Hours of Operation
With the summer months approaching and some of the best prices on gas in years, the annual family trip is almost inevitable. Fortunately, the Department of Transportation (DOT) realizes this as well and is enforcing laws that will ensure you and your family reach Grandma’s house safe and sound. They are doing this by watching both the “Big trucks” on the road and the companies that run those trucks. The DOT is enforcing a set of rules called the “Hours of Service.” They are requirements, which if followed, make the road safer for us all. They include how long a driver can drive, work in a day, and how much rest he or she must get. A simple outline of the rules are as follows:
- Drivers may not drive over a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
- Driver may work (be on duty) for a total of 14 hours, but must then take a 10 consecutive hour break.
- A driver may not drive after 60 to 70 hours on duty in 7 to 8 consecutive days. (A driver must have a 34 consecutive hour rest (restart) after the 7 to 8 consecutive day work week.)
There are a few exceptions, but as a general rule this is what most Over the Road carriers (OTR) abide by.
These rules are enforced in several ways; the most common enforcement are the DOT setting up random check points as well as the standard scale houses that are at fixed points along the highways. The digital age is also dawning on the industry and is now allowing the carriers to self-monitor and regulate. More and more trucks are now equipped with an Electronic On Board Recorder (EOBR). This allows a carrier to see what the driver is doing in regards to speed, time at a location, on duty and off duty time, etc. This data also helps the carrier discipline a driver that is not following the rules and reduce insurance rates when the drivers do behave.
In 2010, there were 1.1 fatal crashes per 100 million truck miles, down from 2.4 per 100 million miles in 2000 per the DOT and they are working to reduce that further.
It is for the greater good that these laws are enforced, but these laws do have an impact on the shipper and carriers. For a shipper, they must be able to build the transit times into their production schedules and budgets. For the carrier, they usually need more equipment and drivers to cover the same distance and volume of freight which they could with less effort prior to these newer rules. The laws are created to make the highways safer for everyone including the general public, the drivers, and carriers themselves. I hope this will reinforce your level of comfort while you are traveling down this countries highway and byways this summer and into the future.
Have a great summer!
Rob Haynie, Carrier Sales Manager