Troubles, Troubles, Troubles, was once a popular blues song sung by B.B. King, and could be the theme song of many organizations when it comes to Part 395 – Hours of Service of Drivers.
While the rule section is not that many pages, for many drivers and their motor carriers it can be an almost perpetual source of trouble. Out-of-Service rates for drivers average about 40 percent per year for logbook violations and 28.7 percent for Hours of Service violations. Fines for both drivers and the employer can quickly run up, drivers may be placed out-of-service – even arrested, and the employer/company may end up with bad safety rating or be subjected to the “intervention” process.
The troubles don’t stop there. In the event of a serious collision, any Hours of Service records come under close scrutiny by not only the DOT but by the litigators.
Any error or discrepancy in a log, no matter how small, is breaking the law. Trial Lawyer
It Doesn’t Have to Be That Way
Here are a few top tips to avoid Hours of Service troubles . . .
Avoid unnecessary roadside inspections.
About 35.4 percent of roadside inspections are triggered by speeding. Don’t speed. Don’t employ drivers who make a habit of speeding. Take any speeding tickets seriously.
Do good pretrip inspections.
Roadside inspections brought about by vehicle defects:
- Lighting 16.6%
- Load Securement 15.7%
- Tires 9.4%
Keep all paperwork in order.
Establish a filing system where timesheets, logbooks and their supporting documents can be easily found and matched for the last six months.
Even with the new mandatory Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), up to eight supporting documents are required for every 24 hour period. Now is the time to get better organized.
Audit your drivers’ logbooks or timesheets.
Some drivers have never been properly trained in Hours of Service rules. They may be too embarrassed to admit they are not sure on how to log.
Omissions in the Log – Indicating Possible False Logs
• Frequently omitted daily mileage.
• No on-duty time.
• Failing to show the name of the place the driver reported for duty.
• Failing to show the driver’s location at each change of duty status to conceal work performed.
• Failing to show the name of the place where the driver went off duty for the rest of the day to conceal actual driving times.
All omissions are very serious and need to be corrected.(Log Audit Manual)
Train and retrain on Hours of Service rules.
One of the biggest and most common mistake I see is trying to teach all of the hours of service rules in one session. On first glance, it seems straightforward: show a short video, review a few of the rules, ask if anyone has any questions, and then send the drivers on their way. This is one area that calls for the best training you can provide. Break it down into a series of short sessions with frequent review and assessment of learning. The key is not only in gaining knowledge, but obtaining understanding.
Thank you for reading this.