Understanding the hours-of-service rules better can help you make the most from them. Hours-of-service detail the maximum number of hours that a truck driver can drive on the road. It will specify the length and the number of rest periods. This regulation ensures that drivers stay safe when on the highway—drivers who operate too long become a hazard and increase the risk of sleeping behind the wheel. Semi-trucks weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 pounds, and due to their massive size, the risk of a fatality goes up drastically with trucking accidents. Some of the most considerable compliance fines of the decade have roots in relatively simple violations that could have been avoided.
HoS Compliance Solution
You can now track logs and violations in a fashion never available before. You can now use a piece of technology known as an ELD. This technology automatically logs the drivers’ hours so that you can track them more easily. You can also check to see that certain conditions get met. The ELDs have made it so that you don’t need someone to manage this as closely anymore. ELDs will also track the driving habits of each trucker to alert you when someone idles for too long, or speeds on the highway, wasting fuel.
Most Common Hours of Service Violations
Many drivers find it hard to comply with Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, and it causes many frustrations throughout the industry. Knowing how to fix some of these problems could be one of the keys to keeping a healthy safety score. The simple act of an ELD often eliminates many of the HoS violations, and you don’t need to maintain a paper logbook. Form and manner violations are most common, and an inspector can spot them easily. You want to have the following information within your logbook to prevent an HoS violation:
- Name of carrier
- Main office address
- Total miles driven today
- Shipping document numbers
- Driver’s signature certification
- Vehicle number
- Name of co-driver
Beware of how sloppy paperwork and bad handwriting can lead to violations, and small mistakes have led to violations. You must remain on top of things because inspectors like to ding drivers for violations. Having an ELD will essentially eliminate the violations from this one because it organizes everything. Not to mention that extensive data analysis also helps compliance and decision-making in other areas.
Don’t Drive Above the 14-hour Duty Period
Driving over the 14-hour duty period is one of the most common violations. Technically, you can only go 11 hours maximum per day, but you must be within the 14-hour duty period you started. Unfortunately, many drivers overshoot on the 14-hour duty period because they don’t realize how they went over on it—keeping time on the road has challenged many truckers. To do this, you might avoid areas with heavy traffic or utilize tips for driving in traffic when avoidance is impossible, and setting mileage goals also helps. Tracking the time and not going over the daily and weekly limits can be simplified much easier with an ELD. This technology automatically calculates the remaining time in a 14-hour shift.
Don’t Falsify Records
You don’t want to mess with the dangers of falsifying records on your logbook. Those found guilty of this behavior face a federal charge, and some of the criminal penalties include possible prison time. In addition, inspectors that believe the driver falsified records will receive a thorough inspection. Since DOT inspectors understand how much distance you can reasonably cover, you will be required to back up your claims with gas receipts. An ELD will automatically record this information quickly, and you don’t have to depend on your memory or worry about missing information on your records.
The Hours of Service Regulations (49 CFR Part 395) give limitations and requirements for drivers of various types of vehicles that operate on public roadways. These rules apply to interstate commerce (transportation between two or more states), intrastate commerce (operation within one state), and certain trucking operations.
The hours of service rules for commercial truck drivers can be quite extensive. However, there are certain exceptions that exemptions apply to the HOS rules. These include personal use and hazardous materials is covered under a completely different set of regulations Federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act (49 U.S.C. 5103)