By Rob Scott
WHITE CITY, Ore. — Commercial truck drivers can spend several hours a day on the roads and officials are making sure those drivers are following rule to keep roads safe.
For truck drivers, the open road is their office. For driver Pat Williams, every milepost has a dollar sign.
“I get 38 cents a mile, so the more miles I get, that’s what my pay’s based on,” Williams says.
Last week, the Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation teamed up to take a closer look at the logs truck drivers use to track their hours.
“We can see if there’s a pattern with a particular driver or a particular company that needs to be addressed and maybe taken to the next level of an actual traffic citation that goes against their driving record,” says David House, with ODOT.
There were four stops along Interstate 5 in Oregon, including one in Ashland. The results found 26% of drivers had to be put “out of service” and rest until the guidelines allow them to get behind the wheel again. But truck company officials say that the number can be a little misleading.
“The majority of those aren’t necessarily out of hours. They’ve either made a mistake on their log book or they failed to fill it out to start their day,” says Troy Hutchens, with F.V. Martin Trucking.
ODOT does think that last week’s results were higher than usual because of the teamwork with Washington officials. Williams says that every week he works, means a day off at home in Missouri with his kids.
“I sleep for 10 hours and I get up and do it all over again and it’s pretty much that way for 5 straight weeks,” says Williams.
Companies have different policies on logbook violations. For F.V. Martin trucking in White City, the fourth violation leads to termination from the company.