HOURS OF SERVICE FOR B.C. LOG HAULERS

B.C. log haulers have special rules applying to them, different from the general rules for commercial drivers.

For those readers inclined to do so, I invite you to go to the B.C. government’s website at http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/national_safety_code.htm and examine the entire regulation, paying particular attention to section 37.15. For those who want a simplified version, the government has posted a summary on its website called “Hours-of-Service Rules—Loggers”. Or, you can follow my rules in this article. I have broken my rules down between hours-of-service rules, and logbook rules.

In terms of hours-of-service, ask yourself these questions:

Rule 1: Did I have (at least) 9 consecutive hours off-duty before I started work today? If not, don’t start work.

Rule 2: In the last 7 days, did I have (at least) 24 consecutive hours off-duty? If not, don’t start work. (The key word here is “consecutive”.)

Rule 3: Have I driven 13 hours since I started work today? If so, stop driving.

Rule 4: Have I been on duty for 15 hours since I started work today? If so, stop driving.

Rule 5: Have I driven 65 hours in the last 7 days? If so, stop driving.

Rule 6: Have I been on duty for 80 hours in the last 7 days? If so, stop driving.

On-duty time includes driving time. It includes time spent inspecting and servicing a vehicle. It also includes time while being loaded or unloaded, and while waiting to be loaded or unloaded.

It is possible to use your commercial vehicle for personal use, and to not have this time considered driving or on-duty time. This would apply where you could drive your car or pick up truck to or from work, but opt instead to drive your logging truck. The important qualifications are that you are limited to 75 km. per day, that the vehicle must be unloaded and the trailers unhitched, and that you note the times and odometer readings in your log. If you’ve been declared out of service, though, you can’t use this exception as a basis for driving away.

In terms of logbooks, in order to be completely onside:

Rule A: You need one.

Rule B: You must record all of your time in it, including your off-duty time, and that must be kept current to your last change of duty status.

Rule C: You must indicate in the Remarks section that you are “operating under logging truck hours”.

Rule D: You need to have your previous 14 days of logs with you in your vehicle.

Rule E: You must keep your last 6 months of logs at your place of business.

Now, there is a limited exception from keeping logs for drivers operating within 160 km. of their home terminal, who go home each night and have at least 8 consecutive hours off duty, and whose carrier keeps daily records of its driver’s duty status and elected cycle (and keeps those for at least 6 months). In my view, if a log truck driver is content to live up to the ordinary hours-of-service rules applying to all commercial drivers (i.e. at least 8 consecutive hours off duty each day; at least 10 total hours off duty; not more than 13 hours driving or 14 hours on-duty in a day; and not more than 70 hours on duty in a 7 day period), then he can avoid filling in a logbook under the limited exception. But, if he wants to take advantage of the special, longer hours allowed for log haulers, then at the very least he must comply with Rules A, and C through E. And, he must record his off-duty time in his log. He need not record his on-duty and driving times, if his carrier keeps track of that under the limited exception.

The special rules for log trucks do not apply to lowbedders. They are governed by the usual rules, and may be able to avoid using logbooks under the limited exception that I described above.

I want to conclude by saying this. The above is a simplification of the law. The regulations themselves are complicated, are poorly drafted in places, and are subject to arguments about interpretation. If there is any uncertainty as to what the rules are, consult the regulations. If you are still uncertain, seek legal advice.

John Drayton is a Kamloops lawyer practicing in the fields of forestry and trucking law.