|Time Log Help|
Some say the Department Of Transportation's (DOT) new Hours Of Service (HOS)
has just made it harder to do business in the trucking industry by enacting new
more stringent regulations. Markosoft's Time Log has just
made staying in compliance with the new DOT laws much easier. The data generated
by the Time Log program is information
that has never before been available (in virtually real time) for dispatchers and
Normally trucking companies have to wait days before the driver logs can be audited and auditing only allows companies to catch violations after they have already occurred. The Time Log application allows dispatch operations to be proactive in preventing HOS violations from ever happening.
When used correctly, this program can save companies big money in DOT fines. It's also a customer service aid in helping avoid missed pickups and deliveries due to drivers running out of hours. And, it can save your drivers lost time and money by preventing costly citations. Insurance premiums are directly tied to accident records and are another source of potential savings that can be realized by using the Time Log. The Time Log can help companies save money by preventing serious accidents due to tired drivers thereby reducing insurance rates.
How the Time Log Works
In a nutshell, the drivers simply call in to the dispatchers just as they go to "on duty"
or "driving" status. A dispatcher clicks the Time Log's
clock in button for that
driver and that's it. The program will warn the dispatchers with visual cues as
each driver approaches the maximum legal on duty hours set by the DOT.
There are programmable timers that warn you when a driver is approaching the maximum hours at different intervals. If it is set for two hours prior to maximum, you know that driver needs to start heading home or get to a rest area. This allows you to see who has enough hours to complete a delivery and get back to the terminal before running out of hours and puts dispatch operations in control.
By clocking the driver out when going to off duty status, the program can automatically tally your log summary. Either 60/7 or 70/8 rules can apply and the Time Log can tell you who is going into a violation for total hours.
Other valuable features have been added as well. Driver radio numbers, cell phone numbers, home locations, hazmat endorsement identification, all the important information is there in front of you. There are graphs and printouts that can help you identify problem drivers and dispatchers (those who continue to work drivers when the hours are too low to complete the job safely). Legally you must retain 6 months of driver logs on hand in case of a DOT audit. The Time Log also provides a simple means to destroy the old timestamp database records.
The Time Log program does not replace the driver log. The driver still must continue to retain 7 days of logs in his possession at all times and record each change of duty as it occurs and no driver may drive for more than 11 hours. Those things are still a part of the driver's responsibility. The Time Log simply enhances the driver log by giving dispatch operations a notification of what's going on by keeping track of each driver's on duty hours.
Guidelines for Clocking In Drivers
When a driver is clocked in, a screen will appear prompting the user to select the log type for the driver. The log types are defined as either Exempt (which allows for 12 hours of on duty time) or Logbook (which allows for 14 hours of on duty time). Some care should be taken when selecting the log type for the driver as the time alarms are directly related to which log type is used.
There should really only be a single daily record for an exempt driver because sleeper berth time may not recouped for later use. Once an exempt driver is clocked on, his on duty time continues to run until he clocks out for the day. After coming off duty, an exempt driver cannot begin work again until at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.
The logbook type is a little different in that it is possible to split on duty times with a single off duty sleeper berth period provided that the sleeper berth period is at least 2 hours in duration and that the subsequent off duty time (when added to the sleeper berth period) will total 10 or more hours . Therefore, it is possible to allow a driver to be clocked out once for two or more hours as long as the driver is sure that he will meet the additional criteria for reclaiming the sleeper berth time. The Time Log program only totals the on duty timestamps when calculating the warning conditions, so dispatchers must give serious consideration when clocking out drivers for sleeper berth time because the drivers must also follow all of the other DOT rules for reclaiming sleeper berth time in order for this time off to be correctly applied.
In simple terms, dispatchers should only clock out exempt drivers one time at
the end of a shift. Logbook drivers can be clocked out one time for a sleeper
berth as long as the driver is sure that the sleeper period will be at least 2
hours in duration.
How Time Calculations are Performed
There are 5 primary calculations for timestamps that are analyzed by the Time Log program. Below is a description of each timestamp and how it is calculated by the Time Log.24 Hour Exempt
When calculating the amount of on duty time for the 24 hour exempt status, the program begins by searching for the most recent 10 or more hour off duty time period that has occurred in the past 24 hours. If at least 10 consecutive off duty hours are found, the amount of on duty time is calculated by summing the total on duty time beginning at the end of the 10 hours of off duty time. The total time off is calculated by totaling the time that has elapsed since the last clock out period.
If no 10 consecutive hour periods of off duty time is found in the last 24 hours, the number of on duty hours are calculated by summing the total number of hours worked during the last 24 hours. The total time off is calculated by summing the number of off duty hours that have occurred in the last 24 hours.
An exempt driver may only be on duty for 12 consecutive hours.
If no 10 consecutive hours of off duty time is found in the last 24 hours, the number of on duty hours are calculated by summing the total number of hours worked during the last 24 hours. The total time off is calculated by summing the number of off duty hours that have occurred in the last 24 hours.
A logbook driver may only be on duty for a total of 14 hours and under certain circumstances the driver can use a sleeper berth period of two or more hours to allow the 14 hours on duty to be non consecutive.
For calculating the number of on duty hours for the 8 day DOT requirements, the program sums the total on duty hours beginning 8 days from the current date and time. If a valid 34 hour restart period is found to have occurred during the past 8 days, the number of on duty hours is calculated as the sum of all of the on duty hours since the end of the most recent 34 hour restart period (provided that the Use 34 Hour Restart checkbox is selected in the Options screen).
For calculating a 34 hour restart, the program looks for the first occurrence of 34 consecutive hours of off duty time and then analyzes the on duty time for eight days prior to the beginning of the 34 hour restart to insure that the driver was not in violation of DOT 60/7 day or 70/8 day rules prior to the start of the 34 hour restart period. If the driver had no DOT rules violations, the 34 hour restart is found to be valid. However, if the driver was in violation prior to the 34 hour restart period in question, the program abandons the restart period and continues to look for another (earlier) restart period until either a valid 34 hour restart period is found, or until the search exceeds the 8 day timeframe. Whenever a valid 34 hour restart is found, the total 60/7 day and 70/8 day on duty times are calculated beginning at the end of the 34 hour restart period.
The Time Log application includes a toolbar that contains several button for
performing the key functions of the program. Below is a description of
each of the buttons and the definition of the functionality.
Use this button to clock a driver in. To clock a driver in, first highlight the row in the main grid that corresponds to the driver and then click the Clock In button. When the Select Log Type screen appears, choose whether the driver will be using the exempt or logbook status.
Use the Clock Out button to end a driver's on duty time. To clock a driver out, highlight the row in the main grid that corresponds to the driver and then click the Clock Out button.
Individual timestamps for a driver can be added updated or removed by either using the Edit Times button or by double clicking a row on the main screen. Either of these methods result in the Edit Time Log screen appearing. This screen shows all of the on duty timestamps that have been logged for the driver during the past 16 days.
Click the Add button to add a new timestamp record or press the Update button to update and existing record. When either of these buttons are clicked, a pop up window will appear that will allow the user to set the start and stop times for the new or updated record. An internal check will be performed by the program to make sure that the new times do not overlap any existing times which would result in a data conflict.
Press the Remove button to delete a timestamp record from the list.
The Graph button can be used to view a
driver's timestamp data in the form of a graph. By utilizing the adjoining
drop down graph menus, a 24 hour, 7 day, 8 day and 16 day graph can be created and
The Excel button and it associated drop down
menu allows for sending all of the timestamp information for every driver
to be sent to Microsoft's Excel application. The menus provide for a 24
hour, 7 day, 8 day, or 16 day listing to be exported to Excel.
A driver's monthly summary report can easily be printed at any time. An explanation of how the summary report is calculated for the 70/8 Summary Report is provided below.
The numbers in the first column represent each day of the month.
The second column is the total amount of On Duty and Driving time combined for each day. If no work was done that day, 00:00 is entered.
The cells in Column A represent the sum of the last 7 days prior (calculated from the Total Hours Worked column). This number represents the total On Duty hours in the last 7 days.
The cells in Column B represent the sum of the maximum hours of 70 in the last 8 days, minus the total hours On Duty in the last 7 days. The figures in this column represent how many hours are available to work on the next day. This is an important column to watch because if there are not enough hours to complete a trip, a DOT violation may occur in Column C.
The cells in Column C are where your violations occur. The previous 8 days prior are counted in the Hours Worked Today column. If the total is more that 70, a violation has occurred and the driver needs to be off duty long enough for his hours to drop well below this number. To be able to use the 34 hour restart when a violation has occurred, the driver must first fall below 70 hours on duty time, and then an additional 34 hours consecutive off duty time is needed to be eligible to reset the hours. Once these conditions are met, the Time Log resets the driver's on duty hours back to 00:00 and a full 70 hours of work is once again available for another 8 day period. Whenever a valid restart period has been reached, the program indicates this by placing a check in the 34 Hour Restart column.
A company that does not operate commercial motor vehicles every day of the week must use the 60 Hour / 7 Day schedule. A company that operates vehicles every day of the week can use the either the 70 Hour / 8 Day schedule or the 60 Hour / 7 Day schedule.
The respective 7 or 8 consecutive days does not mean a week (Sunday through Saturday), it means any 7 or 8 consecutive day period. Thus, a driver doesn't ever really start over counting total hours. The oldest day's hours just drop out of consideration as each new day's hours are added. If no maximum 60 or 70 hour violation has occurred, the law allows a driver to reset his time back to zero and start over with the maximum hours available to him again.
Use the Phone button to open a window using a
large font that contains a driver's telephone number. The phone number can
merely be viewed by opening the screen and then pressing the Cancel
button or the phone number can be changed by first editing the phone
number and then pressing the OK button.
Use the Radio button to open a window using a
large font that contains a driver's radio number. The radio number can
merely be viewed by opening the screen and then pressing the Cancel
button or the radio number can be changed by first editing the radio
number and then pressing the OK button.
The Edit Driver button is a shortcut to
the Edit Drivers screen and provides a means to automatically open that screen
with the current driver's record queried up and ready for editing.
Use the Exempt to Logbook button to change the
log type of an active exempt driver record to the logbook status thereby
lengthening the available on duty hours from 12 to 14 hours.
The refresh button may be used to force the timestamp
records to be re-read from the database and to force a screen repaint.