Questions about Interrupting Drivers Sleep Time, 34-Hour Restarts
& More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of April 2013)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on March 14, 2013.
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INTERRUPTING DRIVERS SLEEP TIME
Q: I am a Canadian, but I run in the States, too. In Canada, I have seen DOT officers wake up drivers to do a Level 1 inspection. Do the officers in the U.S. have the right to do this? Do we have to get up out of a dead sleep to answer the door? Thanks for your time and service – Sheryl in Canada
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: If you look in 49 CFR 395.8 (k) dealing with retention of driver’s record of duty status, you’ll find paragraph (2) states: “The driver shall retain a copy of each record of duty status for the previous 7 consecutive days which shall be in his/her possession and be available for inspection while on duty.” But, what seems like a simple question and answer, isn’t that simple. In addition to the USDOT, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (or state laws and regulations similar and equivalent to federal rules) are also enforced in the U.S. by numerous state and local agencies. So, when and where inspections are conducted will be determined by the specific laws of the local or state jurisdiction you are in at the time and that particular agency’s inspection policies and procedures. For Nebraska, besides the USDOT, the State Patrol is the only other agency in the state allowed to inspect trucks and enforce logbooks. With the exception of compliance audits of trucking companies, truck inspections are only conducted on public property when the driver is on duty, such as at a scale or roadside. Occasionally, inspections are done on private property (such as a truck stop or private parking lot) when legally permitted and necessary following a traffic stop or in response to an accident. A sleeping driver legally parked in a truck stop or rest area would not be disturbed without a justifiable reason (just to conduct an inspection would not be reason enough). A sleeping driver will be disturbed and inspected when illegally parked alongside a roadway or on the shoulder of any entrance or exit ramp of any expressway or rest area. Please note, since these are on public property, if the driver has to interact with the officer due to an illegally parked vehicle, it puts the driver in an on-duty status. To your last question, about answering the door, if it was me, regardless of the reason, if an officer was pounding on my door yelling “POLICE” I know I would answer it.
34-HOUR RESTART REQUIREMENTS
Q: Are all CDL drivers required to take the 34-hour restart? Some drivers where I work say it doesn’t apply to them. Can you help me understand? Thanks – Joseph in Texas
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX (as seen in the November 2012 edition of 10-4 Magazine): If you look at Part 395.3(c) (Pre-July 1, 2013) and 395.3(d) (Effective July 1, 2013) you will see that a driver MAY reset their 60/70 hour clock by taking 34 consecutive hours off duty. Nowhere does it state that a driver is required to take a 34-hour reset. If a driver chooses not to use the reset provision, the driver needs to utilize the older method of recapping their total daily hours.
LOGGING PRE & POST-TRIP INSPECTIONS
Q: I am looking for the correct logging procedures of pre-trip and post-trip inspections. A previous carrier told me I can flag a pre-trip and note the time in minutes, and show a minimum of 15 minutes “on-duty not driving” for a post trip. Is this correct, or do I need to show “on-duty not driving” time for both inspections? Thank you for your time – Jamie in Pennsylvania
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: Both the pre-trip and post-trip inspections are logged as “on-duty not driving” [395.8(b)(4)], since both inspections are required via regulation [392.7 (pre-trip) and 396.11 (post trip)]. Whether or not to “flag” either of the inspections and how each inspection is flagged is at the discretion of your employer. 49 CFR 395.8 Question 23 says: “When the driver’s duty status changes, do 395.8(c) or 395.8(h)(5) require a description of on-duty not driving activities (fueling, pre-trip, loading, unloading, etc.) in the remarks section, in addition to the name of the nearest city, town or village, followed by the state abbreviation? Guidance: No. Many motor carriers require drivers to identify work performed during a change of duty status. Part 395 neither requires nor prohibits this practice.”
~ The Ask The Law™ programs are an ongoing educational effort between Ol’ Blue, USA™ and commercial law enforcement agencies. Ol’ Blue, USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to highway safety education and to improving relations between the motoring public, law enforcement and commercial drivers. “Ask The Law” is a registered trademark of Ol’ Blue, USA. This column is copyrighted© by Ol’ Blue, USA. Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on March 14, 2013.