Effective July 1st 2013 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has define a new set of rules for hours of service (HOS) effecting all commercial carriers. One of the significant changes dictates when the first 30 minutes of non-driving time now classified as “off duty” time must occur and restricts activities during the 30-minutes rest period. Although a lunch break is encouraged in the FMSCA language. Really? Are you kidding me? Eating…?
So the guys who think a long drive is 225 yards off the first tee, by rule say its going to enhance safety to require drivers to stop in the middle of the day to eat a roast beef sandwich and drink a Coke….? For those of you who don’t golf… which I can say I have fully recovered from the disease… this is like eating a hot dog and having a beer after the front nine, in the minds of the geniuses in Washington.
What’s better for safety, thirty minutes of exercise walking an auction yard, or eating a roast beef sandwich and downing a Coke? Your author happens to have a Masters degree in Health and Physical Education, and is a formerly certified NATA Athletic Trainer… even 10 minutes of walking in the middle of a shift will do more to enhance safety than an arbitrary 30 minute lunch break that includes a big meal… and the sleepiness that will certainly follow!
But does walking an auction yard playing “Where’s Waldo” for 30-45 minutes in the process of looking for a car, qualify as rest time under the new July 1st FMSCA? Yes, if the log book says so. The general nature of the “Hotshot” auto business is frequent stops even when operating more than 150 miles away from the home base. Stops include, waiting in line, walking, and searching. One of the reasons most car hauler drivers are in pretty good shape, is that we spend more time on our feet than the average cargo van haulers.
So you arrive at an auction at 12-noon after 4 hours of driving. It takes you 1.25 hours to find 2-cars and get them loaded. When you are ready to roll 30 minutes of the auction time is logged as the off duty rest time--- strike that… off duty exercise time, which from a safety perspective is much better than downing a roast beef sandwich and a Coke…