TD91: Bungling The 34-Hour Rule

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the 34-hour ruleI totally goofed yesterday. While waiting for my truck’s air-conditioning to be fixed, I spoke a couple of words to a old trucker who was sitting in the trucker’s lounge. Although my beloved MacBook Pro was desperately crying for me to come back to her, I never escaped. What’s the matter with me? I know better than that! Well, I’m actually glad we chatted because it brought on this blog post. How so? By mentioning that he was on a 34-hour break and wondering how the new 34-hour rule would effect us come July.

For those of you who haven’t heard about the coming changes, I guess I’ll just have to assume that some idiot lumper accidentally locked you in a trailer for two years. I sure am glad the receiver didn’t accept that damaged pallet of Campbell’s soup. And I’m even gladder that your company finally realized you were actually missing.

So now to catch you up. Back in March of 2011, I did a blog post called, Truckers: Be Heard on the Proposed HOS Changes where I shared my comments to the FMCSA. Then in January of 2012, I told you how I thought the new HOS rules would affect drivers, carriers, and the industry as a whole in the post called, Are All These Changes Good for the Trucking Industry? Now I hate to brag but.. oh, who am I kidding? I love to brag! I totally nailed it on at least one of the topics: the 34-hour rule.

Okay, I’m going to presume that y’all were too stinkin’ lazy to click on the above link to see what the new 34-hour rule involves. Basically, the current rule says that if a trucker can shut down for 34 continuous hours (either Off-Duty, in the Sleeper Berth, or a combination of the two), they can restart their 70-hour workweek. So doing a 34-hour restart means that we can actually work 82 hours in a week.

The new 34-hour rule that starts in July states that this 34 hours now has to consist of two periods of midnight 1 a.m to 5 a.m. Another new twist is that you can only do one 34-restart per week.

So back to the story. When the old trucker wondered outloud how the new rule would affect us, I had an answer for him. You see, of the past three weekends I did two 34-hour restarts, and I could have done one the last weekend. Why I chose not to really isn’t all that important for this story, so I’ll spare you all the gory details. You know, I think that just earned me an extra reward in heaven. Hope it’s a Klondike bar.

34-hour rule FAIL #1

The first weekend, I was at the Flying J in Beloit, Wisconsin. I got there at 4:30 p.m. on a Saturday and started my break immediately. That meant my 34-hour break would be over at 2:30 a.m on Monday. Good thing, because I had to be up near St. Paul, Minnesota by 8 a.m. After my mandatory 15-minute pre-trip inspection, that left 5.25 hours to go 316 miles. Yes, I knew it was going to be tight. Averaging 60 mph in a 64 mph truck isn’t easy, especially when I figured I’d be hitting St. Paul rush hour. Well, I’m happy to say that I pulled it off. And I got my 34-hour restart to boot. But guess what? Come July that restart wouldn’t have counted because I didn’t meet the requirement of two periods of midnight 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. And there’s nothing I could do about it. I got to the truck stop as fast as I could and I left as late as I could. I couldn’t wait around until 5 a.m. unless I wanted to deliver late. From some reason, trucking companies tend to frown on that kinda stuff.

The case of the mysterious bus ride

Onward to the next weekend. This was the mysterious weekend where I was tweeting as I was walking toward a city bus. Yes me. As @DriverChrisMc tweeted,

Yeah, I’m pretty pathetic, but there you have it. Honestly, I wasn’t trying to be cryptic; I was just trying to be sneaky. You see, The Evil Overlord has been working for Talent on Parade for the past few months, which is a dance competition that is owned by her aunt and uncle. Since they travel to a new city every weekend, I was happy to learn she was in Des Moines, Iowa, which by dumb luck just so happened to be on my route. I also had plenty of time on the load and had planned on getting in a 34-hour break somewhere along the way.

I got online and saw that there was a city bus stop 1.2 miles from the Flying J in Altoona, Iowa and it had a route going directly to the convention center. Well, as directly as a city bus goes anyway. That’s when I launched my plan. And that’s why all the secrecy. While The Evil Overlord isn’t on Twitter, her uncle Eric and her cousin Kyle do follow me. I figured they’d be too busy to be watching my Twitter stream, but I played it safe just to be sure. Well, I’m happy to say: mission accomplished. I surprised the heck out of the wench and everyone else.

Since The Evil Overlord is extremely busy and sometimes works up to 16 hours a day, my plan was simply to surprise her, hang out for a few hours, and catch the last bus back to the truck stop. But once her aunt Kim found out I was going to be hanging out at the truck stop for 34 hours, she surprised us with a separate hotel room. So basically, for the rest of the day and part of Sunday, I hung out with The Evil Overlord as she tabulated the scores for what seemed like a million dance acts involving 10 million girls. Adorable little girls, awkward pre-teen girls, a few lone boys who had the foresight to get involved in an activity where they’d be surrounded by scantily-clad girls, and older, clothing-challenged girls, a few of which I have no doubt will be manning the poles of America in the near future. I just looked away during most of these. The Evil Overlord had warned me that “wardrobe malfunctions” happened more often than they probably should. I don’t want or need to see that kinda stuff. Seriously, some of the clogging and traditional dancing is kinda cool, but the hip-hop numbers were… well, let’s just say I’m surprised there’s so many dads that let their little girls take dance lessons. So anyway, back to the trucking side of things.

34-hour rule FAIL #2

I got to the truck stop at 4:15 a.m. early Saturday morning, amazingly found a parking spot on the front row, and hit my bunk so I could jump out of my foxhole and launch my surprise attack around noon. My load didn’t have to deliver near St. Cloud, Minnesota until 6 a.m. Monday morning. With 309 miles to go, I figured I’d leave by midnight to give me plenty of time to get there. That is until I got my preplan on Sunday afternoon. To keep from losing the 1300-mile preplan, I now needed to leave around 4 p.m. on Sunday so I could get to the receiver and get a 10-hour break in before I picked up the preplan. Problem was, The Evil Overlord couldn’t break free to get me back to the truck until almost 6 p.m. Luckily, I’m a moron who can’t tell time. After getting under way in a freaked-out panic, I soon realized that my appointment was for 8 a.m., not 6 a.m. Whew! Disaster avoided. Sometimes it’s good to be the town moron.

So now to the 34-hour stuff. By the time I left at 6 p.m. on Sunday, I had just under 38 hours of down time. But once again, it didn’t meet the idiotic two periods of midnight 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. that the new rule requires. So come July, that break wouldn’t reset my 70-hour workweek either. Even worse, if I’d been able to leave at midnight on Sunday night like I’d originally planned, I would’ve had almost 44 continuous hours off-duty and I still wouldn’t have gotten to reset my 70! Utterly. Friggin’. Ridiculous.

34-hour rule FAIL #3

Now for this past weekend. I used every last hour I had to get to the Pilot in Priceville, Alabama. At that point, I had a choice to make. Dang it! I just had my Klondike bar ripped from me! Oh well, may as well proceed now that it’s gone. So anyway, I had to deliver the load 496 miles away in Columbus, Ohio by midnight on Monday. That meant I had just enough time to squeeze in a 34-hour break. But if I went that option, I wouldn’t have been able to get my air conditioner fixed at our Columbus shop until Tuesday morning.

But I did have one more option. I had 5 hours to run after my break and 5.5 hours available on Sunday. If I used these hours, I’d be at the shop first thing Monday morning. Now normally, that’s a no-brainer. But not only would I be missing a chance to do a 34, I also didn’t have full hours the rest of the week… the week that I’d be trying to get home. Well, to make a long Klondike story short, I opted to skip the 34. But of course, this decision would’ve been a breeze if it had happened in July, ‘cuz yep, you guess it, it wouldn’t have counted either.

So here’s the thing. Unlike some drivers, I’m not totally convinced that the rule makers at the FMCSA are out to get us. I truly believe they’re trying to make things safer for us and the public. That they think the new 34-hour rule is doing us a favor by getting us two “nights” of sleep. Well, as you can see from my last three weekends, this rule just isn’t going to work. And without that 70-hour reset, we’ll no longer have the potential to work 82 hours. Well that was weird. I just felt my right butt cheek raise up. That’d be the one that holds my wallet. But for toots-and-giggles, let’s say all three 34-hour restarts had counted. Well, even then only two of those restarts would’ve qualified since the new rule also states we can’t do two restarts in the same week. Ugh.

Listen up, Hours-Of-Service rule makers

I already wrote you once, but apparently you didn’t listen. So pull those rose-colored earplugs out and I’ll tell you again, “The rule is useful as it stands. Change it and you may as well get rid of it altogether.” Now normally I’d be pounding on my chest and doing the Tarzan yell to prove my awesomeness in being right. But in this case, I’m just shaking my head slowly as I try to figure out how the heck these people’s heads got so full of bat crap.

*So, has anyone else been keeping track of how the new 34-hour rule will affect you? Please leave a comment and share your thoughts on the matter. If for nothing else, so I won’t have to wallow in this misery alone.*

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13 Responses to TD91: Bungling The 34-Hour Rule

  1. Al Goodhall April 27, 2013 at 9:37 AM #

    Great post Todd. Going to do my best to meet the commitment I made on twitter about sharing some thoughts on this. Thought I’d have some extra time today since I have a day off at home but my daughter decided (or her daughter decided I guess) that today would be the best day to give birth. Of course the call came to go down and watch over our grandson at 3 this morning. Lol. So I’m dopier than usual at this point and both my wife and I are still on the edge of our seats waiting for the main event to draw to a conclusion so we know for sure that Mom and baby are healthy and happy. Not that we have any reason to doubt that, but you know, we’re parents (and grandparents) and fretting over the natural events in life is part of what we do. :)

    I’ve been playing this long haul gig for 15 years or so. Open board for the first 12 and I’ve been doing a dedicated run for the last 3. I’m going to play the devil’s advocate here but first some disclosure for perspective.

    I’m a Canadian trucker that runs half his miles in the U.S. and half in Canada every week. So I need to balance 2 sets of HoS rules. I leave Southwestern Ontario every Saturday morning and head for Winnipeg where I pedal freight around the city and surrounding area on Mondays, sometimes into Tuesday. Sometimes I’ll run as much as 2-3 hours west of the Peg and switch wagons with one of our western drivers if needed. Sometimes that wagon I grab has more deliveries to complete back in Winnipeg that drags me into Tuesday. I almost always cross the border with an empty and reload in the Dakotas, MN, WI for one of our clients back in SWO. I’m supposed to arrive at my home terminal by late Wednesday night but that only usually happens for a couple of months in the summer. Most often I arrive home on a Thursday, usually in the afternoon. Not an easy run but it pays me well and I enjoy the challenges. 2800 to 3200 miles per week, 6-8 drops outbound on average, a trailer switch, a couple of border crossings. 5 1/2 days on average. I’m busy. We’re a private fleet of 50+ highway tractors, all company drivers, owner runs legal, EOBR for the last 4 years, drivers are empowered to make their own decisions when it comes to weather or other delays regardless of what the delivery commitment was/is.

    So I don’t disagree with anything within your post. In fact I’ll go so far as to say this rule does not impact me too much because I do the same rounder each week so as I’ve said getting home on Thursday afternoon and leaving Saturday morning is a no brainer to meet the requirements of the modified 34 hour reset that comes into play July 1 this year, unless I get delayed past midnight on Thursday then I’m screwed. I run too many miles to get 2 rounders done legally running the second week on my recap. 70 hours in 8 days just doesn’t cut it.

    But here are a few things I think we need to consider.

    1. I’ve come to believe deeply in the sleep science that supports the change in the rules. Just because we’ve got used to feeling crappy by living the way we do, alternating shift times over the course of each week, doesn’t mean it’s right. I think sleep debt is a lot bigger problem for drivers than we care to admit. Getting 2 solid nights of sleep each week aids in combating this problem. Think of all those single commercial vehicles you see that just sort of drift off into the rhubarb. No skid marks, no apparent cause. Sleepy time. Let’s be honest, the majority of drivers in North America have been snapped back to reality at 3 or 4 in the morning by the sound of rumble strips screaming out at them at one point or another in their career. Don’t want to admit to that in a public forum?. Fine. But I don’t think too many of us can look at ourselves in the mirror each morning and tell ourselves that’s not the case.

    (Saturday morning now and I’m a Grandpa again. Woot! Little girl born at 9 last night. Supposed to be back at the yard by now but, hey, life goes on. )

    2. The company your running for uses the word preplan but if they were truly preplanning they would take your time and the HoS into greater consideration when putting their plans together. Again most companies, especially the large publicly traded ones, manage the bottom line these days and not the people that earn that profit for them. Responsibility is downloaded to the driver and the rules are punitive to the driver not to the companies responsible for booking, shipping, and receiving the freight.

    3. The solution should not have to be that we work 84 hours a week to get the work done. More of us should be asking the question; If we have to slave away more than 60-70 hours a week is it worth doing in the first place?

    Have to leave it there for now. Time isn’t on my side. (There’s a surprise) Many more thoughts especially about drivers lack of participation in the process and the impact of technology on the industry and how those things effect the hours of service rules, safety & compliance, and driver wellness.

    Cheers, always enjoy your posts and take on the trucking lifestyle.

    • Todd McCann April 29, 2013 at 2:23 PM #

      Congrats on the new granddaughter, Gramps! And thanks for taking time out to send in your thoughts about the HOS rules. Looking forward to sharing them on the podcast. But for now, let me comment on your first three points.

      1. I have no doubt that you’re right about the sleep science. I don’t personally have a huge problem with sleeping during the day, but I know many people do. Although I’d never lie about the rumble strip shocking me back to life in the middle of the night. That hasn’t happened in a really long time though. Guess I’ve gotten used to knowing when enough is enough. I am fully aware though, that many drivers don’t know where that line is. And yes, it can suck that we have to have such flexible schedules, but unless the FMSCA comes up with some radical new rules, I don’t see those changes happening any time soon. And quite honestly, I hope I’m not around if these changes ever do take place. Talk about a logistics nightmare!

      2. Big companies knows how to preplan, they just have a different definition of “preplan” than us drivers do. We’d all love our companies to be willing to work around the driver’s schedule so we can maximize our hours. I’m sure they’d love to do that too. But with freight picking up at all hours of the night, covering the loads is their top priority, not working around my schedule. I’ve been told numerous times that the 34-hour restart is a “luxury,” not a requirement. And you know what? They’re right. No where in the HOS rules does it say that the 34-hour rule is required. And until it does, I’m really struggling with what it’s purpose is. Clearly, my blog post shows that the 34-hour rule won’t be very effective come July. The only way they can insure that drivers get two solid “nights” of rest is to make it a mandatory rule. And let’s face it; I’m not sure the trucking industry or the drivers want more rules to follow. Nothing short of a complete change in the way the industry works would make this model work. It seems to me that the whole industry would have to rotate to a more regional focus. While that would be fine with me, I see a lot of heartache and a lighter wallet if that happens.

      3. Man, oh man. That’s a question we all face. Is it worth it that we have to work 70 hours a week to make decent money? I guess it is since there are so many of us doing it. If we had other options to make the same kind of money, I’m sure most of us would be doing it. This is another one of those areas where nothing major will ever change unless every driver gets sick of it and quits trucking all at the same time. And you and I both know that will never happen.

      Looking forward to hearing the rest of your thoughts on this subject. But for now, go enjoy the smell of that newborn for a while. That is if you can’t get out of the old rocking chair, Gramps. ;-)

  2. Dave April 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM #

    Hey Todd. Good post… Lol, only a trucker could follow the HOS math! The problem with the FMCSA is that they have never driven a truck! It’s like NFL referees that have never played the game. If the ‘refs’ at FMCSA were in charge of football, they’d be telling players to stop tackling because it hurts people!

    As long as there are trucks on the road there will be accidents. Drivers will fall asleep in the afternoon even with the ‘two periods of midnight – 5 a.m.’. Who says they’re going to sleep those two days?

    The pain that Ferro is going to inflict on the industry is the equivalent of $10/gal diesel. It’s going to slow down markedly. Stuff is going to be late. Supply Chain professionals had better stock up inventory now. (Which may the reason it’s busy right now despite the weak economy). The problem may be averted by a court decision, but I wish they would give the industry the common decency of some sort of stability!

    Dave Satterfield
    Twitter: fraytmoverdave
    freightmoverdave.wordpress.com

    • Todd McCann May 3, 2013 at 2:26 PM #

      Hey there, Dave. I was a bit worried about the HOS math, as you put it. LOL But in the end, I just figured my non-trucking readers/listeners would just skim over those parts anyway since they have no dog in this hunt. I trust they got the gist of it though. Pretty easy to see that the new 34-hour rule is a crock!

      Love the NFL referee analogy! It’s so perfect. The FMCSA people don’t have a clue. Listen, I realize that a governing body like Congress can’t be made up of people that have done every job in the world in order to make decisions about the countries economics. But when it comes to something specialized like the FMCSA, I really don’t see any reason why they can’t get people who have actually done the job. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of us out here.

      Next up, your point about the “two periods” of night-time rest not guaranteeing that the driver is going to get enough sleep. I know many times I haven’t. I’m guessing since you brought it up, you haven’t either. And I know it ain’t just you and me.

      Lastly, while I think it’s natural to expect the industry to suffer through these kinds of rules changes, I don’t think there’s ever as much fallout as everyone anticipates. Remember when we switched from an 8-hour break to a 10-hour break? Same kind of doom-and-gloom talk, but hardly any noticeable effect. Remember when e-logs started being implemented? Everyone (including me) was crying about the downfall of the trucking industry. Once again, not much change actually happened. Sure, in the beginning I was doing a lot more relays due to the unforgiving e-logs, but things went back to normal before too long.

      As bad as I hate to admit it, I really do think the trucking companies are just really good at dealing with these types of changes. They make little tweaks to their systems that correct the idiocy of the FMCSA and the uncaring nature of the shippers and receivers. Honestly, I wish that weren’t the case. I wish they would implement some “brilliant” new idea that would bring the industry to it’s knees. Because quite frankly, that’s about the only way anyone will wake up. The FMCSA might actually admit they’ve had some useless ideas and reconsider some of their decisions. But perhaps even more importantly, the shippers, receivers, and trucking companies might realize that this industry really needs a major overhaul.

      Thanks for stopping by and giving me a chance to rant, Dave. Always appreciate experienced drivers like you who share their thoughts on the site.

  3. owen May 21, 2013 at 4:34 PM #

    first thanks Todd for all you are doing with this blog
    I started driving back in 1980 so the driving schools in most places did not even exist have seen more then my share of changes and not many where for better have owned several trucks over the years leased to big and small co. landstar, to a man with a bigger company contract (agent) and 8 of his own trucks the company contract was just a front for the paperwork till the load was delivered not easy to do today. have not heard the phrase wildcat in a few yrs. so yah im over the hill haha and counting down to retirement if I can afford to by then but for now we just keep rolling and pray we manage to make money . I am running a dedicated run from tn. to detroit area and back and boy does it get boring gona keep all times home I leave about 1am monday drop at cust. around 1 pm take my 10 hrs and hook about 11 pm. and come home tues. morning go home till 1 am Wednesday and do it all over again,on friday I head to canton ms. for unload and reload returns for the next monday all this said the 34 hr. rule is no problem since i am shut down by 5pm friday where my problems begin is the sleep schedule i be the first to admit have heard those rumble strips from time to time i’v gone a lot of yrs. with no problem till i lost control of my schedule sleep when tired and awake when i needed to drive because most of my days start around mid nite there are a lot of weekends i dont get the proper rest just this past sunday woke up around 8am full nites sleep oh i felt great !!!! and cussing yikes oh god how am i gona be able to go back to bed at 5/6pm finally layed down about 7:30 and did nuthin but toss and turn and if i get sleepy around that infamous 4/6 am window cant afford to sleep long or am likely to get in trouble with the 14 hr rule go figure huh now add that new 30 min break rule that starts the same time and that just added 2.5 hrs more away from home or worse a major traffic problem and my WHOLE week just got shot to hell and taking my break in a rest area 1 hour from home
    have a ggood week and thanks fer the chance to rant alittle

    • Todd McCann June 1, 2013 at 8:59 PM #

      You bet, Owen. Rants are always welcome. This is the Trucker Dump, after all, so dump all the rants you can haul. LOL

      Wow. It sounds like you’re on a super-tight weekly schedule if you’re running the risk of not getting home by one hour. I wonder if more carriers are going to have to allow more time on these runs or if they’re just going to shaft the driver with even tighter schedules. Although, I guess allowing more time on deliveries also kind of doesshafts the driver if they’re live loads/unloads. Gee, there’s a surprise. The driver gets screwed either way.

      Thanks for dropping in. Like I said, feel free to come back and rant some more.

  4. Dwayne May 21, 2013 at 11:29 PM #

    That was a “real world informative post” Todd ! Thanks a bunch !! And even though I’ve been around this ” $$$ game” (c’mon guys you gotta be completely braindead if you think otherwise !!) for 35 years come June, I’ve been telling my trucker friends “we’ll have to go back to doing it the “old way” (by that I mean BEFORE there was ANY “restart provision” !), and that being “running on “pickup hours” !! And for those of us that are normally home on weekends, well, we’re gonna have to “hit the bottom line” for a “few pickup hours” we normally wouldn’t bother with during a restart for “truck washing, detailing and/or servicing”. The first week just save about an hour a day, or a little more if possible. Then “burn” those hours on the bottom line over the weekend “detailing, servicing, washing” and after the first weekend, you’ll have hours to leave every Sunday evening with, once midnight rolls around you’ll have even more. Will this work for all ? HELL NO !! Never said it would, but collectively, we can show the dumbass, never set foot behind the wheel of a truck Feds, that WE REFUSE TO BE DRIVEN TO POVERTY WITH THEIR B**S**T !! I ask ALL of you to “step back and look at the REAL BIG PICTURE of what’s behind all this “it’s for the public’s safety” GAME !! Unless you’ve been in a Ozark cave for the last 5 years, it’s obvious that this corrupt Gestapo “attempt at gov’t” we currently have wants to “spread the wealth around” some more yet and is looking for any “excuse” for martial law !! Boston recently was a GREAT TEST that American’s failed MISERABLY at !! Letting “Gestapo” troops REMOVE THEM FROM THEIR HOMES AT GUNPOINT when they’d DONE NOTHING !! That tactic worked well for a tiny man with a square mustache once upon a time. With that said, sit back and think about this- WHAT BETTER WAY TO GET AMERICA TO IT’S KNEES TO THE POINT (think Germany 1940 and the bread/toilet paper lines here !!) of food riots and other violence TOTALLY STEMMING FROM EMPTY GROCERY STORE SHELVES AND EMPTY IN GROUND GAS TANKS AT CONVENIENCE STORES THAN TO HAVE ALL OF US “STOPPED” utilizing either the new 34 restart “midnight to 5″ provision or another damn “make you sit all the time JOKE” E-logs !! Take in what I just said before you childishly start one finger typing cuss words at me because you don’t “get the big picture” YET !! Empty store shelves, this is only one small way they intend to get you to “sign here, give us your guns and your Rights” we’ll find you some “gov’t cheese” !! Don’t be a largemouth bass just because Hank Parker just threw a “bait” near that log you’re hiding under !! PLEASE !! Unless you wanna slipseat the rest o’ your career, make $400 MAYBE a week and go grocery shop at the “gov’t commisary”! At this point I really don’t care what names you call me, let things keep progressing as they are, and I’ll have my chance to call you a few myself.

    • Todd McCann June 1, 2013 at 9:55 PM #

      Well Dwayne, I’m not quite sure what happened there. You started off thanking me for an informative blog post and about 3/4 of the way through you turned on me with the “one-finger typing cuss words” remark and ending with preparing yourself for us to get into a name-calling match like a couple of 4th graders. Call me confused.

      Listen, I do this blog and I welcome anyone’s thoughts in the comment section, whether I agree with them or not. Heck, I even ask for differing opinions sometimes. As long as the curses are bleeped out like you did, you’re welcome to say whatever you like. And since it’s my blog, I’m welcome to respond any way I choose. For starters, there won’t be any “childishly typing one-finger cuss words at you.” In the first place, I don’t cuss. But if I did, I’d be able to do so with all ten fingers at about 40 cuss words per minute. LOL But that’s not my style. If you think changing a few rules in the trucking industy will eventually cause food riots and the loss of our guns, then that’s your perogotive. I just don’t see it that way.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but there seems to have been a whole mess of changes to the driving regulations over the years and I have yet to witness any violence over it. Additionally, I started using e-logs in December of 2010 and I haven’t noticed any of the grocery shelves going empty. No, what I think will happen is what happens every time there are changes to the trucking industry. Drivers will whine and cry about it for a while (at least that’s what I always do), threaten to quit trucking, and then suck it up and adjust to the new rules. Sure, it’d be great if we could all stand together and stop some of these changes from happening, but let’s face it, we can’t even get all truckers to agree to shower. How are we supposed to face down the FMCSA?

      So anyway, Dwayne, I fully expect to hear a comeback from you and you’re more than welcome to do so. My policy is that I’ll have an intelligent conversation with most anyone, provided they don’t resort to insults and name-calling. So feel free to come on back and rant any time you like. Just next time, please don’t turn on me before I’ve even said anything.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Trucking Widow May 29, 2013 at 9:09 AM #

    Love the post, Todd. I have been trolling your posts for some time, now. Since I’m “just the wife,” I don’t always understand all of the impacts of these new rules, but you have helped me out with that, and I am grateful.

    I do want to share what my initial reaction to the new hours of service laws and why I had that reaction. I think that most of your readers might be OO’s, though I can’t be sure.

    My husband used to work for a smaller, local OTR company. Before the eLogs, they had him cheating his damn logs to the point of 4 hours of sleep some nights (or days). I have no idea how he did it, but I know that the days after would be horribly stressful. We should have taken out stock on 5 Hour Energy and coffee beans. So…for the eLogs, I was very grateful. He finally started getting some sleep, much to the chagrin of his dispatchers and load planners.

    As far as the new Hours of Service laws… While he was still a company driver for this place, I was so friggin excited at the prospect that he could actually have an entire day off for the weekend! The company has a policy about getting drivers home on the weekends, so this looked good to me. After seeing him get home on Friday at noon and having to leave in the middle of the night on Saturday/Sunday, tired because his schedule got flipped, or because he was trying to spend time with his kids, I would lay awake worried sick that he was going to fall asleep at the wheel. This thing with having to have two periods of midnight to 5 AM was great to me. Keep in mind, I don’t know how the company REALLY planned to deal with these changes. I was just living in my own little world and believing everything was going to be much better, but there is a huge chance that they would have wound up finding a way to make the drivers’ cover that, somehow. They are more than a little shady.

    Now, we have bought a truck. Hubby isn’t on the road, yet… still signing on, getting all of his permits and whatnot….everything I know little about. I am worried about these new rules… I have little doubt that he will make it okay, but there are so many things that are out of his control… I will be interested to see what happens and how difficult these rules are going to make it on his new OO status and bringing in the $.

    Thanks again for the informative posts (as well as the humor)!

    • Todd McCann June 1, 2013 at 10:51 PM #

      So that’s you that’s been trolling my site, huh? I knew I had one reader out there somewhere. LOL Well, Trucking Widow I’m grateful for that. And I’m glad you’ve been able to learn a little something along the way.

      Oh, what a familiar story. The small trucking company that runs their drivers into the ground. This is precisely the type of behavior that e-logs are designed to correct. Glad to hear it worked for your hubby and his co-drivers, although I bet some of them aren’t very happy with the pay cut that came along for the ride. I nearly went to work for a company like this once. Everything was sounding really good until I talked to the drivers. They said they got very little sleep and ran two log books in order to make the kind of money that the recruiter had quoted. They didn’t seem to mind, but I was having none of that crap. I need my beauty sleep!

      I’m also very familiar with the “get you home on weekends” thing. It’s the same situation for me. My home time is based on whether I have a load or not and when that load has to deliver. Most of the time I get 2-3 days off (I’m usually out for 3-4 weeks at a time), but it’s understood that if I can only be home for 24-30 hours in order to deliver on time, that’s what’s expected of me. Like I said, that doesn’t happen very often. If it did, I wouldn’t be working here, no matter how good they pay. And you’re exactly right about not getting sufficient rest when your hubby is home. I know for a fact he isn’t the only driver who leaves the house tired. Yes, that sucks, but like they say, “That’s trucking.” Man, I hate that saying.

      As for this getting two rest periods of 1 AM to 5 AM (I goofed that in the blog post), it’s a crock of crap, plain and simple. Truckers don’t have 9 to 5 schedules, so what determines a rest period has nothing to do with the time of day. At least that’s my opinon on the matter. I know some solar drivers (those who only drive during daylight hours) will disagree with me, and I’d love to hear from them on this. Also, I doubt very seriously that these trucking companies will alter their load planning to accommodate the new 34-hour rule’s time requirements. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told by my company that the 34-hour restart is a “luxury,” not a “requirement.” It just doesn’t seem to be anything that they’re too worried about complying with.

      Next up, you’re concerned about how all these new rules are going to affect the hubster. Well, I wouldn’t worry about it, especially since he’s decided to go Owner/Operator. Now I’ve never been an O/O, but I know for a fact that they have a lot more freedom than us poor company driving schlups. Unless he’s leasing on with a company who requires e-logs, I don’t even think he has to use them if he doesn’t want to. Since O/O’s typically have more control over what loads they take, there’s less chance of him not getting enough rest. And if he really wants to get in a legal 34-hour break, well, he’s got the perogative to do so. In short, the trucking rules have changed over the years and drivers always whine about it for a while and then just roll with the punches. I’m sure your man will do the same thing. And as for “so many things being out of his control.” Well, that’s trucking. Dang. I said it again. LOL

      Thanks for stopping in and leaving your thoughts, Trucking Widow. I really appreciate you taking the time.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Not-so-fresh hours restart looming July 1 | Overdrive - Owner Operators Trucking Magazine - May 19, 2013

    [...] restart, a provision originally codified during the 2003 changes to drivers’ hours of service. Todd McCann, writing on his AboutTruckDriving.com blog in April, detailed the recent examples of three successive weekends, two of whose outcomes would not have [...]

  2. Hours recap: New regs bringing old practice to the fore?; OK tornado intelligence | Overdrive - Owner Operators Trucking Magazine - May 21, 2013

    [...] Company driver Todd McCann blogs about various trucking topics via his AboutTruckingDriving.com site, home to his blog and podcast. His piece on the 34-hour restart you can find here. [...]

  3. TD94: Understanding The New Hours-Of-Service (HOS) Rules |About Truck Driving - July 18, 2014

    […] time). For full details on how this rule has been affecting me, check out my blog post called, TD91: Bungling the 34-Hour Rule. And for the record, I’m aware that I got the time wrong in the article. I’ve gone back […]

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