Tag Archive for DoT

Connecting the DoTs: How Good Intentions Can Pave the Way to DoT Fines

Connecting-the-DoTs

You were just pulled over for DoT violations. Then you were fined an exorbitant sum for failing to provide driver logs, which you didn’t even think you needed. You’re driving short haul. What happened?

A lot of small companies are not prepared until they get caught.

  • Your small service fleet grew—and now you’re a victim of your own success—your new truck exceeds the allowable weight limit.
  • Your vanpool picked up one extra passenger—you were just trying to help—and now you’ve exceeded the number of passengers you can take.
  • Your short haul truck had a record busy day—business is great—but now you’ve been fined for letting your truck overshoot its allowable 100 mile radius.
  • Your service fleet took on some LTL (less-than-load) business—to reduce costs and fully utilize the fleet—and now you’ve been fined for carrying hazardous materials.

While long haul drivers are not exempt in any way, short haul drivers have certain exemptions, and that’s where you could inadvertently drive into a trap. A simple change in your business (buying a new truck, or carrying different cargo) could bump you out of the zone of short haul exemption and into the zone of long haul obligation, leading to fines.

Short haul trucking is defined as driving within a defined small radius (usually about 100 air mile area) of the truck’s home terminal during the day and returning to the same terminal at night. While short haul drivers are usually exempt from the same DoT regulations (Hours of Service for example), changing business practices within a company can bring the same regulations as long haul into play—sometimes even intermittently.

When Do Companies Have To Maintain Driver Logs?

According to Michael Scott, Software Architect responsible for translating DoT regulations into software solutions at Webtech Wireless, “Maintaining paper driver logs is an onerous task. Every commercial driver must maintain driver logs, which involves recording each transition (starts, stops, on duty, off duty, and so forth).”

Consider the following:

  • Do I have vehicles that are over 10,000 lbs?
  • Am I attaching trailers to my trucks (or towing other vehicles that could push the combined weight over 10,000 lbs)?
  • Do I have vehicles that carry hazardous materials (such as chlorine)?
  • Am I driving vehicles designated for fewer passengers than I’m actually carrying (remember, the driver counts)?

Size Doesn’t Matter

Michael says, “It’s really about driver activities. Even if you’re driving a minivan and otherwise subject to short haul restrictions, if you start carrying hazardous materials, you’re required to maintain driver logs or risk being in violation of DoT regulations.”

Key switches to start maintaining driver logs:

  • You start carrying hazardous materials
  • Your distances increase
  • Your truck’s gross tonnage for commercial vehicles increases (over 10,000 lbs)
  • You want to increase passenger capacity in a vehicle (check DoT regulations for more details)
  • You attach a trailer that puts the gross vehicle weight over 10,000 lbs (or towing another vehicle producing the same overweight result). Note: When the trailer or truck that caused to overage in weight is disconnected, the driver no longer needs to maintain driver logs.

Read the Fine Print

Regulations differ between US DoT and Transport Canada, but the intent is the same: In the US you must be able to show driver logs for 7 days and in Canada for 14 days. If you’re found not to have driver logs, you may be fined up to $1,000 per day for each day missing.

If you’re in the US,

US DoT Requirement to Fill Out a Daily Log:

http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=395.1

If you’re in Canada,

Canadian Definition of Commercial Vehicle:

http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2005-313/

New HOS Rules Mean “Comply by July”

New_HOS_Regs

Federally regulated rules and driver monitoring raise the specter of Big Brother with anyone considering a monitoring solution, but while some blatantly flout the law and force their drivers to work long hours, others lose sleep at night worrying about the safety of their drivers and operations.

Changes in HOS rules are rarely popular. The National Private Truck Council is currently running a survey and posing the question, “With the new Hours of Service rules effective due to take place July 1, 2013, what is your fleet’s estimated loss of productivity?”, but with the increase in accidents attributed to fatigued drivers, it’s no wonder that the US DoT continues to update its regulations. Safety trumps all.

At Webtech Wireless, we anticipate changes to HOS rules and provide regular software and hardware updates well in advance of change deadlines to ensure our customers never experience downtime and business interruption.

We Were Ready Then

Last December, we released an update of our MDT 3100 In-Cab solution to offer HOS Oil Well Waiting capability for fleets in the Oil and Gas sector. With Oil Well Waiting, drivers could track time waiting at a well site without it counting against their HOS time limit. This capability ensured fleets could remain competitive while complying with FMCSA HOS regulations. At the time, our Quadrant VP of Products and Services, Ernie Chatham said “This feature is designed with drivers in mind. It’s easy to use and the interface and workflow are simple, allowing for quick training, simple implementation, and immediate cost savings.”

We’re Ready Now

We’ve started letting affected customers know about the new changes to HOS rules for fleets operating in the US, so if you haven’t heard from us directly, you soon will. Here’s an overview from the US Department of Transportation.

30-Minute Mandatory Break – Starting in July, drivers of a CMV operating in the US cannot drive if more than eight hours have passed since the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper break of 30 minutes or more.  When a driver reaches the eighth hour into the work shift, before continuing the driver must take a 30-minute break.

Restart Rules – A 34-hour restart is a “valid” restart only if the driver ensures that the period includes two back-to-back nighttime rest periods from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. The restart rules restrict how often a restart can be used. If a driver restarts more often than what’s allowed by US rules, the driver must indicate on the log which restart will be the one that’s being used as the valid restart.

For more information, see the US Department of Transportation web site.

Technical Support

If you have any questions about how the new HOS rules might affect you, please contact our technical support specialists:

support@webtechwireless.com Phone +1 (604) 419 8163

Toll Free (US/Canada) +1 (866) 945 4568

Hours of Operation:

Monday – Friday 6:00 am – 5:00 PM PT

Saturday 8:00 am – 4:30 PM PT