HOS Survey Review – Opens Eyes
Ol’ Blue, USA™ recently conducted a survey on its Website (www.OlBlueUSA.org ) about the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations – and the results were alarming, but not surprising.
The completely confidential and anonymous survey was intended to get a true feel for driver’s understanding and familiarity of the HOS regulations. The information gathered from the survey will be used to help Ol’ Blue, USA plan its future education programs and to make certain these programs provide the information and training that drivers want – and need – the most.
The HOS survey, which ran from August 15 to October 31, 2006, 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 non-qualified. The results were tabulated by Crump & Associates, a market research company specializing in the transportation industry.
Of the 1,094 qualified respondents, a vast majority of them (65%) were company drivers, while 26% were leased owner operators, 8% were independent owner operators with their own authority, and 1% were involved in other occupations which require a CDL. The primary route these respondents traveled broke down to about 63% long haul (more than 500 miles from base), 32% regional (within 500 miles of base), 8% local (within 100 miles of base), and 3% of other types of routes. The total percentage exceeded 100% due to multiple route types.
What did the survey find? In a nutshell, it revealed that the majority of drivers feel that they understand the HOS regulations, to a certain extent, but have questions. The alarming (but not surprising) data was the fact that 77% of the respondents admitted to deliberately violating the HOS regulations in the past and 55% said they were still currently deliberately violating the rules.
Driver’s perceive that the most common (deliberate) violation is logging time as off-duty when actually on-duty (78%). Other common violations included using more than one logbook (21%), logging violations correctly in hopes that they will not be noticed (17%), and indicating that a team driver is operating the vehicle when they really are not (11%).
When asked how many days per month driver’s 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% of the respondents felt it necessary to violate the HOS rules in order to earn a reasonable income, while 38% strongly disagreed with that assumption. A disturbing amount of respondents (38%) said that their company expects them to violate the regulations as part of their job. Some 68% (31% somewhat and 37% strongly agree) thought that law enforcement officers do not understand how to relate to commercial motor vehicle drivers.
Most drivers (60%) feel strongly that it is important to obey the rules, but 62% of them do not know where to go to get answers to their questions about the HOS regulations. In the end, almost 70% of the respondents felt that the HOS regulations are difficult to understand and easy to violate accidentally. That is a staggering number. There was a lot more data recorded, but we will not bore you with an endless list of statistics and percentages here. To view the actual survey results, visit www.olblueusa.org/survey/ .
The Ol’ Blue, USA survey was not conducted to make truckers look bad, but instead to pinpoint the problems and verify the fact that many drivers are confused and frustrated with the current FMCSA’s HOS regulations. The vast majority of drivers out there want to run legal, but to do this, they need rules and regulations that are written in simple terms and easy to understand.
That is where Ol’ Blue, USA comes in.
Ol’ Blue, USA is a non-profit organization dedicated to highway safety education and to improving relations between the motoring public, law enforcement and commercial drivers. For more than 20 years, Ol’ Blue, USA has been an information source to truck drivers through its Safety Center™ (at truck shows across the country) and its “Ask The Law”™ radio programs and printed columns, as well as by providing answers (directly from law enforcement officers) to hundreds if not thousands of truckers’ questions about commercial motor vehicle rules and regulations.
And all the while, the organization has never once asked for a dime from any trucker to help its causes!
As a thank you for participating in the Ol’ Blue, USA survey, drivers had an opportunity to register (at the end of the survey) to win a digital Sony bookshelf stereo system. The winner was Daniel Alguire of Redlands, California. A trucker for 13 years, Alguire runs from Los Angeles, CA to Phoenix, AZ every other night.
The folks at Ol’ Blue, USA wanted to sincerely thank those who helped promote the survey and the people that volunteered their time and services to make the project such a success. They also wanted to sincerely thank all the drivers that took the survey and gave their very honest answers.
Safety should be the number one priority of every driver out on the road – for not only themselves, but for those around them as well.
If you have questions about the HOS regulations or any other safety issue, visit Ol’ Blue, USA’s Website at www.olblueusa.org to get some answers. On the website, you’ll find links to many useful items, including a logbook presentation slide show put together by the Nebraska State Patrol, as well as many other safety-related tips and articles. The site also includes a link to Ol’ Blue, USA’s “Ask The Law” program, which is where drivers can send questions to be answered directly by law enforcement officers.
If you are a company that believes safety is important, consider becoming a sponsor to Ol’ Blue, USA.
Nobody else does what this organization has been doing for over 20 years. It is an invaluable service to drivers.
But if the industry does not begin to support programs and organizations like Ol’ Blue, USA they will cease to exist. And once they are gone, who will answer truckers’ questions then?
If commercial drivers, trucking companies, law enforcement officers and others involved in the industry stand together as one, we can all figure out these rules and learn how to run legally, responsibly and profitably.
Isn’t that the ultimate goal? We think so.
- end -