How Do Couples Work Their Hours?

Topic 25990 | Page 1

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Amber L.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, New to forums in general. My husband and I are looking at starting a truck driving career this fall. I've been doing plenty of research but would really like to know how other couples out on the road work their hours. It seems like a complicated system at this time and we don't like to reinvent the wheel so we are curious how others handle who drives when and for how long. Thank you all!

Turtle's Comment
member avatar

Hi Amber, and welcome to the forum.

I assume you were talking about team driving couples, and how they divvy up the hours.

It works largely the same as any other team driving situation. Basically, a team member is limited to however much driving they can get done within their 14-hour clock, once it starts. Let's say one team member starts at midnight. The 14-hour clock starts at that point, so they have to fit in whatever driving they can do by 2 p.m. Likewise with the other team member.

However, what alot of teams do is work 12-hour shifts. That doesn't mean you're always working 12 straight hours, just that whatever happens during your shift period is up to you to take care of. Sometimes you'll be driving, other times you'll be napping at a dock while waiting to get loaded. You're responsible for whatever needs to be done in your shift, and every day will be different. But since you're working the same shift all the time, your body becomes adjusted to those hours of wake/sleep.

As a team couple, you'll adjust to each other's individual preferences. You like nights, he prefers days, that sort of thing. Once you get all that figured out, you can work out a schedule that suits you both, and adjust as needed.

I think it may be as hard to explain as it is to understand. Keep looking into it. It'll become less complicated as you learn more.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Hi, Amber. Welcome top Trucking Truth.

The quick answer to "how you work your hours" is as Turtle describes.

This is more humane than the possible 10-10-10 shift where each driver takes the wheel for ten hours, is off for ten, then back in the front seat for another ten. Considering a day has 24 hours, your on and off periods rotate through the day. I feel this is brutal and not worth the effort. Yes, you stop the truck every once in a while, but the main thing is to get your freight delivered as fast as possible.

Use the search bar at the top (It's the blank space just under the "Trucking Truth" title.) and enter "team driving" for any mention of this topic. Here's an article at the top of the search results: Dispelling The Myths Of Team Driving by Rainy, one of our top contributors.

Or click the three bar menu (top left) will get you to "Trucking Wiki" with just about anything you want to know about truck driving.

And, get your other questions answered right here on the Trucking Truth Forum!

Robert D. (Raptor)'s Comment
member avatar

Amber Welcome to TT. As Turtle and Errol said you'll find lots of true info here. Be advised going through the the training together you will be together most of the time. But once you have your CDL and go to the second phase of training you will be with a trainer or mentor as some companies call them. Then there will be maybe 6 months of solo unless you arrange it with the company you and your hubby go with. These are just some of the things that you will be facing.

I wish you both the best. The High Road training material here on TT is a very valuable resource for both of you to look into.

Raptor

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.
Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

I second Robert the Raptor's notes.

Here's something to think about, even concerning your beloved husband: Good news "you will be together a lot!". Bad news: "you will be together a lot!". Think of living together hours & days at at time in a space as large as a bathroom. Literally an arms reach apart most of your life.

My sister-in-law rode with her truck driver husband for years. Even learned a thing or two about backing a truck. She went ahead and got her own CDL so they could team. This lasted about 5 months then they separated (their jobs, not their marriage!) and drove separate trucks. My sister-in-law felt that was a much better life style than teaming with her hubby. Now she works in the company office as a Driver Manager. And they are still "a couple"!

I'm not out to throw water on your dream. But there are other factors you may not have thought about that are involved.

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.

Driver Manager:

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.
Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

Hi. I am a team trainer. I try to give my students choices and flexibity. Most teams will say something like "one drives noon to midnight, the other the opposite" or something to that effect.

That is just the time you are at the helm, not necessarily driving. For example, Wife starts at noon, drives 3 hours to the customer. At 1800 she starts driving again, then stops for fuel and to grab a bite to eat at 2100. She drives from 2130 until midnight to swap shifts with hubby.

She drove 3+3+2.5 = 8.5 hours of the 12 hours shift.

Many will try to eat and shower between the shifts. This sort of buffers and allows a little bit of a longer break for both. If you do your clock right, you dont have to do 10 or 11 hours drives constantly. Handling personal things in the middle of a drive shift can combat fatigue for the driver. I found that a student who took only a 30 minute break, or took it toward the end of the first 8 hours would be more tired and do less miles, maybe 450 to 500. If I had us stop and shower after he did 300 miles, he had no problem doing another 300 miles or so. Some of this is learning your own body clocks. However, as the team gains experience, the schedules can get tighter and tighter meaning less down time and more planning.

I often just see who has hours and which one wants to drive. The main concern is the 70 clock. Therefore once a week, I have one person drive to a location, park for 24 hours then the other person rolls out. Both get 34 hour breaks this way and the clocks are replenished.

Teaming is something you need to understand before doing it. It sounds great in theory, but many people cannot adjust to sleeping in a moving truck. And it is harder when it is a new person driving who speeds up and slows down quickly. The one in the bunk gets tossed around. If the driver takes a curve too fast, your feet fly in the air. At that point, you need to consider how safe that driver is. In the manual transmissions it was horrible as drivers learned to shift.

Also understand most of the time, that truck is going to be moving. You need to plan everything more so than with being solo. I never do laundry when under a load, i wait until a 34 or tell dispatch i need extra time before the next load. Sometimes squeezing in showers is a rushed 30 minute break not a leisurely 2 hour process.

Because the truck is moving all the time and one driver needs sleep, you might be surprised how little time you spend together. This is not a travel adventure tour. Yes you can plan trips and see the country using your home time to explore, but it is not romantic sightseeing on a daily basis as some new husband wife drivers fantasize.

good luck. You have so much to learn, dont concentrate on this right away. it is one of those things you need to "do" to get it right.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Susan D. 's Comment
member avatar

When I teamed we just agreed to do 12 hour shifts each... 0700 to 1900 for me 1900 to 0700 for him lol. So guess who got both morning and evening rush?

I've seen some teams just do 8's each. No 30 minute break required. The cool thing about teaming is someone ALWAYS has hours.

The thing about teaming with a spouse or significant other? You honestly don't get much quality time together because when you're off duty, you're SLEEPING while they drive. You're only allowed to ride in the passenger seat for 2 hours or less during your 10 hour break or you'll have a "passenger rule violation " on your logs.

Amber L.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you all! Rainy thank you! Lots of great information. This question has been bugging me nice to get a bit of a handle on it, I know we will learn more once we are on the road. A bit more about my husband and I. We have been living/traveling in a 16ft van for about 3years so I feel we can handle the together time, it's actually the together without being together thing that worries me a little. We are both trying to take the view it will be an adventure one with lots of ups and downs, and full of hard work! Rainy I saw in your pictures the prime logo so I'm guessing you train for them? And it sounds like you take both husband and wife out together? Is that normal for prime or something special you have to set up? Also curious what are the things you like about prime? Anything they do differently than other companies you especially like? Thank you again for the answers!

Hi. I am a team trainer. I try to give my students choices and flexibity. Most teams will say something like "one drives noon to midnight, the other the opposite" or something to that effect.

That is just the time you are at the helm, not necessarily driving. For example, Wife starts at noon, drives 3 hours to the customer. At 1800 she starts driving again, then stops for fuel and to grab a bite to eat at 2100. She drives from 2130 until midnight to swap shifts with hubby.

She drove 3+3+2.5 = 8.5 hours of the 12 hours shift.

Many will try to eat and shower between the shifts. This sort of buffers and allows a little bit of a longer break for both. If you do your clock right, you dont have to do 10 or 11 hours drives constantly. Handling personal things in the middle of a drive shift can combat fatigue for the driver. I found that a student who took only a 30 minute break, or took it toward the end of the first 8 hours would be more tired and do less miles, maybe 450 to 500. If I had us stop and shower after he did 300 miles, he had no problem doing another 300 miles or so. Some of this is learning your own body clocks. However, as the team gains experience, the schedules can get tighter and tighter meaning less down time and more planning.

I often just see who has hours and which one wants to drive. The main concern is the 70 clock. Therefore once a week, I have one person drive to a location, park for 24 hours then the other person rolls out. Both get 34 hour breaks this way and the clocks are replenished.

Teaming is something you need to understand before doing it. It sounds great in theory, but many people cannot adjust to sleeping in a moving truck. And it is harder when it is a new person driving who speeds up and slows down quickly. The one in the bunk gets tossed around. If the driver takes a curve too fast, your feet fly in the air. At that point, you need to consider how safe that driver is. In the manual transmissions it was horrible as drivers learned to shift.

Also understand most of the time, that truck is going to be moving. You need to plan everything more so than with being solo. I never do laundry when under a load, i wait until a 34 or tell dispatch i need extra time before the next load. Sometimes squeezing in showers is a rushed 30 minute break not a leisurely 2 hour process.

Because the truck is moving all the time and one driver needs sleep, you might be surprised how little time you spend together. This is not a travel adventure tour. Yes you can plan trips and see the country using your home time to explore, but it is not romantic sightseeing on a daily basis as some new husband wife drivers fantasize.

good luck. You have so much to learn, dont concentrate on this right away. it is one of those things you need to "do" to get it right.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Amber L.'s Comment
member avatar

Just want to say thank you to everyone! It helps me to get a bit clearer picture of what we will be doing! More questions to come! Really thankful I found this site!

Rainy 's Comment
member avatar

Prime does not do the 2nd phase of team training together for spouses.

You can probably do the schooling phase together by staying at the terminal rather than going OTR with your permit.

One trainer, student per truck when OTR. That is the way it is.

Here is a link with a long thread about Prime where I answered a ton of questions. feel free to add to it and ask and i will answer there to keep it all together.

Remember when i first started Prime starting oay was 39cpm. its now up to 44cpm.

Rainy's Prime Pay Thread

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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.

CPM:

Cents Per Mile

Drivers are often paid by the mile and it's given in cents per mile, or cpm.

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