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5 big driver violations (and how to avoid them)

5 big driver violations (and how to avoid them)

Roadside inspections can happen practically anywhere. That’s why commercial motor vehicle drivers must always be prepared for safety inspections. Understanding the most common driver violations and how to avoid them can help reduce driver violations.

Here is a list of five common driver violations (in no particular order) and how drivers can avoid these violations.

1. Operating past 14 hours on duty

According to the FMCSA’s Hours of Service rules, “A [property-carrying] driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The driver may not drive after the end of the 14-consecutive-hour period without first taking 10 consecutive hours off duty.”

If a driver operates past 14 hours on duty, that is considered a critical violation of 395.3(a)(2).1 The average fine for this violation is $7,322.2

For passenger-carrying drivers, the limit is 15 cumulative hours.

2. Driving over 60/70 hours in 7/8 days

According to 395.3(b)1, a driver may not drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days, applicable for carriers that do not operate every day of the week, or 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days, for carriers that do operate every day of the week.

Violating 395.3(b)1 is considered a critical violation with a severity weight of up to 7 points and an average fine of $4,787.2 The top recorded fine for violating 395.3(b)1 is $21,780.2

The 7/8 consecutive day period can be restarted if the driver takes 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. A thorough understanding of the 34-hour restart rule and the 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day limit can allow commercial motor vehicle drivers to restart their cycle and get back on the road quicker.

Learn more about the 34-hour restart rule here. Drivers can take the 34-hour break with the KeepTruckin App in two simple steps.

3. No record of duty status

According to the FMCSA’s regulations (395.8a), a motor carrier must require each of its drivers to record the driver’s duty status for each 24-hour period. If a carrier fails to do so, it is considered a critical violation with a severity weight of 5 out of 10.

Recordkeeping violations are subject to a maximum penalty of $1,270 per day, up to $12,695.

If a driver is not exempt from the ELD mandate, he/she will require an FMCSA-compliant Electronic Logging Device to record the duty status. There are, however, some exceptions.

For instance, drivers who qualify for the 100 air-mile radius exemption [as per 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1)]3 and 150 air-mile radius exemption [as per 49 CFR 395.1(e)(2)]3 are not required to keep Record of Duty Status (RODS). However, they must keep accurate time records for 6 months.

The time records must contain the following information:

  • The time the driver reports for duty each day
  • The total number of hours the driver is on duty each day
  • The time the driver is released from duty each day
  • The total time for the preceding 7 days in accordance with Section 395.8(j)(2)

For more information on a driver’s record of duty status and supporting documentation, click here.

If you are interested in learning more about HOS exemptions, check out this article: 4 hours-of-service exemptions drivers and fleet managers should know.

4. False logs

Falsification of logs is a common driver violation that regularly appears as one of the top three violations during the annual International Roadcheck.

Falsifying logs is a critical violation that can put drivers out-of-service. The violation has a severity weight of 7. According to the updated penalty schedule5, knowingly falsifying records may lead to a penalty of up to $12,695.

During the International Roadcheck 20194, 14.7 percent of drivers were placed out-of-service because of falsified log books.

5. Wrong class license

Wrong class license is another violation that is more common than many people think.

During the International Roadcheck 2018, wrong class license was the second biggest driver violation. 21.4 percent of drivers were placed out of service because of this violation. In 20194, the percentage increased from 21.4 to 22.5.

There are multiple types of driver licenses:

  • CDL Class A: It is required for drivers who operate any combination of vehicles CMV with a gross combination weight rating (GVWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, provided the towed vehicle is heavier than 10,000 pounds.
  • CDL Class B: It is required to operate a CMV with a GVWR of 26,0001 or more pounds, or tow a vehicle not heavier than 10,000 pounds.
  • CDL Class C: This CDL is required to operate a CMV designed to transport 16 or more people, including the driver, or to transport hazardous materials, as defined under the federal law.

Fines for commercial driver’s license violations may be up to $5,732.5

Learn more about commercial driver’s licenses here.

Driver violations and International Roadcheck

Now that we have identified some of the common driver violations, let’s see how common these violations are during International Roadcheck.

During the International Roadcheck 20194, the top three driver violations categories were:

  1. Hours of Service: 37.2 percent of drivers were placed out of service.
  2. Wrong class license: 22.5 percent of drivers were placed out of service as a result of 714 violations.
  3. False logs: 467 violations were recorded for false logs, which put 14.7 percent out of service.

How to avoid these driver violations

All these violations can be easily avoided with the help of an FMCSA-compliant Electronic Logging Device. ELDs can inform drivers of upcoming Hours of Service violations with timely alerts.

For example, the KeepTruckin ELD keeps track of a driver’s Hours of Service and notifies him or her whenever a violation is approaching. With timely alerts ahead of potential violations, drivers have ample time to plan, stop, and park their vehicles safely.

Watch the following one-minute video to learn how to record Hours of Service with the KeepTruckin App.

The FMCSA Clearinghouse

The FMCSA Clearinghouse rule has become operational from Jan. 6, 2020. The rule requires FMCSA-regulated employers and their service agents to record their employees’ DOT drug and alcohol violations under Part 382 of the FMCSA’s regulations.

The rule also requires them to populate the clearinghouse (an electronic database) with verification of a CDL driver’s completed steps in the return-to-duty process.

Learn more about the new drug and alcohol clearinghouse.

Try KeepTruckin

The KeepTruckin ELD is FMCSA-compliant, feature-rich, and affordable for fleets of all sizes.

Drivers and fleet managers can use the KeepTruckin ELD/fleet management solution to help avoid driver- and vehicle-related violations, reduce operational costs, and increase profitability. Learn more about the KeepTruckin fleet management solution and its various features here.

If you are using another ELD solution and want to switch to KeepTruckin, check out the KeepTruckin buyout offer. Through the KeepTruckin Shifting Gears program, we are helping unhappy owner-operators and fleets offset the cost of switching to KeepTruckin.

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