With driving conditions always changing, there’s no routine day in the life of a trucker on the road. Storms, fire and emergency road closures on the highway can adversely impact the safety and hours-of-service compliance for your drivers. The adverse conditions exception exists to help drivers facing these roadblocks.
What Are Adverse Conditions?
Adverse driving conditions are weather events – including, but not limited to, snow, ice, sleet and fog – as well as “unusual road or traffic conditions,” according to the FMCSA. If your driver is mid-run in the mountains, for instance, and an unexpected blizzard begins, the adverse conditions exception would likely apply.
Adverse Conditions Exception
The adverse conditions exception may apply to drivers who encounter weather or road conditions and, per the FMCSA, “cannot, because of those conditions, safely complete the run within the maximum driving time or duty time during which driving is permitted.” In those circumstances, drivers are permitted two additional hours of driving time to their 11-hour driving limit and 14-hour shift window to “complete the run or to reach a place offering safety.”
But there are some limitations to the adverse conditions exception.
Notice how in our blizzard example above we used the word “unexpected.” That is a key element of the exception. It applies to “conditions that were not known, or could not reasonably be known, to a driver or a dispatcher immediately prior to beginning the duty day or immediately before beginning driving.”
So, if that blizzard were forecast and a public warning in place, the driver likely wouldn’t be eligible for the exception. And, even in the event of unforeseen adverse conditions, a driver can only use the exception to finish a run if they would have been able to finish it without a violation under normal conditions. Further, it is also up to the carrier to outline in company policy whether the drivers are permitted to operate under the adverse conditions exception.
How to Enable Adverse Conditions in the Depot
EROAD’s electronic logging device provides an adverse conditions exception within the Driver Profile that extends the 11-hour driving time limit and the 14-hour driving window by two hours should drivers run into adverse driving conditions. It’s recommended that carriers update driver profiles in the Depot (EROAD’s back-office platform) and educate their team before the exception is needed so they are prepared well in advance.
In the Depot, click the Driver tab in the red bar and select a driver. Next, scroll down to the list of Permitted Exemptions and Exceptions, and toggle “Adverse Condition” to the on/blue position.
How to Apply Adverse Conditions as a Driver
To activate this exception on the in-cab device, the driver taps the counters, taking them to the hours-of-service summary, and click Exemptions. From here they can toggle the exception on, providing them an extra two hours of drive time (driver counter changes from 11 to 13) and two extra hours in the window (shift counter changes from 14 to 16).
Like paper logs, the driver will be required to add a description of the conditions. Drivers easily do this by using the ELD’s remarks feature (logs icon, view/edit, remark).