November 19, 2018No Comments

Hours of Service Update Regarding Personal Conveyance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released new guidance earlier this month

regarding the use of Personal Conveyance time associated with hours of service regulations. The introduction of PC time back in May afforded drivers the much-needed flexibility to perform their duties. We covered the use of personal conveyance in a previous blog post, but after the recent clarification issued by the FMCSA, we feel it is important to revisit the subject.

The updated hours of service interpretation released on the FMCSA website now states that

Drivers can log Personal Conveyance even when under a load as long as the driver is off work.

The exact text, which can be found here, is as follows:

Personal conveyance is the movement of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) for personal use while off-duty. A driver may record personal conveyance as off-duty only when the driver is relieved from work. The CMV may be used for personal conveyance even if it is laden since the load is not being transported for the commercial benefit of the motor carrier.

To help avoid confusion, the FMCSA offers a number of examples as follows:

Proper use of PC time

  1. Time spent traveling from a driver’s en route lodgings such as a motel or truck stop.
  2. Commuting between the driver’s terminal and his or her residence, between trailer-drop lots and the driver’s residence, and between work sites and his or her residence. In these scenarios, the commuting from work and start to work times must allow the driver enough time to obtain the required restorative rest as to ensure the driver is not fatigued.
  3. Time spent traveling to a nearby, reasonable, safe location to obtain required rest after loading or unloading. The time driving under personal conveyance must allow the driver adequate time to obtain the required rest in accordance with minimum off-duty periods under 49 CFR 395.3(a)(1) (property-carrying vehicles) or 395.5(a) (passenger-carrying vehicles) before returning to on-duty driving, and the resting location must be the first such location reasonably available.
  4. Moving a CMV at the request of a safety officer during the driver’s off-duty time
  5. Time spent transporting personal property while off-duty.

Not qualified for PC time

  1. The movement of a CMV in order to enhance the operational readiness of a motor carrier. For example, bypassing available resting locations in order to get closer to the next loading.
  2. Continuation of a CMV trip in interstate commerce for a business purpose, including bobtailing or operating with an empty trailer in order to retrieve another load.
  3. Time spent transporting a CMV to a facility to have vehicle maintenance performed.
  4. After being placed out of service for exceeding the maximum periods permitted under part 395, time spent driving to a location to obtain the required rest, unless so directed by an enforcement officer at the scene.
  5. Time spent traveling to a motor carrier’s terminal after loading or unloading from a shipper or a receiver.

 

Most of these examples are common sense but some have been issues of heated debate between logistics professionals. Pay special attention to item number 3 above. It is a common misconception, especially among owner-operators, that taking their equipment in for service or repairs affords them the ability to log this time as off duty. This is not the case. According to hours of service regulations, a driver should log the transit time to a repair facility as on duty.

August 29, 20184 Comments

AOBRD vs. ELD

AOBRD vs. ELD: What's the Difference?

An automatic onboarding recording device is a piece of hardware that connects to the vehicle's engine to record driver's hours-of-service (HOS). It functions much like an electronic logging device (ELD) except it records and displays less data. Similar to AOBRD, an ELD is a piece of hardware that connects to the vehicle's ECM to accurately record the driver's HOS.

However, AOBRD vs. ELD differs regarding how much data they record and how much you can edit. The chart below summarizes the FMCSA's comparison chart.

                AOBRD                   ELD
What is Recorded
  •   Date and Time
  •   Engine Hours
  •   Vehicle Miles
  •   Drive Times
  •   Locations
  •   Duty Status
  •  Date and Time
  •  Engine Hours
  •  Vehicle Miles
  •  Locations
  •  Information on the driver, motor carrier, vehicle, duty status, logging in and out, engine on and off, malfunctions
Locations
  •  Recorded during each change of duty status
  •  Can be entered manually
Automatically recorded when:

  • Change on duty status
  •  60 minutes interval while driving
  •  When the engine is off and on
  •  At the start and end of yard moves and personal conveyance
Edit History
  • Records who made an edit and when
  • Does not readily display edit history
  •  Records who made an edit and when
  •   All edits require annotation
  •  Automatically recorded events cannot be changed – only annotated
  •  Readily displays edit history to DOT inspectors
Driving Time
  •  Driving time can only be edited when attributed to the wrong driver
  •  Driving time cannot be edited

ELDs Are More Restrictive Than AOBRDs

The rules surrounding ELDs are specific on how the device must handle particular events and situations. ELDs automatically switch the driver's duty status to "On-Duty, Not driving, whenever their vehicle has stopped moving for five consecutive minutes, and the driver has not responded to the prompt within 60 seconds. In contrast, AOBRDs are not changing the driver's duty status when the vehicle is no longer in motion.

In addition, ELDs have to warn drivers about any unassigned driving time and miles that the device records when they log into the ELD. Electronic logging devices accounts for all vehicle miles (even if a mechanic takes the vehicle for a test drive) to ensure driver logs are accurate, which means ELDs are far more restrictive than AOBRDs.

FMCSA will allow the use of AOBRDs until December 16, 2019, on the condition that the truck had AOBRD since before the mandate; that is, before December 18, 2017. Any additions to the fleet after December 18, 2017, require ELD and not AOBRD.

July 6, 20183 Comments

How the ELD Mandate Helps Drivers

 

The ELD mandate has been a controversial subject among truckers, shippers, and manufacturers alike. Many drivers have complained that it places unfair restrictions on them and results in lost revenue, rendering their job less lucrative than it was in the past. Shippers and manufacturers have fought against the mandate because it increases their transport time, forcing them to put more work into supply chain planning. These are all valid concerns, but many people believe that the ELD mandate is a blessing in disguise, bringing higher levels of safety and fairness into the industry, making it more profitable for everyone involved. Some of the benefits of the mandate are highlighted below.

 

Reduced Abuse of Paper Logs

 

It is no secret that paper logs have been abused in the industry for years. Paper logs are easily manipulated, allowing the driver to work far beyond his legal limits by making a few simple tweaks in the logbook. This practice hasn’t been limited only to rogue truck drivers looking to get more money out of more miles. Dispatchers, shippers, and customers have played a significant part in abusing the system as well.

 

Before the ELD mandate was put into place, it was common practice for many shippers to expect team service out of solo drivers. They wouldn’t explicitly tell drivers to manipulate their logs, but the implication was clear that the carrier would only win the shipment if they were willing to run illegally. Despite how many honorable carriers would reject the load due to being unable to meet the requirements, shippers knew that there was always going to be a driver that would accept the task.

 

This was harmful to the industry in several ways. First, it set a precedent for these abusive shippers that they could get away with promoting illegal runs while not suffering the consequences. The only party that would be held responsible would be the truck driver. This then made expectations across the industry unrealistic, and even worse, extremely unsafe. A single driver running cross-country in two days with little to no sleep is a hazard to anyone in his path. Not only is he more likely to be involved in an accident, but he is also harming his health by overloading his body.

 

Drivers that were taking these kinds of shipments were doing a disservice to the honest, hard-working drivers across the country. They were undercutting reliable companies to make a quick buck. Thanks to the ELD mandate, shippers have more realistic expectations and can’t as easily skirt the law by hiring drivers who will run illegally.

 

Increased Safety & Health

 

No matter which way you look at it, it is not safe for any driver to be on the road if he is sick, tired, or overworked. While there is room for debate over just how many hours a driver can work before he should be required to shut down, it is commonly accepted that there needs to be some regulation on continuous hours driven. The ELD mandate helps to make the roads safer for the drivers and everyone else in their vicinity.

 

It isn’t fair for shippers to hold drivers to more demanding standards than warehouse workers, factory hands, or office employees. A long day of driving can be stressful and exhausting, taking a significant physical toll on the driver’s body. In the past, drivers were often told by dispatchers to keep moving past their legal hours to meet a deadline. This was not only illegal but extremely dangerous. No load is worth risking life and driving while sick or tired is a hazard that puts everyone’s well-being on the line.

 

If a driver continues to burn himself out by driving too many hours, he is putting his overall health at risk as well. Every person needs to get the right amount of sleep to function healthily regularly. Continually running overtime and neglecting rest periods has been proven to be detrimental to your health, so it’s essential for a driver to pay attention to these. By shutting down for the required hours, a driver is helping both himself and his company by staying healthy. The ELD mandate helps with this and may even curb the illegal use of amphetamines that many drivers abused to stay awake.

 

Higher Pay

 

One of the most common complaints about the ELD mandate is that it hinders the driver’s ability to make money. Many drivers claim that because they can’t drive as far in a short amount of time, they are missing out on the loads that provide them with the money they need to survive. In the time it took to haul a single load, they say, they used to be able to knock out two or three.

 

This is an understandable concern, and the new structure may take some getting used to. However, the ELD mandate offers plenty of opportunities to make more money while working fewer hours. Because of the mandate, capacity has tightened, and shippers have been forced to pay more, with some lanes almost doubling in price over the past year.

 

Many carriers have increased their rate per mile pay because of this, but that isn’t necessarily the only way to guarantee more money. Owner-operators can work on a percentage basis, which often turns out to be more lucrative than mileage pay. If a driver is working for a carrier that refuses to increase his wage, there are plenty of other companies out there that are rewarding their drivers. The country is experiencing a shortage of drivers due to the increase in manufacturing, so it is a great time to look for new suitors if a driver feels that he is being mistreated.

 

By taking advantage of a thriving market, drivers can use the ELD mandate to become more profitable while driving fewer miles. Not only will their wallets benefit, but they will become healthier and more well-rested. While there have undoubtedly been some growing pains in adjusting to the mandate, opportunities abound throughout the industry thanks to many of its positive attributes.

 

 

 

 

June 1, 201812 Comments

DOT hours of service extended by recapturing your hours

Commercial drivers often times refer to DOT hours of service regulations as their 3 clocks. The eleven, fourteen and seventeen hour “clocks” have to do with with the amount of driving and on duty hours allowed daily and over the course of a week.

Read more

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Blog / HOS

Hours of Service Update Regarding Personal Conveyance

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released new guidance earlier this month regarding the use of Personal Conveyance time associated with hours of service...

→ Read More

AOBRD vs. ELD

AOBRD vs. ELD: What's the Difference? An automatic onboarding recording device is a piece of hardware that connects to the vehicle's engine to record driver's...

→ Read More

How the ELD Mandate Helps Drivers

  The ELD mandate has been a controversial subject among truckers, shippers, and manufacturers alike. Many drivers have complained that it places unfair restrictions...

→ Read More

DOT hours of service extended by recapturing your hours

Commercial drivers often times refer to DOT hours of service regulations as their 3 clocks. The eleven, fourteen and seventeen hour “clocks” have to...

→ Read More