Month: October 2005

Hours of Service Revised! (Again!)

It has been almost two weeks since the new hours of service has taken effect in the US. Does anyone have any clue on how the new rules affect us on the road? I finally got fed up trying to figure out the rules on my own and invested $70. on my own copy of DDL (Drivers Daily Log).

F. Roland “Nick” Bjorklund hit a home run with this program. I am happy to say that my company allows all drivers to use this program. It has been endorsed by the Oregon DOT and it should save a lot of time and hassle trying to figure out the new rules. You can check out the program by pointing your browser at http://www.driversdailylog.com.

One thing that I did notice in the new rules was that a driver cannot use the split sleeper to his or her advantage after October 1st. Although, if a driver takes his first two hour break during his 14 hour work period, he or she only has to take 8 hours in the sleeper before diving again. This sounds great, but I found out by using the program that you may only drive the number of hours after the 8 hour break you gained in the initial break period, ie: 2 hours. If one were to spend 5 hours in the sleeper or off-duty, you could then drive another 5 hours before you would have to hit the sleeper again. My best advise is to take a two hour off duty break during the 14 hour on duty period, then spend 10 hours in the sleeper to reset the 14 hour clock. This all sound very confusing, and rightly it is. Obviously the politicians in Washington, DC had no clue on how to effectively write the new rules.

If you have a lap-top and you use it on the road, my advise is to spend the $70. and keep yourself out of trouble with DOT. $70 is far less costly than a $25o – $1500+ ticket for not keeping up your logs. The Federal DOT has fully adopted DDL and accepts it’s use by all OTR drivers in the United States.

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Heaven In The Trucking World

It’s been a few weeks since my last post and a few things have changed. First of all, I am working for a premiere carrier in the northwest hauling flat-bed freight. Most of the freight that I haul is lumber and lumber products. I am part of the heavy haul division or maxi-fleet as we call it. After almost 8 years and a million miles of safe driving, this change has been the most rewarding and challenging of my career.

I am learning to deal with a fleet of drivers who think that if you haven’t been doing flatbed and tarping loads in your career, you aren’t really a truck driver with a lot of experience. I have to say that I have spent the last three years running safely from Spokane, WA to Missoula, MT with a set of doubles and rocky mountain sets. My route was one of the toughest routes in the lower 48 states. I ran overnight and expedited freight through almost every weather condition imaginable. A good night consisted of making it to Missoula and back in one piece and keeping the rear trailer from passing me coming off of Lookout Pass in a driving ice storm! I would like to say to my fellow truck drivers who are part of the maxi fleet to give the new guy a break. I have heard comments like, “so you are the one who doesn’t know how to tarp” and “he must be learning to drive”! These comments are not necessary, nor are they very professional. I have been driving most of my adult life. I have driven fire trucks, ambulance, truck, bus and just about everything in between. Of course tarping takes a certain skill, but as is such with almost any aspect of the trucking industry. Before we jump to make judgement of our fellow truck driver, get to know him or her. I am sure the comments I heard last week were just out of frustration by a couple of over-worked, over-stressed drivers who needed some much needed R&R at home.

A special hello goes out to a certain loader at a lumber mill in south central Oregon. The title of this post is directed towards that person. It is very unusual for me to be surprised at the things I see out on the road as a professional truck driver. I was certainly surprised to see a beautiful, young lady loading my truck. In this day and age, women are more common in a job that was once was thought of as a male only profession. I can’t remember her name, but she was certainly a diamond in the rough. If you know who I am talking about, you would almost certainly agree that she looks like the twin sister of Trisha Yearwood! She could manuver the lumber loading fork lift with ease and certainly knew her job. She was definately a sight for sore eyes!

Be safe and God Bless!

Jim