If you want to cause a hullabaloo in a crowd of truck drivers, say that you like the mandatory thirty-minute break.

Life before that mandatory break for us as a team was to pick up the freight and run hard till delivery, which could be 500 miles or 3000 miles, with no consideration for ourselves or our bodies.  When we had to stop due to nature calling or to get fuel, we did the stop as fast as possible. Eating consisted of finger food that we could eat when driving and at times drinking was limited so we did not have to stop the truck to use the facilities.  

Once the thirty-minute break became mandatory, we were able to see how bad we had been pushing ourselves.  Now we have to take time for just us. Some of the things we had to relearn we could do:

  • Take a shower
  • Eat a meal while not behind the wheel of the truck
  • Go for a walk 
  • Play ball with Texas and let her have a leisurely bathroom break
  • Check our social accounts
  • Take time to sit back and relax

When the mandatory break first came into play, we had a difficult time planning the break.  Once there was a “rule” in place, I got it in my mind that I couldn’t stop till I could take my break and it had to be at the right time so that I would not be required to take two.  There was a lot of stress I put on myself until I calmed down and started thinking through my issues with the mandatory break. I have heard and used many of these excuses:

  • If it wasn’t for that inconvenient mandatory 30-minute break, I could have made my delivery
  • I have to drive faster to make my delivery on time now
  • I have to drive longer to take my thirty-minute break instead of stopping more often
  • I prefer to take shorter breaks 
  • We don’t get paid to take the thirty-minute break
  • If it was my choice, I might take a more extended break, but since it is not I do not like mandatory breaks
  • Lack of parking for the break
  • I don’t want to be told what to do and when to do it

All of the above excuses got thrown out when I started figuring out ways to make the break work for me.  There are times when the thirty-minute break might cause us to have to deliver the next day, but the same holds true of the hours of service.  Once we signed on the dotted line to obtain our CDL’s, we agreed to abide by the rules that govern legally driving a truck. We can sign on the dotted line and fight the rules, or we can learn to make them work for us as each of us have to abide by the same rules. 

There are a plethora of articles on the health hazards of sitting for too many hours.  Being a truck driver is hard on our health, and anything we can do to get out of the seat for a little bit and walk around is a win-win for us.  As a result of coming to terms with the break, I am not afraid to say, “I like the mandatary thirty-minute break.”

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Linda Caffee

Bob and Linda started their driver careers after their children left home for college in 2000. Bob started as a driver for a large motor carrier with Linda as a rider. They decided to enter the Expedite industry as team drivers in 2005 and purchased their first Freightliner. Both, Bob and Linda have had their Class A licenses since the early 80's starting out driving in the oil field and hauling grain as fill in drivers where Bob worked as a diesel mechanic. Linda worked at the local country courthouse in data processing.

Ask Linda a question

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