Hours of Service Compliance – Making Sense of the Madness

If I have 12 popsicles and you’re walking 7 dogs, what time is it when little Suzie spills her finger paints? Seems ridiculous, but I’d wager many carriers feel exactly the same way about trying to manage Hours of Service compliance on paper logs. (Emphasis on “trying.”) I also suspect that the added complexity of the new 34-hour reset rule will be followed by a rising demand for fleet managers holding degrees in Advanced Calculus. In short, Hours of Service compliance is becoming a sticky wicket.

At XUE, our Making Compliance Easy session drew a large audience. Clearly, this is an area that has carriers and drivers concerned. What is the new rule, exactly? How will it impact your fleet? And how can you make staying HOS compliant a snap?

Let’s get to the bottom of it…

The HOS Rules, they are a-changin’…

In December, the FMCSA announced new Hours of Service rule changes. They come in three parts, and will become effective on July 1, 2013. Here’s what you need to know:

•    34-hour reset
Your drivers may only use the 34-hour reset once every 168 hours. The clock won’t start counting their next 34-hour reset until 168 hours after their last qualifying reset began.

Now, here’s where managing your HOS will get really tricky…

That 34-hour reset must also contain two complete 1AM – 5AM periods. If a driver goes off duty at 1:05AM, too bad—that 1AM – 5AM period won’t be counted as complete, and it will be another 51 hours and 55 minutes until that driver will complete a full 34-hour reset.

•    Mandatory breaks
Drivers are only permitted to drive if 8 hours or less have passed since their last 30-minute off-duty break. This new rest break rule essentially shortens a driver’s on-duty time from 14 hours to 13-1/2.

Add this into the 34-hour reset mix, and my head’s starting to spin…

•    “Off Duty” definition change
The FMCSA wanted to make off-duty and sleeper berth more flexible, considering it was requested 120+ times in their Hours of Service listening sessions. The rule will now make taking such a break more logistically feasible with an altered definition of off-duty time. Now, drivers may log up to 2 hours of off-duty time (including the 30-minute break mentioned above) while in a moving vehicle, provided they’re chilling in the passenger seat as a co-driver. Caveat: That newly offered off-duty time must immediately precede or immediately follow 8 consecutive hours of sleeper berth time, and it can be split before and after the 8 hours of sleeper berth.

A second change: A driver resting in a parked CMV was previously required to log that time as on-duty, but is now permitted to record it as off-duty time.

Driver e-logs offer method amidst the madness

Is your head swimming yet? The fact is, as the Hours of Service rule becomes more and more complex, the “opportunity” to make mistakes will grow exponentially. And Hours of Service violations can mean fewer shipping contracts, higher insurance premiums, even out-of-service orders. Carriers that attempt to operate on paper logs will find it darned near impossible to remain violation-free going forward—and that could be the death knell for their businesses.

Electronic driver logs, however, can make sense of the madness and keep fleets HOS compliant. E-logs, like our new XRS mobile fleet management platform, offer various levels of automated reporting and alerts. For example:

Helpful driver alerts signal:
•    When it’s time to take a break (with enough advance warning to find a safe and convenient place to rest)
•    Missed breaks and subsequent violations
•    Advanced notice of when their 34-hour reset will be complete, so they can plan to come back on duty on time

Supervisor alerts and reports keep the home office on top of Hours of Service compliance with:
•    Real-time missed break alerts
•    Violation reports, including egregious violations reports that note drivers who’ve exceeded the 11-hour rule by more than 3 hours; a new classification of violation that carries significant penalties

Making the switch to electronic logging devices has never been more critical to your business’s bottom line.

If you ask me, it’s time to find a better use for those paper logs. Personally, I think they’ve got great paper airplane potential…

5 thoughts on “Hours of Service Compliance – Making Sense of the Madness

  1. please answer me this . can i come on duty after two days off , drive 4 hours , sleep 5 hours and then drive 6 more hours with 2 hours on duty for deliveries for a total of 8 plus the initial 4 hours for a total of 10 hours driving and 2 on duty ?

    • So we’ll say that the two days off gives a 34-hour reset under the old rules, so you are starting at a fresh week and a recap does not matter. Looking at this under the Federal Rules:

      Drive for 4 hours – no problem
      Sleep for 5 hours – this would be Sleeper Berth status, therefore you’re really off duty the same day
      Drive for 6 hours – may get 2 back

      So you have 10 hours of driving and 5 hours off = 15 hours of on-duty for the day, and another 2 to unload is fine as long as you don’t drive until a daily reset of 10.

      The 5 hours doesn’t meet the 8-hour sleeper berth rule, so you could only get 2 back, because of the 2 and 8 split berth.

      So at the end of the second drive segment you have duty of 13 hours not 15 but, if you drive after the additional 2 of on duty you get the 14 hour violation.

  2. Have u ever slept in a truck u dont know nothing to u lived trucking trucking is more than job but a life style u wanna save fuel but lookbatvthe lives this is effecting. I guess u for camcorders on drivers too we have nothing no privacy nothing.but u college boys wanna play games in trucking cause its the only thing that will hire u

  3. I think the eobr rule is dangerous forcing a man to to drive all date r all nite is crazy then 14hrs u can’t put a time limit on safety I seen a driver half secure load trying to beat clock so he could try and get to truckstop I see elog boys all day crying broke r saying they can’t shower cause of elog American is big we can’t run like this drivers r leaving trucking ask drivers questions the big 5 half pay drivers they r quitting trucking sucks elog is a a dangerous harrasment tool u guys will see look at elog vs paperlog compare accident rate

    • Those are definitely valid concerns, but the intention of the EOBR rule is really to protect the driver from having to drive all day and all night – as well as to protect other drivers on our roads from drivers who’ve been behind the wheel for too long without a break. We’ve seen the data prove that not only do e-logs provide better fuel savings, but they also can help drivers stay accident-free more often than those on paper logs. E-logs don’t automatically keep a driver accident-free, but the many benefits they provide sure do help. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

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