Did you think the Hours of Service records weren’t important with no log-books? Nope.

For many years, drivers and some carriers were under the illusion that Hours of Service records were not important if a log book was not required.  Nothing is further from the truth.

The same hours have to be kept and complied with either by the driver or by the carrier. However, if drivers are operating outside of a 160 km radius, the driver must keep a logbook to indicate starting times, rest times, and finishing times. There are four possible statuses that a driver can use when traveling outside of the 160 km radius:

  • off duty
  • sleeper berth
  • on duty driving
  • on duty not driving

When operating within the 160 km radius, the same hours have to be kept for each status. “Sleeper berth” is not a status to be used because the driver will return back to the terminal within sixteen hours for eight consecutive off-duty hours.

The carrier is required to maintain all the hours for the driver and in each status.  The carrier has to know when the driver starts each day, when the pre-trip inspection is conducted, the hours driven (not to exceed thirteen hours), and the hours on-duty not driving.  A driver cannot drive after being on duty for fourteen consecutive hours.  The day may be sixteen hours long, but the driver can only be on duty for a maximum of fourteen of those hours unless using their deferral.

A driver could also be required to use the Adverse Weather Provision when unexpected weather has made the trip last longer, even within the 160 km radius. The driving time can be extended by up to two hours, providing that the trip could have been completed within the fourteen hours (including on-duty-not-driving time) under normal driving conditions.

If a carrier understands the basic rules of the National Safety Code Hours of Service, they should be able to understand the importance of recording each status.

All carriers must remember that the same hours over 160 km radius apply and recording the hours and the individual’s status is also mandatory.  Drivers must report every day and their hours must be calculated to ensure that they are not over their hours for that cycle, that day, and for the mandatory twenty-four hours off every fourteen days.  If the carrier realizes that the driver has not had twenty-four consecutive hours off in the last fourteen days, then the driver must take those twenty-four hours off on the fifteenth day with no exceptions.

The carrier can use either 70 hours in seven days or 120 hours in fourteen days.

Good record-keeping practices must be maintained by the carrier for all drivers of vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 11,795 kgs or more.  Also remember that if a driver only drives this truck once per week, but does other work for the carrier during that time, the work, other than driving, is still considered on-duty-not-driving time.  The driver can even be driving a smaller vehicle that does not have to comply with the Hours of Service, but when required to drive the compliant vehicle, all the hours on duty driving the smaller vehicle apply.

An Excel spreadsheet can be a huge help for maintaining the hours, but the hours must be updated daily to ensure compliance for the day, the shift, and the cycle. Having drivers complete a daily timesheet with the required information is also a huge help.  Many drivers have always worked within the 160 km radius and do not understand the Hours of Service rules or regulations. On-going education for all drivers and Hours of Service recording staff is always the best course of action.

For more information about the National Safety Code and course registration, visit the BC Trucking Association website.

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