Sitting In The Passenger Seat

Topic 4845 | Page 1

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Lawrence K.'s Comment
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I have been hired. The company has a mentor program. After the first 50 hours, the truck is dispatched as a team.

For religious reasons, I do not work on Saturday, specifically Friday sunset to Saturday sunset. The company is accommodating that request. During that time, I have no company obligations at all. It is as if I am not there.

During that time, the "Saturday hours," am I allowed to sit in the passenger seat of the truck? Or must I be in the sleeping berth or outside the truck (when stopped)?

I am looking for the legal answer here. If no one can provide it, how would I go about finding out that answer?

Thank you

Lawrence

Jolie R.'s Comment
member avatar

I don't have an answer for you but a big congratulations Lawrence! dancing-dog.gif

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Lawrence, Congratulations on the Job!

Who are you working for?

Look man if you are off duty for Saturday and you've put yourself on off duty on your EOBR you can sit in the sleeper, or in the passenger's seat, you can sit on the hood, or the roof, you can curl up in the engine compartment if you like. I don't know what gave you the idea that you couldn't sit in the driver's seat of your truck. I sit there lots of times and watch the circus acts going on at the Truck Stop sometime when I'm off duty. If you really want to know the truth, I'm sometimes in the cafe' eating my supper when I'm on the sleeper berth line. Lawrence, there is no "Big Brother" watching you to make sure whether you are being "naughty or nice" out there. I have never ever seen any D.O.T. officers on the private property of a truck stop unless they had reason to be looking for someone specific that they thought might be there. If I actually spent ten hours in my sleeper berth, I would be ruined for the next day of work. I might take a walk, or get a shower and then get back in the sleeper for some sleep, but there is no way that I could keep myself cooped up in there for ten straight hours.

Lawrence, you have really got to let yourself relax a little about all these D.O.T. rules, you are gonna wear yourself down trying to keep the letter of the law. Hopefully you will get this all figured out on your own without wearing yourself so thin that you end up hating truck driving. Right now though, from the kinds of questions you seem to get concerned about, I'm warning you that you should be very careful how you approach all of this because I'm starting to think this career is going to eat you alive. If you cannot enjoy this and make it work for you, it will turn on you and make you more than miserable in your choice for a career. I know you don't want that, but that is where you are headed if you can't keep yourself from being so eat up with worrying about getting everything perfectly legally accurate according to the letter of the law. You are obvious a man of some faith, so think about the Pharisees in the new testament, how they had all these rituals and practices that they thought kept them in obedience to the laws of God. Yet Jesus had not a good thing to say about them or to them. I know I'm getting off into some unusual territory here for the forum, but I'm hoping maybe you can relate to that example to realize what I'm trying to say.

EOBR:

Electronic Onboard Recorder

Electronic Logbook

A device which records the amount of time a vehicle has been driven. If the vehicle is not being driven, the operator will manually input whether or not he/she is on duty or not.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar

Hey Lawrence, forgive me, I'm a little slow some days. I think I just realized that you are asking this question in reference to your time with the mentor. Now if that is the case I think you must log 10 hours in the sleeper berth of which you must be in the berth for eight of those hours and two of them you can be in the passenger seat. Maybe GuyJax can clarify this for us since he is a team driver.

After that I would think you can just put yourself on off duty and do as you please.

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.
Keith W.'s Comment
member avatar

Your beliefs seem to line up with a company in Cuba, Alabama called McElroy Truck Lines. They also abide by the Friday at sunset till Saturday at sunset timeline. You may want to check them out.

K.

Keith W.'s Comment
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Oh yeah....Welcome and good luck.

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

I drive teams. First let me give you the strict legal answer. Sit in the driver seat all you want as long as you have no legal responsibility for the truck.

Now if you are in a team driving situation you have to log at least 8 hours consecutively in the sleeper and you can speed up to 2 hours following the 8 hours, in the passenger seat but have to log it as off duty. This only applies to a team truck which a training truck would be included in. Solo drivers can't do it.

Now for the not so by the book answer. Ride naked on the roof of the truck and pretend to ride a surf board if you want as long as you as relieved of all company responsibly for the truck. Make sure you are logging it legal.

If your off duty that usually means you are away from the truck. If your in the truck, since you will not be working, you will have to log it as sleeper berth unless your in the passenger seat which you have a two hour maximum you can sit there after an 8 hour sleeper berth break.

Oh another tip. Don't go more than 10 hours without some type of duty status change. No way you can log 16 hours in the sleeper berth. Since you not supposed to use the bathroom in the truck you have to log off duty when you leave the truck for bathroom breaks. Yes people sometimes get tripped up on this during a Dot Inspection and if you do not log your duty status correctly that bathroom break might cost you several hundred dollars in false log fines.

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.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Lawrence K.'s Comment
member avatar

From the replies , I am not sure I explained the question clearly. So let me try again.

1. After the mentor period when I am driving solo, I have no questions on this point.

2. I am speaking of a 24-hour period, Friday night to Saturday night. I am not speaking of 10 hours or 16 hours.

3. During those 24 hours, I will not be logging my time on lines 3 and 4, driving and on duty, respectively.

4. Therefore, I will be logging that time on lines 1 and 2, off duty and sleeper berth , respectively.

5. I am ONLY talking about sitting in the passenger seat, not the driver's seat. Put another way, the seat that does not have the steering wheel in front of it. :)

6. I was told by my "boss" at the new company (the one that deals with students in the mentor period) that I cannot sit in the passenger seat, that MUST be logged as On Duty time. I must stay in the sleeper berth or out of the truck. (Now, I know this is not entirely true, as the Hours of Service laws allow for a team driver to sit in the passenger seat for 2 hours, under particular conditions.)

7. My "boss" made it clear that he was not happy to accommodate my religious convictions, but because the company is so large, they would be extremely hard pressed to show that I caused "undue hardship," the legal litmus test. And, I have heard, there are other drivers with that company who have the same convictions.

Question (Remember I am speaking of a continuous 24-hour period): So, am I ONLY allowed to sit in the passenger seat for those 2 hours or can I sit there more than that during that 24-hour period?

Reason for the question: I would really like to see some countryside during that 24-hour period and not be confined to the sleeper berth (or outside at stops) during the entire 24 hours.

I hope this clarifies things.

Oh, I am purposely not stating the company. I don't want them to consider this to be negative comments about them.

Lawrence

ps. I am thinking of going to the State Patrol office tomorrow and asking if I can speak to someone who is a DOT officer.

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.

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.
guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

If you are on a break like that you can sit anywhere you want. No one watching you.

Max E.'s Comment
member avatar

As long as you get that 8 hours in the sleeper berth and at least 10 hours off total nothing else really matters.

For example sometimes I'm off for 20 hours before I get a new load.. do I sit there and change my status every time I'm in the sleeper verse off duty? Not at all. I usually put the first 8 hours in the sleeper than switch it to "Off Duty" until I get a call for a load.

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.

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