Truckers News Staff | November 01, 2010

Drivers Hold the Key on HOS Compliance

Recently the FMCSA has held five discussions on the hours of service, an ongoing effort on their part, with no regard to safety for drivers or the motoring public. The drivers that attended said they need more flexibility in the 14-hour window.

Drivers felt that the 14-hour window needed to be extended to allow time for them to nap en route. Let’s see, if you are coming off a mandatory 10-hour off-duty rest period or a 34-hour off-duty restart rule, why would you need an extension for a nap? This could be accomplished in the existing 14-hour window. Example: Drive five hours, one hour for lunch, two-hour nap, drive six hours. Do the math! This equals 14 hours, also known as running compliant to the hours of service. This creates a healthier work environment for all drivers and safer travel for the motoring public, a subject which seems to be lost in the many discussions pertaining to the hours of service held by the FMCSA.

Now, let’s get into “non-compliant” and “unsafe” operation. A representative from the American Trucking Associations stated that, from their standpoint, the hours of service were working well. Of course they are! As long as drivers continue to falsify their log books by logging off duty for all required on duty not-driving, non-paid work time to make up for lost time, these unsafe conditions will continue. Add to this any en route delays logged as off duty, which multiplies this unsafe practice.

Drivers, whether they know it or not, hold the only key to solve the HOS problems. All drivers should start logging and operating compliant to the hours of service, which would put the ball in the court of the motor carriers, shippers, receivers and brokers. It would be very interesting to see what would happen then!

Drivers: Stop letting the motor carriers, shippers, receivers and brokers make out your log books. Be a true professional and log compliant. It will give you peace of mind that you are doing your job or operating your business safely and compliant to the hours of service. And you won’t have to worry about CSA 2010.

David B. Gaibis Sr., New Castle, Penn.

Oh my god, I have been robbed!

I used to haul chickens and turkeys. One place — in fact, many places — I went to would try to come up short on their count. See, I always counted my load and always made my appointments, and whoever would unload me had no problem with my count, but many (not all) places would tell me I was short on my product. Now I have been driving 28 years and always made a point to keep my name good with the owner-operators I drove for. I needed them like they needed me.

When [receivers] would argue with me I would get out the words I knew they did not understand:

Oh my god, I have been robbed! Can you please call the police for me, and the police will have to call the F.B.I., because this is an interstate and tri-state federal routed truck route I drove on and now this is a federal report that needs to be reported, please please call the police. Get all my turkeys down and bring them back to the back of my trailer, and they will have to be numbered by the police and shoot I will be here all day long. Oh yes, please call the owner of this plant. I have to let him know what is happening so I will have to tie up this dock all day, and he’s got to know that this is federal transport of stolen goods and shoot I’m so mad! Please call the police now!

They always tell me to wait, and they get my bills and start counting all the boxes and go inside the freezer like they are showing me something and then all of a sudden they have made a mistake on the adding, and they all look stupid. And then I am told my turkey count was right.

Last turkey load I took to the same place they did it again, and there were 4 guys working and a boss. They came up short 16 turkeys.

As I can see that would mean three turkeys each, and it was just before Thanksgiving Day.

I started to go into my worry act and one of the guys remembered me after they told me about my count and signed my bills and said, “You will have to pay for them, huh?”

I was pissed, and the one who recognized me was watching me on the dock getting upset and louder to draw a crowd — and maybe the owner.

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