Responsibilities of an Owner / Operator
Some truck driving school graduates will elect to become owner/operators (O/O). Many companies require that you have a year or more of over the road experience after graduating from a truck driving school before they will allow you to lease on. Becoming an O/O is a big step. As an O/O, you are responsible for all costs associated with the tractor (and sometime trailer depending on the company you are leased to) such as fuel and maintenance. You will be responsible for insuring you have enough money to cover major repairs although some companies will make loans against future settlements. Being an O/O is similar to being an LPO with the differences noted below.
• Safety Inspections
As a truck driving school graduate and O/O, you will be responsible for making sure your truck and trailer are safe to operate. You will be responsible for tickets that result from failed DOT inspections because the company doesn’t know what the state of the truck or trailer is. Daily inspections of your equipment are required under DOT regulations.
• Dispatch and Routing
Driving an O/O truck is slightly different than other forms of driving since you are usually allowed to accept or reject loads based on your own preferences.
• Logbooks and Hours of Service
O/O face the same difficulties as other truck driving school graduates with regard to properly completing logbooks. Logbooks allow law enforcement and transportation officials to determine that you are in compliance with hours of service regulations. Logbooks must be current to the driver’s last change of duty. Again, you will be responsible for fines resulting from Hours of Service violations.
• Drop and Hook vs Live load
If you are leased to a company that has it’s own trailers you may be dispatched on “drop and hook” loads. If you owner your own trailer all loads will be “live load”.