Hours of Service, Not Drive Time!

Updated: Sep 13, 2018

Professional Drivers who want to consistently deliver on time need to focus their trip planning on hours of service, not drive time.


Are you making the number one mistake being made by almost everyone in the trucking industry; trip planning based on drive time rather than trip planning based on hours of service?


#ProfessionalDrivingSchools are teaching it, #AppDevelopers are still building apps based on it, #Dispatchers are still assigning loads based on it, #Shippers and #Receivers are still tracking loads based on it, and it's been a consistent cause of stress and frustration throughout the trucking industry for years.


We have always been taught that we could easily determine the time it takes for anything to travel from one place to another mathematically by simply using a formula to calculate the Estimated Time of Arrival, (Distance / Speed = Time). When walking, running, riding a bike, throwing a ball, or even driving a car, everything can be timed based on this formula. For most things, it gives a perfect solution. But, Don't be misled! This does not work for Professional Driving when seeking to determine your ETA to your destination.


The formula, (drive time as it is referred to in the trucking industry) has not worked to assist Professional Drivers in planning trips since the Hours of Service for Drivers Final Rule on February 27, 2012, and the compliance date of it's remaining provisions on July 1, 2013. Why? Because Professional Drivers have restrictions that interrupt the formula called "Hours of Service Rules".


For years drivers have compensated for the belief that the root of the on-time delivery problem rested on them and resulted to manipulating the hours of service requirements by changing their logs to add back the time they needed to complete the run. Now, they can't cheat on their logs anymore!


After numerous injury's, incidents, accidents, and major court cases exposing hours of service violations as the root cause, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (#FMCSA) decided enough was enough and mandated the Electronic Logging Device (#ELD) with a compliance date of December 18, 2017 to prevent drivers from manipulating their hours of service clocks. And yet,


Many Professional Drivers still take chances believing that the Company they drive for does not allow them to turn down loads that may be unsafe or cause them to violate the Federal Hours of Service Rules and expect that they will be terminated or left sitting in the truck stop without loads if they do. Who is it that's willing to take the fall for this, the Dispatcher manipulating them to accept loads that they can't legally deliver, or the Trucking Company, while knowing that Section 405 of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act (#STAA) enacted in 1982 provides protections for Professional Drivers reporting this retaliation?


Trucking Companies have already found out the hard way when the United States Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (#OSHA) in one case had them to pay a Professional Driver back wages of $23,203, plus interest, $50,000 in compensatory and $50,000 in punitive damages and reasonable attorney's fees and in another case more than $276,000 in back wages, damages, and forced them to take other corrective actions such as re-instating the driver.


The Bottom Line:


The hours of service rules require that all work while not driving such as vehicle inspections, loading, unloading, and fueling be recorded in your logs. Furthermore, Professional Drivers have a limited number of hours that they can work or drive and are required to take mandatory rest breaks. Because of these restrictions, everyone in the trucking industry need to once and for all realize that Professional Drivers cannot be expected to turn the switch, start driving, and go directly from start to finish based on the drive time calculation.


Professional Drivers need to trip plan based on hours of service, not drive time.


Get Access to the Truckers Trip Planning App and Use the Hours of Service Calculator to help determine whether you have the required hours of service and whether you can successfully deliver your load on time before accepting the load.