Questions about DOT Physicals, Lunch Breaks, Logbooks & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of July 2014)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on June 12, 2014.
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NATIONAL REGISTRY FOR DOT PHYSICALS
Q: On May 23rd I picked up the form for my DOT Physical and a week later I went to my doctor and passed. When I tried to submit the form, they refused it, claiming that my doctor was not on the DOT’s new National Registry. It will take two weeks before I can get an appointment with an “approved doctor” in my area. My old card expired on June 2. Can I still operate my CMV while waiting for my appointment? What would happen if I were stopped without a current physical? Thank you – Mont in Ohio
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: Effective on May 21, 2014, all DOT Medicals are now required to be done by a doctor or physician’s assistant that is on the US DOT’s National Registry. If you failed to get your physical performed by someone on this list, your state driver license office will not accept your medical certificate. And, if you are stopped roadside without a valid Medical Certificate on file or in your possession, you will be placed out-of-service according to CVSA’s Out-of-Service Criteria. Your CDL could also be invalidated, which is another CVSA Out-of-Service. To find your nearest approved doctor or physician’s assistant anywhere in the United States, go to https://nationalregistry.fmcsa.dot.gov/NRPublicUI/home.seam.
REQUIRED LUNCH BREAK REGULATION
Q: In regards to the federal lunch break before 8 hours, is it to be logged as “off-duty” or “on-duty not driving?” Thank you – Martin in California
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: A driver may operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) up to eight (8) consecutive hours before a “rest break” of at least 30 minutes is required under Title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), 393.3(a)(3)(ii). Neither “lunch” nor any other meal is an element of this regulation, even though this rule is commonly referred to as a “lunch break” regulation. Any “off-duty” period or “sleeper berth” period [as explained in 49 CFR, 395.8(h)] of 30 minutes or more qualifies. A couple things to remember: a “sleeper berth” period of less than two hours and a 30 minute “off-duty” period does not stop the 14 consecutive hour clock [49 CFR, 395.3(a)(2)]; also, the “rest break” rule is a rotating 8-hour period, i.e., a driver who takes a 30 minute “off-duty” or “sleeper berth” period within the first two (2) hours of operating a CMV will need to take another 30 minute “off-duty” period or “sleeper berth” period if he or she wants/needs to operate a CMV for a total of 11 hours within the 14-hour rule. 393.5(a)(3)(ii) says, “Rest breaks. After June 30, 2013, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.”
LOGBOOK VIOLATION IN DELAWARE
Q: In receiving a Delaware violation for not having a logbook filled out for the day, I was given a 395.8A violation code. Is this the appropriate violation code? Is there a certain amount of miles I can go before a logbook needs to be filled out? I am not a long distance driver – I drive a dump truck in PA and Delaware. Thanks – Allen in Pennsylvania
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: 49 CFR 395.8(a) states in part: “…every motor carrier shall require every driver used by the motor carrier to record his/her duty status for each 24-hour period using the methods prescribed in either paragraph (a)(1) or (2) of this section.” Paragraph (a)(1) says every driver shall record his/her duty status, in duplicate, for each 24-hour period. Based on this, I would say the appropriate violation code was cited. Your question regarding the amount of miles you can go before a logbook is needed is answered by 49 CFR 395.1(e) concerning short-haul operations, also referred to as the 100 air-mile radius rule. You are exempt from the requirements of 49 CFR 395.8 (meaning you don’t have to fill out a logbook) if: 1) you operate within a 100 air-mile radius of your normal work reporting location; 2) you return to your work reporting location and are released from work within 12 consecutive hours; 3) you have at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty separating each 12 hours on-duty; and 4) you do not exceed the maximum driving time specified in 395.3(a)(3) regarding driving time and rest breaks following 10 consecutive hours off-duty. The motor carrier that employs you must also maintain and retain for a period of six months accurate and true time records showing: 1) the time the driver reports for duty each day; 2) the total number of hours the driver is on-duty each day; 3) the time the driver is released from duty each day; and 4) the total time for the preceding seven days in accordance with 395.8(j)(2) for drivers used for the first time or intermittently. For any day you do not meet any one of the requirements of this exception, you are required to fill out a record of duty (logbook) in its entirety for that day.
~ 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 12, 2014.