Stupid Question - When I Hear About OTR Drivers

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Daniel S.'s Comment
member avatar

stupid question - when i hear about OTR drivers staying out for 2-3 weeks, the truck is the drivers to live in, even during 34 hour resets, etc? having problems understanding 70/8 weeks (averages just under 9 hrs per day driving) with the 34 hr resets. can you idle or is APU required to stay in your truck in 34hr reset period in very cold or very warm areas?

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.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Daniel, no one here considers your question stupid!

Indeed, some of this stuff is a little confusing at first, in fact it can be very confusing, and I may just confuse you more by trying to answer you. But, I'll try anyway.

Yes, you live in your truck and it's quite a comfortable living space even though it is small. There are cabinets for storing your clothing and gear and you have a bed that you can sleep in. There is also storage space under your bed. For the most part you will be parking at truck stops so you will have access to bathrooms that way, and you will be able to take a shower in the truck stop. You can also do your laundry at most truck stops and some of them even have other services like barber shops or even a chapel if you want to go to church on Sunday. They almost all have some form of a restaurant or fast food place (Subway, Denny's, Arbys, McDonalds, Wendy's are some of the common ones I see) Your company will have you fueling at certain places where you will get shower credits each time you get fuel, so you do not have to pay for your showers. And You will be pleasantly surprised at how nice the showers are in some of these truck stops. I still recommend some type of shower shoes (like flip flops) but for the most part the showers will be nicer than anything you've ever had at home. I use Pilot and Flying J Truck stops mostly and they have very nice shower rooms with a private bathroom and a sink with a mirror so you can shave or just admire yourself!

Of course you are not stuck in your truck like a kid that's grounded to his bedroom. I get out and take walks and enjoy the surrounding area that I'm in. You don't have to take 34 hour resets if you manage your time so that you can work off your re-cap hours, but sometime it its helpful to take a reset depending on how hard you've been running. I'll sometimes plan my resets around an interesting area, so that I can act like a tourist while taking my break. I've enjoyed the beaches in Florida and Louisiana three times now while taking my resets there. I'm actually on a reset right now in Albuquerque New Mexico and they are having a balloon festival here this weekend with 400 hot air balloons floating around in the sky above the Flying J Truck Stop - it's quite fascinating. I didn't have to take this reset, but I've got a 3,300 mile run on my qualcomm waiting on me and I didn't like the way my re-cap hours looked for that length of a run so, I told my dispatcher what I was going to do and he agreed that it would be better to grab that load and be able to run some long days with it and get it done.

I don't know if you've started working your way through the High Road Training Program or not, but you should because that section in there on the log books will really help you get an understanding of the re-caps and the resets, and the whole 70 hour 8 day work week thing. You really need to work through that whole thing anyway, because it will definitely help you get your career started on a good foundation to build on.

Yes you can idle your truck for comfort in inclement weather. Most trucks have a bunk heater that works very nicely to keep your truck warm in the cold weather that doesn't require idling, but for air conditioning most of your trucks will be idling. There is only a very small percentage of trucks out there that have APUs and many of the fleets that had them have discontinued using them because of unexpected high costs related with their maintenance.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

APUs:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

Daniel S.'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel, no one here considers your question stupid!

You don't have to take 34 hour resets if you manage your time so that you can work off your re-cap hours, but sometime it its helpful to take a reset depending on how hard you've been running.

oldschool, thank you for reply. 1) so a 34hr reset is voluntary ? I have read "pro tip: If you keep your daily average around 8.75 you'll never run out of hours. You can run 7 days a week)" - is this what you are saying ?

Mark .'s Comment
member avatar

Daniel You don't have to take 34 hour resets if you manage your time so that you can work off your re-cap hours,

What do you mean by work off your re-cap hours?

Can you give me some examples of managing your time?

Thanks, Mark

Daniel S.'s Comment
member avatar

I read this and seems closet to what you are saying - http://www.dtrucks.com/blog/why-colorado-truck-drivers-do-not-need-restart-recap

Daniel S.'s Comment
member avatar

Here is maybe the idea ? A common misconception among Colorado truck drivers is that they need a restart to gain more hours. In fact, a recap is all you need. The idea of a recap began in the 1920s to maintain compliance of the 70 hours in 8 days or 60 hours in 7 days rules. It was initiated when drivers had to haul cargo across the country and needed substantial rest after making their deadline.

With today’s schedules, drivers don’t travel as far to deliver loads, but they still need rest. There is minimal chance that a Colorado Truck driver will hit more than 70 hours in 8 days or 60 hours in 7 days. But, almost every truck driver would rather run a full shift with a day off than deal with the rules of a 34-hour restart, which requires 2 consecutive days off between 1 am and 5 pm. A recap is a rolling continuum that ensures maximum profitability and keeps you from losing good driving hours.

The good news is the original recap rule has never changed and can still be used today.

For example, let’s say you work the following schedule:

Mon – 8.5 hours Tue - 11.5 hours Wed - 10 hours Thu - 11 hours Fri - 10.5 hours Sat - 9.5 hours Sun – 0 hours

That would give you a 61-hour total for 7 days, leaving 9 hours to work on the 8th day, which would be Monday. On midnight Monday you gain hours because the hours worked on the previous Monday are dropped to keep you under 70 hours in 8 days. No restart needed! Just a nice day off on Sunday.

You could also work a 9-hour shift on Sunday and take off Monday. The only time you need to take the 34-hour break is when you hit 70 hours in less than 8 days. Even if you only have 3 hours left within an 8-day span, you could start working at 9 p.m. one day and keep driving through the night because you gained hours at midnight.

What do you think? Would you rather run a full shift with a day off or deal with the rules of a 34-hour restart?

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Daniel S.'s Comment
member avatar

Regaining hours with the recapture rule

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario…

ABC hauls freight for a supplier, and he must adhere to the 70-hour/8-day rule. That means he can’t exceed 70 hours of on-duty time in eight consecutive days, including today.

Let’s say he drove just under 10 hours a day for seven days in a row, and let’s say he logged a total of 69 on-duty hours of his available 70 in that time frame.

When midnight rolls around, the hours he logged on Day 1 drop off—we’ll say 9-1/2 hours—and he recaptures them. He can then add those newly recaptured hours to the one unused hour from the day before.

That means he now has a total of 10-1/2 available on-duty hours to get that new supply of black belts to martial arts retailers along the west coast. trucker hours recap Do I Have to Use the New 34 Hour Restart?

The only thing that can stop you - HOS rules. What does all of this mean for you?

If you (or your dispatcher) are master planners, you may go months before you have to take a 34-hour restart. In fact, if you’re really good, you may never need to use it.

Like we said, the 34-hour restart isn’t mandatory.

Dispatcher:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Daniel S.'s Comment
member avatar

Http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/documents/hos/Interstate-Truck-Driver-Guide-to-HOS_508.pdf

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Fm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
member avatar

Daniel, that is right. Let me try and elaborate. Your allowed to drive 11 hours in a day. Now if you are working really hard and taking up all that time, then in six and a half days you have used up the seventy hours that you were allowed to drive in an eight day period. Your done - you can't drive anymore. But if your schedule is not so demanding that you can work out your hours so that you just drove around eight or nine hours a day (8.75 is the magic number) then you will never run out of hours and you can just keep working because you haven't maxed out that 70 hours in eight days. As long as you can keep working then you don't need, nor is it required that you take a reset.

Every one has their own preferences on how to manage this. And it also depends on what type of runs your getting. My friend Daniel B. here on the forum, prefers to balance his hours and work every day, but for me, and the work that I'm doing, it often works out better for me to work some really crazy hours all week and then take a break at the end of the week. It doesn't always work out that way, but a lot of the time it does. I worked all last week on re-cap hours and I could have done it again this week, but with a long run ahead of me I didn't want to limit myself to 4 or five hours a day on a few days which is what I was going to have to do.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Mark, your re-cap hours are the hours that you worked in the previous week. Once you've put in your eight days of working you get back the hours that you worked nine days ago. Let's say you've finished eight days working and have pretty much used up your seventy hours. Now you need to know how many hours you can work the next day. Nine days ago you worked 10 hours - therefore you will now only have ten hours to work if you didn't take a reset. The next day it's the same thing over again, whatever you worked nine days ago is what you can work on that day. So if it was only three hours, then you are stuck with only being able to work three hours now.

This is what we mean by managing your hours. If you can mange your time so that you always have around eight or nine hours coming back to you (your recaps) then you can just keep on rolling on those hours and not get yourself in a bind on not having enough time to get where you need to be.

Now Mark and Daniel, I want to encourage both of you to get started on working your way through the High Road Training Program its free and invaluable on getting you prepared for taking your tests for your permit and your CDL. There is also some bonus sections in there concerning the log book rules that we've been discussing and weights and balance that will be game changers for your future careers. I've never seen anyone have a single complaint about that program and there are lots of raving reviews about how it has helped people get a leg up in this business.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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