Drivers admit violating HOS rules in survey

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Ol’ Blue, USA recently conducted a survey on its website about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service regulations. The survey revealed that 77 percent of the respondents admitted to deliberately violating the HOS regulations in the past, and 55 percent said they currently were still deliberately violating the rules.

Of the 1,094 qualified respondents, 65 percent were company drivers, while 26 percent were leased owner-operators, 8 percent were independent owner-operators with their own authority, and 1 percent were involved in other occupations that require a CDL. The primary route these respondents traveled broke down to about 63 percent long haul (more than 500 miles from base), 32 percent regional (within 500 miles of base), 8 percent local (within 100 miles of base), and 3 percent of other types of routes. The total percentage exceeded 100 percent due to multiple route types.

Drivers perceive that the most common deliberate violation is logging time as off-duty when actually on-duty (78 percent). Other common violations included using more than one logbook (21 percent), logging violations correctly in hopes that they will not be noticed (17 percent), and indicating that a team driver is operating the vehicle when they really are not (11 percent).

When asked how many days per month drivers thought they were operating intentionally in violation of the HOS rules, the average answer was six days. When asked how many days per month they might be operating in violation of the regulations unintentionally, either by accident, oversight or honest mistake, the average answer was five days.

Almost 17 percent of the respondents felt it necessary to violate the HOS rules in order to earn a reasonable income, while 38 percent strongly disagreed with that assumption. Many respondents (38 percent) said that their company expects them to violate the regulations as part of their job. Some 68 percent (31 percent somewhat and 37 percent strongly agree) thought that law enforcement officers do not understand how to relate to commercial motor vehicle drivers.

Most drivers (60 percent) feel strongly that it is important to obey the rules, but 62 percent of them do not know where to go to get answers to their questions about the HOS regulations. In the end, almost 70 percent of the respondents felt that the HOS regulations are difficult to understand and easy to violate accidentally.

Ol’ Blue, USA says the confidential and anonymous survey was intended to get a true feel for drivers’ understanding and familiarity of HOS regulations. Ol’ Blue, USA says the information gathered from the survey will be used to help plan its future education programs and to make certain those programs provide the information and training that drivers want – and need – the most.

The HOS survey, which ran from Aug. 15 to Oct. 31, recorded 1,175 respondents, of which 1,094 records were qualified and substantially complete. Retired and unemployed drivers, non-CDL drivers and persons under age to have a CDL were excluded as nonqualified. The results were tabulated by Crump & Associates, a market research company specializing in the transportation industry.