Driving regs won't slow down technicians

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

WASHINGTON - New regulations that limit hours on the road for some HME delivery techs may be superfluous since most drivers work within those limits already.
The ruling won't have much--if any--effect on drivers, providers say.
"My drivers are on the road seven-and-a-half to nine hours a day," said Michael McDonald, president of Clinical 1 Home Medical in Weymouth, Mass. He employs six drivers, who keep detailed trip logs and schedules.
Under the new regs: Drivers of property-carrying commercial vehicles that do not require a commercial driver's license and who operate within 150 miles of the location where they normally report to work may drive a maximum of 11 hours, following 10 or more consecutive off-duty hours. Drivers are not required to keep records of duty status.
The regulations don't specify whether they refer to actual drive time or include stops. But even so, driver's times generally clock in under the limit, said Rick Perrotta, president of Network Medical Supply in Charlotte, N.C.
"If the guys are doing local runs, it's around eight hours a day," said Perrotta.
Perrotta's drivers cover a large territory--the furthest stop is three hours away. Drivers keep detailed logs of everything they do each workday, including drive time, deliveries, demos and on-site repairs and maintenance.
Many providers use technology to track driver's routes and hours, said Dave Mills, co-owner of First Choice in Homecare in Chesapeake, Va.
"We have a navigational tracking system on the trucks [to see where drivers are]," said Mills. "It also records historical data."