March 27th 2019
At Munden Ventures, we believe that with proper training and opportunities to discuss the tools used in the log transportation industry, employers and truck drivers in BC can be safer while making more ethical and professional decisions. As we have trained our own log truck drivers in Kamloops over the years we have noticed that the BC Logger Hours of Service (HOS) rules are a set of rules that can often be misunderstood. This article considers these rules and identifies some common misunderstandings.
Log haulers in British Columbia are afforded the opportunity to operate under a unique set of hours of service rules specific to this sector. The exemption from the standard 7-day/60-hour cycle attempts to recognize the seasonality of the industry by providing drivers the ability to work 15 instead of 14 hours per day.
Of course, this exemption comes with other restrictions, some of which are widely misunderstood among the industry. This blog will summarize the regulation, as well as dispel some myths associated with the exemption.
Requirement to use a log book – many BC log haulers operate within a 160 km radius from their home base, often hauling just around their local region into the mill.
Often, log haulers are under the impression that, if they remain within 160 km of their home base, they are exempt from running a log book and can simply run a pre/post trip and be in compliance. While this is true (kinda) if you are operating under the standard hours of service regulations (you also have complete a Record of Duty Status form - see below),it is not true if you want to use the Logger HOS.
(Sample of a typical record-of-duty status form)
Even a record of change in duty status form will not do. Once again, this can be used by professional drivers under the standard HOS locally, but does not apply for local log haulers operating under the Logger HOS.
Using the logger exemption requires that you complete a logbook, regardless of the distance you travel.
Unique to the Logger HOS, off-duty time during the day does nothing to extend your day beyond the maximum 15 hours on-duty. Standard HOS rules allow drivers to take off-duty time during the day in minimum ½ hour increments, extending their total on-duty day from 14 hours maximum to 16 hours maximum – not so with Logger HOS. Off-duty time is irrelevant. Your day cannot exceed 15 hours from the time you start your day, regardless of what transpires during your day.
Unlike standard HOS which mandates 10 hours off-duty during every 24-hour period, and which can be split between different off-duty segments, so long as one of those segments is at least 8 hours long. Logger HOS requires a minimum of one consecutive off-duty segment of 9 hours.
There is no reset provision for Logger HOS. Whereas standard HOS allows for a 36 hours “reset” once every 7 days, not so in Logger HOS.
While you must take a minimum 24 hours off-duty every 7 days, this does not “reset” your hours to 0. Logger HOS continues to be a rolling 7-day total even after the required 24 hours off-duty.
Not unique to Logger HOS, but often misunderstood, is the ability to use your commercial vehicle for Personal Use and not have it count against your HOS. The simplest way to think about this might be..."could I use my personal vehicle to do this instead of the truck without affecting my work?" The basic rules of Personal Use are this:
With all of the limitations described above, what advantages are there in using Logger HOS? Well, the most basic reason would be to allow a driver the maximum legal “working” time under any HOS option. Often times, log haulers don’t experience some of the delays that over-the-road drivers do.
Accurately recording all hours, without significant valid off-duty time, would reduce the available work time for a log hauler from 15 hours down to 14 hours per day.
Effectively, while the total driving time in a day remains unchanged, the on-duty, not driving time is increased by 1 hour each day. For drivers that often complete 2-3 round trips each day, on-duty not driving time can be significant and the Logger HOS can be beneficial.
Logger HOS is not for everyone...even if you are a logger. If you experience regular delays during your day of at least 1/2 hour each where you could leave the unit and go off-duty, then standard HOS might be better for you. This will allow you 16 total hours to fulfill a maximum 14 hours on-duty.