Daily Paperwork Estimates Revised

While new hours of service rules are probably still months away, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has increased from 2 minutes to 6 1/2 minutes the time it estimates a driver needs to fill out his log book each day. According to a notice and request for comment on the agency’s information collection activities, published in the January 10 Federal Register, FMCSA regulators raised their estimates based on comments received from the American Trucking Associations and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

But the new estimates remain way off the mark, OOIDA said in new comments filed February 11. OOIDA said its members reported taking an average of 15 minutes a day to fill out their daily record of duty status.

In the January FMCSA notice the agency said, “We now estimate that 6.5 minutes daily are required to complete minimally compliant RODS.” The agency acknowledged “some drivers in some segments” may take as long as 15 minutes to complete their logs, but that 6 1/2 minutes represented a “more reasonable industry-wide average.”

It may not make much difference to some drivers. “I’m not sure that’s going to be a big issue with drivers,” said attorney Jim Klepper of Interstate Trucker in Oklahoma City. “I think it’s a small issue rather than a large issue. You’re doing a diary, how long does that really take you.”

But the time drivers spend filling out log books, and for trucking companies to file these records, adds up according to OOIDA’s filed comments. The association estimated a driver spends 70 1/2 hours a year completing his logbook.

FMCSA also raised its estimate of the amount of time required for trucking companies to process driver logs from 90 seconds a day per driver to three minutes a day per driver. Both ATA and OOIDA said carrier members surveyed reported needing nine to 10 minutes per driver each day for RODS paperwork.

According to FMCSA, 6,436,430 commercial vehicle drivers are required to keep a daily log.