Hauling Grain at Harvest Time

Grain truck

A certain contractor has their drivers log 15 minutes every time that they unload or load. Now loading time is fairly consistent. It will take between 10 and 15 minutes to load a trailer; however unloading is way off.

Every time a driver pulls in to unload, an assistant is out the second they put on the brakes to start the unloading process and most drivers take less than 6 minutes from pulling onto the scale and pulling out empty. The drivers rarely have to even get out of their cabs as it is all handled for them.

Can the drivers legally log this as 15 minutes for one unload and zero minutes for the second?

Under Part 395.1(k) the rules might not apply during harvest time. Will harvest rules apply? (First Move Rule)

  • Is the move from the field directly to the farm or directly to the elevator? (First move)
  • Is the move from the farm (already in the grainy or storage) to the elevator or railhead? (Second move)

Check your state’s “Farmer’s Guide” or Farm Motor Carrier Guide for the exact rules.

The main principle in logging to always follow is to log accurately and truthfully. Use actual times, not “average” times.

If a Record of Duty Status (RODS) or log must be made, the drivers can “flag” anything under 15 minutes. Then it won’t matter much if something takes 5 minutes or twice as long.

Guidance: Short periods of time (less than 15 minutes) may be identified by drawing a line from the appropriate on-duty (not driving) or driving line to the remarks section and entering the amount of time, such as “6 minutes,” and the geographic location of the duty status change.

So to “flag” an activity under 15 minutes, draw a line down from the current status (example: driving) to the remarks section and note the time in minutes and location, such as an intersection or mile marker.

Activities over 15 minutes can be shown by a formal change in duty status (i.e., from driving to on-duty).