With so much HOS flexibility, there’s no need to falsify logs
Since the trucking industry introduced the use of logs way back when it’s been clear that falsifying them is a massive issue. However, the FMCSA has provided so much more hours of service flexibility in recent years, there’s really no need to falsify logs.
Falsifying logs can lead to a variety of punishments, including fines, penalties, and even jail time in some cases.
FreightWaves recently released a story that highlighted the severity of these punishments. A trucking company owner based in Rhode Island was sentenced to three years of probation after admitting to altering thousands of logs to try and conceal drive time and on-duty hours.
Additionally, he received six months of home confinement, 50 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine, and a $100 special assessment fee. The FMCSA also revoked the carrier’s authority.
So, how was he able to do it? The company owner was caught using a software’s AOBRD function, which permits edit rights for hours of service, to falsify his drivers’ logs between January 2018 and May 2019.
It’s important to remember that e-log functions, which may allow editing, are not illegal, but exist for local drivers to use. The problem here was not the existence or availability of the technology, but rather the abuse of the system.
To put an end to potential abuses, however, the FMCSA has been diligent with releasing hours of service regulation updates, which allow for additional flexibility, as we previously stated.
In this article, we’d like to highlight two regulations that have recently been revised by the FMCSA, which can help you maximize hours of service.
The split-sleeper provision has always been a source for additional flexibility, allowing drivers to split their breaks 8/2, rather than taking a consecutive 10 hours.
Per the FMCSA, “Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours. All sleeper berth pairings MUST add up to at least 10 hours.”
However, back in May 2020, the FMCSA added the possibility of splitting a sleeper berth 7/3, with neither of the two available options counting against a driver’s 14-hour driving window.
By effectively using the split-sleeper provision, especially now with the additional 7/3 option, drivers should be able to make the most out of their hours of service before hitting their 60/70 hour limit.
Additionally, the FMCSA is currently looking to add additional split-sleeper options. On Jan. 14, the FMCSA released plans for a potential pilot program, which would allow drivers to utilize a 6/4 and 5/5 sleeper berth split.
Adverse Conditions Exemption
The adverse conditions exemption was specifically created to help drivers save hours of service when driving in weather conditions that may cause delays.
The original rule stated that, when driving in adverse conditions, drivers could add an additional two hours to their driving time, taking them from 11 hours to 13.
However, there were two issues with this. One, it did not add an additional two hours to a driver's on-duty time, keeping it at 14 hours. Two, what should be considered an adverse condition was not specified either.
This caused a lot of confusion amongst drivers, as they did not know when the rule could be applied, which meant that many received violations for attempting to use it as they saw fit.
These issues ultimately led to the FMCSA updating its regulation, as they’ve now clarified when the rule can be applied.
The new rule, in addition to adding two hours of driving time, also expands a driver's on-duty time from 14 hours to 16. This is a huge win for truckers, as they don’t have to worry about only having a single hour left of on-duty time upon finishing their hours of service.
Additionally, the FMCSA now clearly states when the adverse driving conditions rule can be applied. Per Land Line Magazine, “adverse conditions can be defined as snow, ice, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions or unusual road or traffic conditions that couldn’t be reasonably known to a driver before the start of the on-duty period or immediately after a rest period, and to a motor carrier before dispatching the driver.”
These two options are also readily available for users to use on GPSTab, a comprehensive suite of tools to manage your fleet. With GPSTab, you can maximize your hours of service, while also tracking your assets and equipping your fleet with the latest in safety technology.
Overall, there are a plethora of ways to gain HOS flexibility without resorting to extralegal means. So, what do you think? Let us know in the comments below or on social media!