Channel 19

Todd Dills

Some jurisdictions ‘do not compute’ new restart limitations

| August 29, 2013

Hours of service packed house at GATSThe photo doesn’t quite do it justice — it was an absolutely standing-room-only packed-house scene in the 30-minute 11 a.m. hours of service session in room D161 at the Dallas Convention Center a week ago tomorrow, once all the drivers filed in. It’s no secret why so many, myself included, were interested in hearing what the safety consultant delivering the program, put on by the Texas state trucking association, had to say about what is probably the most contentious issue going since the new hours rules’ implementation July 1

But given the time allowed, the presentation was little more than a round-up of the changes, covered ad nauseum here in Overdrive, in the new rule — with one exception. As we know from the on-/off-duty discussions we’ve had here on the blog, not every enforcement jurisdiction seems to be interpreting the changes — or even the longstanding provisions — in the same way. At one point in the presentation, during discussion of changes to the restart rule, the presenter offered examples of enforcement officers around the nation taking the view that restarts were limited by location, not just by time, the latter of which is abundantly clear from the new rule’s language (the two 1-5 a.m. periods required to be included in the restart are to be based on the driver’s home terminal time zone).

More than one driver, said the presenter, had been put out of service for taking a restart while in a time zone different from his home terminal’s.  

The room went into murmurous uproar. Hold on just one second — do you mean to tell us that we can’t take a restart anywhere except at our home terminal? 

The presenter, Leon Feazell of Tejas Safety Advantage, did in fact mean that, he said, and a driver in the audience raised his hand to indicate that an enforcement official in New Orleans had put him out of service for it. 

A look at the final rule (see p. 22-23 for restart discussion), however, shows that this is flat wrong, or “bull,” as a fellow trucking journalist put it to me later when I told him the story. 

One of the drivers in the room, which got steadily louder and louder as attendees wondered at the problem interpretation, read aloud an FAQ from FMCSA’s website that described the limitation of the two 1-5 a.m. periods required to be included in any restart — “Drivers’ logs are based on the time zone of their home terminal. The 2-night periods are, therefore, set by the time at the home terminal. They are not related to ‘local time'” [my emphasis].

Here’s an excerpt from FMCSA’s interpretive discussion in the Final Rule itself, which makes clear that, as before, restarts are not limited by the location of the home terminal:  

The 2-night periods are, therefore, set by the time at the home terminal. This approach will make it easier for drivers and schedulers and not introduce new complexity to the rule. Based on comments, it appears that many and perhaps most drivers prefer to use their restart periods at home. To the extent that drivers are in other time zones during their restart, basing the time on their terminal time zone will also ease the concern expressed by commenters that all drivers would be returning to duty at the same time (i.e., 5 a.m.).

Case closed? Not exactly — as mentioned before, drivers are being put out of service in some jurisdictions for a supposed violation of the restart rules when restarting hours away from the home terminal. If this has happened to you, and you clearly got the time-zone difference correct, get in touch — and if it happens to you in future, arm yourself with the rule itself and a big dose of explanatory patience, I suppose. You can download the full text of the rule here. 

I’ve got a question on this out to the enforcement standards body the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance on this, too. Feazell, at a certain point in the GATS session, surmised that CVSA would make the location-interpretation their official interpretation of the rule. My gut is that this is highly doubtful, but I’ve yet to hear the final word from them — you’ll know when I do.  

  • Kurt Keilhofer

    There are multitudes of ways that drivers can be legally and financially penalized for just about everything. Why can’t there be a penalty for those that incorrectly ticket or fine drivers. And in this situation now, the drivers would still have to fight the CSA points system, even if the ticket is revoked.

  • William McKelvie

    Correct Kurt, it is high time we as drivers start fighting back against these gestappo DOT officials. If they cannot understand that home terminal time means TIME as in HOURS of the day, they need to turn in their badge, gun and all clearances and proceed immediately to the local zoo, and ask to feed the animals.

  • Cwbintennessee Michael Winton

    You mean these DOT officers aren’t educated enough to realize that ”home terminal time” for a driver means whatever time zone his company’s based in?

    Is that what i’m understanding?
    If so, then we’re all doomed!

  • Daryl Wirth

    can’t agree more

  • http://www.kdmiller.legalshield.com/ karen miller

    This is exactly one more reason that drivers need to have on call legal protection. There are companies out there that will fight for you and defend you in situations such as this. You can try to reason with the officer till the cows come home. That does not mean he is going to change his mind. AND the more you try to reason, the more you say, the more it will be held against you later. It is all about revenue. They know that it is more likely that you will not be back for court. You will pay the ticket and be on your way. Never, NEVER, EVER just pay a ticket. You should fight them all…even non moving violations. I talked to someone the other day that got a non moving violation in a state that was a $25 fine and no points. He paid it and thought all would be well. Only to find out a few weeks later when his boss called him in that it was reported to his home state and showed up on his DMV record with 3 points!! Feel free to get in touch with me and lets discuss how I can help protect you and your license. You can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/legalshield.driverplan

  • http://www.kdmiller.legalshield.com/ karen miller

    you are exactly right. They do not. As a matter of fact, here’s a funny fact. A few weeks ago I had a client who is a team driver. He and his ‘team’ were having a discussion about the new HOS rules. So the member called his Legalshield attorney and asked the question. The attorney gave the answer. The team mate disagreed. So they pulled into the next coop they came to so they could go and ask about the new HOS rules. They stopped at 3 different ones. Not a single person in the coop knew the laws. Even went so much to say at two of them that all they do is weigh trucks. They dont know the laws. And the mounties that were in there, knew nothing either. They are just there to ‘enforce’ or chase down when needed.

  • Jason Haggard

    I posed this exact scenario to people before the rules ever went into effect and stated then that they needed to change the language of it due to the fact that it was being left just vague enough for something like this to happen. My concern was deemed not warranted as “nobody could possibly misconstrue it”.

    Here we are, not even 90 days into the latest set of regulations and it has happened. The door was left open for enforcement officials to interpret the regulations as they see fit and they did just that. On a side note, did you seem to notice that people want to get involved regarding the new regulations now that they are in place and they found out just how messed up they are.

    Those same people had no interest in doing a thing before they went into place and we warned them what would happen. Now the fight will be twice as hard to remove them, maybe next time when people prod drivers to stand together they will instead of doing nothing.

  • martymarsh

    You have 2 things going on here that you all know, you can’t fix stupid and you can’t stop the money wheel.
    They have a need to speed up the money wheel which is the reasons for all these new regulations to begin with, and now they are going to play stupid.
    I wouldn’t spit on these people if they where on fire.

  • William McKelvie

    Okay, now it is time for me to speak on the two telephone calls that were made today to both states that I was informed were the culprits. I spoke to a LT of the one states, who stated the rule verbatim. The other state’s official did the same. One asked for the article, and the one thinks he knows how this started. They are going to look into it, but as I told both officials, I cannot validate the claims, because if I had been at this meeting, I would have asked to have seen the actual citation. No actual citation was presented now was it? We need to be careful who we listen to on things like this, and we also need to be able to pull up a regulation such as this one should the need arise. Seems to me this is along the lines of the many recent discussions I have had with Richard Wilson, a regulations guru, and the people who are being sent to him by certain folks, who make one claim or another, all to find out the drivers are not being honest with the actual situation at hand.

    The actual regulation in question, is linked here, and if you actually read the actual regulation, given to me by Wilson earlier this morning, while we were on the phone and I was driving, there is no such wording as this person presented in this regulation at all, interesting huh?

    FMCSA 395.3

    http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/rules-regulations/administration/fmcsr/fmcsrruletext.aspx?reg=395.3

  • Guest

    Most guys are quitting the industry….that is more sensible than dealing with Gov Stooges….the entire CSA is out of control…and getting worse….they FORCE companies Like JBS to install CAMERAS to Monitor the drivers OR pay a huge CSA Fine…for failure ro “COMPLY” with insane rules…..lol.

  • Guest

    Its like arguing with a woman…..truckers are NOT going to win against these Gov Workers….each day their will be another hoop to jump thru…..Speed Limiters are next and a nice CAMERA to stare you in the face…the industry has gone off a cliff of regulatory madness……smart to look for better opportunities…as a businessman or worker…this is
    a Big Fat LOSER.

  • Guest

    Plenty of SHARKS in the Trucking Tank Today..up in Washington young SALESMEN are Lobbying congress and senate to SELL their latest INVENTION…speed limiters, CAMERAS, Electro LOGS….MONITORING devices…their must be thousands of these YOUNG ambitious guys trying to get RICH..if they can convince congress to MANDATE their wonderful SAFETY DEVICE…those young sales people just laugh at “those old geezers” driving truck…ahahaha they NEED one of THESE(their latest Observation Tool) shoved up their rear end…..ahahaha ..We can expect More and More new monitoring devices and regulations…..MONEY makers for these GEEKS…….

  • Guest

    That is Hilarious…..”gee i aint hurd of that one yet”….yuk yuk…but we’ll get to it soon enuff Y’all can bet on that….Government Workers…ya cant expect much…I had one in Arizona chase me thru the hills..he noticed a Piece Of Reflective Tape wasMissing from the top of the one of the trailer doors!!! My God..if I would have known!!!! Guilty ascharged..it went on my CSA file…I asked him about an issue on CSA and he was totally UNAWARE…and grilled me for 45 minutes looking for more crap to write..that is all he found…hilarious…..what an ANUS.

  • Guest

    Regardless…if that cop THINKS he is right…that Crap will go on your CSA file and good luck with this BOGUS Data Q trying to get it off………most of the back woods cops we come into contact with aint gonna KNOW for SURE all these New rules…BUT they will write you UP…so it looks like they have been working….and get a nice pat on the head from their Daddy Cop….

  • martymarsh

    I’m glad to see someone else knows what is going on. But we should be laughing also, because we are not as stupid as they think we are. Nothing but organized crime.

  • William McKelvie

    Well then WHOSE fault is it if you do actually get such a ticket or citation? You have a smart phone or the internet at your disposal. And you have the right to ask for a supervisor immediately. Thing is, it takes time and money to get erroneous violations and citations removed. As I stated before and will do so again, it is TIME, the time is NOW, to strike back against these types of GESTAPPO DOT officers and go directly after them, not only through the court system, but filing formal complaints with their department. Enough complaints, things start to happen.

  • martymarsh

    I agree with what you say, but I’m not sure it will work as we have reached new heights in corruption. Just the fact that we are getting all of these new regulations is proof of that, or has there been mass killings by truck drivers that I may have missed. It is so obvious they are making these new laws to keep the money wheel turning, it is sickening. The more laws you make, the harder it is to keep up, unless you have a staff, more money.
    What is with all the new laws if we have not done anything wrong?
    CORRUPTION.
    But I do wish you luck in your fight, but I think we need to get the laws changed. Don’t ask, because I don’t know how because we are certainly not going to stick together.

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