HOS Question/advice

Topic 19315 | Page 1

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Paul F. 's Comment
member avatar

Ladies and gentlemen.

Based on my reading here it has become plainly apparent that my performance is directly proportional to my success as a driver (duh!). I understand the rules of HOS , and the high road was quite informative. However I see the management and maximization of HOS as a major factor to be a top tier driver. Or am I wrong? That being said is there somewhere I can go, a website or a book to get that will assist me with regards to this subject? I'm going to Learn all I can from my trainer but will that be enough? I'm someone who tries to learn all I can, especially about what I perceive to be an important subject. Also, I personally like driving at night because there is far less traffic, but if you get to your destination 4 hours before they open, and have to wait, it would be counter productive, or would it? Would the off duty time actually be beneficial? Am I being too hasty, and asking questions here that will be covered in training? Even as I'm writing this I've thought of several other things. One thing I've never heard is what are the penalties for violations? Is there a "grace period"? If I'm 15 minutes over looking for a parking spot will the you-know-what hit the fan?

Thanks in advance.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

I have a new nickname for you! Couch Potato Paul! I like it!

Along with safety, knowing how to maximize HoS is of the greatest importance to maximizing your income. However, its also one of those things you cant fully grasp until you start driving solo.

Having said that, if you complete the High Road Training Program along with the HoS section then you are way ahead of the game. Come into training with all the knowledge from the program and you'll be fine.

From this point forward you just gotta get out there and do the job to learn it better.

Safety is usually relaxed about an HoS violation once every few months but if they start adding up you'll definitely be on their radar.

And about driving the truck stop lot searching for a parking spot, just put yourself on Sleeper Berth and continue to search for a parking spot while driving very slowly so it wony trigger the Quallcomm. Theres many tricks out there that hopefully your trainer will teach you. In 3 yeara OTR I only had 2 HoS violations. Its really difficult to get one if you know how to work it.

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.

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.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Truckin Along With Kearse's Comment
member avatar

Hi. What you are talking about is trip planning and if you search the term in the search bar you will probably find dozens of threads. Try sleeper berth or HOS too.

This whole process will feel overwhelming. And part of the rookies first year is managing the clock to maximize your available miles.

Off duty management is as important as on duty management. And you will learn to get to a customer with overnight parking as soon as possible. Not all customers have parking so I'll park usually within 20 miles the night before to get there with a full clock.

Here's an example: I get to my customer at midnight for an 0800 appointment. They take two hours to load me. Now I drive out of the customer with a full clock, get to the next customer early and get my next load while a different driver is still sitting at their receiver. Its a lot of work and hustling. Smiling at customers to take you early, and buidling a relationship with your FM. Learn the 8/2 splits. Many people don't use them, but they can be very beneficial at times. Study the High roads HOS.

Here's another example, you get to the customer three hours early with 8 hours on your clock. The customer takes five hours to load you. Now your 14 hour clock is eating into your drive time and reducing it....if you are OFF Duty..but...if you are in sleeper for five hours then park and stay in sleeper for another three hours....you get the full 8 hours of drive time you came in with. Which means you will get to roll out and get probably 200+ miles further than the rookie who doesn't understand that. The other driver would wind up taking a 5 hour off duty at the customer then drive for a few hours then take a 10 hour break. The smart and successful driver would take 8sleeper, then later take a two hour off duty break and get more drive time back. So one driver takes 15 hours of off duty vs 10 hours....that is a 300 mile difference. And THAT is why I know I'm a top driver on my FMs board.

Plan the trip before you start. I make a list of good parking spots about every 100 miles. Sometimes it is smarter to drive 400 miles and park someplace you KNOW will have parking than to drive 550 miles and need to get creative with parking. I NEVER violate due to parking and usually park with 1-2 hours on my clock so if some crazy issue occurs I still have time to.fix the situation. Plus it helps to manage the 70 clock.

From the very beginning, I would.message my FM by 1600 so that he knew by the end of his day my ETA for my overcnight customers. "ETA 2200 for 0600 appt". After a month he told me " you are great at that! I never worry about you being late". So I stopped with those messages. With that goes "Slowing due to dense fog" so he can keep in his head I might get behind. I can usually give about 15-20 hours notice if I'm behind on a delivery. Which gives my FM plenty of time to arrange for a driver to relay (aka repower) the load. Communicate issues, get there early and don't hit anything. You will go far. Prime not only pays us weekly bonuses for on time delivery, but gives jackets, hats, gold rings, and other rewards. I just got my annual jackets.. One for a year of on time delivery, one for a year of safe driving ;)

You asked about violations. First keep in mind HOS is federal law and you will get a ticket and/or put out of service if inspected or stopped by a cop or pulled into a weigh station. Violations are just that--bad. Each company has a different policy. Prime issues you one point for each violation. They drop off on a rolling six month, so Jan violation will drop off in July. At 20 violations you get pulled in for a warning with logs. At 21 your FM gets reprimanded for your violations. Guess what will happen then? If you can't manage your clock, your loads will slow so you can do so. Plus you wind up with a FM who can't trust you. Not good.

You want to drive at night, which I did in the beginning. By the time you park for the day the truck stops are empty. Something else I would do would be to start around 0300. Then 0700-0900 I'd take a two hour break. Missing the morning work traffic. Then I'd park by 1500 missing the afternoon traffic and still have plenty of parking options. It also helped with the fatigue of adjusting to long drive times.builds your stamina.

Hope this helps.

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Paul, you said you prefer night driving. My favorite "shift" is 2am - 2pm. With this drive schedule, I did drive I-75 straight through Cincinnati in 20 minutes at 3am. And when it's time to pull in for the day, at 2pm the truck stop parking is empty!

Does that improve your drive time? Think about that Cincinnati run. 20 miles in 20 minutes, or during the day, 20 miles in 2 hours?

As for pickup/ delivery times, you get that by experience. This is also part of trip planning.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Trip planning is key and much depends on your shippers and consignees (receivers) and appointments. Some will take you early, some won't.

Use Truckerpath app (it's free) to see various routes. Yesterday I got an assignment to pickup after 1pm in Northern Tennessee and take to Albany, GA. I had unloaded previously @ 9am. Went to pickup and it was ready. Qualcomm Navigation had me go through Nashville and Atlanta to Albany. Since Atlanta can be a parking lot anytime after 5am, I went I-65 south to Montgomery, AL and US Highway from there to destination, where I could park for the night instead of looking for a truck stop (so it didn't matter if I drove until 7-8pm). Better scenery and no traffic jams. I'll deliver here in an hour or so and have a full day's clock available after that.

Don't overthink it this early in the game.

Consignee:

The customer the freight is being delivered to. Also referred to as "the receiver". The shipper is the customer that is shipping the goods, the consignee is the customer receiving the goods.

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.

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.
Paul F. 's Comment
member avatar

"Its really difficult to get one if you know how to work it."

That's a relief!! I'm kind of a nerd regarding following rules, especially federal law.

Thanks for the information everyone. One of the things I was fearful of was asking peers for advice. I've been in places where people are disinclined to help, or intentionally mislead you, because they are afraid you will be better than they are and will replace them. I've seen it. I can see that ,at least here on TT, that will not be the case.

You guys aren't great, you're sofa king great!!

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Taxman's Comment
member avatar

And about driving the truck stop lot searching for a parking spot, just put yourself on Sleeper Berth and continue to search for a parking spot while driving very slowly so it wony trigger the Quallcomm.

I keep reading this sort of thing, and every time I see it I get more curious, so now I've got to ask:

At what speed does the QC decide that you're moving and log it?

Sleeper Berth:

The portion of the tractor behind the seats which acts as the "living space" for the driver. It generally contains a bed (or bunk beds), cabinets, lights, temperature control knobs, and 12 volt plugs for power.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Taxman gets curious:

At what speed does the QC decide that you're moving and log it?

The QC switches to "moving mode" at 25 MPH, I think. They say you can move a bit on the parking lot, like in case you are blocking a roadway.

There's also a time limit. I tried moving three miles going 10 MPH or less. I kept the speed down, but after a few minutes I lost two hours I had for my 10 hour break.

LDRSHIP's Comment
member avatar

Each company sets their own parameters. Speed and distance are the 2 variables that can be custom set. My company uses 15 mph. Go above that for more than a few seconds and you get switched to driving. It also takes back any time not sitting still and changes that to driving as well.

Taxman's Comment
member avatar

I see. So anybody who is allowed to overnight at the shipper can load on sleeper time in the morning, and Errol can park at the Flying J 1/4 mile from the shipper and still load on sleeper time after leaving the truck stop.

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.

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