Questions about HOS Rules, Color Blindness, Mandatory Breaks & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of July 2013)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on June 14, 2013.
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WE HOPE TO SEE YOU IN DALLAS, TX
Please join our Ol’ Blue, USA “Safety Center”® at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, TX on August 22, 23 & 24. We are pleased to announce that Lt. Monty Kea and his team, from the Texas Highway Patrol will be joining us in Dallas again this year.
NEW HOURS-OF-SERVICE RULES BEGIN
New Hours-of-Service rules are set to begin on July 1, 2013. As of this writing on June 14, 2013, no court decision has been rendered regarding filings made to interrupt these new rules from taking effect. For a look at the new rules, go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov and download their handy “HOS Visor Card” for truck drivers. This card gives you a brief and simple explanation of the changes. We will keep you posted in future articles if anything changes.
COLOR BLIND RESTRICTIONS ON CDL
Q: It is my understanding that a person that is color blind can no longer drive more than 4 axles, is this correct? Thanks – Debi in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Section 391.41(b)(10) of the FMCSRs requires a driver to have the ability to recognize the colors of traffic signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber. The term “ability to recognize the colors of” is interpreted to mean if a person can recognize and distinguish among traffic control signals and devices showing standard red, green, and amber colors, he or she meets the minimum standard, even though he or she may have some type of color perception deficiency. However, Section 390.3(d) of the rules allows employers to have more stringent medical requirements. Therefore, an employer could prohibit a person who is color blind from operating company vehicles with more than four axles.
NEW HOS RULES ON 34-HOUR RESETS
Q: With the new HOS rules coming in July, I understand that you have to take two consecutive nights off from 1 am to 5 am. If I start a reset at 2 am on a Friday, when could I return to driving or on duty? Would it be 5 am on Saturday or 5 am on Sunday, since I started the reset period during a 1 am to 5 am period? Thanks – Ray in Louisiana
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: If you were using the 34-hour reset to zero your 60/70-hour clock, you would not be able to start driving again until Monday at 5 am, 51 hours later. The Friday rest period would not count because it was not complete. Your reset has to include two full periods from 1 am to 5 am. If you start any reset prior to 7 pm or after 1 am, it will take more than 34 hours to complete the reset. For more information and details about this procedure, please go to www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/topics/hos/index.htm.
MANDATORY HALF-HOUR LUNCH BREAKS
Q: Do I need to log “off duty” for a half-hour lunch break twice in a 16-hour day? I was told that’s only for hourly drivers – I get paid per load. Thank you for your time and service – Ray in California
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: The answer to your question is not found in either the California Vehicle Code or Title 13 California Code of Regulations (13 CCR), where most of the commercial statutes/regulations, respectively, are found. Under statutes in the California Labor Code (CLC), how a truck driver is paid (hourly, by the mile, etc.) doesn’t matter. Under 512 CLC, a person, including truck drivers, is required to be provided a second “lunch break” if working more than 10 hours. The second lunch break is not mandatory if you work less than 12 hours and have a mutual agreement with your company. When working more than 12 hours, both lunch periods are mandatory and both must be at least 30 minutes in duration. Obviously, company policy allows you to log “lunch breaks” off-duty; therefore, both breaks must be logged in compliance with company policy (also allowed in 13 CCR). For more information, please see the “INDUSTRIAL WELFARE COMMISSION ORDER NO. 9-2001 REGULATING WAGES, HOURS & WORKING CONDITIONS IN THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY” found online at www.dir.ca.gov/IWC/WageOrders2005/IWCArticle9.html.
~ 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 June 14, 2013.