Questions about 34-Hour Restarts, Cell Phones and Inspections Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of October 2013)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on September 12, 2013.
Brought to you as a public service by Ol’ Blue, USA and 10-4.
Submit your questions to www.askthelaw.org
TEAM DRIVERS & 34-HOUR RESTARTS
Q: In regards to the new hours-of-service regulations, can team drivers do a rolling 34-hour restart (a combination of sleeper and off-duty time) including two consecutive periods between 1am and 5am, or does the entire 34-hour restart have to be logged off-duty? Thank you – Chris in Colorado
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: It doesn’t matter how the driver logs the 34-hour reset. It can be logged as either off-duty, sleeper berth, or a combination of both, as long as there are 34 consecutive hours off. While one driver of the team is getting their 34-hour reset, the other is going to have to do all the driving until the resting driver gets their two periods from 1am to 5am, with a total of 34 hours, before the next driver can start their reset.
OFFICER ASKS FOR DRIVER’S PHONE
Q: Is it legal for an officer to ask me for my cell phone during a roadside inspection or at a permanent scale location? Thank you in advance – Jim in Missouri
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: At first, your question appears fairly innocuous, but I’m pretty sure there is more to your question. An officer can “ask” you for just about anything; however, whether or not he/she can make you comply depends upon the circumstances. Generally, at first contact with you, an officer will “ask” for specific items such as your driver license, registration and logbook, which you are required to provide. At this point, he/she is being polite. While 392.80 and 392.82 prohibit texting and talking on a hand-held device while operating a CMV, respectively, the mere possession of a cell phone in a CMV is not prohibited – especially since some drivers and MCs are keeping up with technology and maintaining their records of duty status (RODS) on cell phones and PCs in lieu of logbooks. In addition, 395 does not prohibit the use of cell phones or PCs as RODS. In this instance, an officer has every right to ask or demand to see your cell phone. A cell phone synchronized with an automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD) must meet requirements contained in 385.15. A driver utilizing a cell phone, which is not synchronized with a specific device(s) on a CMV, must be able to print out the current and previous seven days log pages as required by the following 395.8 interpretation: “Question 28: May a driver use a computer to generate his or her record of duty status (logbook) and then manually sign the computer printouts in lieu of handwritten logs? Guidance: A driver may use a computer to generate the graph grid and entries for the record of duty status or logbooks, provided the computer-generated output includes the minimum information required by 395.8 and is formatted in accordance with the rules. In addition, the driver must: 1) be capable of printing the record of duty status for the current 24-hour period at the request of an enforcement officer; 2) print the record of duty status at the end of each 24-hour period, and sign it in his or her handwriting to certify that all entries required by this section are true and correct; and 3) maintain a copy of printed and signed records of duty status for the previous seven consecutive days and make it available for inspection at the request of an enforcement officer.”
PROPERLY LOGGING A DOT INSPECTION
Q: How should I log a 15-minute DOT inspection: on-duty, off-duty, or is there no need to log it all? Thanks – Tony in Delaware
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: You will want to be sure to log your inspection time as “on-duty”. The answer to your question is found in the definitions for the hours-of-service rules in 49 CFR 395.2, which states, in part: “On-duty time means all time from the time a driver begins to work or is required to be in readiness to work until the time the driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. On-duty time shall include: …(2) All time inspecting, servicing, or conditioning any commercial motor vehicle at any time.”
~ 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 September 12, 2013.