Question About The DOT Physical

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Hobo's Comment
member avatar

double-quotes-start.png

Who said anything about hurting the company? I think we can agree that the OP's off-duty time isn't a driving force here because if it were it would have been mentioned in the Original Post. What I'm saying is if your company tells you to do something you'd better be on-duty when you do it for liability reasons.

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I'm curious... what liability reasons?

If my company asks me to get a physical while on home time, I'll drive directly to the clinic to get the physical completed, then on with any other personal business I need to get done.

There's *No Way* I'm driving to the terminal to climb in a truck, sign in to the ELD to put myself 'on duty', then drive to the clinic to do the physical, then have to backtrack to the terminal again just to get in a truck to put myself back to 'off duty'....

All those extra steps sounds like extra liability to me?

What else will you do on your own time? Will you use your fuel card on your own time?

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

The comment came across to me as "ill show them." I see this all the time OTR when drivers wont count 3 hrs in a walmart dock as part of their 10hr split. So tge druver loses 3 hours of driving and $$$ cause "they aint making me work more. I am getting ny full 10 regardless of how long i was in a dock" hurts driver pocket more.

Wrong. The comment I responded to specifically mentioned a 34 hour reset and off duty time and you acknowledged that in your response. Now I also said I didn't think the OP really cared about that and I explained why I think that.

What is concerning here though is what appears to be a belief on your part that conducting company business on off duty hours is acceptable because you save hours. I see this as log falsification.

I've taken DOT physicals on my own time but I paid for them and the company didn't tell me to take them. When the company tells me to do something I'm on duty...always.

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.

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.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar
What else will you do on your own time? Will you use your fuel card on your own time?

When you're logged off duty do you do anything work related? Do you scope out the shipper/receiver or read reviews? Do you look at your equipment? When you're broken down on the side of the road are you logged on duty the entire time? Those are work related activities.

Nearly all drivers are guilty of log falsification to an extent. Go to any large DC and you'll see drivers going the 2 mph crawl to stay off duty. Log the way you feel comfortable as you're ultimately responsible. My employer calls me daily while I'm off duty to choose my route for the following day. That's work related, yet DOT doesn't require us to log it on duty.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

BK's Comment
member avatar

Hobo says this:

“When the company tells me to do something I'm on duty...always.”

Not quite so cut and dried. For example, right now I’m taking a 34 at the company facility. My truck was due for a PM. Yesterday, while off duty for the 34, the shop called me and said to bring the truck into the garage for the PM. I’m not going to interrupt my 34 to creep into the shop for the work. Same when they were done, still stayed off duty. The company asked me to do what I did, but no way I’m going to go on duty and mess up my 34.

I could cite other examples of staying off duty to do things the company asks me to do, but the point is that there are times when the letter of the law makes no common sense. I get paid by the mile. My attitude is that if it is customary to pay by the mile, then it’s only fair that a driver can do what he needs to do in order to maximize his hours available and, in turn, maximize his miles.

There are exceptions to most rules. Black and white is fine, but I like the color grey on a regular basis and as needed.

Robert B. (The Dragon) ye's Comment
member avatar

Hobo says this:

“When the company tells me to do something I'm on duty...always.”

Not quite so cut and dried. For example, right now I’m taking a 34 at the company facility. My truck was due for a PM. Yesterday, while off duty for the 34, the shop called me and said to bring the truck into the garage for the PM. I’m not going to interrupt my 34 to creep into the shop for the work. Same when they were done, still stayed off duty. The company asked me to do what I did, but no way I’m going to go on duty and mess up my 34.

I could cite other examples of staying off duty to do things the company asks me to do, but the point is that there are times when the letter of the law makes no common sense. I get paid by the mile. My attitude is that if it is customary to pay by the mile, then it’s only fair that a driver can do what he needs to do in order to maximize his hours available and, in turn, maximize his miles.

There are exceptions to most rules. Black and white is fine, but I like the color grey on a regular basis and as needed.

An even better and safer approach to this is to log out. Let dispatch know the situation and annotate that you the driver did not move the vehicle and that the shop performed the move due to the service. You're now off the hook and there's notes to verify it.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

The reality is that we are paid in a piecework world but our HOS were designed for an hourly world.

Carriers get the best of both worlds doing this. It means that we have to play both sides of the coin. We all in reality, preserve our clocks to some extent by doing things work related off duty. But, the carrier's nature is to have the driver do everything and anything they can without getting compensated for it. It's not personal, just business.

Given that, I orchestrate and massage things such as that I get paid for any activities I do to the extent that I reasonably can. There is always a balance to be maintained.

So in that aspect, I'm going to look to log time or arrange it that the truck repairs are done while on a load or getting done with a load. The company on the other hand will attempt to get all repairs done and things that the driver needs to facilitate on the drivers personal time. That way they avoid costs.

It behooves the driver to know ahead of time when your B service is up, your DOT physical is coming etc. Then you can be proactive in scheduling to your benefit, while also being productive. IE:

"Hey, I've got hometime coming up, but I'm going to be in a Tibetan monks shrine for the week of hometime so I won't be available. Let's go ahead and do my DOT physical tomorrow in between this load and the next one."

This way you can possibly position yourself for some extra pay or at least a favor in the future, instead of fighting the company, you're redirecting their will and for all intents and purposes being a great employee.

This is a mirror of the unspoken, unwritten polices that the carriers use to cut costs. Your simply using them in reverse to increase your revenue.

If you come out and boldly announced that there's no way in hades that you're going to do stuff on your own time, you'd just come off as petty and confrontational. Just as the company won't bodly announce their intent is to get you to do everything they can without paying you for it. They wouldn't have very many drivers left if they did. So they manipulate and we redirect and arrange as I like to call it. Individual results may vary.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

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

Yep. Have a well thought out solution before you ever have to have the conversation. It makes FM's life easier, and I usually get close to what I wanted/needed how I needed it to happen. Far too many people in every day life miss the Forrest for the trees.

The reality is that we are paid in a piecework world but our HOS were designed for an hourly world.

Carriers get the best of both worlds doing this. It means that we have to play both sides of the coin. We all in reality, preserve our clocks to some extent by doing things work related off duty. But, the carrier's nature is to have the driver do everything and anything they can without getting compensated for it. It's not personal, just business.

Given that, I orchestrate and massage things such as that I get paid for any activities I do to the extent that I reasonably can. There is always a balance to be maintained.

So in that aspect, I'm going to look to log time or arrange it that the truck repairs are done while on a load or getting done with a load. The company on the other hand will attempt to get all repairs done and things that the driver needs to facilitate on the drivers personal time. That way they avoid costs.

It behooves the driver to know ahead of time when your B service is up, your DOT physical is coming etc. Then you can be proactive in scheduling to your benefit, while also being productive. IE:

"Hey, I've got hometime coming up, but I'm going to be in a Tibetan monks shrine for the week of hometime so I won't be available. Let's go ahead and do my DOT physical tomorrow in between this load and the next one."

This way you can possibly position yourself for some extra pay or at least a favor in the future, instead of fighting the company, you're redirecting their will and for all intents and purposes being a great employee.

This is a mirror of the unspoken, unwritten polices that the carriers use to cut costs. Your simply using them in reverse to increase your revenue.

If you come out and boldly announced that there's no way in hades that you're going to do stuff on your own time, you'd just come off as petty and confrontational. Just as the company won't bodly announce their intent is to get you to do everything they can without paying you for it. They wouldn't have very many drivers left if they did. So they manipulate and we redirect and arrange as I like to call it. Individual results may vary.

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.

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.
Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar

This conversation covers some of those gray areas in trucking I've talked about all these years, and it shows why bold, competitive drivers who are willing to push the envelope will turn the most miles and make the most money.

I loved being paid by the mile. In fact, I want everyone to be paid by the amount of work they accomplish. Not only is that fair, but I know almost no one will accomplish more than I will. I'm bold, I'm ambitious, and I will come up with creative solutions that get the job done when most won't. That's how I've always been, and quite honestly, I can't make sense of being any other way. That's how I was as a driver.

One decision I made when I started this website 17 years ago was to help people thrive in trucking exactly as it is today. I didn't want to be an activist. I didn't want to make changes in trucking. I felt most people focused on what was wrong with the industry. I wanted to teach people they could be incredibly happy and successful in this industry, exactly as it is today. Almost no one else does that, even to this day.

On that note, the reality is no different today than it was 30 years ago - bold, ambitious, competitive drivers will find ways to turn more miles, make more money, and get the best treatment. Those who want to complain, blame, criticize, or refuse to do work based on some perceived slight (real or imagined) will simply make less money and get a lower level of consideration for future work.

Did I do some of my work off-duty? Of course I did! And don't forget, I'm from the paper logbook era, so I was able to get away with way more than you guys can today. I didn't turn more miles overall than the top drivers are today, but I was able to rearrange my logbook so that I had more flexibility.

I also learned a ton of tricks over the years, some legal and ethical, some not. For instance, I learned to make up stories to tell dock workers about how much money I would lose if I couldn't get loaded/unloaded within a reasonable amount of time. I'd tell this big sob story, and the overwhelming majority of the time I got out of there faster than I would have otherwise.

I also learned to call the customer to get appointments moved ahead. I would say, "We have a driver coming in there for a 10:00 appointment, and we desperately need that driver to pick up another load later this morning. Could we get him unloaded at 8:00 instead?"

Now I never mentioned the fact that I was the driver. I just said 'we' have a driver coming in for an appointment. Our company. Well, that was true. But the thing is, the customers are far more likely to accommodate a request from my company's management than little ol' me, the driver. So I just kind of implied that I was a manager at my company, and it worked almost every time.

Davy is right. The system is designed for maximum efficiency. The company and the drivers are paid based on the amount of work they do. The more work they can do at a given cost, the more likely they are to survive in this industry. The companies that survive over the long term are the ones who keep finding ways to make their operations more efficient, so they do everything they can to incentivize their drivers to be as efficient as possible.

I'm not advising anyone to cheat the logbook or do work when you're off-duty. I'm also not telling you not to, unless you're a rookie in your first six months. Rookies should do things by the book. But as your career progresses, you must accept the reality that those who safely and successfully push the limits will make more money and get better treatment than those who won't.

You alone must decide what type of driver you want to be, and I don't fault anyone for their decision. If you feel you shouldn't have to work off duty or break any laws, no one can fault you for that. If you're willing to push into those territories, you're taking a big risk, so you'd better not screw up.

That's trucking.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Stevo Reno's Comment
member avatar

I did a lot of off the clock stuff IF it was going to help me boost my productivity....I thing I was told by my mentor was he would fuel and do that stuff, while on his 30. Besides what am I gunna do for 30 minutes lol I didn't always need it. It takes under 15 minutes to fuel up, clean windows and mirrors and pull out to run in grab a bite or coffee or take a leak whatever, and get right back on the highway. My 2 co's did waste a LOT of time on a 30, and make it an hour or 2, like they were special or sumpin'

I kept up on my pre n post trips religiously, besides having newer trucks, still kept me alert to what wasn't happening, leaks or defects. Of course my lifetime as a mechanic helped me out more than most, knowing everything, was good and no problems with the truck/trailers....Trailers, I did get most repaired when I found defects. Once on I-80 during the winter, headed west, from Iowa, we needed 2 tires fixed ASAP.

Well, since most Love's, either had no active tire lane or shop opened (during the china flu), I was not driving, so I kept calling ahead to every Love's on route. Took 3rd Love's to finally have 1 open, 2 a tire guy on duty, so told em to await our arrival in about 2 hours or less!........Also they had issues with frozen air lines or guys calling off work, so no one on staff etc. This was all after our DM gave up with calling any road side help. We did get it handled as soon as we rolled into the shop...Gawd I hated winter on the I-80 hahaha

SAP:

Substance Abuse Professional

The Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who evaluates employees who have violated a DOT drug and alcohol program regulation and makes recommendations concerning education, treatment, follow-up testing, and aftercare.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Davy A.'s Comment
member avatar

This conversation covers some of those gray areas in trucking I've talked about all these years, and it shows why bold, competitive drivers who are willing to push the envelope will turn the most miles and make the most money.

I loved being paid by the mile. In fact, I want everyone to be paid by the amount of work they accomplish. Not only is that fair, but I know almost no one will accomplish more than I will. I'm bold, I'm ambitious, and I will come up with creative solutions that get the job done when most won't. That's how I've always been, and quite honestly, I can't make sense of being any other way. That's how I was as a driver.

One decision I made when I started this website 17 years ago was to help people thrive in trucking exactly as it is today. I didn't want to be an activist. I didn't want to make changes in trucking. I felt most people focused on what was wrong with the industry. I wanted to teach people they could be incredibly happy and successful in this industry, exactly as it is today. Almost no one else does that, even to this day.

On that note, the reality is no different today than it was 30 years ago - bold, ambitious, competitive drivers will find ways to turn more miles, make more money, and get the best treatment. Those who want to complain, blame, criticize, or refuse to do work based on some perceived slight (real or imagined) will simply make less money and get a lower level of consideration for future work.

Did I do some of my work off-duty? Of course I did! And don't forget, I'm from the paper logbook era, so I was able to get away with way more than you guys can today. I didn't turn more miles overall than the top drivers are today, but I was able to rearrange my logbook so that I had more flexibility.

I also learned a ton of tricks over the years, some legal and ethical, some not. For instance, I learned to make up stories to tell dock workers about how much money I would lose if I couldn't get loaded/unloaded within a reasonable amount of time. I'd tell this big sob story, and the overwhelming majority of the time I got out of there faster than I would have otherwise.

I also learned to call the customer to get appointments moved ahead. I would say, "We have a driver coming in there for a 10:00 appointment, and we desperately need that driver to pick up another load later this morning. Could we get him unloaded at 8:00 instead?"

Now I never mentioned the fact that I was the driver. I just said 'we' have a driver coming in for an appointment. Our company. Well, that was true. But the thing is, the customers are far more likely to accommodate a request from my company's management than little ol' me, the driver. So I just kind of implied that I was a manager at my company, and it worked almost every time.

Davy is right. The system is designed for maximum efficiency. The company and the drivers are paid based on the amount of work they do. The more work they can do at a given cost, the more likely they are to survive in this industry. The companies that survive over the long term are the ones who keep finding ways to make their operations more efficient, so they do everything they can to incentivize their drivers to be as efficient as possible.

I'm not advising anyone to cheat the logbook or do work when you're off-duty. I'm also not telling you not to, unless you're a rookie in your first six months. Rookies should do things by the book. But as your career progresses, you must accept the reality that those who safely and successfully push the limits will make more money and get better treatment than those who won't.

You alone must decide what type of driver you want to be, and I don't fault anyone for their decision. If you feel you shouldn't have to work off duty or break any laws, no one can fault you for that. If you're willing to push into those territories, you're taking a big risk, so you'd better not screw up.

That's trucking.

This is exactly my philosophy. The worst pay structure for me is hourly. It simply doesnt produce as much as I do under piecework. Im highly motivated, bold, and very quick on my feet in terms problem solving and making a buck out of a dime. I understand that hourly works for others and dont discriminate whatsoever, you may have a job position where that makes more sense and serves you better, but for OTR and even regional , its the most direct way for me to have the most control over my earnings potential.

Grey areas of trucking are direct opportunities for me profit off of vague and ambiguous policy. You dont know if you dont ask.

Logbook:

A written or electronic record of a driver's duty status which must be maintained at all times. The driver records the amount of time spent driving, on-duty not driving, in the sleeper berth, or off duty. The enforcement of the Hours Of Service Rules (HOS) are based upon the entries put in a driver's logbook.

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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