL
We’ve just discussed sleep apnea, but studies have found that a large proportion of the driving public actually go to sleep unknowingly for a few seconds while operating a motor vehicle. Want to see if you or your family fit the study group? Answer True or False to the following questions. When you a through, check your answers at the end. Remember, these questions apply to all drivers.
- There is no relationship between your sleep/work schedule and risk of being involved in a drowsy- driving crash. (T or F)
- Working the night shift does not affect your chances of being involved in a sleep-related crash. (T or F)
- The largest at-risk group for sleep-related crashes is commercial drivers. (T or F )
- Overall, sleep-related crashes have certain characteristics that set them apart from other types of crashes. (T or F)
- People with sleep apnea have about the same risk as the rest of the general population of being involved in a drowsy-driving crash. (T or F)
- Eating a big lunch tends to make everyone sleep. (T or F)
- People can usually tell when they are about to fall asleep. (T or F)
- Drivers in drowsy-driving crashes are more likely to report sleep problems. (T or F)
- Rolling down a window or singing along with the radio while driving will help keep someone awake. (T or F)
- Wandering, disconnected thoughts are a warning sign of driver fatigue. (T or F)
- You can stockpile sleep during the off-hours to avoid being sleepy during work. (T or F)
- I’m a safe driver so it doesn’t matter if I’m sleepy. (T or F)
- False. Studies have found a direct correlation between the number of hours a person works and their risk of being in a drowsy driving crash. People who work more than one job where their primary job involves an atypical schedule are twice as likely to be involved in a sleep-related crash when compared to people in non-sleep related crashes.
- False. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for traffic safety, working the night shift increases a person’s risk of being involved in a drowsy driving crash by nearly six times.
- False. Sleep-related crashes are most common in young people, who tend to stay up late, sleep too little, and drive a night. About 1/3 of commercial drivers however, have some degree of sleep apnea.
- True. Common characteristics of drowsy-driving crashes tend to occur at night or in mid-afternoon, involve a single vehicle running off the roadway, lack any evidence of braking, and involve a young male driving alone.
- False. Studies indicate that persons with untreated sleep apnea have two to seven times more crashes than people without the disorder. Studies also show that once treated, most patients can be safe drives again.
- False. Things such as heavy meals, warm rooms, and long drives only unmask the presence of sleep deprivation or sleep debt; they do not cause sleepiness.
- False. Sleep is not voluntary. If you’re tired, you can fall asleep and never know it. When you’re driving at 60 miles per hour and fall asleep for a few seconds, you can travel the length of a football field without any control of your vehicle.
- True. According to studies, drives in fatigue-related crashes were most likely to report problems sleeping prior to a crash than drivers in other non-sleep crashes.
- False. An open window or music has no lasting effect on a person’s ability to stay awake. If fact, they may mask the person’s lack of alertness further.
- True. If you are driving and your thoughts begin to wander, it is time to pull over and take a short nap, consume some caffeine, or stop driving for the day.
- False. Sleep is not money. You can’t store it up to borrow later on. But, just as with money, you can go into debt.
- False. The only safe driver is an alert driver. Anyone who is sleepy or has consumed alcohol beverages is likely to have poor judgment
BE SAFE WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING!!
DRIVER’S MEDICAL CERTIFICATE AUDIT
State and federal enforcement officers are now randomly auditing drivers’ medical cards at the roadside by calling the medical examiners who issued them. FMCSA says the objective of these audits is not to evaluate the driver’s medical fitness to drive, but rather to obtain verbal confirmation that the medical exam was conducted and that the information on the medical certificate is accurate.
The inspecting officer will get the driver’s medical card and contact the medical examiner by phone, explain the purpose of the call, provided necessary information and ask for verbal confirmation of the information. The agency says these audits should help reduce the use of fraudulent medical cards and keep medically unqualified drivers off the nation’s highways.
Motor Carrier Safety Report
ATRI STUDIES THE 34-HOUR RESTART RULE
The American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) is studying the potential impacts of the changes coming to the "34-hour restart" rule. Motor carriers were surveyed in late 2012 and the study is expected to be released in early 2013 (www.atri-online.org). Under federal rules beginning on July 1, 2013, truck drivers will face new restrictions on their use of the 34-hour restart provision. Drivers will need a 30-minute break at least every 8 hours and will only be allowed to use the restart option once per seven days. Each restart will need to include two back-to-back periods of rest from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.
Motor Carrier Safety Report
BE PREPARED FOR OLD MAN WINTER
This may be a surprise for some of you but winter cold and snow has returned to many of the states. Before you become a victim of nature’s traps here are some tips that the experts recommend:
- Check your fuel for winter additives, especially at the beginning winter, because not all companies put their winter blends out at the same time. Some carriers allow you to a bottle of fuel additives with you and you could purchase more as you need it.
- Check your tires to make sure they have enough deep tread to pull wintery grades. Also have and known how to use tire chains.
- Make sure you have an adequate supply of windshield washer to keep the windshield clean of grit and salt water used to melt ice. Periodically, clean your lights with a cloth to remove the film.
- Visually check the fifth wheel connection when you hook up a trailer. Ice can cause problems with the grease.
- Test your brakes occasionally and be extra careful on bridges and overpasses that have tendency to freeze first.
- Carry an emergency kit with you with extra blankets or a sleeping bag, extra gloves, a good winter hat and an emergency supply of food and water just in case you become stranded.
Winter weather – it’s pretty to look at but dangerous if you aren’t prepared. Stay safe!
Thanks to Cliff Abbott
The Trucker Newspaper
TRIVIA 4 THE TRUCKER
What is the maximum number of hours you can drive your truck each day?
- 12 Hours
- 11 Hours
- 10 Hours
- 8 Hours
- Until I’m tired
What is the minimum tread depth required on your drive tires?
- ½ inch
- 3 inches
- 4/32 inch
- Until Lincoln’s head shows up when measuring with a penny.
(Answers: 2, 3)