The logistics industry places a heavy emphasis on studying and perfecting the most fuel-efficient technologies for carriers, the optimal network of distribution centers, logistical routing, and information visibility in whatever system a particular 3PL, Private Motor Carrier, or Corporate Logistics Department chooses. These topics are of course incredibly important and relevant to the smooth running of transportation of goods but what about the actual drivers who are employed by these motor carriers? How much of an emphasis on their practices while driving an 18-wheeler is studied in depth? From my experience, very little, the remaining portion of the article will look to enlighten any supply chain professional on the actual practices of the driver, a very succinct handbook, so to speak.
Standards have to be understood and followed if you are a truck driver transporting goods from coast to coast, port to port, factory to warehouse to store, etc. This system is complex and should be better understood. First off, there are Federal Motor Carrier safety regulations that need to be followed. The safety regulations need to be followed starting at the weight of the vehicle (10,001 pounds for interstate carriers, 18,001 for intrastate), age of the driver (21 for interstate, 18 for intrastate), US DOT numbers displayed on vehicle, and hours of service of drivers to name just a slight few. The drivers may also only drive 11 hours following 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time or you may not drive any more after 14 hours of on-duty time following 10 consecutive hours of on-duty time. Also, drivers must carry a log book detailing their driving patterns for each day. These types of rules are much more extensive than the scope of this article allows for, a link to a driver handbook from the state government of Connecticut is at the end of this article.
Inspections are commonplace as well; a motor carrier inspector may stop and inspect a truck of his choosing. All relevant paperwork is provided to the inspector including driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificate, medical waiver if applicable, record of duty status, trip receipts, shipping or delivery manifest, vehicle registration, and current annual inspections for each unit. Additional documents will also need to be produced if your vehicle is carrying hazardous materials. The driver may be issued fines if any defects or violations are documented.