Everything truck drivers should know about Daylight Saving Time
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Daylight Saving Time (DST) — not Daylight Savings Time — can impact truck drivers in a variety of ways, including sleep schedules log books and on-the-road safety.
Every state aside from Arizona (except for the Navajo Nation) and Hawaii observe Daylight Saving Time. So, unless you drive locally in either of those excluded states, you will be impacted by the time change.
Here’s everything truck drivers need to know about DST for March 2022 in order to prepare beforehand and stay safe in the days following.
When do I change my clocks?
Daylight Saving Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 13 (and ends at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6), so it’s recommended 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.
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 springing forward, drivers do not get an extra hour toward their 10-hour break — they still have to take 10 actual hours off duty.
E-log DST examples:
- If you work 1-10 a.m., it should show 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 an actual 10hour break.
- Same with the 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.
Examples of how Daylight Saving Time can impact different devices:
Schneider has almost fully transitioned to driver tablets but has a couple mobile communications platforms currently in use. The times for the duty status on your tablet 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. Since March 13 is not a standard day, the time on your March 13 log will add up to 23 hours, regardless of what device you use.
- Tablets with HOS functionality: Your tablet will automatically spring forward one hour at 2 a.m. of your regulatory home terminal time. The log graph will show the time period from 2 to 3 a.m. actually missing on the graph (example: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6).
- Omnitracs MCP200 device: Your device will automatically spring forward 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 gap from 2 to 3 a.m.
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, “Spring Time Change.”
How can truck drivers stay safe during Daylight Saving Time?
According to a 2020 University of Colorado Boulder study, “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 springtime shift and a 6% spike in fatal accidents the workweek following.
Improve your safety by following these tips:
- Adjust your sleep schedule: Plan ahead with your own sleep schedule so you can be alert and avoid fatigue. You can do this by adjusting your bedtime so you gradually go to bed earlier during the week leading up to DST.
- Follow safe driving practices: As it gets darker later, 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.
- Know how the time change impacts you: Take note of the electronic logging information above and be sure to 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 more truck driver sleep tips?
Improve your sleep schedule on the road by checking out our “Truck driver sleeping tips” blog. This blog is packed with plenty of helpful suggestions for getting better sleep while you’re on the road.
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