Today we are going to review again what has been discussed several times BUT this time we will revisit this topic from our panel discussion during the LCT East Show 2018 in Atlantic City.
Our panel included Mike McDonal from Saucon Technologies and Rick Malchow from JJ Keller, and me as the moderator.
I’ll lay out some bullet points, touch on the address and include some audience questions as we continue through this article.
• Is my limousine, minibus, or coach a CMV?
• Can I be interstate if I never leave the state?
• What are the hours of service limits for passenger carriers?
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) a passenger caring vehicle of 9 – 15 including the driver is considered a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) defined in Title 49 CFR 390.5 Definitions. This would include what is referred to as 8 – 10 passengers stretch limousine (120”) and vans.
So, all limo companies out there and van services, you are operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle, and fall under the guidelines of the FMSCA.
1) Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating, or gross vehicle weight or gross combination weight, of 4,536 kg (10,001 pounds) or more, whichever is greater; or
2) Is designed or used to transport more than 8 passengers (including the driver) for compensation; or
3) Is designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers, including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation.
2 & 3 should read regardless of compensation. Also, remember if you purchase/rent a van or minibus and you remove a seat or seats; the regulation reverts to what the original manufacturer built those vehicle specifications.
Interstate / Same State:
You are considered doing interstate work if you pick up at an Airport or a Port for a cruise ship even a Train station. You are furthering the transportation of that person. Example; a group is flying into your airport you are hired to pick them up and the group is 8 or more passengers and you are taking them to a business or a hotel for meetings and you return them to the airport to leave your city, that is considered interstate commerce.
Hours of Service Limits:
Here is where you really need to pay attention and think. And this may vary from an Intrastate perspective if you are only Intrastate. But for Interstate, the limits are found in Section 395.5 for passenger carrying vehicles, and it’s 15 hours on duty and that clock can be paused by off-duty time. Within that 15 hours, 10 hours of driving is allowed. But to reset either one of those hours of service clocks, the driver must be off-duty for 8 consecutive hours. A driver can work 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days depending on how your operation is set up. If you operate buses or limousines every day of the week, you can use 70 hours in 8 days otherwise you must use 60 hours in 7 days. The math really turns out to be about the same, about 8.5 hours per day buy, of course, it’s a little bit more flexible to use 70 hours in 8 days. A driver can work beyond any of those limits. They just cannot operate a commercial motor vehicle, which means they can’t drive your limousine or a bus.
Remember, if your employee part-time drivers and they are compensated for work at another place of employment that drive must account for the hours they work at their other job. Example; Employee earns an income from Walmart for 8 hours of work that employee must add those 8 hours to his or her logs. Those hours will count towards the 15 hours on duty for that 24-hour period. Since that employee has not driven a commercial motor vehicle in this example that he or she could drive for you but can not work more than 7 hours of total hours on duty and driving hours.
So, here is where I asked Mike and Richard a couple of questions: Bear with me on this, it gets a little long winded. (That’s what happens when you have a couple of reg-nerds on a panel) (Richards words not mine) although I agree. LOL.
Companies have learned that you don’t have to have an ELD if you’re in that 100-air-mile radius. But if you’re in that 100-air-mile radius and you do a port or airport pickup or drop-off, that’s considered interstate business, and you must be ELD at that point. Correct? Answer: That depends really on how often that driver is required to log. So, if they can use the short-haul exception, they still have hours of service rules to follow. They still must do all their work within 12 hours. So, if they start their day at 7 a.m., they must be released from work at 7 p.m. There is no extension of that. That are consecutive hours. And they must begin their day and end their day at the same location, and they must stay within that 100-air-mile radius. Which means from their normal work reporting location, likely your terminal, they can go 100 miles in any direction and they can drive as many miles within that circle as they want. They do have hours to follow, and they must document that compliance, but they don’t have to document that compliance with a log or with an ELD. They can do it with a time record. But if they log more than 8 times in a rolling 30 days, it’s important to understand that then, they must use an ELD until they go back underneath that threshold.
After that question and answer, I’m beat. BUT wait there’s more!
“Can you explain off-duty time” So, there are a lot of companies out there that don’t understand that the driver can be off duty, let’s say at a basketball game.
The quick definition of on-duty is very well defined in 395.2. But to get off-duty definition, you really got to go to the second FMCSA interpretation of that section. And it says that the driver is free to pursue their own liberties. When the driver has been released from his or her responsibilities of the passengers of the vehicle. Essentially, they can walk away from the vehicle. Now if they choose to stay with the vehicle, they can still be off-duty, but they must be free to walk away. They can’t sit in the driver’s seat.
A question came from the audience, I do a lot of football shuttles, and my drivers go watch the football game. The way we are right now, they’re not on the clock during that time. Is that allowed?
That’s absolutely allowed. They’re free to pursue activities. Now if you require them to watch the game, then they are not free to pursue activities. They must stay on duty NOT driving. But if they are free to watch the game and you tell them to return to the bus at a certain time, they can log off-duty the entire time they were away from the bus.
One thing to remember that this answer is an answer on the ELD side. They’re off-duty. Don’t take that as a direction of employment. Check with your employment law.
• Initial Compliance Date: December 18, 2017
• Full Compliance Date: December 16, 2019
ELD is a three-stage process. Stage one went away on December 18th last year. That was logging software where a driver could just put their logs in, no attachment to the engine, no getting any engine data or anything like that. We’re now in stage two of ELD compliance. And what that is, is you can use an automatic onboarding recording device or an electronic logging device up until December 16th next year at which time you must be in stage three, full electronic log device compliance.
Also, a note: If you are AOBRD and you add an additional bus, that bus MUST be ELD. You can replace a bus and remain in AOBRD but you can’t add one, two, three buses.
AOBRD vs. ELD: What’s the difference?
• AOBRD – Display only
– Electronic display or printout always required
– Two options for data transfer:
• Telematics = Web address and/or email
• Local = USB or Bluetooth
If your ELD cannot transfer the logs electronically from your vehicle to the roadside inspector, you have an AOBRD. Make sure your drivers know that. Take your label maker out and put on the screen AOBRD if that what you have, because if an inspector asks your driver what you have, and he tells them ELD because that what you told him you have, nothing will work. You are also required to have documentation on board as to how your device operates. So, if you have AOBRD, you will need a driver instruction sheet, you will need a DOT instruction sheet, and then, of course, you always need a supply of paper logs for the time that the vehicle may be dispatched on that trip.
When you have an ELD, you need a driver instruction sheet, you need a malfunction sheet, and you need a data transfer sheet along with a supply of logs. So, if you not sure what you have, contact your vendor and make sure because you don’t want your drivers to get in a very sticky situation and get written up for something that was just a case of mistaken identity.
Supporting Documentation: One of the things that the ELD mandate did was to bring a whole new section to the rules for hours of service. Now, this does not apply for short-haul drivers, but it applies to both property carrying drivers and passenger carrying drivers. And that is, they added a section to the regulations 395.11 that says, “You must maintain supporting documentation so that if DOT/FMCSA comes in to do an investigation, they can compare your paperwork to what the driver was actually doing.” FMCSA is pretty sure that the ELD will do a good job documenting drive time. What they’re not so sure about is, off-duty time and on-duty not driving time, but that’s what supporting documentation do.
Your drivers need to understand, that the rules are in place to ensure that they submit those as supporting documents to FMCSA.
Supporting documents example; Fuel receipts, Toll receipts, Hotel receipts, Meal receipts, etc.
The Big Data
• Unassigned driving time
• Violation reports
• Operational data
Unassigned drive time is very simple, the vehicle moved from point A to point B and nobody was logged into the device and so we have no idea who is operating the vehicle. You can edit it because, the mandate in 395.22 does say that you can assign it to a driver and say, “I believe based off the charter report, trip records, that this driver was in the vehicle” You assign it to a driver and then a driver gets that assignment, certifies that, yes, indeed, it was him. The other thing you can do is explain the movement.
Violation reports: Violation reports is going to be the second report that FMCSA asks for when they come in to visit. That going to be any showing of the 10- hour, 15-hour, or 70-hour violation. Now, some violations can be abated where a driver forgets to log off-duty. You can fix things like that. Some of them are going to be circumstantial. Some of them, you may need to invoke 395.1B in adverse condition if the driver ran into something unexpected prior to dispatch.
Here is where you need someone monitoring the daily logs every day, once they get away from you it’s very hard to go back and figure out who was in the vehicle or why the record changed. If you feel your company is not large enough for someone to be assigned every day or its too costly talk to me about that, I’m sure I can find a solution for you.
Driver training is the key to a successful ELD program.
Operational data: Depending on which provider you choose, can open everything from the battery amperage is, to how much fuel is in the vehicle, to how much oil is in the vehicle, the engine temperature, the tire pressure, how many miles that vehicle has gone for the day, your IFTA reporting. Make sure your provider is providing your IFTA information correctly. Just because it’s recording it, there are certain parameters that IFTA and IRP came out within the last two years saying that some of this is required for ELD, others are required for IFTA. They’re not the same.
Operational data will help you a lot. Route efficiency. How many hours do your drivers still have left for the day? How many hours do you still have available for the week? There truly is an abundance of data you can gather from your device. All these reports will help you with Self auditing. You will be surprised what information you will gather and guaranteed your eyes will be full of information you never considered before.
Running a smart ELD program in your company, will save you lots of money and ensure that you are truly operating a SAFE company.