My First Run-in With The HOS Brick Wall

Topic 9543 | Page 1

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The Persian Conversion's Comment
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Well, I'm finally starting to understand why people hate the HOS regulations so much. I'm finding them to be both unfair and unsafe, despite the intentions of those who created them. And today was the worst I've experienced so far.

After an up-and-down week as far as hours go, I found myself with 5.75 hours left on my 70 this morning, and about 500 miles to go to my destination. My delivery is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

So I started the day in Missoula and headed west (delivery is in Sumner, WA). After spending some time with my family along the way, I ended up in Moses Lake, WA, 185 miles away from my drop, with 15 minutes left on my 70. I get back 11 hours tonight at midnight.

The thing about this that sucks is that I feel energized and rested and ready to go right now, but because of the stupid bureaucratic rules, I'm not allowed to drive. They know nothing about me, my stamina, my sleep cycles, my routines, but they have already determined, before any of this ever happened mind you, that I must be worn out right now and therefore I must sleep... in the middle of the afternoon. There is no way I could possibly get a solid sleep at that time. I mean it's 9pm now and I'm still awake.

They've also determined that somehow, at midnight, I will instantly not be worn out anymore. 11pm? Nope, sorry, go to sleep. 12am? Hey, here's 11 hours, go for it buddy!

So in order to make my delivery, I must now get up at 3am and drive in the middle of the night when I am normally the sleepiest.

See, instead of letting me just drive when I know I am the safest, I am now forced to drive when I am the unsafest. I could have easily made it to my destination this afternoon and taken a long, relaxing evening, but now I'll hardly get any rest at all. Welcome to the wonderful world of DOT regulations.

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.
Jessica A-M's Comment
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Shift workers do wonky schedules like this. I myself work graveyard at my current job and, I agree doing weird sleeping schedules is not easy. A few tips for the future.

Melatonin and serotonin production is in cahoots with circadian rhythm which tends to be based around when the sun rises (awake) and sets (sleep time). So, during the day if you're seeing any sunlight at all, you're not producing much if any melatonin. Once it gets dark is when the sleepy magic starts to happen. However, this process is easily interrupted by artificial lighting, looking at anything that emits blue light (mostly anything modern with a screen and the sun), exercise, diet, insulin and glucose levels, etcetera.

Now that I put down the science parts (which can all be Google searched).

Buy a pair of amber safety glasses. If you know you're going to have to sleep in the daytime, wear these to block some of the blue light in your environment.

Eat a banana 1-2 hours before it's time for lights out. Bananas contain tryptophan (the same stuff that makes you sleepy from turkey).

If you know you're going to be able to stop for at least eight hours, a dose of melatonin can help with the process of getting to sleep.

Stop all electronic use an hour before sleep time. Spend that time doing your before bed routine of getting ready to sleep. Maybe read a book.

No caffeine within a few hours of when you'll need sleep.

Deep breathing exercises before bed that promote relaxation are great.

Strength exercise regularly.

Some people find that a dose of fat helps promote sleep (coconut butter, coconut full fat milk, coconut oil, some avocado, some olives, ghee).

Focused relaxation once you're lying down. You think of your toes and work your way up, wiggle or tense each section of your body consciously and then relax it and then relax it further all the way to the top of your head while also breathing slowly through your nose.

A few drops of lavender essential oil on a pillow or top of a blanket can assist with relaxation.

Controlled dreaming. This one always works for me, your mileage may vary. I let my mind wander freely to the most absurd ideas it can come up with. I don't analyze these things. We just wander in the weirdest place that pops up and next I know I'm waking up later. I usually start by imagining a field but, what if the field was purple and then grass was made of tiny tentacles and pink rabbit goats grazed on them and on and on.

I hope some of these tips help you in the future, safe driving.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Awesome tips Realist!

See, instead of letting me just drive when I know I am the safest, I am now forced to drive when I am the unsafest.

I ran paper logs my entire career and cheated pretty much every day for 15 years. But I wasn't cheating to turn more miles than I could have otherwise. I always shot for about 3,000 - 3,200 miles per week which you can do legally on electronic logs. What I was cheating for was flexibility. Exactly like you said, I wanted to drive when it made sense to drive and park it when it made sense to park it. I didn't want to push through snowstorms or rush hour traffic or sleepy spells and I didn't want to sit when I felt good and the conditions were ripe for getting in some great miles.

What I hate most about today's set of rules is the 14 hour rule. Studies have shown a million times over the years that after 8 hours of work a person's safety and productivity drop off dramatically. So what do they do? Force you to put in 11 hours in a 14 hour period. That makes no sense to me. I like to work in smaller batches of hours with a lot of short breaks mixed in. And I don't ever, ever sleep eight hours straight. I sleep maybe four or five hours at night and take a short nap or maybe even two during the day. In fact, I would consistently turn 3,000 miles per week and almost never drove more than two or three hours at a stretch. Even if it was just to hit the rest area and grab a quick drink and a five minute walk I felt a million times better and ready to roll again. So the idea of cramming all of your workday into one long marathon session seems insane to me.

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.

Brian M.'s Comment
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Thanks realist I will use these tips in the future!

Snappy's Comment
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What I hate most about today's set of rules is the 14 hour rule. Studies have shown a million times over the years that after 8 hours of work a person's safety and productivity drop off dramatically. So what do they do? Force you to put in 11 hours in a 14 hour period.

I hate the 11/14 hour rules too, for completely different reasons. Mostly for long runs with tight schedules. So I can drive 11 hours, then I have to sleep in this arbitrary 10 hour window. How many hours are in a day again?

Just make it 14 hours for driving, sleeping, or whatever, and suddenly you're not messing with someone's circadian rhythms.

Errol V.'s Comment
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I posted this "solution" to the 14 hour problem about a month ago. You get some flexibility, and still have 10 hours off and 14 hours to be on duty/drive. What do you think?

Just like current rules, you start your shift. Any time of the day. You now have two kinds of time: 14 hr duty and 10 hr rest. Still nothing new. (Start thinking split berth)

Your 10 hr rest can be one chunk - same as now, or you can split it into two periods. Both rest periods in one 24 hr period must total at least 10 hr, and the shortest rest break must be no less than 2 hours to count. Any combination of two rest periods that total 10 hours: 2+8, 5+5, 3 1/2 + 6 1/2 and so on.

You cannot be on duty any single period longer than 12 1/2 hours. (That's 11 hr drive + 1/2 hr break + pre & post trips.) You can still do On Duty work for the remaining 1 1/2 hours.

Your day clock resets after 10 hours, either from one 10 hour chunk, or the second of the two breaks 2 hr being the minimum.

Brett Aquila's Comment
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Oh man....I totally forgot you mentioned this to me and asked me what I thought about your idea:

Your 10 hr rest can be one chunk - same as now, or you can split it into two periods. Both rest periods in one 24 hr period must total at least 10 hr, and the shortest rest break must be no less than 2 hours to count. Any combination of two rest periods that total 10 hours: 2+8, 5+5, 3 1/2 + 6 1/2 and so on.

That's very similar to what the rules used to be. For decades you had what I thought were perfect rules:

You could drive for 10 hours before you had to take a mandatory 8 hour break. However, you could split your sleeper berth into two segments as long as one period was a minimum of two hours and the two periods totaled 8 hours. The 70 hour rule was the same as it is now.

That's it! That's all there really was. There was no 14 hour rule, 30 minute mandatory break, or 34 hour reset. It was just 10 on, 8 off, and 70 hours max every 8 days. Personally I thought those rules were perfect. They gave you plenty of flexibility and still kept your legal miles a little over 3,000 miles per week maximum.

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.
The Persian Conversion's Comment
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What about the 70 in 8 days though? Do you guys think that's fair? My opinion: no.

These were my hours prior to the day I mentioned in the initial post:

11

7.5

11.75

5.75

8.5

8.5

11.25

Which left 5.75 on that 8th day.

I had only had 3 long days leading up to it, and I was totally ready to keep going that day. I felt rested and alert. All I needed was maybe 3 more hours and everything would have been golden. That would have put me at only 8.75 for the day... not a long, tiring day by anyone's standard.

I guess my problem is that everyone has different, unique characteristics and levels of endurance, but the DOT wants to lump every driver into the same box as if we're all identical robots. I don't need someone who's never even driven a truck telling me I'm supposed to be tired when I'm really not.

I mean I get it, there have to be some regulations or else some people would drive until their brains turned to mush. But maybe there could be some kind of voluntary endurance test, like a 2 week on-the-road examination that drivers pay for themselves where they track your sleep patterns, your ability to stay alert and for how long, etc. Then after 2 weeks they give you a rating which correlates to a proportional increase in your allowed hours. Or maybe it doesn't even have to be that long. I'm sure science has advanced enough to determine this stuff with a few simple tests.

I worked on a submarine where we ran an 18-hour day schedule (6 on, 12 off) for 3 months straight, with no days off. If I can do that while safely operating a nuclear reactor, I would think I could be trusted to drive a little more than 8 hours a day for 3 weeks straight.

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.

Max E.'s Comment
member avatar

At my previous job we ran paper logs.. I like Brett don't think I had a day where I didn't have to "adjust" my log book. If you do get paper logs.. always use the loose paper logs and a 2/3 ring binder. Makes it easy to remove a page and make a new one.. also make sure you only ever keep 8 days worth of logs. That's all you legally have to hold in your truck. If you get pulled over and DOT finds logs from 3 months ago.. it's free game.

ANYWAYS onto my new point I like Brett also like smaller breaks during the day. Which is why I HATE the 30 minute break with a passion. I like to be able to pull over to a rest area every 2-3 hours for 5 or 10 minutes then hop back in and be on my way. But due to the 30 minute rule this don't work. I still had usually had 30 minutes worth of breaks in 8 hours but its never at 1 time so it don't count. So it makes me push it to drive 6+ hours at once so I don't waste my clock since I am on E logs now. As nice as it is to not have to drive lines anymore.. I miss my paper logs sometimes. Hahaha

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.

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.

The Dude's Comment
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The problem with the 14 is it makes those three cushion hours of on duty way too critical. In flatbed, on days when I unload and reload, I find those three hours are sometimes enough, sometimes not enough to get it done without cutting in to my 11.

Well, most truck drivers get paid by the mile without any type of hourly pay when they are loading/unloading (tarp pays eases some of this pain in flatbed if a tarp is involved), so if a driver cuts into his 11 by spending too much on-duty time on the 14, he is essentially losing money.

So what happens in flatbed, load securement time falls into that three extra hours of on-duty time you get, the three hours you don't want to exceed so you don't lose money, so taking time to properly secure a load now becomes a detriment to making money.

The government has created a system that prohibits flatbed drivers from taking an ample amount of unpressured time in securing a load without losing money. Think about that for a second. Out of all the guys who didn't use belly straps and put a pipe through their cab over the past few years, I wonder how many felt rushed during the securement phase.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
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