Solo OTR Work Hours Vs Personal Time

Topic 21445 | Page 1

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Steak Eater's Comment
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I’m having trouble grasping the work hours requirements vs personal time available in a day for the average OTR driver. If I understand correctly, a driver can legally drive 11 hours per day, work 14 hours per day, and is required to have a 10 hour break. If a driver is running recaps and only driving around 9 hours per day and having a 10 hour rest break, what is happening to the other 5 hours? I read some of the messages here and it sounds like many drivers only have a 10 hour window to sleep, shower, eat, do laundry, etc. There’s must be something I’m missing. I thought I remembered Brett posting that he learnt to code while driving OTR. Was that just time waiting at shippers and receivers?

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Patrick C.'s Comment
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You close, but no cigar. You have 14 hrs from the time you first go on duty to drive 11 hrs. You can work (on duty, not driving) well past the 11hr or 14hr. You just can't drive until to take a 10 hr break. (Excluding 8/2 sleeper option)

If someone is running recaps and works 8 hrs and 45 mins (on Duty Driving or on duty, not driving) every single day they could keep that up indefinitely. (In theory). Since you only get 1 recap in a 24 hr period. You would be Off Duty for way more than 10hrs every day. You would just have to have 10hrs off in a row to reset your 11hr and 14hr Duty clocks.

Clear as mud? Good.

Steak Eater's Comment
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Patrick, I explained that horribly. But your explanation still cleared things up a bit. The drive time (9 hour recaps or 11 hours max) falls within the 14 hours of work / on duty time, if I understand correctly, and I should have included that in my original post.

So the average (if there is such a thing) OTR day is a 10 hour break (sleeping, eating, shower, etc), 9 - 11 hours of driving, depending on how you run, and that leaves 3-5 hours of on-duty or work time for pre and post trips, time at shippers and receivers, trip planning, etc. That helps me better understand the frustration on drivers’ part with regard to slow loading and unloading times and traffic holdups.

So when do drivers find time to post here or learn other skills (like Brett learning to code)? Time at shippers and receivers getting loaded / unloaded? Given the hourly constraints it really is a very limited amount of time a driver has for anything other than the necessities.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

OTR:

Over The Road

OTR driving normally means you'll be hauling freight to various customers throughout your company's hauling region. It often entails being gone from home for two to three weeks at a time.

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

In the trucking sense, you can't really think of a "day" as a 24 hr period. A day is what you make it.

For example, it's not that you can only drive 11 hours per day, it's really that you have 11 hours you can drive before having to take a 10-hour break. The 10-hour break triggers a new day.

So using your example, if one drives 9 hours and takes a 10-hour break, they can start a whole new 11 hr drive cycle all over again.

A lot of us only take 10 hours to eat, shower, do laundry, and sleep, like you say. But that's only because we are trying to maximize our productivity by limiting ourselves to only the 10-hour break. Sure, if our schedules allow it we can take much more than 10 hours if we want to.

Even if I start my day and only drive for say 3 hours, if I break for 10 hours I can start fresh with a new 11-hour Drive clock and 14-hour on-duty clock and so on.

Steak Eater's Comment
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Turtle, so are you constantly pulling forward your hours / starting your days earlier?

As an example, on Monday you start at 8am, 2 hours to be loaded, 11 hours of driving til 9:00 pm, take your 10 hour break, than start a Tuesday morning at 7:00 am, drive 11 hours til 6:00 pm, take your 10 hour break and start Wednesday morning at 4:00 am. So your “days” start at (Monday) 8:00 am, (Tuesday) 7:00 am, Wednesday at 4:00 am. Is that correct?

I guess the pulling time forward would be more pronounced if you ran recaps (only driving 8 3/4 hours per “day”)?

Turtle's Comment
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Turtle, so are you constantly pulling forward your hours / starting your days earlier?

As an example, on Monday you start at 8am, 2 hours to be loaded, 11 hours of driving til 9:00 pm, take your 10 hour break, than start a Tuesday morning at 7:00 am, drive 11 hours til 6:00 pm, take your 10 hour break and start Wednesday morning at 4:00 am. So your “days” start at (Monday) 8:00 am, (Tuesday) 7:00 am, Wednesday at 4:00 am. Is that correct?

I guess the pulling time forward would be more pronounced if you ran recaps (only driving 8 3/4 hours per “day”)?

Yes that's exactly how it works sometimes. Starting your days progressively earlier can gain you big advantages by possibly allowing you to deliver early, or in the case of a long run it may get you to your destination in time to squeeze in a 34-hour reset before delivery. Or at the very least it can give you a little bit of cushion, if any unforeseen delays come up like traffic or weather etc.

It's not that I constantly do it. Schedules, delays, and appointment times ultimately dictate how we run out here. Quite often because of appointment times I may park in the afternoon and have to wait who knows 10 12 14 hours until my appointment time the following morning. Ya just never know.

But yeah that explains the missing hours of the day you referred to.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Big Scott's Comment
member avatar

Steak Eater, This will be so much easier to grasp once you are a solo driver. As you gain expierence, you can usually choose how you want to run. For example, I usually start my clock at around 07:00 and shut down around 17:00. That's a 10 hour work day. That doesn't always work, but that's my starting point. Some loads have more time on them. I can bust my butt and get 650 miles in a drive shift. That's another thing, think of it as a drive shift as opposed to a day. Let's say you had a 1000 mile load and 5 days to get it there. That would be a load with time on it. You could drive 500 miles per day and deliver early or drive less and deliver on time. That would be time to take an extra stop on your route to do something for you (shop, visit someone, see a site or just relax.). I hope this helps.

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Errol V.'s Comment
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Let me take a turn. Days do have 24 hours in them, (hint: 14 hr max work time, + 10 hr off duty (sleep, etc.) = 24 hours.

Two parts of your day must be uninterrupted: 30 min. rest break and 10 hour sleep period. But these may take longer if you want/can.

All the driving you do must end 14 hours after you start your day, either on duty or driving. Start a pre-trip at 8:45am, then automatically your driving is over at 10:45pm. You might need to be on duty after that, and you can't drive again until you take 10 hours off duty.

Three parts of your day may be in "pieces": driving, on duty and some of duty time. You can take off duty time when you want to, like hitting the restroom when you get fuel. This is good because in your overall work time (that 70 hour/8 day thing), on duty and driving get added together.

So, if you're wondering if you drive and be on duty for 14 straight hours, no. Many driving days can just be pre-trip, drive, 30 break, drive some more, post-trip, for 12 1/2 hours all together. (Say start 6am and finish up by 6:30 pm. Then you have the luxury of taking 10 hours and start again at 4:30am, or take 12 hours off and leave for your destination at 6:30am.)

Much of your day will be dictated by your pick-up and delivery times. Believe me, trying to work this all out before you go solo will hurt your brain. Learn what you need for now. Once you start to live the rules, it won't be so crazy.

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Deke's Comment
member avatar

I like the clock Errol.....😂

Steak Eater's Comment
member avatar

Thank you for all the replies. This has been an eye opener for me. Truly driving is more lifestyle than job and my hat is off to each of you who are willing to persevere in such a demanding occupation in order to provide for your families.

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