Play it safe by knowing what the rules require
In today’s regulatory environment, government agencies with transportation safety oversight increasingly demand higher levels of accountability. As they do, truck drivers, carriers and fleet owners must increase their efforts to implement safety programs and stay current with new, amended, or suspended regulations.
The consequences of not complying with safety rules and regulations are significant:
- Costly driver violations from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)
- Fleet downtime due to violations from the DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA)
- Exposure to litigation resulting from accidents
Here’s a checklist of several new and amended regulations to consider when you review your drivers and fleet for compliance:
DOT Hours of Service (HOS) Limits – Five of the top 10 driver violations in the past year involved HOS or record keeping. There are several interrelated maximum duty limits all property carriers need to address. Understanding how they work together is imperative to avoiding errors, miscommunication and violations.
HOS regulations will continue to increase in importance due to the FMCSA’s final rule for Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) that was issued in December, 2015. This addresses record keeping and communication requirements of the device used. Its biggest impact is the requirement that all drivers who complete a log must use an ELD. All drivers who use paper logs must switch to ELDs within two years of the rule’s publication.
14 Hour Duty Limit – Think of the 14-hour on-duty limit as a clock. Once the clock starts, nothing stops it. It begins ticking the moment the driver starts performing any task defined in the On-Duty Definition of the Regulation (395.2).
When the clock hits the 14-hour mark, a driver needs to be off duty for at least 10 hours before they can drive. The regulation does not stipulate whether the driver can do non-driving duties prior to the completion of the 10 hour period.
11 Hour Driving Limit – No driver can exceed 11 hours of total driving time within the 14-hour on-duty period. Stopping for loading or fueling is considered “on duty” although it’s not driving. The total driving time within that 14 hour period cannot be more than 11 hours. It must also be fully contained within the 14-hour on-duty maximum.
8 Hour On Duty Limit – For every eight on duty hours within the 14 hours, a 30 minute break must be taken. This means a driver needs to break up the 14 hour stretch with a minimum 30 minute “sleeper berth” or rest break. This break does not stop the 14 hour clock, only the 11 hour clock.
Once the driver has reached 11 hours, they must stop and take a 10 hour break before driving again. This will reset the 14 hour clock and the 11 hour clock.
The 60/70 Hour Duty Limit Rule – This is often referred to as the “weekly limit,” although the rule can be applied using either a seven or an eight day period. It’s measured on a rolling basis rather than a Sunday to Saturday week. The ongoing accumulation of hours is relevant compared to a set start and stop day.
The starting time for this period is specified by the carrier. Drivers may not exceed 60 hours of on-duty time in a seven-day period, or 70 hours of on-duty time in an eight-day period.
HOS reporting note: Drivers must adhere – and record their adherence – to HOS requirements. Without a correct report of their hours, they are not in compliance.
Changes to Driver Vehicle Inspection Reports (DVIRS)
The rule about completing DVIRs changed in 2014. Now, when a defect is not discovered, there’s no requirement to complete the report. The rule also syncs the pre- and post-trip inspection lists. Only when a defect is discovered does a DVIR need to be completed and kept.
However, the amendment is silent on whether or not ‘no defect’ DVIRs completed prior to December 18, 2014 must be kept.
Now all Commercial Driver’s License holders must complete a Self-Certification and submit their medical certificate to the Registry of Motor Vehicles in their state.
Most drivers fall within the Non-Excepted Interstate category and need to have completed their self-certification, plus have a current medical certificate on file. This can be confirmed through your state licensing agency.
Once the medical examiner certificate is on file, drivers don’t need to carry their medical certificate card. Carriers must ensure the MVR in the Driver Qualification File is updated annually and coincides with any physical qualification changes.
Staying safe and compliant on the road isn’t easy, particularly in our current regulatory environment and the trend toward aggressive litigation. Reduce your risk for liability and downtime by making safety compliance a top priority.
Top 10 Driver Violations
- 1 Log violation
- 2 Non-English speaking driver
- 3 Driving beyond 8 hour limit
- 4 Drivers record of duty status not current
- 5 Speeding 6-10 miles over state/local limits
- 6 Failing to use a seat belt
- 7 Driving beyond 14 hour on duty period
- 8 Operating a property-carrying vehicle without a valid medical certificate
- 9 Failure to obey traffic control device
- 1 False report of drivers record of duty status
To learn about how Ryder can help you stay up to date with safety regulations, contact us at 1-800-RYDER-OK or visit ryder.com.