The following is a running strategy we suggest to our owner operators at Status Transportation during the winter. This is with the purpose of maintaining a high gross revenue or increasing owner-operator pay during the slower season after the holidays. You can also apply this strategy throughout the year.
When planning your trips and work days try to plan your 34-hour reset over the weekend after picking up a load. The owner-operator payment benefits of picking up a load just before a reset are very substantial. By following this strategy truckers can increase the number of loads delivered in a week and reduce the amount of time spent waiting to get a load right after the reset. It is important to note that to take advantage of this strategy first you need to have a clear understanding of how hours of service regulations work.
According to FMCSA’s regulations, a 34-hour reset allows commercial drivers to reset their 60-hour or 70-hour cycle by staying off duty, on sleeper berth for 34 consecutive hours. What we are suggesting is for owner operators to use a combination of sleeper berth and off-duty to complete their restart over the weekend. Note this should be done right after picking up a load, that way you can start fresh on your 70-hour clock and at the same time be ready to deliver first thing after finishing the reset.
Not planning your hours of service will force you to do a reset in the middle of the week, and the downside is that you are losing valuable time you could be spending in delivering more loads and making more money. This forward-thinking mindset along with good communication with your dispatcher will allow you to make the best use of your time and have a positive impact on your income.
Here’s a refresher course for owner operator truck drivers on how these regulations work. Remember that hours of service regulations take into account four areas that determine the maximum amount of time that you’re allowed to drive.
To calculate how many hours you are allowed to drive in any given period you need to keep track of the following:
Let’s talk about the third area listed above. Depending on your type of operation you have to stick to the 60 hour/7 day rule or the 70 hour/8 day rule. First off, these two rules are not based on a set week; it’s not based on the calendar week, it is based on a rolling or floating seven or eight-day period.
For example, if you’re operating on a 70 hour/8 day schedule as all owner-operators drivers working with Status Transportation, the current day would be the newest day of your eight-day period and the hours you worked nine days ago would drop out of the calculation.
We’ve been talking about the 60 hour/7 day rule and the 70 hour/8 day rule as if they’re the same rule; actually, they’re two different rules, and the type of operation you’re involved in that’s what determines which one applies to you.
FMCSA says if your company or your enterprise does not operate vehicles every day of the week you’re not allowed to drive after you’ve been on duty for 60 hours during any seven consecutive days. In other words, if you don’t usually operate vehicles every day of the week that doesn’t mean that maybe you just couldn’t find the load on one of those days. What it means is if your schedule is not to operate every day of the week then the 60 hour/7 day rule applies to you. If you’re like most drivers and you work every day of the week, then the 70 hour/8 days schedule applies to you. What that means is you’re not allowed to drive after you’ve been on duty 70 hours in any eight consecutive days. Once you reach that 70-hour on duty status in any eight consecutive day period, you can’t drive again until you drop below that 70-hour on-duty limit.
What FMCSA is stating is that they feel that anybody who’s been on duty for 60 hours in a seven day period or more than 70 hours in an eight-day period is just too fatigued to drive safely. It doesn’t matter how you feel physically or how you feel about this regulation this is the rules we have in place and FMCSA takes seriously.
Also, this rule takes precedence over the 11-hour driving limit. Once you reach the 60 hours or 70-hour limit, your done driving. it doesn’t matter how many hours you have left on your 11-hour limit.
Keeping a recap chart is probably the easiest way for you to keep track of how many hours you got in an eight-day period. You have a logbook to keep track of your daily activities but if you want to stay compliant with the 70-hour/ eight-day portion of the hours of service regulations you need to have a place where you can keep track of your total on-duty hours in any eight consecutive day period.
A couple of hours over the 70-hour on duty limit could cost a driver to get an out of service violation and get a penalty of anywhere between $1,000 and $11,000. You can work as many hours as you want but remember not to drive beyond the 70-hour mark. This is the part of the hours of service regulations that so many owner-operator truckers forget. They spend so much time focusing on how many hours are driving on a day that they forget about this portion of the HOS regulations.
As a professional owner-operator truck driver, it’s your responsibility to know and obey these regulations. If you haven’t already done it, you can look up these rules, and study them. You can find these in the federal motor carrier safety regulations, and they’re under part 395. If you review these rules and you still have questions you can call the Status Transportation Safety Department, and one of our compliance reps will be glad to talk over any of these regulations with you.
Talk to your dispatcher and start working on the 34-hour restart over the weekend strategy, you will notice the difference on your owner operator payment settlements.
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OOIDA Business Education (2013, June 20). 60 70 Hour Rule Fv3 [Video file].
Retrieved from YouTube website: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRL8Es8Tvnw