Everything Truck Drivers Should Know About Daylight Saving Time

By The Schneider Guy Mar 11, 2016
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Daylight Saving Time (DST) — not Daylight Savings Time — can have a big effect on truck drivers, from sleep schedules, to logging considerations, to safety on roads filled with fatigued drivers. Here’s everything truckers need to know about DST for March 2016.

When do I change my clocks?

Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2016 (and ends 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 6), so it’s recommended that you change your clocks one hour ahead — spring forward — before you go to bed Saturday night. Many electronic devices automatically adjust for DST, but double check your cellphone and other device settings, particularly if you rely on your phone as an alarm clock.

Arizona does not observe DST (except for Navajo Nation).

How do Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) handle Daylight Saving Time?

Schneider uses ELDs. Truck drivers who have used paper logs in the past are used to accounting for DST on paper logs. Elogs do the calculation for the driver. Drivers must remember that regardless of springing forward or falling back, you still have to adhere to the Department of Transportation (DOT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.

For springing forward, drivers do not get an extra hour to go toward your 10-hour break — you still have to take 10 actual hours off duty. You should not add an “extra” hour to the amount of hours you actually work. Examples:

  • If you work 1-10 a.m., it should show that you worked eight hours because you moved forward one hour during that timeframe.
  • If you start your 10-hour break at 10 p.m. Saturday, your 10 hours off duty would normally be completed at 8 a.m. Sunday, but because this is a DST day, you have only had nine hours off at this time and will need to stay off until 9 a.m. to have 10 actual hours off for your break.
  • Same with a 34-hour restart — if the restart crosses over DST on Sunday, you will need to wait the extra hour to truly have 34 hours off.

The graph on Schneider’s truck driver mobile communications platform will show a gap from 2 to 3 a.m., and the time on the spring DST day will add up to 23 hours. The times on the status screen will show a Standard Time designation (EST, CST, etc.) for statuses before the time change, and a Daylight Time designation (EDT, CDT, etc.) after the time change.

How does Daylight Saving Time impact truck driver safety on the roads?

According to a University of Colorado Boulder study, “Spring Forward at your Own Risk: Daylight Savings Time and Fatal Vehicle Crashes,” in the first six days of DST there were 302 deaths and a cost of $2.75 billion over a 10-year period. The Fatal Accident Reporting System found a 17 percent increase in traffic fatalities on the Monday after the time change.

Fatigue is a major factor. Sleep schedules are altered. Circadian rhythms are impacted. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, people who sleep six to seven hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash.

What does that mean for truck drivers, and what are some driver safety tips?

Vigilance is critical. Plan ahead with your own sleep schedule, so you can be alert and avoid fatigue. At Schneider, our core value “Safety First and Always” applies 24/7/365, but drivers need to be particularly aware of the potentially fatigued drivers around them after DST.

Pay close attention to your trip planning. Take note of the electronic logging information above. Double-check your pickup and delivery times, Estimated Times of Arrival (ETAs) and Next Available Times (NATs).

It’s just one hour, but it’s still important to plan accordingly. Drive safe!

How do you trip plan to accommodate Daylight Saving Time? What do you think about Daylight Saving Time?

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Schneider Guy loves the “Big Orange.” He’s passionate about the trucking industry and connecting people to rewarding careers within it. He’s been the eyes and ears of our company since our founding in 1935, and he’s excited to interact with prospective and current Schneider associates through “A Slice of Orange.”

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