Questions about Hours-of-Service Rules, the Ag Exemption & More Answered by Law Enforcement Officials
Warning: Laws are subject to change without notice. These interpretations were made on January 20, 2023.
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Q: I was recently parked on my 10-hour DOT break. At 9 hours and 54 minutes, I decided to move to a flat area of the parking lot so I would be able to check my oil. I put it in PC to move the truck and did not put in a comment. This caused the ELD to jump to Drive (D) time and mess up my clock. What is the appropriate solution for this situation? I put the ELD in PC and switched to paper to finish the day. Is that correct or is there another procedure? The ELD company said it could not be fixed and the safety director was not able to fix this mistake. Please detail what is the proper solution for a mistake causing loss of DOT break time.
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: This is going to be an issue between the trucking company you are leased to and the maker of the ELD. One of the items that is supposed to be in place with the ELD software is where someone, typically the safety director, can go in and edit the ELD. See Part 395.30. If the company you are leased to cannot edit an entry, it needs to be brought to the ELD manufacturer’s attention.
Q: I am involved in car transport, and I work between Dallas and San Antonio. Typically, I start my shift at 8:00 AM and travel in San Antonio, from dealership to dealership, picking up vehicles. I may spend four or five hours picking up vehicles before I hit the interstate. Do my driving hours start at the time I go pick up my first vehicle or the time I hit the interstate and head towards my delivery location? I may only be left with six hours of driving time by the time I’m done picking up. Does driving within the city count towards my allowed 11 hours of driving? This question applies to a city that is not my home city and is over 150 miles away.
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: With the new ELDs, once the truck moves, it starts your duty clock and will record driving time. All time spent driving from location to location will be recorded as driving, until you get to your next stop. Once you get to your next stop, while you are loading the next vehicle, you need to tell the ELD you are on duty not driving. Once you have loaded all the vehicles and are heading for Dallas, you should get an indication on the number of driving and/or total duty hours remaining for the day. Under the old regulations, you had the ability to lump all on duty time and driving time into one entry by showing multiple stops in the same city, but that option is no longer available.
Q: Is the Ag Exemption just for when loading, or is it for unloading, as well, when you are outside the 150 air-mile radius?
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: Once you get within the 150 air-mile radius of your loading location you are no longer required to log. Likewise, once you get within 150 air-mile radius of your delivery location, you are not required to log. Here is a little secret they do not tell you. The 150 air-mile radius is longer than a land mile. 150 air miles is equivalent to 172.6 straight line (as the crow flies) land miles. So, draw a circle around the loading and unloading sources that equals 172.6 miles, and you are not required to log within those circles.
Q: I am an over-the-road team driver. From time to time we go through a border patrol checkpoint. About half the time the officer will make whoever is driving wake up the other driver to ask the sleeping driver to declare if they are a citizen or not. Some of the officers will actually reach into the window and try to open the curtain themselves. Are they allowed to reach into the cab and pull at the curtain before the driver has a chance to wake up their sleeping teammate?
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: You are dealing with a federal agency that is tasked with ascertaining the status of those in the truck. I know if the co-driver in the sleeper berth is woken up, it’s hard for them to go back to sleep, but it is something law enforcement can legally do. Most of them know not to ask the co-driver to exit the sleeper berth. That’s why they ask for the driver to wake up the co-driver in the sleeper berth and have he/she declare their status. As long as the co-driver doesn’t exit the sleeper berth, it has not interrupted his/her rest break. Here is a suggestion: prior to arriving at the checkpoint, wake up your co-driver and have him/her sitting up in the sleeper berth, so that once law enforcement asks for the co-driver, you already have the curtain open and they are sitting up, ready to answer any questions. This way you will expedite your stop and give your co-driver a chance to get back to sleep. DOT certified troopers and inspectors are allowed to check the sleeper berth area to see if it meets the requirements of Part 393.76, regardless of whether the berth is occupied or not. But I can only guess that their authority goes above and beyond that. That is why I made the suggestion that you wake up your co-driver ahead of time and have him/her sitting up with the curtain open to expedite the check.
Q: Do I need a hazmat endorsement to move a product that is kept cold during shipment by Class UN1977 Class 2.2? The product is poultry vaccine, and it is shipped in small metal kegs, like containers with liquid nitrogen, to keep it cold. The weight of the entire packages is 1,261 kgs. The work order states UN1977 nitrogen refrigerated liquid Class 2.2.
A: Provided by Trooper Brent Hoover, Indiana State Police: UN1977 did not show up on the limited quantities list, so it would not need an endorsement for the small amount described.
Q: On a paper log, do we follow the same rule as an E-log for Personal Conveyance? If so, what line do we use for it?
A: Provided by Retired Texas Trooper Monty Dial: If you can legally be on paper, the way you log PC is by showing off duty with a note in the comment section below, noting Personal Conveyance.
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