With the April 1 deadline for full enforcement of electronic logging device (ELD) compliance just weeks away, many truckers apparently believe that the mandate to use ELDs includes changes to the longstanding Hours of Service (HOS) regulations – but that’s just not the case, according to James McCarthy, business development and marketing manager for VDO RoadLog, a division of Continental.
“We’ve found some drivers believe that there are changes to the 14-hour clock rule now that the mandate has been put in place,” he explained. “The 14-hour limit means that once a driver comes back ‘on-duty’ after 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time, that driver cannot drive beyond 14 consecutive hours. Designed to prevent driver fatigue, this workday limit is the total number of hours a driver can work in a day. And the ELD mandate has not affected the 14-hour rule; those restrictions were in place before the ELD mandate was drafted and have not changed.”
McCarthy added that he and other VDO staffers are working to counter such “misconceptions” as full enforcement of the mandate draws nigh.
Another such misunderstanding centers on the sleeper berth rule, he noted. That rule refers to a driver spending 10 consecutive hours in the sleeper-berth and if they do so, the driver’s 11-hour and 14-hour limits are completely reset. However, drivers who do not take 10 consecutive hours of rest do not get a full reset, McCarthy stressed.
“Many drivers believe that they can take eight-hours rest and then take advantage of the ‘sleeper berth split’ rule. This is not the case,” he emphasized. “If drivers try to take the ‘sleeper berth split’ after only eight hours, their ELD will show that they are not in compliance. Again, the mandate did not change the sleeper berth rules, but the ELD devices are pointing out non-compliance issues of which drivers may not have been aware.”
Most drivers and fleets believe that the split sleeper berth rule gives them a full set of new hours once they complete the “eight-and-two split,” explained McCarthy.
“But to gain hours using the split sleeper berth rule, drivers need to spend at least one of their two required rest periods in their sleeper berth – and that rest period in the sleeper berth has to be at least eight hours, but less than 10 consecutive hours,” he stressed.
“And this eight-consecutive hour rest period will not count against the 14-hour duty clock. The other, separate rest period must be at least two consecutive hours. It can be spent in the sleeper berth and/or off-duty,” McCarthy noted. “However, this two-hour period will count against the 14-hour on duty limit. That’s why the ‘eight-and-two split’ does not provide a full set of new hours.”