The Great Hotshot Motel Debate

Now that the law has been tweaked, for now, at least according to the last DOT officer I actually spoke with, motel receipts are no longer required for hotshots.

According to the information he gave me, resting in the truck is now allowed.  He did say it depends a lot on how individual officers interpret that law (which is true of most laws.)  He also added the caveat that the law will probably be fine-tuned and possibly changed in the next lawmaking go-round.  So we may end up back at square one, arguing with one another about whether or not motel receipts are a requirement during an inspection.

The old argument was constantly tossed back and forth.

Some guys were adamant that a DOT inspector has no authority to demand receipts.

Others said they did.

In my own personal experience, the officers who did inspections on my truck did ask for them, and because I had them, I showed them.  And passed my inspections.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have passed without them, but since I’m big on actually living and sleeping at night in motels like a normal human female type person, it was never an issue for me anyway.

Now the debate has shifted to whether or not our 10 hour break has to be logged on the off-duty line.  According to what I read about the law, yes, the off duty time should be logged there, even if you do camp out in your truck, and not on the sleeper line unless you actually have a legal sleeper.

Just for general info, the back seat of a pickup is not a legal sleeper, and those funky window insert kits do not make it one either.  It has to do with the minimum allowed amount of height from the bed to the roof, access from the driver’s seat, and the length of the bed as far as I can tell.

So, finally, the big question is whether to motel it or to rough it.

This is just my opinion, but I’m a lot more comfortable in a motel for ten straight hours than I would be in the back seat of my truck.  Granted, my truck no longer has a back seat since we jerked it out of there for more storage for necessary gear to keep the bed of the truck clear for cargo since I run truck-only about 99% of the time.

Even so, if there was a back seat in the truck I wouldn’t choose to camp there.  I’m too old, too tall, and too fond of conveniences such as bathrooms, bathtubs, microwaves, and coffee makers to be happy stuck in a confined area like that for more than say, oh, about half a minute.

Not that I actually get a lot of sleep in motels, even though I’m not overly fussy (I do require clean, and a door that actually locks, that’s about it) or easily spooked (a decade of practice as a cop gives a person a certain level of ability to keep themselves relatively safe just about anywhere) but in any new place there are new sounds that  bug me and usually keep me from getting to sleep early.  It’s like my brain is on alert and it takes a few hours just to calm down and relax.

But still, that’s better to me than trying to sleep on a truck seat with towels or whatever up over the windows, knowing if I have to get up to make a trip to the ladies room I would have to muck my way across a truck stop parking lot at 2 am.

Yeah.  I mean, no.  Not this girl.

IMHO if a hotshot isn’t making enough money for reasonable business expenses such as fuel, food, and shelter, then they need to start charging more or spending less on frivolous stuff.  Either they aren’t making enough to start with, or they’re not great with money management, which is a necessary skill in any business, but particularly in any type of trucking operation.





6 thoughts on “The Great Hotshot Motel Debate

  1. I believe such receipts are called “supporting documentation” and would be a part of the logsheet for that day.

    Be safe.

  2. At my last USDOT audit they said fuel receipts are what need to be held for supporting documentation, reminded me just incase I was about to forget that “sleeper berth” was not to be used but that they didn’t care where I was(even in the CMV) when I was off duty as long as I wasn’t running down the road.

  3. That’s pretty much what I was told as well. My auditor did mention keeping any receipts for motels, fuel, tolls, just anything that helps them track where and when you were when you said you were there.

    I think the “resting in a CMV” rule came out last year, which takes some of the heat off of hotshots and motels. I’m trying to adjust to the 30 minute break rule we have to abide by now or will here soon. I’m not so sure about this old dogs and new tricks thing but maybe I’ll get it all straight in my head with enough practice.

    My absolute best advice to all drivers is to keep an honest log and log as you go so you don’t have to guess at anything, that keeps everybody happy.

  4. As Safety Director of our company our D.O.T. auditor is more concerned in documents backing fuel/repairs,Driver logs targeted are those in recent roadside D.O.T./CMV inspections.
    Most drivers fail to record Post trip inspection report/repairs at vendor locations,and or logging the time spent at the vendor.Line 4 on their logs.( common driver error )

  5. Good points, it takes a minute or two to update that log as everything happens, but it’s well worth it so nothing gets left out. The auditor we had made it pretty simple, if you’re using the truck for anything related to business, log it, and if you’re working in the office related to the business, log that too.

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