Questions about Logging Jury Duty, New 34-Hour Resets & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of February 2015)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on January 15, 2015
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THANKS FROM BRIAN IN WASHINGTON
Last month (January 2015) Senior Trooper Monty Dial (retired) answered a question submitted by Brian in Washington regarding how to log his attendance at a company safety meeting. Since the meeting was promoted as a “voluntary” meeting, Brian chose not to attend, and then got some heat from his company for not being there. After answering the question, Brian sent this follow-up to us here at Ask The Law: “Thanks RJ. I didn’t go to the safety meeting because something told me that it should be logged as on-duty not driving. Management was talking about a suspension until I showed them the e-mail from Trooper Dial so they had to eat a little crow and I got to keep working. If you or Trooper Dial are ever in Seattle, I owe you a steak dinner!” It is always nice when we can help someone out. Thanks for the follow-up, Brian – RJ at Ask The Law™
LOGGING JURY DUTY SERVICE
Q: Is jury duty considered “on-duty not driving” time (I will get a day rate and my mileage paid for traveling to and from the courthouse)? Thank you in advance for your help – Chuck in Louisiana
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: This is the one time that you can be compensated and you do not have to show “On-Duty Not Driving” on your log. Serving on a jury is not considered gainful employment (work), so the definition of “On-Duty” found in Part 395.2 of the regulations is not applicable. Enjoy your service!
NEW 34-HOUR RESTART RULES
Q: I am very confused with the new 34-Hour Restart rules. I started driving in 2008 and I’m reading that the new 34-Hour Restart rules are going back to the 2004 rules. Since I wasn’t driving in 2004, please tell me what the changes are? Thank you – Rob in California
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: Under the 34-Hour Restart that went into effect in 2004 and changed in 2013, the old rule (2004) states that anytime a driver has 34 consecutive hours off-duty (off-duty, sleeper berth, or a combination of off-duty and sleeper berth uninterrupted) the driver’s 60/70 hour clock gets reset. The 2013 rules required two periods of rest between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. and only one reset was allowed per week. Under the now reinstated old rules from 2004, a driver is not limited to one 34-Hour Reset per period – as long as they take 34 consecutive hours off, their clock is reset.
WEIGH STATION BACK-UPS IN CALIFORNIA
Q: If a weigh station has trucks backed up all the way onto the highway (like how the southbound scale on I-5 at Cottonwood gets), do you have to stop in the traffic lane to wait to proceed through the scales? This has happened and has posed a serious and hazardous traffic situation, which could cause serious accidents and possible fatalities. Thank you – Carol in California
A: Provided by Officer Jaime Nunez, California Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Section, Sacramento, CA: Section 21461(a) of the California Vehicle Code requires every driver to obey official traffic control devices. The signs directing trucks to enter the scales are official traffic control devices. As long as the signs are indicating “All Trucks Stop at Scales” or a similar message, drivers of commercial vehicles must enter the weigh station. Every effort is made by weigh station personnel to prevent truck traffic from extending into the traffic lanes. In California, there is no exemption that permits bypassing the scales when the sign is activated and trucks are already stopped in the traffic lanes. Other states may have different rules and should be consulted for further information.
UNLIMITED RESETS UNDER NEW RULES
Q: Am I allowed to work over the 70 hours in 8 days rule if I do a 34-Hour Restart after 5 days? Would doing that allow me to “start all over” with a new 70 hours in 8 days? Thanks – Mont in Ohio
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: Under the rules that Congress mandated the FMCSA to change, the 34-Hour Reset reverts back to the rule that went into effect in 2004. Anytime a driver shows 34 hours off-duty (off-duty, sleeper berth, or a combination of off-duty and sleeper berth uninterrupted), a driver has met the requirements of a 34-Hour Reset. Under the 2004 rules, a driver was not limited to just one reset every 7 days like the 2013 rules, which means a driver can utilize an unlimited number of 34-Hour Resets.
~ 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 January 15, 2015.