The Registered ELDs: An Update


Voluntary Use of ELDs . . .

Starting February 16, 2016 until December 18, 2017 motor carriers and drivers may voluntarily use ELDs. Prior to purchasing an ELD, motor carriers and drivers should confirm with the ELD provider/manufacture that the device is certified and registered with FMCSA. FMCSA equipment-registration page

Never volunteer! U.S. Army survival tip

Perhaps one of the most important things a carrier can do, besides keeping their customers happy, is to prepare for the December 18, 2017 Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate.

Sure, there is already some pushback. Like many recent hours of service regulations, this one will be fought out in the courts. One could argue the legal outcome is uncertain, even 50/50 at best. Some even say the election could alter the regulatory tone, resulting in a rollback of regulations.

One can always hope, but as Vince Lombardi was known to say, hope is not a strategy. The DOT regs now on the books will require every driver who uses a Record of Duty Status (RPDS) or logbook to use a bona fide Electronic Logging Device on December 19, 2017.

How does one know their ELD meets the DOT standards?

EDL device manufactures need to certify and register their devices with the DOT. Currently there are three ELDs listed:

These devices are self-certified by the manufacturer and not by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.


Other Promoted Solutions

Other providers are promoting their ELD solutions in other ways. For example (not an all-inclusive listing):

Everybody is claiming their solutions are the real deal. And they very well may be.

But because these devices are so new, there’s bound to be some technical glitches. And if there’s one fact about new ‘automation projects,’ it’s that most do not come to fruition. A lot of time and energy can be spent and in the end the project is no closer to the finish line then they were on day zero.

In any case, if electronic logging is new to you, now is the time to start investigating potential ELD vendors. As we get closer to the compliance date of December 18, 2017, additional vendors will have registered their devices and competition will have lowered initial costs. And some device vendors, by then, may even pulled out of the market.

Thank you for reading this.





Top Hours of Service Survival Tips

Roadside InspectionTroubles, Troubles, Troubles

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 . . .

Tip #1.

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.

Tip #2.

Do good pretrip inspections.

Roadside inspections brought about by vehicle defects:

  • Lighting 16.6%
  • Load Securement 15.7%
  • Tires 9.4%

This wheel was held on by one lug nut. If you were the DOT inspector, wouldn’t you want to see what shape this driver’s logbook was in?











Tip #3.

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.

Tip #4.

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)

Tip #5.

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.



Using a Commercial Motor Vehicle as a “Personal Conveyance”


What is use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) as a personal conveyance?

A driver has gone “off duty” at the end of his run or shift and needs to eat at a local restaurant or make a personal purchase of something from a local box store.

What rules apply? Will the driver have to log on-duty to drive there? If the driver has no available hours, does he or she need to call a taxi? What do the regulations say?

Personal Conveyance is use of a motor vehicle for non commercial purposes.

Are there any specific regulations covering use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) as a personal conveyance?

To answer that we need to look at Question 26 the DOT’s Hours of Service guidance  . . . (DOT Guidance, while not subjected to all of the rigors of the rule-making process, are clarifications of the regulations and, as such, are binding on drivers and motor carriers.)

Question 26: If a driver is permitted to use a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for personal reasons, how must the driving time be recorded?


a driver is relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work, time spent traveling from a driver’s home to his/her terminal (normal work reporting location), or from a driver’s terminal to his/her home, may be considered off-duty time.

Similarly, time spent traveling short distances from a driver’s en route lodgings (such as en route terminals or motels) to restaurants in the vicinity of such lodgings may be considered off-duty time. The type of conveyance used from the terminal to the driver’s home, from the driver’s home to the terminal, or to restaurants in the vicinity of en route lodgings would not alter the situation unless the vehicle is laden. A driver may not operate a laden CMV as a personal conveyance. The driver who uses a motor carrier’s Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) for transportation home, and is subsequently called by the employing carrier and is then dispatched from home, would be on-duty from the time the driver leaves home.

A driver placed out of service for exceeding the requirements of the hours of service regulations may not drive a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) to any location to obtain rest.

Personal Conveyance Guidelines In Summary

  1. The driver is off-duty
  2. All travel by CMV is local.
  3. The vehicle is unladen (carrying no freight, or even pulling a trailer)
  4. The driver cannot have been placed Out-of-Service (OOS) for exceeding his or her hours.

While in Personal Conveyance mode, all other CMV safety and safe driving rules apply. It is verboten, for example, to use a CMV to drive to a local store to buy alcohol § 392.5: Alcohol prohibition (or to consume alcoholic beverages while driving the CMV off-duty §382.201), to give unauthorized passengers a lift (§392.60: Unauthorized persons not to be transported), or do anything work-related (like repairing or servicing or fueling the vehicle) .

To avoid misunderstandings, your vehicle operating policy should cover the use of a CMV or company vehicle for personal conveyance, as well as breaks. I recommend to always keep a copy of this policy in the CMV (and a copy of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs)), to avoid any potential hassles if a driver stopped while driving a CMV in the personal conveyance mode.

Thank you for reading this.

Comments via Linkedin:

Paul Johnson, R. L. Leek Industries:

If he is using it for personal use he may stay off duty but must note miles and flag off duty driving.

Max Doman, Hazardous Materials Specialist:

Depends. Is he the owner or a company man. What if he was rear ended, is it defendable in court? Always cover your a$&..

What are Supporting Documents?


Toll road







What are supporting Documents?

The purpose of supporting documents are to help verify the accuracy of driver’s HOS and records of duty status (RODS).

Any document that the driver puts his or her hands on – may become part of the log book. The DOT may ask to see the toll-receipts, fuel receipts, scale tickets, meal receipts, etc.

Fuel receipts are of interest because they can be directly matched against the log book duty status, and show a location and time. The RODS should show an on-duty status when fueling. What can happen is a driver pulls in to a truck stop, goes off duty to start his ten hours and then fuels the truck. This could be considered a false log, if audited.

When a fleet has more than 10% false logs, things can start to get interesting. The motor carrier can get fined. The motor carrier can be ordered by the DOT to start keeping certain supporting documents. Motor carriers have also been ordered to install electronic logging devices (for a “pattern of violations).

Key Elements of Supporting Documentation

A supporting document should contain the following information:
• Date
• Time
• Driver’s full name
• Trip number and power unit number
• Location – City and State

TRIP ENVELOPE – Should have trip number & tractor number listed.

If a lumper is authorized on the load, there should be a lumper receipt with lumper name, social security number, location service occurred, and the amount paid.

For a dropped load, there should be a copy of all of the bill of ladings. On the bill of ladings and trip envelope it should be noted by the driver that the load was dropped. If possible the bill of ladings should be signed by a guard, receiver or consignee and time stamped to verify when the driver was there.

For relayed loads, the trip envelope should note the location, date and time that the relay took place. (Relay load – a driver only takes a load a portion of the way, usually for the
duration of one shift — eight to 10 hours. The driver then turns the truck over to another driver to continue the trip.)

Motors carriers are required to have a system in place to check logs. One tool is supporting documents.

I recommend checking at least 25% of all drivers logs. If a driver is new, perhaps check 100% of his logs for the first six months.

Motor carriers get in trouble assuming drivers know how to properly log. Years ago, one of my first clients hired a driver with five years experience. The problem was he drove mostly local, intrastate and did not know how to log. He could make his grid lines but kept going over 70 hours. Nobody checked the logs until the company was audited by the DOT. The motor carrier ended up up a $10,000 fine for repeated violations (they appealed and paid about $2,000). Another of their drivers was arrested in Georgia for a false log. He didn’t know how to log either.

So check your drivers logs. Verify their hours of service with supporting documents. Have a system in place to keep supporting documents for at least six months and be able to match them to the logs.

If you don’t, things can get real interesting . . .

Many motor carriers have never been audited by the DOT and could be in for a shock when their logs are checked. In fact, the new ELD Rule mandates 8 supporting documents per each 24 hour period. If your motor carrier is not doing anything with supporting documents (a relatively new rule since 2004), then there is no better time than now to start.

Thank you for reading this.

Anatomy of a Fatal Truck Crash

Bokelman crash

Chicago, IL — On Friday, January 22, 2016 Andrew Bokelman, 25 plead guilty in a Cook County court to to three charges — all felonies — of operating a commercial vehicle while impaired or fatigued, filing a false log to conceal hours worked, and working longer than a 14-hour period allowed by law.


Shortly after 11:00 PM, on Thursday, March 28, 2013 Bokelman was traveling on on I-294, south of Willow Road near Northbrook, IL, when his tractor-trailer drifted to the left and then the left shoulder of the south-bound lanes.

Illinois State Trooper James Sauter was parked on the left shoulder and was rear-ended by Bokelman’s rig, and pushed over 500 feet, resulting in a fire. Although Bokelman attempted to help trooper Sauter, he was not able to because of the flames. A witness reported Bokelman had never touched his brakes prior to impact.

Bokelman received his commercial driver’s license (CDL) about six months before the crash.

Bokelman was driving from Waukesha, Wis., to Louisville, Ky and had driven about two hours prior to the crash. Alcohol and drugs were not a factor in this crash.

Officer Sauter was known as a “road dog,” who enjoyed highway patrol work and helping people. Although an Illinois State Police pilot, he requested to get back on the road.

Bokelman was not charged with reckless homicide charges, because in Illinois there is no precedent for doing so in cases when a driver falls asleep at the wheel. Bokelman started his work shift at 6 AM that morning and had worked 18 hours straight. His intentions were to not drive much further before the crash. A reckless homicide conviction in Illinois carries a sentence of between two to five years in prison.

On January 27, 2014 another Illinois trooper — Douglas Balder — was seriously injured and a toll worker killed when they were struck by Renato Velasquez’s tractor-trailer when Velasquez reportedly fell asleep. Velasquez had been driving over 28 hours on 3 1/2 hours of sleep.

Bokelman was sentenced to two years in prison but will be released in about a year due to time already served. The insurance company for Bokelman’s employer paid a $10 Million settlement to trooper Sauter’s wife.

There were some people not satisfied with Bokelman’s two-year sentence. They say it sends the wrong message, that it cheapens the lives of law enforcement.

Lessons Learned — Indoctrinate your drivers.

Running until you are dog-tired and nodding off at the wheel is simply knuckle-headed stuff. Stuff — that should never happen. But it keeps happening — again and again and again.

Start with the cold truth: Log violations and falsification are felonious. You can’t do worse than that.

Train drivers to protect themselves. The best protection is found in following the rules. The only driver protection is in following the rules. As I like to tell drivers — the insurance is on the truck.

Sure — bad things can happen to good people. Even good people following the rules. But by following the rules, a driver has what is known as a defense. The rules are there to protect everyone including the driver.

Somehow that message is not getting out there.

Something is wrong— very wrong when drivers are running 18 to 28 hour shifts at a stretch. It’s not productive. It’s not healthy. In fact, very quickly, it can and does turn counter-productive.

Back in the day, it was common practice to park and take a short nap if a driver felt it was needed. This was an unwritten rule in driving— when you reached your limit, stop, rest, and recharge before continuing.

It Gets Worse

The Illinois officer killed on the road before trooper Sauter, trooper Kyle Deatherage, was killed by a tractor-trailer driver who suffered from a medical condition that caused a loss of consciousness. The driver was allegedly in a state of unconsciousness when he struck and killed trooper Deatherage who was conducting a routine traffic stop on the roadside.

Another truck driver who should not have been on the road. Another unnecessary fatal collision. Trooper Kyle Deatherage won’t be there for his wife and kids . . .

Action Summary

Train and indoctrinate your drivers to protect themselves by knowing the rules, following the rules and documenting what they do.

Thank you for reading this.


Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs), What Carriers and Drivers Should Know

 e-logsPresenting Annette M. Sandberg, Esq.

Yesterday, FleetOwner magazine with the sponsorship of Telogis, a logistics software provider, provided a webinar on Electronic Logging Devices, What Carriers and Drivers Should Know, by Annette M. Sandberg, Esq., former head of the FMCSA and principal at TransSafe Consulting, LLC. Before running the FMCSA she was with the  Washington State Patrol for 17 years.

The final ELD rule was published December 16, 2015 and gives motor carriers two years to comply with it — for an effective date of December 18, 2017.

Who needs to comply with the ELD Rule?

Remember the letter “L” in ELD. L means Log.

If a driver needs to run a Log Book, then they will have to upgrade to an ELD by the above date, with few, few exceptions.

Who does NOT need to comply with the ELD Rule?

Again, as the rule is now written, there are only a few exceptions.

  1. Drivers who do not run logbooks.

Logical, right? If a driver does not run a log book, then they would not need an ELD. Generally this means drivers who use “time cards,” “exemption” sheets, or short haul drivers:

CDL drivers who always return to their same starting location, never work or drive a total of 12 hours in a day and stay within 100 air-miles of their starting location (or non-CDL drivers who do the same but stay within 150 air-miles of their starting location).

But there is a crucial exception to this exception: in a rolling 30 day period these drivers will need an ELD if they have to use paper logs more than 8 days of any rolling 30 day period (if the driver must attach a logsheet to the time card).

So if a driver goes over their maximum 12 hour work shift, stays overnight somewhere other than their normal start location, or goes over the 100/150 air-miles, more than 8 days in a 30 day period, then they will need to install an ELD device.

2. Driveaway-towaway Operations

“Driveaway-towaway operation” means any operation in which any motor vehicle, trailer or semitrailer, singly or in combination, new or used, constitutes the commodity being transported when one set or more wheels of any such vehicle are on the roadway during the course of transportation, whether or not any such vehicle furnishes the motive power.

Driveaway-towaway operations get a free pass. No ELDs for you.

3. Pre-2000 model year trucks.

Older trucks cannot be wired for ELDs, in a cost-effective manner. Older trucks are, in a sense, “grandfathered in” into the new millennium. They, too, get a free pass.

That’s it. Everyone else who needs to use a logbook, needs to use an ELD device.

  • Fleetsize does not matter.
  • Truck size does not matter. (Truck age does matter).
  • Commodities hauled do not matter (other than Driveaway-towaway operations).
  • Nothing else matters, if you have to run a paper log, then you need to run an electronic log on an ELD device.

What is an ELD device?

Size, shape and type of device is not defined. It could be a smart phone, tablet, or any electronic device, as long as is mountable and secure when the truck is in motion, and available for law enforcement outside the cab, and displays the required trip data:

  • Driver name and ELD username, if one applies.
  • The motor carrier’s name and address
  • Engine hours and mileage for each driving period.
  • Any fault status if the ELD malfunctions.
  • A grid graph, hours and locations.

Key ELD Points

  • Original entries are permanent.
  • Any annotations and edits must be initialed
  • Data will be encrypted
  • All drivers must have accounts, including shop mechanics who test drive a truck
  • All mileage must be assigned or accounted for
  • Owner/operators cannot have an administrator account.

Automatic Duty Status Changes (Two)

  • If the wheels move (5 MPH), the device will default to on-duty, driving.
  • If the vehicle stops over 5 minutes the device will warn the driver, then default to on-duty (not driving).
  • No other automatic duty status changes are allowed (as the rule is now written).

But Wait . . . There’s More! Supporting Documents, the Crazy 8s

The logging may be electronic, but the paperwork never ends.

Supporting documents requirements take effect on the ELD rule Compliance Date December 18, 2017.

  • Up to 8 supporting documents (SDs) in a 24-hour period MUST be kept. As a rule of thumb, if you have them, then you must use them (but no more than 8).
  • NEW: SDs must be submitted to the carrier within 8 days.
  • Drivers need to produce SDs in their possession at Roadside Inspections.
  • Carriers must be able to match the SDs with the electronic logs.

There are five categories of supporting documents:

  • Bills of lading, itineraries, schedules, or equivalent documents that show the starting and ending location for each trip;
  • Dispatch records, trip records, or equivalent documents;
  • Expense receipts (meals, lodging, fuel, etc.);
  • Fleet management system communication records;
  • Payroll records, settlement sheets, or equivalent documents showing payment to a driver.

New: Drivers using paper RODS must also keep toll receipts – which don’t count toward the eight-document cap.

Required SUPPORTING dOCUMENT Information

Each supporting document must contain the following information:

  • Driver name (or a carrier-assigned identification number) on the document or on another document that allows the carrier to link the first document to the driver.  The vehicle unit number can be used, if that number can be linked to the driver.
  • Date.
  • Location (including the name of the nearest city, town, or village).
  • Time.

If a driver has fewer than eight documents with all four information elements, a document that does not include time can also serve as a supporting document.

Annette M. Sandberg answered many questions in a short amount of time.

Her final recommendations?

  1. Do your homework. Implementation will take longer than you expect. Line up your ducks in a row before the deadline. She gave tips on device selection.
  2. Things will change and the DOT promised to provide more information at their ELD page.

FleetOwner said they will post her webinar next week on their website. Check it out.

DOT’s Drivers ELD webpage and Carrier’s ELD webpage.

Previous . . . New DOT Reg Requires Electronic Logging for CMVs

Thank you for reading this. Our email is admin(at)part380(dot)com for your questions or comments.

New DOT Reg Requires Electronic Logging for CMVs


The ELD Rule

Today the DOT released a final rule ( opens in .pdf format— over 500 pages long) requiring use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) by most commercial motor vehicles. The rule will to be published in the Federal Register and gives motor carriers and affected companies a two year window to comply, from the date of publication.

Highlights of the Rule

The new mandate applies to over three million drivers on the road.

MAP-21 mandates this rule.

Section 32301(b) of the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Enhancement Act, enacted as part of MAP-21 (Pub. L. 112-141, 126 Stat. 405, 786-788, July 6, 2012), mandated that the Secretary adopt regulations requiring that CMVs involved in interstate commerce, operated by drivers who are required to keep RODS, be equipped with ELDs. (page 45)


Few Exceptions to the Rule

In today’s rule, FMCSA includes an exception from the ELD mandate for driveaway-towaway operations, as defined in 49 CFR 393.5, provided that the vehicle driven is part of the shipment delivered. (For more details, please see page 74)

The rule will not apply to drivers in commercial vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.

FMCSA also includes an exception for to those drivers operating CMVs older than model year 2000, as identified by the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the CMV. p. 75

“Subject to limited exceptions, today’s rule establishes clear requirements for the use of ELDs in CMVs operating under circumstances where drivers currently must keep paper RODS. Generally, the requirements apply to drivers who are subject to the HOS limits under 49 CFR Part 395, and do not satisfy the short-haul exception to the RODS requirement.” p.84

The Agency, however, has provided limited exceptions from the ELD mandate. The 8-day out of 30 threshold is intended to accommodate drivers who infrequently require RODS.

ELD use will be required only if a driver operates outside the short-haul exception to the paper RODS provision for more than 8 days of any 30-day period. (p.85)

For those motor carriers whose drivers engage in local operations, ELD use would be required only if a driver operates outside the timecard provisions of part 395 for more than 8 days of any 30-day period. The requirement would be applicable to the specific driver rather than the fleet. FMCSA notes that its safety requirements generally do not vary with the size of the fleet and the ELD rulemaking should not deviate from that practice. (p.87)

Today’s technical specifications require that all ELDs be integrally synchronized with the engine. However, the rulemaking does not preclude the use of smart phones or similar devices which could achieve integral synchronization, including wireless devices. (p.88)

All CMVs are Included

. . . FMCSA declines to limit the regulation to CMVs over 26,000 pounds or exempt small passenger vehicles. (p.90)

What to Expect

More information will follow in the months ahead from the device manufacturers. As new devices come on the market, expect the costs of the units and service contracts to decline over time.

Thank you for reading this.



“I Thought I Could Make It . . .”

dozing driver

Unbelievable Tales From the Road

Like the truck driver who drove twice around the 53 mile Indy loop known as “The Circle,” before his wife noticed he had already passed the same landmarks. Or the lore, oft-told, of drivers finding themselves in another city or state, sometimes hundreds of miles away, having no idea how they got there, in a sleep-deprived stupor . . .

No one really knows how many crashes are due to driving while drowsy. In the photo above, taken earlier this year, the driver admitted he knew he was tired when he was heading south on I-95, but he pressed on anyway.

“I thought I could make it down to the truck stops in Kenly, and I didn’t quite make it. I kind of drowsed off, and next thing I knew, I had taken out the guardrail.”

Drowsy Drivers are Dangerous Drivers.

Drowsiness is the state before sleep. Sleepiness decreases our judgment and increases risk taking, key elements of safe driving

Drowsy driving accidents usually involve only one vehicle and the injuries tend to be serious or fatal. There are no skid marks or evidence of other evasive maneuvers at the drowsy driving crash scene. Vehicles driven by a drowsy driver may hit another vehicle or a fixed object at full speed.

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) says more than half of drivers have driven while drowsy and 20 percent to 30 percent have fallen asleep at the wheel. Young adults are particularly at risk: the peak age for drowsy driving crashes is 20 years old.

Signs of Drowsiness

By the time a driver realizes he or she may be drowsy, they may have already have nodded off with a two-to-three second long ‘micro-sleep’ at the wheel. These are some of the signs of driving drowsy:

  • Slow blinking
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Constant yawning
  • Missing street signs
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Eyes going out of focus
  • Feeling restless and irritable
  • Struggling to hold your head up
  • Daydreaming; wandering/disconnected thoughts
  • Not being able to remember the last few minutes of travel

A drowsy driver needs to immediately get off of the road.

Being drowsy or sleepy may be a symptom of fatigue, but it is not really the same thing. Fatigue is sometimes caused by common lifestyle causes, such as lack of rest, poor eating habits or stress. Fatigue can also be caused by medical issues and conditions ranging from mild to serious, or even disorders as anxiety and depression. Feeling fatigued might be similar to feeling tired, exhausted or low in energy, but often does not result in sleep or sleepiness.

Drowsy drivers are in the stage right before sleep and are at risk of falling asleep.

“Most people don’t realize that part of the brain can be asleep while another part of the brain is awake.” Dr. Charles Czeisler


You Can’t Fight Sleep

You’ve heard all the tricks: caffeinated or energy drinks, caffeine pills, vitamin drinks, turning the heat down, rolling down the windows, turning the music up, etc. While caffeine may help a little in the short term, most of the quick tricks to fight sleep simply do not work.

The National Sleep Foundation says the best way to make sure your mind and body are in optimal driving shape is to plan ahead and get 7-8 hours of sleep before driving. Proper pre-trip rest is essential.

  • The pre-drive nap: taking a short nap before a road trip can help make up for a short night’s sleep.
  • The mid-drive nap: if you find yourself drowsy while driving, pull over to take a short nap of 20 minutes. Make sure you are in a safe location and remember you’ll be groggy for 15 minutes or so after waking up.
  • The Buddy system: It’s safest to drive with a partner on long trips. Pull over and switch drivers, while the other takes a nap, if possible.
  • Don’t rush. Better to arrive at your destination safe than on time.
  • Do not drink alcohol. Even very small amounts of alcohol will enhance drowsiness.
  • Don’t drive between midnight and 6 AM. Because of your body’s biological rhythm, this is a time when sleepiness is most intense.
  • Drink some caffeine: caffeine improves alertness, although be aware that the effects of caffeine will wear off after several hours. (National Sleep Foundation)

In Summary

Drivers need to get rest before driving and need to know the signs of drowsy driving.

It is illegal for a truck driver to drive while tired (impaired by fatigue) or ill. (49 CFR §392.3: Ill or fatigued operator — 10 CSA Violation Severity Points)

Organizations and motor carriers need a clear, explicit policy on driving while drowsy, ill, or fatigued.

Organizations should conduct periodic driver training on preventing driving while drowsy.

Thank you for reading this. Many more thanks for helping to spread the word.










What are DOT Log Book Form & Manner Violations?










Learning the nuances of logging (running under a DOT log book — also known as the Record of Duty Status or RODS) is something that sometimes falls through the cracks in the course of many driver’s development. Instructions and the example found on the back of the logbook may have been the only training many drivers have ever had. On occasions, a DOT officer will sit down with the driver and explain the facts of life about logging.

“My school, nor my company ever got into this specific rule . . .”  Driver

Electronic logging is not a solution, if the driver does not know what he is doing. (See: 395.15(c) Onboard recording device improper form and manner.)

Form and manner violations are log inaccuracies (usually unintentional), sometimes caused by carelessness or even bad habits in filling out the log sheet, and are considered minor violations. (Major violations would be: missing logs, false logs, 70 Hour Rule violations carrying over for more than one day, 11 or 14 Hour Rule violations not created by grid errors, dropped trips.) But small things can start to snowball, and even a form and manner violation will result in one CSA severity point (multiplied by a Time Weight (TiW) of 3 points = 3 points).

One definition of form is the manner or conduct as tested by a prescribed or accepted standard. Manner is defined as a way in which a thing is done or happens.

So a form and manner log violation has to do with the way a log book is done, according to the standard. The standard would be the requirements of 49 CFR Sec. 395.8.

Section d. lists the following:

(1) Date;
(2) Total miles driving today;
(3) Truck or tractor and trailer number;
(4) Name of carrier;
(5) Driver’s signature/certification;
(6) 24-hour period starting time (e.g. midnight, 9:00 a.m., noon, 3:00 p.m.);
(7) Main office address;
(8) Remarks;
(9) Name of co-driver;
(10) Total hours (far right edge of grid);
(11) Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity;

required information on a DOT log book

Missing information in any of the above requirements would result in a citation for improper form and manner. Trouble comes in the form of abbreviations in the remarks area (as putting down SLC instead of writing out Salt Lake City, UT). But that’s not all.

Sloppiness Counts As Well

clean corners






Drivers should show clean corners on a paper log book. Use the edge of a ruler to guide the line.

extension line






Here the extension line should be extended to the remarks section for precision.

center lines






In this example the status line is not centered between the grid lines.


This line has been drawn too light by a fine pen and may not copy well in a fax or copy machine. This is an example of a scripting error. Use a medium point pen for logging.

writing on the grid

Writing on the grid is another error.

Form and manner violations include:

Log Sheet Missing: Drivers shall submit a log for each day, except that two or more consecutive off duty days may be on one sheet Note: regulations require that driver separates off duty days that fall between months by submitting a minimum of two logs;

Date Missing/Duplicate Logs: Each log must be dated and there must be only one log submitted for each day;

Miles Driven Missing: Total actual miles driven in the 24- hour period must be entered;

Vehicle/Trailer Number(s) Missing: Unit numbers of all company vehicles operated in the 24-hour period must be entered;

Driver‘s Signature Missing in Error: The driver must sign his or her full legal name on each daily log sheet;

Co-Driver Name Missing: The driver must enter first name, initial and complete last name of his/her co-driver if operating as a team;

Missing Shipment Identification Error: The driver must show a Trip Number(s) for each trip in the 24-hour period;

Pre-Trip Inspection/Post-Trip Inspection Improperly Noted: Drivers shall identify locations, by full city name and state abbreviation, when performing vehicles inspections;

Change In Duty Status/improper Remarks: Driver’s shall identify locations when changing duty status, by full city name and state abbreviation.

Different Log For Same Day: Each log graph can carry only one set of information;

Hours Missing Error: Drivers must record total hours used at the end of each line of the graph. The hours added together must equal 24;

Graph Incomplete Error: A driver must account for all time on the graph. Drivers must show a complete continuous line for each 24-hour period.

Each year tens of thousands of form and manner violations are cited by the DOT. Work to educate your drivers on the importance of precision logging.

This information was condensed from our Log Audit Guide.

As always, thank you for reading this.


What are some Driver Out-of-Service (OOS) Violations?

false log

Roadside Inspectors follow Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) criteria for placing drivers Out-of-Service (OOS) for regulatory violations. During the stop the Roadside Inspector will ask the driver some basic questions about his or her recent activities and ask for today’s logsheet and the previous seven days’ worth, and possibly various supporting documents as trip bills, receipts, tolls, etc.

Some examples of Hours of Service (Part 395) violations resulting in an OOS include:

On Duty Beyond Maximum Periods Permitted
No driver shall drive after being on duty in excess of the maximum periods permitted by this part. Part 395.13 (b)(1).

No Record of Duty Status (RODS)
No record of duty status in possession, when one is required. Part 395.8(a)

No Previous 7 Days Logs
Failing to have in possession a record of duty status for the previous seven (7) consecutive days. Part (395.8(k)(2) — See Exception in Part 395.13(b)(3) – if the duty status is not current on the day of examination and the prior day, but driver has completed records of duty status up to that time (previous 6 days) — the driver will be given the opportunity to make the duty status record current, but may be cited for 395.8(f)(1) – Driver’s record of duty status not current (which is better than an OOS).

False Record of Duty Status
A false record of duty status is one that does not accurately reflect the driver’s actual activities and duty status (including time and location of each duty status change and the time spent in each duty status) in an apparent attempt to conceal a violation of an hours of service limitation within the current 60/70 hour rule period. Part 395.8(e)

Consequences of Being Placed Out-of-Service
• The driver must be placed Out-of-Service for ten (10) consecutive hours. The driver cannot drive any commercial motor vehicle while in OOS status.
• In addition, a driver may get a fine up to $200, per violation, per log-book page.
• The company may receive a $1,000 or greater fine by the FMCSA after a compliance audit or CSA intervention.
• The company will get CSA points.

Drivers can be placed Out-of-Service, if not medically fit, missing their prescription glasses or contacts, ill, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, not having a CDL in their possession, driving on a suspended license, etc.

Drivers should abide by any and all OOS orders. Fines to a company for violation of an OOS order can run in thousands of dollars and/or result in suspension of credentials to operate.

Thank you for reading this. Have a safe day.

J Taratuta

John E. Taratuta is an Independent Risk Engineer. Call (989) 474-9599 to chat him up.





Hours of Service Compliance Webinar

Safety Webinar

July 17, 2015 | 1 PM – 2 PM CST (Fri, Jul 17, 2015 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT)
Hours of Service Compliance Webinar
Presented by: Chad Hoppenjan – ‎Director of Transportation Safety Services at Cottingham & Butler

Many companies struggle with the hours-of-service regulations on a day-to-day basis. Do you have questions regarding the hours of service regulations? The hours-of-service rules apply to all motor carriers and drivers, with specific exceptions.

Register here.

This is part of Cottingham & Butler’s 2015 Transportation Safety Webinar Series.



Can You Fuel and Pretrip — At The Same Time?


Can a driver fuel and pre-trip at the same time?

Background facts:

Activities of truck drivers are regulated by DOT rules. When not driving, a driver is covered by OSHA rules.

OSHA rules require a safe working environment and incorporate NFPA Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code.

Some municipalities have also enacted various rules against leaving your vehicle unattended while pumping fuel.

“Can a driver fuel and pre-trip at the same time?”

Simple answer — a driver may not — because even if not illegal, per se, to do so, he would not be in a position to attend to the fueling, if checking things out at the same time.

(1.) Most fuel pumps have signs posted — instructing fuel pump operators not to overfill gas tanks or leave them unattended while fueling.

(2.) Some local fire chiefs have issued fines for leaving a fuel hose unattended while fueling.

(3.) Even if there are no local rules prohibiting the practice, a company could be cited by OSHA for a “de minimis violation.” De minimis violations are violations of existing OSHA standards that have no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health. This is a kind of a warning.

A reasonable person should conclude by the above that a driver could: pre-trip and then fuel the truck.

Both practices are considered “on-duty” activities, so when filling out the logsheet, the driver may lump the two together and write in remarks: “Pretrip & Fuel.”

Company policy may differ from the above, so always follow company policy or the law, whichever is the higher standard.

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).


Using the 100 Air-Mile Radius Exemption

Under the “100 air-mile radius exemption,” the rule states that the driver must be out and back within a 12-hour period. What if a driver goes over that 12-hour period for one day? J.E.

All drivers are required to make a Record of Duty Status (RODS), or a log, or log sheet of their activity (or status) during each 24-hour period. About half of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) operation are local or under 50 miles of their origin. Under 395.1(e) Short-haul operations, a CDL driver is exempt from the logbook requirements (but not any other of the Hours-of-Service rules — the 11-14-60/70 hour rules). Specifically, the exemption allows simplification of the paperwork form of Hours-of-Service documentation, for short-haul operations:

(e) Short-haul operations—(1) 100 air-mile radius driver. A driver is exempt from the requirements of § 395.8 if:

(i) The driver operates within a 100 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location;

(ii) The driver, except a driver-salesperson, returns to the work reporting location and is released from work within 12 consecutive hours;

(iii)(A) A property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver has at least 10 consecutive hours off duty separating each 12 hours on duty;

(B) A passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver has at least 8 consecutive hours off duty separating each 12 hours on duty;

(iv)(A) A property-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver does not exceed the maximum driving time specified in §395.3(a)(3) following 10 consecutive hours off duty; or

(B) A passenger-carrying commercial motor vehicle driver does not exceed 10 hours maximum driving time following 8 consecutive hours off. A CDL short-haul driver can use the above exemption for any of “the three overs,” if he goes:

  • 1. Over a 100 air-mile radius;
  • 2. Over 12 hours from the start of work or the shift;
  • 3. Stays Over-night, or away from his starting location.

#3. Drivers must leave and return to the same work reporting location to qualify for the exception. If not, they should have log sheets for the day they left, and any day(s) they have not returned to their regular reporting/starting place of work. Note: some states (i.e., Texas), have what is called “tolerance” to the Hours-of-Service rules and may allow a 150 air-miles radius, or a longer work-day, for local, short-haul, or in-state operations.

DOT Interpretation & Guidance: Question 20: When a driver fails to meet the provisions of the 100 air-mile radius exemption (section 395.1(e)), is the driver required to have copies of his/her records of duty status for the previous seven days? Must the driver prepare daily records of duty status for the next seven days?

Answer: The driver must only have in his/her possession a record of duty status for the day he/she does not qualify for the exemption. The record of duty status must cover the entire day, even if the driver has to record retroactively changes in status that occurred between the time that the driver reported for duty and the time in which he/she no longer qualified for the 100 air-mile radius exemption. This is the only way to ensure that a driver does not claim the right to drive 10 hours after leaving his/her exempt status, in addition to the hours already driven under the 100 air-mile exemption.

Non-CDL drivers have some other rules under Under 395.1(e):

(2) Operators of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles not requiring a commercial driver’s license. Except as provided in this paragraph, a driver is exempt from the requirements of §395.3(a)(2) and §395.8 and ineligible to use the provisions of §395.1(e)(1), (g), and (o) if:(i) The driver operates a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle for which a commercial driver’s license is not required under part 383 of this subchapter;(ii) The driver operates within a 150 air-mile radius of the location where the driver reports to and is released from work, i.e., the normal work reporting location;(iii) The driver returns to the normal work reporting location at the end of each duty tour;(iv) The driver does not drive:(A) After the 14th hour after coming on duty on 5 days of any period of 7 consecutive days; and(B) After the 16th hour after coming on duty on 2 days of any period of 7 consecutive days;(v) The motor carrier that employs the driver maintains and retains for a period of 6 months accurate and true time records showing:(A) The time the driver reports for duty each day;(B) The total number of hours the driver is on duty each day;(C) The time the driver is released from duty each day;(D) The total time for the preceding 7 days in accordance with § 395.8(j)(2) for drivers used for the first time or intermittently.

What is required on the exemption sheet form?

(v) The motor carrier that employs the driver maintains and retains for a period of 6 months accurate and true time records showing:

  • (A) The time the driver reports for duty each day;
  • (B) The total number of hours the driver is on duty each day;
  • (C) The time the driver is released from duty each day; and
  • (D) The total time for the preceding 7 days in accordance with §395.8(j)(2) for drivers used for the first time or intermittently.


Short-haul property-carrying CMV drivers are not required to take the mandatory 30-minute break within eight hours of starting work. Drivers exceeding the distance or time limits that qualify them as short haul drivers, however, are subject to complying with the break requirement:

Question 33. If a driver using either
short-haul exception in § 395.1(e) finds
it necessary to exceed the exception
limitations for unforeseen reasons, is the
driver in violation of the § 395.3 rest
break provision if more than 8 hours
have passed without having taken the
required rest break?
Guidance. No. A driver using a
§ 395.1(e) short-haul exception who
finds it necessary to exceed the
exception limitations for unforeseen
reasons, is not in violation of the § 395.3
rest-break requirements if 8 or more
hours have passed at the time the driver
becomes aware of the inability to use
the short-haul exception. The driver
should annotate the record-of-duty-
status to indicate why the required rest
break was not taken earlier, and should
take the break at the earliest safe
Issued on: December 12, 2013.

If a driver is claiming the short haul exemption, is there any type of documentation required in the vehicle?

No, the driver only has to say to the inspector is that he is claiming the short haul exemption.


Hours-of-service rules, if certain provisions are met, allow the use of an exemption sheet (sometimes called a time card), in lieu of a RODS or log sheet. If a driver goes over that 12-hour period for one day, over 100 or 150 air-miles or does not return to his normal work reporting location, then the driver:

  • (1) needs to make and attach a RODS or log sheet for the respective day or days the provisions are not met;
  • (2)  take the mandatory 30-minute break at the earliest safe opportunity; and
  • (3) annotate the record-of-duty- status to indicate why the rest break was not taken earlier.

See for specific Hours of Service guides and information.

Court of Appeals affirms Hours of Service Rules

D.C. Circuit

The D.C. Circuit Courthouse

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (the D.C. Circuit) in a decision dated August 2, 2013 has affirmed the hours-of-service final rule that was published on December 27, 2011, with the exception of the 30-minute break requirement for “short haul” drivers. “Short haul” drivers make trips within a 150 mile radius of their home base.

Said Judge Janice Rogers Brown for the court: “For our purposes, the 2011 Final Rule resembles the earlier rules in all essential respects save for the addition of several new, safety-enhancing provisions:

• 30-Minute Off-Duty Break. The 2011 Final Rule bars
truckers from driving past 8 hours unless they have had
an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes.

• Once-Per-Week Restriction. To prevent drivers from
abusing the 34-hour restart, the 2011 Final Rule allows
truckers to invoke the provision only once every 168
hours (or 7 days).

• Two-Night Requirement. To ensure that drivers using
the 34-hour restart have an opportunity to get two nights
of rest, the 2011 Final Rule also mandates that the restart
include two blocks of time from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.”

“With one small exception, our decision today brings
to an end much of the permanent warfare surrounding the
HOS rules. Though FMCSA won the day not on the strengths
of its rulemaking prowess, but through an artless war of
attrition, the controversies of this round are ended.”

While the controversies may be ended, confusion over the ruling has begun. For example, the DOT has been asked to clarify if the rule concerning short-haul drivers includes CDL drivers as well.

A simple rule of thumb to follow in lieu of further DOT clarification may be to require any driver who must use a logbook to log a 30-minute break as required.

Free Hours of Service (HOS) Training Video [DVD or Online] on the Latest Changes

Don Jerrell, HNI

                       Don Jerrell, HNI


A half-hour DVD (or gain access to view the video online) on the July 1, 2013 Hours of Services (HOS) regulation changes for drivers of motor carriers (interstate property haulers) is available from the insurance broker HNI Risk Services (it is free but registration is required).

Topics include:

– Examples of how the new HOS will apply
– How the split sleeper berth HOS regulation works
– Exceptions to HOS: The 34 restart
– Short haul exemption to HOS
– FAQs about HOS

If you haul freight between states or operate in a state which has adopted 49 CFR Part 395, then these new regulations apply as of July 1, 2013 to your operations.

New, free Hours of Service Logbook Examples for Drivers

Logbook Examples

A free publication, dated January 2013, called,  “Hours of Service Logbook Examples” is available in Adobe .PDF format from the United States Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (USDOT, FMCSA). Most of these examples only apply to property-carrying vehicles, not “livery” or carriers of passengers.  Some examples for passenger-carrying vehicles are found at the end of this publication.

The purpose of this guide is essentially limited in scope to upcoming changes (barring any legal adjudication between now and the effective date of compliance). If you are not sure how to “run a logbook,” then please see our Hours of Service guide for drivers. Hours of Service is the number one violation area in DOT rule enforcement, with fines running up to $200 per day.

Highlights of the Publication

A new restart provision. After midnight June 30, 2013, a driver may not take an off-duty period to restart the calculation of 60 hours in 7 consecutive days or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days until 168 or more consecutive hours have passed since the beginning of the last such off-duty period. The effective compliance date for the new restart provision is July 1, 2013.

The 16-Hour Driving Window is available once “weekly” to certain drivers (generally what is called “local delivery), and is not available to all drivers (refer to 49 CFR, Section 395.1(o)).

Co-driver in passenger seat. There is an example showing the change in the definition of on-duty time that allows a driver in an in-motion or moving property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) to spend up to 2 hours in the passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper-berth (S/B), and properly classify this as off-duty time.

Mandatory 30 Minute Rest Break. This new rule prohibits driving if 8 hours or more have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. The compliance date for the 30-minute rest break provision is July 1, 2013.

“Waiting Time” at Well Site. This rule covers drivers servicing wells in the oil-patch. Waiting time at a well sit is off duty and extends the “14-hour” limit. The ‘waiting time’ must be shown on the paper log or electronic equivalent as off duty and needs to be documented or identified by annotations in the remarks section of the log as “Waiting time at well site,” or a separate line added to the log grid.  The effective date for the revisions to the oilfield exemption in Section 395.1(d)(2) was February 27, 2012.

Overall Summary

This is more of an “advanced” level publication and, in my opinion, is not a publication for someone who is a beginner in learning the rules or who is not already “fluent” in the art of logging. Logging is a skill that is best learned by practice. Barring the results of any pending litigation, the publication is a good introduction and reference to recent or upcoming changes in Hours of Service rules.