Unusual HOS Questions . . .

Topic 31066 | Page 1

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Gregg M.'s Comment
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As I investigate driving careers I am not limiting myself to OTR opportunities. While I have a Class A licence, most of my experience is in the towing industry, emergency road service in particular.

One of the opportunities I'm pursuing is with Copart, a national insurance salvor and auction company. They are currently moving most or all of their transport operations in-house, buying large numbers of new 2 and 4 car transporters and hiring many new drivers. As an experienced tow operator with a CDL-A I fit their somewhat unique qualification requirements. I find the job appealing because it potentially pays better than most OTR and many home every night jobs I see, yet offers a home time and hours of at work time situation that seems better than either of those options.

Another appealing factor to me is their requirement that you be available for "Disaster Response". Essentially, when an event occurs (like recent hurricane activity across the nation) that creates an overwhelming number of vehicles to be moved to Copart facilities, drivers and their equipment are sent to those areas to assist the local on-site crews until the available work returns to normal. Under these conditions drivers are provided housing, meals, per diem , and bonuses, in addition to their normal pay. As a first responder I find this kind of situation interesting and probably almost fun. (I know, wack job).

So my first question is this - as a tow operator we are exempt from HOS regulations within 150 miles of our base of operations for "emergency road service". However, Copart is doing vehicle transport, and therefor must comply with the HOS regulations. So like your typical home every day CDL driver they are basically limited to an 11 hour driving day under normal conditions, correct?

And my second question regards operation during "Disaster Response". During a phone interview I had a facility manager explain that once drivers arrive at the disaster area they operate exempt from HOS regulation because Copart has the ability to request that exemption as a disaster responder. Personally, if I'm going to be away from home I'd just as soon be working as much as I can to make the trip worthwhile, I'm just wondering if anyone here knows or has any experience with this?

Thanks in advance



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.


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.

Per Diem:

Getting paid per diem means getting a portion of your salary paid to you without taxes taken out. It's technically classified as a meal and expense reimbursement.

Truck drivers and others who travel for a living get large tax deductions for meal expenses. The Government set up per diem pay as a way to reimburse some of the taxes you pay with each paycheck instead of making you wait until tax filing season.

Getting per diem pay means a driver will get a larger paycheck each week but a smaller tax return at tax time.

We have a ton of information on our wiki page on per diem pay


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.


Operating While Intoxicated

Banks's Comment
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Yes you still operate under the 11 hour rule when working the regular gig.

Yes there are disaster exemptions, but I'm not well versed in them. It's why plow trucks can work 16 hour days when a snow storm hits.

Steve L.'s Comment
member avatar

Occasionally (usually after hurricanes) my company operates under these disaster relief exemptions. When it happens, we receive a letter to carry with us. The exemption is usually limited in time frame and geographic area. E.g. if I'm delivering a load into Mississippi, in a disaster affected area, I may be exempt, but when I move on to the next load assignment in a non-disaster relief area, the exemption is no longer applicable to my hours of service.

Keep in mind, while you may want to work as much as possible AND while you may have a letter allowing you to do so, SAFETY IS STILL the foremost issue. It'll do you no good to be "on duty" while you're laying in a ditch because you didn't wanna rest.

I would expect the company you're considering will have someone in charge of safety and that person will be able to give you specifics on each disaster relief situation.

I hope this helps.


Operating While Intoxicated

Gregg M.'s Comment
member avatar

Thanks guys - appreciate the feedback.

"It's why plow trucks can work 16 hour days when a snow storm hits." - My brother works for PennDOT and they are exempted from HOS regulations at all times, as well as other less significant exemptions. As you said they extend that courtesy to their contracted snow removal companies under storm conditions. It's good to be the Government . . .

I have an in-person interview with the facility manager tomorrow morning, if it goes well I plan to ask more than a few specific questions about their operational expectations. I will say I had the unexpected opportunity to talk at length with a couple of their drivers and they had only good things to say about the company and the job, so I'm hopeful it works out.



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.


Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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