Five of the top 10 CMV roadside inspection violations in 2011, and those recorded in 2012 so far, have been Hours of Service-related. Five! As former FMCSA administrator, Annette Sandberg discussed these most frequently cited violations at XUE, she made one point very clear: “Listen, if you don’t have an EOBR or you’re waiting for the mandate, I suggest you do it sooner rather than later.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Hours of service violations are no laughing matter; they can have serious impacts on your trucking company’s profitability—heck, they can mean the difference between moving a load and shutting down your tractor. And the simple fact is, many times these violations are the result of silly human error. Totally, utterly, completely preventable.
Let’s take a look at these most frequently cited roadside inspection violations, what they can mean for your business, and how you can prevent them.
Most common Hours of Service roadside inspection violations
Annette shared with our XUE audience that the number one violation roadside in 2011, and again in 2012, was the “out-of-service form and manner” violation. As we all know, many of these errors have nothing to do with safety, but they can impact your fatigue score and cannot be ignored. Said Annette, “That’s eliminated with a device, that’s absolutely eliminated with a device.”
The second most commonly cited violation roadside in 2011 and 2012 was “logs not current.” Here again, EOBRs can eliminate this violation on day one. Remember—you can’t lose a page of your log book with an EOBR.
Further down the list, came14-hour violations (#5), false reports (#8) and 11-hour violations (#9).
The value of your CSA score
Hours of service violations—even those resulting from simple human error—can impact your bottom line. How?
- SMS has caused carriers to revamp safety programs, especially around fatigue. If the FMCSA or the State performs a focused audit of your business on fatigue and they find enough violations, they can downgrade your rating on Hours of Service violations alone.
- Shippers are now using SMS data to decide which carriers get loads and which do not. As they now assume some liability for how their goods are transported, they understand the pressure is on to find trucking companies that will deliver their freight quickly, inexpensively—and legally. Will yours?
- Poor fatigue scores will impact carrier liability and insurance costs. Not only will premiums rise as a carrier’s rating goes down, but if that carrier is involved in a crash and they show one score over the threshold, the plaintiff’s attorney will use that in court. Don’t doubt that for a second.
Roadside violation prevention is worth a pound of cure
A driver that has just completed a 14-hour day and is completing their paper log at 2AM may make mistakes. That’s not incompetence, arrogance, or a complete disregard for the law—it’s called being human. The simple truth is tired people make mistakes.
Electronic onboard recorders, or EOBRs, can help alleviate those errors by automating the entire Hours of Service logging process:
- Automatic, audible alerts warn drivers of low remaining hours, so that they can get off the road and remain HOS compliant.
- Once logged on, EOBRs can automatically log driving hours. They also offer the ability to measure all of your drivers’ other duty status changes, as well. And that means there is far less room for human error.
- Message prompts ensure drivers approve and sign logs, ensuring they’re accurate and complete.
The cost of being put out of service is high. So, if you ask me, I’d say roadside violation prevention is worth a pound of cure. And when EOBR options exist that are flexible and affordable enough even for small fleets and owner-operators, I venture to say that it just doesn’t make business sense to continue logging Hours of Service on paper driver logs.