Questions About the New HOS Rules, Electronic Logbooks & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of August 2013)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on July 15, 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, along with retired Trooper Monty Dial, will be joining us in Dallas again this year. The Great American Trucking Show (GATS) is the nation’s second-largest trucking trade show and offers attendees a wide variety of industry exhibitors and informational seminars, as well as some of the finest working and show trucks from across the country, competing for awards and bragging rights. Visit www.gatsonline.com for details.
SAFETY MEETINGS AND RESTARTS
Q: I am confused once again. The new HOS change states that a driver must have two consecutive periods of 1-5 am sleep periods for the 34-hour restart. Every three months we have a safety meeting on a Saturday from 8 am to 10 am. As a short haul driver I meet the required two sleep periods, which would be Friday night and Saturday night, but when the safety meeting occurs, I can’t start until 5 am on Monday morning? This one I don’t understand. Thanks – Richard in Pennsylvania
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: In Part 395.2 Interpretations, Question #19 states that a driver may show time attending safety meetings as Off-Duty if the attendance is voluntary. If the safety meeting is mandatory, then the driver must show attending the meeting as On-Duty Not Driving. When this occurs, it now breaks the 34 hours off duty and the driver must restart their off-duty period over again if they intend to get 34 hours off-duty for a reset.
LOGBOOK PAGE SEIZED BY OFFICER
Q: I had forgotten to bring my logbook current and got pulled over for speeding. When cited, the officer tore out that day’s original page from my logbook and kept it. Is it legal to confiscate a legal document without a warrant? Thank you – Robert in California
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: The answer to your question is yes. Under the Best Evidence Rule, officers are allowed to confiscate the original page or pages of your logbook when issuing a citation, with no warrant being required. A record of duty status (logbook) is specifically required to be possessed, kept up to current status, and required to be presented to law enforcement by a driver. FMCSA interpretation 395.8 states: “Question 9: May a duplicate copy of a record of duty status be submitted if an original was seized by an enforcement official? Guidance: A driver must prepare a second original record of duty status to replace any page taken by an enforcement official. The driver should note that the first original was taken by an enforcement official and the circumstances under which it was taken.”
ALTERING AN ELECTRONIC LOGBOOK
Q: My outfit is converting to a “paperless” electronic logging system. We are now required to come in two to three hours early (un-logged and unpaid) to insure that the shop has not screwed up our trailers and that they are actually ready to load. This, naturally, requires us to fire up the tractor and move said trailers from the yard to hose bay and shop bays. It is my understanding that electronic logs begin recording on-duty as soon as the truck starts moving. Our management tells us, “Oh no, we can go in and alter that.” Can my company legally do this? Thanks for your help – Pat in Louisiana
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: No, your managers are “falsifying” records! You coming in early is On-Duty time and must be logged as such. 49 CFR 395.2 defines “On-Duty Time” as: “(1) All time at a plant, terminal, facility, or other property of a motor carrier or shipper, or on any public property, waiting to be dispatched, unless the driver has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier; (2) All time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning any commercial motor vehicle at any time; (3) All driving time…” In regards to electronic logs, an “Automatic on-board recording device” is defined in 49 CFR 395.2, with performance requirements found in 49 CFR 395.15. Automatic on-board recording device systems, to the maximum extent practicable, must be tamper-proof and not permit altering of the information collected about the driver’s Hours-of-Service. If your electronic system doesn’t meet these requirements, then you must continue to use a regular logbook.
~ 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 July 15, 2013.