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Everything truck drivers should know about Daylight Saving Time

An old-fashioned blue clock with a white face and black hands sits on a smooth brown surface with colorful red and gold fall leaves surrounding it. The background behind the clock is dark with hints of fall color.
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November 4, 2021

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 November 2021. 

When do I change my clocks? 

Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, November 7 (and starts again at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13, 2022), so it’s recommended that you set your clocks one hour back— fall back — 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), and neither does Hawaii. 

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

Schneider has used electronic logs since 2010 — e-logs (ELDs) are now federally mandated — and most e-log providers automatically handle the DST calculations for drivers. 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 how many hours a truck driver can drive

For falling back, drivers do not need to take an extra hour for your 10-hour break — it’s still measured by 10 actual hours off duty. If possible, aim to be on your 10-hour break at that time. 

E-log DST examples: 

  • If you work 1-8 a.m., it should show that you worked eight hours because you moved back 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 would have completed 10 hours by 7 a.m. 
  • Same with the 34-hour restart — if the restart crosses over DST on Sunday, you will reach your 34 an hour earlier than it would appear. You must still take a full 34-hour reset and comply with all Hours of Service rules. 

Schneider has almost fully transitioned to driver tablets but has a couple mobile communications platforms currently in use. The times for the duty status prior to daylight savings ending, will show a Daylight Time designation (EDT, CDT, etc.), and a   Standard Time designation (EST, CST, etc.) for statuses after the time change. Since this is not a standard day, the time on your November 7 log will add up to 25 hours, regardless of what device you use.  

  • Tablets with HOS functionality: Your device will automatically fall back one hour at 2 a.m. of your regulatory home terminal time. The log graph will show repeating the 1-2 a.m. timeframe right after the first 1-2 a.m. timeframe passed. 
  • Omnitracs MCP200 device: Your device will automatically fall back one hour at 2 a.m. of your regulatory home terminal time. If you are on the same duty status at the time change, the graph will show a darker line from 1-2 a.m. where the hour overlaps for the hour. 

All drivers must still take a full 10-hour break and comply with all Hours of Service rules. If you are using paper logs, you must flag your log in the remarks section with the words, “Fall Time Change.” 

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

According to a 2020 University of Colorado Boulder study analyzing 22 years of data, “Evaluation of the Acute Effects of Daylight Saving Time on Traffic Accident Risk,” in the first week after DST, there were a total of 627 deaths associated with the spring time shift and a 6 percent spike in fatal accidents the workweek following.

Fatigue is a major factor. Sleep schedules are altered. Circadian rhythms (your body’s natural sleep cycle) 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. It’s important for truck drivers to do what they can to keep both themselves and the motoring public safe following Daylight Saving Time. 

The following are just a few tips drivers can follow to stay safe around Daylight Saving Time: 

  • Follow safe driving practices: As it gets darker sooner, remember to use safe driving practices and best trip planning practices. Properly plan every delivery, reduce speed, increase your following distance and don’t outdrive your headlights. 
  • Be prepared for the weather: Fall Daylight Saving Time marks the start of winter weather changes. Make sure your truck driver emergency kit is stocked with winter supplies. 
  • Adjust your sleep schedule: Losing an hour can impact your sleep. Adjust your sleep schedule gradually by going to bed a few minutes earlier each day leading up to the time change. 
  • Be aware of your mental health: People often experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) during the winter season- if you need assistance please seek help with your healthcare provider or Employee Assistance Program (EAP). 
  • Know how the time change impacts you: 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!

Looking for better sleep patterns when you’re on the road?

We’ve written several blog posts to help you get quality sleep and stay safe on the road.

About the author
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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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