“Whose logbook should I use?” and other questions

Truck News

Once again, I’ve dug into the files for a few new questions and answers that have come across my desk. Consider the following:

Q. I drive for two companies – one on a full-time basis, and the other part time. The part-time company wants me to use its logbook, separate from the one I use for my full-time employer. What should I do?

A. The regulation does not speak specifically to this issue, but it does require the name of each operator for whom you work to be entered on the same log. Further, drivers are, of course, prohibited from maintaining more than one logbook. In other words, any and all driving time is recorded on one log. Normally you would use your full-time employer’s log, while the name of your other employer would be noted on the log when you’re driving for them. But you’ll have to work this one out between the two operators.

Q. In previous columns you have noted that personal use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) can be recorded as off-duty time. I was specifically warned that it cannot, and that all time spent behind the wheel of a CMV in operation must be recorded as driving time. What’s the scoop?

A. The bit about a “CMV in operation” is not part of the Ontario regulation. This is wording that sounds like the U.S. regulations. The Ontario regulations, by virtue of the definition of “on-duty” time, allow for personal use to be recorded as off-duty time, providing the operator has relieved you of responsibility. There are similar provisions in the U.S. for recording your personal use of a vehicle as off-duty time. Word has it that Ontario will introduce a policy to state that all driving time is on-duty time. But I suggest it will take more that a policy to make this change. It will ultimately require an amendment to the regulation.

Q. I was told by an officer that I have to sign my log at the beginning of the day rather than the end. What do you think?

A. This question has come up before. While it’s not addressed directly in the regulation, I’d take the approach that your log is signed at the end of the day after all information has been entered. Further, I take this position on the basis of that section of the regulation that deals with on-board recording devices. It says that the driver shall sign all hard copies of the daily log produced by the device and shall certify that they are correct. This clearly speaks to after-the-fact signatures rather than before the fact.

Q. I have three trucks contracted to a large carrier and pay $6,500 per unit for insurance. Do you think I’m being hosed?

A. Maybe so, maybe not. There are a number of factors to consider. For example, if you are part of a 100-truck company and the total cost of insurance is split equally between 100 owner/operators, you probably are. I only say this on the basis that it’s my experience that, for a carrier this size and with a good claims experience, that insurance per unit would be somewhere between $3,500 and $4,500. Of course, you have to consider an administration aspect as well. On the other hand, you have to consider the claims experience of your three-truck operation against other units in the fleet. Insurance costs and factors are all over the map, and the assessment of owner/operators’ insurance costs can vary widely from one fleet to another.

Q. I am a licensed owner/operator who has my insurance through my carrier. I have the opportunity to work on the weekends for a shipper. Am I insured?

A. Whoa! I know this happens all the time. Company A pays the insurance, and now you use it to cover a run for someone else. I’m not an insurance agent but I strongly advise against doing this. First, it will likely be completely contrary to the insurance contract between the insurer and Company A. Second, it’s probably contrary to the contract with your primary carrier. Most important, you may not have insurance at all when hauling for your weekend client.

Q. I spec’d a truck for a 244-inch wheelbase in order to allow me to run 53-foot trailers. We measured up the tractor and it’s pushing 245 inches. Who’s at fault here, and will I get charged for this?

A. Obviously, the unit is over the maximum allowed and my inclination is that the dealer screwed up. But I also expect that the problem is not going to be readily fixed or resolved. Personally, I’d run the 53s and take the chance that the “overlength” is so small that it’ll go unnoticed. If it is picked up at a scale, act perplexed, play dumb, and pull out your spec’ sheet to review with the officer. n

– Blair Gough is a consultant to the trucking industry and can be reached at 905-689-2727. The advice offered in this column is for information purposes only, and should not be taken as legal advice.

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