What Does A Typical WEEKLY Schedule Look Like For A New Driver?

Topic 30050 | Page 1

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John S.'s Comment
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The info I'm finding online seems contradictory in that on one hand it's a job with very minimal free time and 70 hour weeks, but on the other you can only drive 11 hours before taking 10 hours off. Does this mean it's a 21 hour day and your sleep schedule is slowly rotating, or do you get to wake up at the same time every day (at least for a few days)?

If you do wake up at the same time, 11 hours per day is only like 6.5 days until you reach your 8 day 70 mile limit. Are you just chilling for a day and THEN starting your 34 hour reset?

Bonus: Are you basically expected to reach your legal limit every week? I don't mind working hard but value my free time and wouldn't mind getting paid a little less to grab some.

This is a lot of questions, I'll break it into multiple posts if that's better.

Big Scott's Comment
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It all depends on the loads. Also, if you can save a couple of hours each day it helps on recaps. HOS are extremely difficult to make sense of until one is out here doing it.

Here's how I drive. Most days I roll at 06:00 and drive until about 16:00. That's a good 10 hour day. Of course there is a 30 minute break in there. If there is a pickup, fuel stop and/or delivery, that will change.

Ultimately, the load dictates my schedule. But, most days I can run my clock like that. So most days, I take a 12 to 14 hour break. If all works out, I run on recaps and let 34s happen when they do.

Most likely everyone here runs their own way.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
RealDiehl's Comment
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Like the "Big" man said, "it all depends..."

Yes. 11hrs driving plus 10 hours reset equals 21 hrs. It would be great to run like that sometimes. However, if you go off duty for your half hour break, it pauses your drive clock. Now you are totalling 11.5 hrs for your day if you run your drive clock out. If you stop for fuel for half an hour. Again, drive clock is paused and now you have a 12 hour day. Stop to use the bathroom = 15mins. Add 15min + 15mins for your pre and post trip inspections as well. Now you are close to 13hrs.

In another scenario let's say you have to wait 2 hours to get loaded. Add in the time for a fuel stop, a half hour break, your pre and post trip inspections, and a bathroom break. Now you are over 14 hrs. Your duty clock runs out at 14. So you aren't going to be able to use all 11hrs of driving bc your on duty clock ate into your drive time.

Those are just some quick examples. There are many things that can add to your time during the day that aren't driving.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Old School's Comment
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John, welcome to our forum!

For an OTR (Over The Road) truck driver there really is no such thing as a typical week.

Big Scott says, "Most days I roll at 06:00 and drive until about 16:00." But he also says, "Ultimately, the load dictates my schedule."

We do what it takes to make sure our loads are delivered on time or early. My weeks are nothing like Big Scott's. I very seldom take more than a ten hour break. I will almost always pull a few all-nighters during my week. I do what I can to manage my hours efficiently. That's because I like to be the best I can be at this. I want to maximize my productivity.

You may find you have different objectives or goals than I do. There's nothing wrong with that. You said this...

I don't mind working hard but value my free time and wouldn't mind getting paid a little less to grab some.

Remember that your employer is expecting you to put in a good effort. That's why they have invested such huge sums of money in the equipment they own. They are trying to run a business and satisfy their stock holder's reasonable expectation of a decent return on their investment. Think about some of the math you just used to formulate your question. If you run hard everyday and burn up your 70 hours each week then you will actually be forced to take 34 hours off. A lot of drivers prefer to run their clock that way. Each week they take some time off that way. They will find something interesting to do nearby and enjoy the break from their labors.

Once you have established yourself out here you can run your truck in just the way that you enjoy. The important thing is that you try to remain a little flexible. Things change each week. There is seldom a time where you will have a "typical" week. We do the job, and make things happen in our favor out here. I tend to get things done early. I will contact my customers and change appointment times so they are efficient with my schedule. Anytime I can do that it just makes my productive hours more efficient.

It is difficult to fully comprehend how your hours work out here until you are actually doing the job. You asked a great question, but there is no way to get a specific answer for it. Every week there will be variables in customers, weather, road construction, traffic, terrain, and on and on. I can tell you this. You will put in long hours out here if you do well. If you want to put stock in an answer to your question, then put stock in that fact. You will be working some long hours.


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.

Over The Road:

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.

Rev's Comment
member avatar

This has been one of the biggest surprises starting trucking. And I’m green green green. Just went solo this last week (after one week of training with mentor after orientation and 2 days of account training) and at home getting ready to head out today.

I’m on a dedicated route that runs Washington State to Northern Idaho. With anywhere from 10-18 stops on the way back. Out Sunday return Tuesday afternoon. Out Wednesday morning return Friday (sometime). Then home till Sunday afternoon.

My first 5 days I clocked 64 hours. Pretty much we fight against the 14 hour clock on this dedicated route. With securement checks (flatbed) stoping at the required mileage. Stopping for weight stations, bathroom breaks. This is not counting- pre-trip planing at home, prepping to leave, cleaning everything when you return. Driving back from our DC which is 45-60min one way.

Again for me the biggest eye opener is how important learning your clock and for me the route and what it really takes and NOT RUSH during this learning phase. Plus, how much little time we really get to rest and relax.

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

's Comment
member avatar

I've been pretty lucky so far as far as getting a little time off each week to unwind. Seems like my fleet manager doesn't want to have to worry about his drivers not recapping enough hours as it's been rare in the short time I've been solo that I haven't been given a weekend load that allows for a 34 to end each week with. That could just be that I'm new and he doesn't want me to end up stuck somewhere out of hours, but my trainer typically had the same weekly 'schedule' as well.

If I'm being honest, if you're only looking at the 70 hour clock and not counting living in the truck as being at work, I'm actually putting in LESS hours than my previous job.

Fleet 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.
Mountain Matt's Comment
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Thank you, John S., for posting this question, and to each of you for your detailed responses. As a prospective, this kind of detail is helpful for envisioning how things work and what daily life is like. I know that for every job, there is a big gap between what people assume and what the daily work life is like.

The HOS does seem one of the trickier aspects to get your mind around. But I suppose every job has its quirks. In my workplace, people are so happy when they make the jump from hourly to salary because they won't have to punch the clock anymore. But then I warn them that this just means they can be forced to work endless more hours for not a penny more pay. Pros and cons, like anything in life.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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