Questions About HOS, Electronic Logging Devices Rule & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials (as of June 2016)
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice.
These interpretations were made on May 12, 2016.
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HOS OVERVIEW SIMPLIFIES RULES
In an effort to make the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations easier to understand, especially for the novice truck drivers out there, the FMCSA recently (May 7, 2016) published a simplified overview of the rules. This 22-page PDF, titled “Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service,” can now be found on (and downloaded from) the FMCSA website (www.fmcsa.dot.gov) or Ol’ Blue, USA’s website (go to www.olblueusa.org and then click on the “FMCSA Guide to HOS” in the upper right corner under the “New Site Updates” area). If you are having trouble figuring out the HOS rules, this easy to follow guide can certainly help you to understand them better.
SPLIT SLEEPER BERTH PROVISION
Q: Using the 8-hour / 2-hour sleeper berth rest provision, can you do any work or driving between the two rest periods and still satisfy the 10 hours of rest requirement? Thank you – Rick in Illinois
A: Provided by Sgt. Pete Camm (Ret.), California Highway Patrol, Sacramento, CA: You may perform work (on-duty not driving) or drive between the two rest periods. It’s important to note that the 8-hour sleeper berth time extends the 14-hour rule, but the 2-hour rest period (either sleeper berth or off-duty or a consecutive combination thereof) does not extend the 14-hour rule. For more details, visit www.olblueusa.org and click on the “FMCSA Guide to HOS” in the upper right corner under the “New Site Updates” area. This newly-published guide explains the requirements fairly well for this situation – starting at the bottom of page 10.
LOADING AND UNLOADING DELAYS
Q: I’m a bulk tanker driver and we have a unique situation. Once we hook up to various delivery sites we are committed to finish the delivery regardless of time. Usually this is all allowed for in planning our trip. On numerous occasions something goes wrong and you run out of time before the delivery is complete. When this happens and we are at a site that does not allow us to park on their property, what remedy do we have to go to the nearest parking spot for our 10-hour break? Thank you for your help – Mark in Alabama
A: Provided by Jim Brokaw, formerly a Staff Sergeant, Nebraska State Patrol, Carrier Enforcement Division, Lincoln, NE: I’m afraid what I found in the Code of Federal Regulations isn’t going to be very helpful to you. You will find the answer to your question in the guidance to 49 CFR Part 395 Hours of Service. “Question 4: Are there allowances made in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs) for delays caused by loading and/or unloading? Guidance: No. Although the regulations do make some allowances for unforeseen contingencies such as in 395.1(b), adverse driving conditions, and 395.1(b)(2), emergency conditions, loading and unloading delays are not covered by these sections.”
NEW ELECTRONIC LOGGING DEVICES RULE
Q: Can you explain the new FMCSA rule about mandated on-board electronic recording devices? I am a little confused. Thank you in advance for all you do for us out here – Dan in California
A: Provided by Senior Trooper Monty Dial (Ret.), Texas Highway Patrol, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, Garland, TX: FMCSA published the Final Rule 12/16/15 on Electronic Logging Devices in The Federal Register. I’ve been able to read a portion of it and this is what I’ve been able to determine so far. Truck drivers and motor carriers must comply with ELDs not later than 12/16/17. If a device is currently in use that meets the definition of an Automatic On Board Recording Device (AOBRD) as defined in Part 395.15, then their compliance date will be 12/16/19. FMCSA did include some exemptions to these ELDs. They are: 1) Short Haul Driver Provision Part 395.1(e) known as the Air-Mile Radius Driver; 2) If a driver does not complete a Record of Duty Status (RODS) more than 8 days during any 30-day period; 3) Drivers involved in Driveaway/towaway where the vehicle being driven is the commodity; and 4) Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000. This Final Rule will affect only INTERSTATE drivers and motor carriers unless a State Partner adopts this Final Rule into their State Law. I will continue to read this Final Rule, which is some 517 pages long!
~ 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 May 12, 2016.