GPS and Trucking — HOS (hours Of Service) Part 2

As Dave Barry is famous for saying, "I’m not making this up".  You may think part 1 of this series was complicated, but when you get into local commercial vehicle operations, you ain’t seen nothing yet: (Reference)

Summary of the 100 air-mile radius HOS provision in § 395.1(e)(1)

The 100 air-mile radius exception in Part § 395.1(e)(1) is an option to use time records in lieu of RODS on days when the driver meets the conditions of the exception, which are:

  • The driver operates within a 100 air-mile ( 115 statute miles) radius of the normal work reporting location, and
  • The driver returns to the work reporting location and be released from duty within 12 consecutive hours, and
  • The driver maintains time records as specified in the rule, and
  • The driver is not covered by the "non-CDL 150 air-mile radius" provision.

Summary of the Non-CDL 150 air-mile radius provision in Part § 395.1(e)(2)

Drivers of non-CDL vehicles (those vehicles not requiring a CDL, as defined in Part 383 to operate) who are operating within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location and return to their normal work reporting location at the end of their duty tour are now covered by separate HOS provisions. Drivers meeting these conditions are not eligible for the existing 100 air-mile radius provision in § 395.1(e)(1) or the current 16-hour exception in § 395.1(o), since those conflict with this new Non-CDL 150 air-mile radius provision. These drivers are required to comply with the following:

(a) The 11 hours driving, minimum 10 hours off-duty, 14 consecutive hour duty period, 60/70 hours in 7/8 days, 34-hour restart all apply.

(b) On any 2 days of every 7 consecutive days, the driver may extend the 14-hour duty period to 16 hours.

(c) There is no requirement that the driver be released from duty at the end of the 14- or 16-hour duty periods . The driver may continue to perform non-driving duties, which would be counted against the 60/70 hour weekly limitation.

(d) Time records may be used in lieu of records of duty status.

I’m particularly interested in this subject because nearly every day I talk to business owner who fall under one or both of these provisions and, in general, they have their necks stuck out a country mile.  Here’s some typical examples:

  • A company operates out of one city, say Colorado Springs and their drivers return to Colorado Springs virtually every night. 
  • Owner says, I have no need of anything to help me track miles and hours of service, my drivers don’t even need CDL’s (Commercial Driver’s Licenses) for my vehicles.

Fine, I reply, that probably puts you under the so-called 150 mile exemption, so how do you calculate compliance?  "Why, by the odometer", he replies with a look that tells me he thinks I’m not too bright.  Take a look at the map below and tell me how many areas he’s been excluding … or how many areas he might have broken the law in.  The first complexity here is, it’s not odometer mileage, it’s a radius of operation from the driver’s reporting point.

The turquoise circle is the approximate "150 mile" radius that can be used by the non-CDL vehicles.  Yes, just to be confusing the law uses the term "air miles" which actually don’t exist.  The proper definition is a radius in Nautical miles, so the "100 mile* rule vehicles can actually be 115 miles "as the crow flies" and the "150 mile rule" drivers can venture 172.6 miles from home station.

In case you’re wondering, lots of cities and little towns inside that circle that are going to show more than 150 miles on the odometer.  So if an owner gets too cautious and defines the rule in a way the law doesn’t, he could exclude himself from a lot of territory.

On the other hand, suppose he made trip to Fort Collins.  But on that day he just happened to use one of his vehicle that does require a CDL to operate.  Ooops.  Suppose it was a non-CDL vehicle, but it happened six months ago.  Would he be able to prove which vehicle went to Fort Collins and which ones didn’t on a given day?

How many hours did each driver spend driving on any given day, and were they driving a "100 mile" or "150 mile" vehicle.  The business operator is responsible for those records, and more.  Did each driver work not more than 14 hours before s/he stopped driving?  Did he work in addition to the 14 hours on given days and was that time counted towards his duty time for the 7 or 8 day maximum rules?  Did any drivers take the special 16 hour duty day exception?  Did they have the required 14 hour days or days off in between the 16 hour days?

I don’t know about you, but this stuff gives me a headache.  But the very operator who I’m talking about here has a branch in Grand Junction.  Does he send drivers there sometimes?  Yup?  Do they then use RODS (Logbook)?  "Oh, no, I don’t believe that’s over the 150 mile limit", is what he told me.  What do you think?

Folks, if you operate vehicles commercially, paying drivers to operate them, even if they are as small a passenger car (should they ever, even once in a while, carry goods), you better wake up.  A federal audit of you operation could really, really, really wreck your day.

Think seriously about GPS tracking your vehicles and make sure the system you select:

  • Keeps your data indefinitely (many don’t)
  • Gives you your data in a standard format (like Microsoft Excel) so you can ‘feed’ it to other tools
  • Positively identifies who drove which vehicle, when, because it’s the records of individual drivers that the law requires you to keep … and the law doesn’t seem that simple to me.