3 tactics small fleets can use to get more out of their HOS
Avoid losing out on productivity and profits by leveraging the FMCSA's multiple flexibility options to get more out of your hours of service.
The cost of losing hours of service is felt daily by small trucking companies, who lose revenue due to heavy traffic and adverse weather conditions.
Losing hours of service has a massive economic impact on small fleets as they look to compete with larger mega fleets. However, GPSTab has got your back.
The FMCSA has a variety of exemptions and flexibility options that allow trucking companies to get more out of their hours of service.
While there are some stipulations that must be met first, these flexibility features are widely available for the most part. As a premier ELD provider that makes all these features available to its customers, GPSTab would like to lend some insight that can help you leverage these features to improve your hours of service usage and your profits in the process.
Adverse Conditions Exemption
The Adverse Conditions exemption allows drivers to add 2 hours to their on-duty and driving time if they get delayed by an adverse weather condition or unusual road event.
Prior to the FMCSA’s rule clarification, the Adverse Conditions exemption was something of a grey area.
The rule did not clearly state what situations can be considered “adverse,” meaning that, though it existed as it does now, it was never widely used.
Drivers were not willing to accidentally misuse the exemption, leading to a violation and potentially lower CSA scores. Well, that’s no longer an issue.
The Adverse Conditions exemption was clarified in the summer of 2020—-specifying that the FMCSA considers the following to be adverse conditions: snow, ice, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions or unusual road or traffic conditions that couldn’t be reasonably known to a driver before the start of the on-duty period or immediately after a rest period, and to a motor carrier before dispatching the driver.
Accidents happen, right? There’s no way to foretell when one is going to occur, so if you’re stuck in heavy traffic due to an accident, you should be able to add 2 hours to our hours of service by using the Adverse Condition exemption.
Another important factor to note is that not all ELD providers make the exemption easy to use. That’s not the case with GPSTab.
GPSTab makes it available on the home screen and applicable in only 3 steps. For more information on how to get that done, you can check out our in-depth breakdown here.
The Split-Sleeper rule allows drivers to split their required 10-hour break into two shifts. These shifts can either be split 8/2 or 7/3, or any variation of the two.
Similar to the Adverse Conditions exemption, the Split-Sleeper rule was quite the doozy for truckers.
Per FreightWaves, the rule’s complexity has been the chief reason for it being underused throughout the industry. Small fleets especially would rather play it safe than risk getting a violation, which is fair considering how a violation can affect their profits and CSA scores.
Here’s a quick example to give you the gist of it: Let’s say you start your shift at 6 a.m. and drive for 5 hours.
At 11 a.m. you take a 7-hour sleeper berth and get some rest with 6 hours left of driving time. After your sleeper berth, you drive for another 6 hours and arrive at your destination. At this point you take a final 3-hour off-duty break, completing your required 10-hour break.
For a longer and more comprehensive breakdown of the rule, you can check out our last blog here.
The split-sleeper rule can be leveraged for a variety of reasons, ranging from skipping traffic to extending a 14-hour shift.
GPSTab makes it simple to use split-sleeper, even providing customers with additional features that allow them to use it optimally. The software has additional clocks, labeled as “SSB” that can be found on top of the regular HOS clocks.
These clocks let drivers know how many hours of service they have remaining if they were to apply the Split-Sleeper rule to complete their break.
The FMCSA describes personal conveyance as an event where “a driver can record periods when using a vehicle for authorized personal use.”
Per the FMCSA, some authorized personal uses include traveling from your home to a terminal, terminal to a motel, or going to a restaurant. Please note that you cannot use personal conveyance if you aren’t fully relieved from all work responsibilities.
Personal conveyance allows drivers to drive their truck, without having to use any on-duty time as long as it’s before or after your shift.
While some believe that it cannot be used while loaded, that is not the case. Because drivers aren’t strategically moving the load for commercial benefit, they can use personal conveyance without repercussion.
Using personal conveyance can be done with ease on GPSTab, as long as your business makes it available to drivers.
All-in-all, the FMCSA has provided truckers with an arsenal of tools to increase hours of service flexibility. By leveraging the Adverse Conditions exemption, Split-Sleeper rule, and Personal Conveyance, small fleets should be able to maximize their hours of service, increasing productivity and profits in the long run.
If you’d like to learn more about GPSTab or try it for free, you can sign up at gpstab.com and get started today. You can also contact us at 888-228-4460 or through email at email@example.com.