Trick Drivers Running Nights

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Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
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I have run into an issue just lately that I am following to see what course it takes.

In the past I have posted my "daily routine" and how I like to run. For those of you that have not read any of my posts and seen it, I will post it again here.

I don't mean to bore you, but I do this because it leads to the main point of this post.

I try to start out between 5-6 am. Hit the road no later than 7am. I run recaps so I try to run 8-9 hours a day on duty. Not always my drive time due to several reasons. Weather, traffic, construction, etc.

I hit my stopping point by 1800. No later than 1900 if I can help it. I hate hitting a truck stop late and fighting for a place to park. Or find out it is full and have to drive another 100 miles to the next truck stop.

I don't do restarts. When I set I loose money.

I try my best to run during the daytime. For several reason. Most are personal. Better light. Better visibility. And just because I like to run during the day better.

But the most important point. I try to run during the daytime because I don't sleep good during daylight hours. Never have been able to. Even when I was young and in the military. I usually worked evenings/nights in the military. The next day when I would get off work, I would sleep maybe 2-4 hours and I was up and going again.

On the weekends I would crash and sleep and sleep and sleep. But I was much younger then and my system could take it.

I am older now and maybe not much wiser, but I understand my limits. Yes, I can do a night run from time to time if I don't make a habit out of it.

As of late I have been talking to a few other drivers. Trying to find the ones that like running nights. I have found out, by a very large majority, most drivers don't like driving nights. Not like the old days when trucks were all you saw on at night on the roads.

However. Something else has come to my attention. I want to center around the three most recent drivers that I have found that like running nights.

All three do restarts. They drive 10-11 hours a day. Average 3000 miles a week. And when their hours are up they take a restart. And all three admitted that the sleep most of the time during their restart.

All three admitted to the same problem I have of sleeping during the daytime. One driver even admitted that if he got more than 2 hours sleep during the day, he was lucky.

They all said the same thing about why they run at night. Less traffic and less hassle putting up with the idiots out here on the road.

Well, who is the idiot? The person that drives during the daytime because he/she admits to their limits on running nights. Or the guy/girl that denies they have an issue driving an 80,000 missile down the road with only 2 or 3 hours sleep?

We have enough people causing us problems out here on the road. We need to stop making problems of our own.

Keep it safe out here, the life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
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Best Answer!
Hey Old School, If you have the time would you mind posting maybe a simplified plan for that trip? I'm just curious how you switch back and forth between days and nights with HOS etc. Either way thank you.

Brian, rather than going through this whole trip which starts in Louisiana, goes over and down into Florida for two stops, then up to Connecticut for two stops, let me just give you some examples of how and why I might switch over from nights to days and or go back and forth during my week.

Let's just say that I finish out a load in Connecticut at eleven in the morning and they send me a message to pick-up my next load in Pennsylvania at nine o'clock that night. (that is not an uncommon occurrence) I started driving at four in the morning, and I arrived at my delivery location at ten, I'm empty, and my tarps are folded and put away by eleven. Now I've got close to a 5 hour drive over to the pick-up location, which puts me there around four in the afternoon, and my eleven hour clock has run out now. So, I force myself to bed while parked in the shippers parking lot to get some rest until my loading appointment. I get loaded and secure my load (I'm driving a flat-bed) then I go back to sleep. From the time I arrived at this shipper I have had my electronic logs on the sleeper berth. You do not want to waste your all important drive time by logging unnecessary "on duty" time which will eat away at your ability to turn the miles during your work week. Not everyone agrees with the way I work my clock, but the guys who are making some real money at this do it this way.

Now I can drive again after ten hours on the sleeper berth line. So, at two o'clock in the morning I start rolling. Let's say this load is going to Louisiana which is also a very realistic back haul for me, and it will take twenty hours of drive time. It's Tuesday morning at 2 a.m. when I leave out with this load and it is due in Louisiana on Thursday morning at seven o'clock. I drive for a total of ten hours with a thirty minute break in there somewhere and fifteen minutes for a pre-trip inspection and another thirty minutes for checking my tires and load at various points along the way and a fuel stop. That means I will stop for the day around 1:15 or 1:30 in the afternoon. I get myself right onto the sleeper berth line and I'm good to start driving again ten hours later at 11:30 Tuesday night. Now, I'm going to drive the other half of my ten hours that it takes to get me to the destination plus the time for a pre-trip inspection, a thirty minute break, and several LCTC stops (Load Check Tire Check - it's a flat-bedder thing) and I arrive at my destination at approximately 10:30 Wednesday morning.

Now, one of two things is going to happen. More than likely I will get unloaded a full day early (because these receivers are always glad to see a flat-bed load get there early!) and I will then take a ten hour break which will set me up to be ready for a pick up on Thursday morning around nine o'clock, which is when the planners are looking for me to be ready for a load. (Remember I was due here on Thursday morning at seven) Or the other scenario is that I will have to take my ten hour break on their property or relatively close by so that I can get unloaded at seven in the morning when I was due. Either way I have set myself up to be available for a pick-up and have time to turn some miles with it because I ran through the night on the previous two nights, but now I will be running in the daytime with this next load. (Do you see how my time frame has now switched back to day time?) That is the critical part of managing your time like this - you want to always be working toward keeping yourself available. The planners will start to recognize that you "get it", and they will come to count on you being available. That my friend is how you make the big bucks! It is challenging to say the least, and it can be tiring, but if you can learn how to "git er done" safely, and still be available when you get emptied out you will be way ahead of the moaners and groaners out there.

Now, my friend Joe, who started this thread, runs differently than I do, and I have every bit of respect for his choice. He knows that I would defend him, and have done so in the past. But here's what I want to point out to you Brian, because you inquired about how I do this. Joe stated his miles are not what he was promised. He also talked to some other drivers who are getting more miles than him, but he qualified that with the statement that they didn't mind running nights. Joe has handicapped himself in a way. He has sort of set his own bar that is hard for the dispatcher to overcome because they do not control when these things have to be delivered.

This business is performance based pay. The folks who compete at the highest levels turn the most miles. I'm not trying to brag, if you knew me very well you would know I'm a very unassuming fella. I am turning in 3,579 miles this week @ .45/mile (that pay rate includes .05 cents/mile bonus pay which is also performance based, but I am regularly making the cut for that bonus pay) I will also get around 150 dollars extra on top of that for stop pay and tarping. That is a big week! I consistently turn in big weeks because of the way I manage my time. Is it exhausting at times? Yes, but that is what home time is for.

Hope that helps a little!

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

Electronic Logs:

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.

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.

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.

Dispatcher:

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.
Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
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Best Answer!

Let's just say that I finish out a load in Connecticut at eleven in the morning and they send me a message to pick-up my next load in Pennsylvania at nine o'clock that night. (that is not an uncommon occurrence) I started driving at four in the morning, and I arrived at my delivery location at ten, I'm empty, and my tarps are folded and put away by eleven. Now I've got close to a 5 hour drive over to the pick-up location, which puts me there around four in the afternoon, and my eleven hour clock has run out now. So, I force myself to bed while parked in the shippers parking lot to get some rest until my loading appointment. I get loaded and secure my load (I'm driving a flat-bed) then I go back to sleep. From the time I arrived at this shipper I have had my electronic logs on the sleeper berth. You do not want to waste your all important drive time by logging unnecessary "on duty" time which will eat away at your ability to turn the miles during your work week. Not everyone agrees with the way I work my clock, but the guys who are making some real money at this do it this way.

Hope that helps a little!

Each driver has to find their own way to do their job. Old School this works for you. But I have to ask. Isn't some of the things you mention that you are doing illegal?

While I don't agree with some of the HOS rules, they are there. We as commercial drivers are suppose to follow them. The "on duty" rule states that anytime you are actually preforming work for the company you are to be on duty.

Anytime I am actually working, I am on duty. Counting the pallets as they are loaded. Getting scaled at a truck stop. Etc.

Yeah, you can call it wasting time or loosing money but if you are ever caught, you will pay the price.

I didn't used to do that. I used to do almost everyting while I was "off duty" until a few months ago. You ask, what changed?

A few months back I had the pleasure of being stopped at a weigh station in CO. The one north of Denver on I 25. I guess DOT had some tickets to catch up on, they were checking just about everyone.

I was pulled in and stopped along with about 7 other drivers. When I went inside, the counter was full and I was second in line.

For some reason I looked up at the first driver at the counter. He looked like he was about ready to die. Then I heard the DOT agent say, Is your load tarpped or strapped? The driver said Tarpped. Then the DOT agent said, "Your log shows you were off duty during this time. Who covered your load for you? Did the shippper do it while you were sleeping?"

That is when I stopped listening. When I was done and went outside, I ran into the driver I was in line with. He was shaking his head. He said that driver is in trouble. I did the same thing about a year ago when I ran flatbed. I got caught too. Cost me 2000 dollars and a 7 day safety violation. A very expensive lesson. He said, now days, ANYTHING I do work wise is on duty.

Laws are there for a reason. We may not like them and wish we didn't have to follow them, but we are no different than anyone else. As every commercial driver knows. We are held at a higher standard. Because we are suppose to be professionals.

Am I perfect and always follow the rules/laws. Heck no. If I am in a 55 mph zone and out in the middle of no where with no one else around, Do I stay at 55? Not on your life.

Then again, usually, USUALLY, police over look slight speeding on rural roads. But when it comes to off duty time and sleeper bearth time, that is something they don't over look.

A driver, still has to deside what is best for them. But no matter how they would LIKE to run, there are laws that are suppose to be followed.

Keep it safe out here. The life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel

Electronic Logs:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Brett Aquila's Comment
member avatar
Best Answer!
The company I am going to work for expects me to "git er done" within the limits of safe and legal - sorry yours don't (or didn't).
In a couple of the posts, I was trying to politely say what Indy said in his post. This should be a site to help new truckers get a good start in this lifestyle. Not to teach how to break the law and get fined or lose their license right off the bat.

What we do here at TruckingTruth is tell it like it is. We don't sugarcoat anything or pretend things will be a certain way when we know they're not. By giving people the honest truth about how this industry works, what is expected of drivers, and how drivers get things done out there we're giving you an opportunity to understand how the trucking industry works the easy way instead of going out there and learning it all the hard way.

A great example of this is how you log your loading and unloading time. There are a lot of gray areas involved. If you're doing anything that's work related, even though the truck isn't moving, you're supposed to be logging it as "on duty, not driving" which will count against your 70 hour clock.

Now say for instance you're sitting in the driver's lounge at the shipper waiting to get loaded. You're not actually doing any work, you're just sitting in the waiting room reading a magazine. So are you actually working or not? You're not performing an actual duty but it is work related. You can't log it as sleeper berth because you're not in the sleeper. Can you log it as "off duty"? I don't know. It doesn't seem like sitting at the shipper is off duty but you're not in the truck and you're not performing any work function either. So what do you do?

What if you go out to the sleeper berth to do some paper work for payroll? You're sitting at a customer in the sleeper berth, but you're doing something that's work related. Are you going to log it as 'on duty, not driving' or sleeper berth?

What if you're sleeping at the shipper for 5 hours, then go inside to check on things and find out they won't be ready for another five hours. They ask you to sweep out your trailer quick before they load it. So you sweep out the trailer and you go across the street, grab a newspaper to read over a nice big lunch, and head on back to your sleeper berth again. Now you've been at the customer for 10 hours by the time the load is ready. If you log the entire 10 hours as sleeper berth you now have a fresh 14 hour and 11 hour clock available and the load's ready to roll. Perfect! But you weren't in the sleeper berth (or off duty) the whole time. You went inside to check if the load was ready and you swept the trailer. Those are job related duties outside the sleeper berth. So do you log that brief walk inside as "on duty, not driving" and tell dispatch you won't be on time with the load because even though you sat at the customer for 10 hours you don't have enough time available to make the run? Or do you keep your sweeping time and the walk inside a "little secret", log the whole thing as sleeper berth, and continue on with your fresh 11 and 14 hour clocks?

Now Indy, you stated:

The company I am going to work for expects me to "git er done" within the limits of safe and legal - sorry yours don't (or didn't).

Since it's black and white over there at your awesome company you're going to log that 10 minutes of sweeping as 'on duty, not driving' which would screw up your logbook completely and prevent you from delivering the load on time, correct? So now you're going to call dispatch and tell them, "I was sitting at the customer for 10 hours but I didn't get my 10 hour break in the sleeper berth because I swept out the trailer so someone else will have to take this load for me."

That's how you would handle it, right? If you or anyone else did that you would find yourselves getting 1,500 miles per week for the next month and complaining to the world how badly your company sucks. Unfortunately for you your company would have tons of drivers getting 3,200 miles those weeks because they would have logged situations like that as 10 hours of sleeper berth and delivered the load themselves.

There are a lot of gray areas in trucking. You will have no choice sometimes but to tread out into those gray areas and bend the rules a little bit if you ever want to turn any miles. That's the reality you'll face out there. I'm not telling anyone what they should do. I'm just telling you that you're going to have to make these kind of choices on a daily basis and most of the time it's going to come down to "Do I want to make an extra $300 this week or do I want to be brutally honest about everything I do and sacrifice my big paycheck?"

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.

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.

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.
Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Thomas, it's a good question, and one we deal with often. The answer isn't always simple, but I will try to answer it and point you int the direction where you can very successfully self-educate yourself on a lot of this stuff.

That term "re-start" comes from the Hours of Service regulations that truck drivers are bound to by law. Once an over the road truck driver has worked for seventy hours in an eight day period he is not allowed to drive any more. He can work more if he needs to as long as that work doesn't involve driving. We call that our seventy hour clock. If you want to re-start that seventy hour clock, then you must be off-duty for 34 hours consecutively. Then you have another seventy hour time period available to you. You don't have to do that re-start if you manage your time in such a way that you don't exceed that seventy hour limit by balancing out your hours that you work each day into an average amount of around 8.5 - 9 hours a day.

That's a simplified version of the much more involved rules and limitations a professional driver operates under. If you want to learn a lot of the things that you will need to know when you go to take the test to get your learners permit you can start doing that now by studying our High Road Training Program. It's absolutely free and there is a special section in there on the log book rules where you can learn all about the re-start and all the other things that will make your life as a new truck driver much more simpler and profitable.

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.

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.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!
A driver, still has to deside what is best for them. But no matter how they would LIKE to run, there are laws that are suppose to be followed

Joe, I was reluctant to show Brian the way I work my magic, but it was illustrative of how you succeed at this stuff. I mentioned above that:

Not everyone agrees with the way I work my clock, but the guys who are making some real money at this do it this way.

For me it is a calculated risk, it is part of the cost of doing business with the D.O.T. I've had three thorough inspections during the past two years where my logs were scrutinized, and my truck was looked over from top to bottom. I haven't had to pay a dime as of yet. I'm sure the day will come.

But Joe if you think about it you are costing yourself money every week by being so careful to follow the law to the letter. I will have a day of reckoning I'm sure, and I will take my licks and move on, but I'm not going to leave four or five hundred dollars on the table every week.

Joe, you've been out here for a year now, and you are still contemplating what you can do to get more miles. I laid out a clear path, and I don't expect everyone to take it, but this whole scenario kind of reminds me of a scene in an old Western movie that Charlton Heston starred in. He was a wandering cowpoke who got in a fist fight with another hired hand and Charlton grabbed a frying pan and laid the guy out with it. The poor fellow got to his knees and looked up at Charlton and said "you're not fighting fair!" Charlton's response was curt but truthful when he said "you're the one that's down."

I have never lacked for miles, my employers have repeatedly told me how much they appreciate the way I manage my time and get things accomplished.

Daniel B.'s Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Joe, me and OS run the same way. The only difference is that I'm younger, faster, quicker, smarter, more agile, cunning, intelligent, funnier, more handsome and I actually have integrity.

smile.gif

But you're really shooting yourself in the foot with how you log yourself. You had one bad experience and now you're losing hundreds of dollars every week. To make the big bucks, you have to learn how to bend the rules. You say you average 2,000 miles per week, but do you expect any higher when you show On-Duty time at every single thing you do. That's why you don't have the miles, because you're not letting yourself have the HoS to actually drive.

I recommend you do 15 minute pre & post inspections and then show 10 minutes of On-Duty at the arrival and departure of each customer. That will more than satisfy a DoT inspection. I've had 4 inspections and passed all of them.

I also was disappointed to hear that you told your DM about the night driving. As a driver, especially when you're new to the company, you want to come off as being hard working and completely dependable. From the start, you immediately told her your limits and afterwards, you limited yourself on your driving hours but logging yourself incorrectly.

This is your second company and by now your an experienced driver. All is the same with you still - low pay because of low miles. But one has to ask, when does a driver finally look at himself in the mirror and realize that perhaps he's the reason why he isn't making good money and isn't getting miles? I wish you good fortune sir, but I think you need to take a second look at your methods.

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.

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.

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.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar
Great Answer!

Daniel, I am not sure what you are referring when you say I am shooting myself in the foot.

In none of my posts have I mentioned how I log things. All I have said is that I always log on duty when I am working for the company. Do I long it all? No. Everyone seems to be jumping to conclusions and assuming things.

When I arrive at a shipper or reciever I log 15 minutes on duty then hit the sleeper or off duty.

When I am doing a D/H I long 30 minutes. Because that is what Crete requires.

I do a 15-20 minute pretrip. Post trips are no longer required unless you have a problem. Again because that is what Crete requires.

When I get fuel, I am on duty because Crete and DOT require it. When I scale my load, I am on duty because Crete requires it.

I have done many things "off the clock" to save time. But, at one point in time, I was on duty because I was doing work for the company.

For example. I had a trailer a few months ago that had all 4 tires very low on air. I have an air hose with me. I aired up all of the tires myself. It took almost an hour. But I only logged 15 minutes on duty.

When I do a repair on my truck or a trailer, it is logged on the Qualcoom. Because that is the way Crete would like to have it done. That way all repairs has a "paper trail". And when you show work on the Qualcomm , you better show some time doing it.

You assume I don't have the hours to drive because I don't cheat the HOS regulations.

I just finished a 2000 mile load that I did in just over 3 days. Tomorrow I will finish an 1100 mile load. In just over 2 days. How is that loosing time and money? 3000 miles in under 6 days.

And I got those miles without having to cheat the HOS.

A couple of days I got up very early, as Brett has talked about. And one I drove very late. But so far, I have not had to drive thru the night.

FMCSA has just or is getting ready to at least double the cost of fines given out. False log fines have gone from 500 dollars to 10,000 dollars each offense.

If I have to lie and cheat the system so bad that it could cost me my license and my livelyhood, then I don't want anything to do with it.

If I have to lie, cheat and break the law to make a living in the trucking industry, then I need to get out now.

One other point I would like to make. Everyone is so freeked out about me telling my dispatcher how I liked to run.

I don't know how it is with where you are working, but we were told to do that during orientation. At our first chance contact our dispatcher. Introduce ourselves. And let them know what we are comfortable doing or not doing.

Somethings may not be possible, but you get info to your dispatcher. That way she/he gets to know you in a way.

So that is what I did.

Maybe some questions need asked sometimes before jumping to conclusions.

Keep it safe out here. The life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel

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.

Qualcomm:

Omnitracs (a.k.a. Qualcomm) is a satellite-based messaging system with built-in GPS capabilities built by Qualcomm. It has a small computer screen and keyboard and is tied into the truck’s computer. It allows trucking companies to track where the driver is at, monitor the truck, and send and receive messages with the driver – similar to email.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

FMCSA:

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The FMCSA was established within the Department of Transportation on January 1, 2000. Their primary mission is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries.

What Does The FMCSA Do?

  • Commercial Drivers' Licenses
  • Data and Analysis
  • Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement
  • Research and Technology
  • Safety Assistance
  • Support and Information Sharing

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.

Dispatcher:

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.

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.

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.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Blue, I prefer starting 'round/just after midnight. No traffic (recently I drove I-75 through Cincinnati south to north in 20 minutes because the road of wide open.) 24 hour distribution centers are just as empty - no waiting. My day is done, obviously, just after noon. You could play baseball on the lot of some truck stops at that time.

The part you force yourself to do is to hit the sack in the late afternoon, alarm set to wake up. You know the sleep you need depends on you. I do get by with about 4 hours a day. Your mileage will vary. Your sleeper berth has those super thick curtains just for this.

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.
Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar

Errol V. Glad it works for you and glad you feel safe with only 4 hours of sleep.

I know a lot of doctors and lawyers that would disagree with that point. But what ever works for you.

I have known many men that could work that schedule day after day after day of nights and be fine. Others, like myself, can't.

As far as the thick curtains in the sleeper cab. Your body clock doesn't care if it is a heavy curtain or a brick wall. If it doesn't want you to sleep you won't.

Keep it safe out here. The life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
I don't do restarts. When I set I loose money.

Joe, I found this statement interesting simply because I have run my truck in all kinds of ways, but I find I make more money by doing a reset once a week, or maybe once every two weeks. It doesn't bother me to run at night or even to flip flop back and forth between the night shift and the day shift in the middle of the week. I find advantages in both running in the day and the night. But the one thing that I have figured out is that if I run like crazy so that I'm using up my seventy hour clock and am then forced to take a 34 hour break, not only do I get larger paychecks, but I seem to be more rested and feel like I'm more on top of my game. I can't always do it that way - this week I'm running on re-caps and I might be again next week. It may be easier for me to run extra hard and get my deliveries in early due to the fact that I'm running a flat-bed. Also since I'm now doing a dedicated account my time frames are tighter and sometimes because of that I will end up running on re-caps.

I completely agree with you that it is of utmost importance that we are running safely and well rested. It is uniquely an individual preference as to what works for each driver when it comes to getting the proper rest.

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.

Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar

Old School,

I could have worded it differently when I said "when I set I loose money".

A more correct statement would be, When I set, it costs me money.

I get bored. When I had a DVD player, I would buy movie after movie to watch. On one 34 I did with my last company, I walked to a shopping center about a mile down the road. And I spent money.

15 dollars for a movie and about 12 dollars for dinner.

So it is much cheaper for me to keep rolling. In more ways than one.

As far as the income point. No matter is you work on recaps or do 34's every week. The income potential is the same.

Keep it safe out here. The life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel.

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.

Josh E.'s Comment
member avatar

I run teams and I run nights, all the time. Not easy for some people to sleep during the day and in a moving truck, but I do fine most of the time. I'll nap whenever I can and we usually get a reset at home once a week and that helps. Also, you can get some over the counter sleeping pills and that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep, just don't get anything habit forming and take it right at the start of your 10 hour so you're not groggy when you get up. But I like nights because there's less traffic and less things to deal with, it does suck missing the scenery, though, especially if it's somewhere you haven't been. I also like the peacefulness of running at night, I don't really get that during the day.

Jeff L.'s Comment
member avatar

I am thinking it would be best scenario to start at three a.m. if it is possible so you can drive into the morning light , get to the truck stop early and have some dark hours of sleep. Reality is take it as it comes.

TorqueSide's Comment
member avatar

I'm the exact opposite. I sleep 4 to 6 hours during day and be lucky if I could get 2 hours during the evening. I've been like that since highschool. I haven't been as lucky as you guys getting the chance to hit the road but I'm always told that night runs are the more efficient but day runs are better on the visual aspect of it.

Still on the fence about which approach I'll take but I know I'll do what's best for me; just glad I have the freedom of choice.

Old School's Comment
member avatar
A more correct statement would be, When I set, it costs me money.

Oh yeah, I hear what your saying Joe. I can sympathize with that sentiment - boredom can really cause us to do some things we don't need to be doing - like spending the money that Momma needs back at the house!

Hey Joe, not trying to pry, but am just curious if things have gotten a little better for you over at Celadon? I still try to keep an eye out for you all the time, but there sure is a lot of those Celadon trucks out here on the road. I'll catch up with you one of these days.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Joe S. (a.k.a. The Blue 's Comment
member avatar

Old School,

I am no longer with Celadon. I moved to Crete just after the first of February.

Still having some "growing pains" here. I like the company itself. But things are not what I was promised.

Good money. Good benefits. Home time, not so good. And the big kicker. Miles. They are really down. And it is not so easy to change dispatchers here.

If things keep up, I am going to have one more talk with her about my miles and if that doesn't work, I don't know what I will do.

I have run into two other drivers that have her and they average 3000 miles a week. Both run nights. She wanted me to run nights when I first joined her fleet but I told her no. She didn't like it so I think I am paying the price.

I am averaging just over 2000 miles a week.

But we shall see.

Hope we can meet up. I am in a big red Freightliner now. 34807 is the number. So if you see me, throw a rock at me or something. LOL

Keep it safe out here. The life you save might be your own.

The Blue Angel

Dispatcher:

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

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