Now that I am home two weeks after The Vermont Quilt Show I have cooled off to the point I can at least talk about it. I have wasted most of that time learning about and trying to comply with a regulation that was never intended for me.
Patricia and I were on our way home minding our own business and we had just crossed out of New Your into Pennsylvania and we stopped at the welcome center to go to the bathrooms. We were flagged down by a guy with a PUC cap and had to go through a DOT inspection. It seems that the GVW, that’s gross vehicle weight or more correctly the GCW the gross combined weight of our Suburban and trailer is greater than 10,001 pounds and we are engaged in interstate commerce. Of course I know that but if you carry your products in your personal vehicle and not in someone s for hire vehicle there is a difference.
So I have spent the past two weeks getting square with the violations we committed.
1) No Log Book.
2) No fire extinguisher
3) No warning triangles
4) No Medical Card
5) No DOT number on our vehicle
Today Quilter’s Rule is a Motor Freight Carrier in addition to being a manufacturer. And we have lots of additional restrictions on our activity. We are restricted to driving no more than 11 hours a day between the two of us. We have 14 hours each day to complete the 11 hours behind the wheel. We must be off duty and resting for at least 10 hours. We have to keep a log book; we must carry a medical card stating we can drive. That physical for the medical card was a joke. My Medicare annual physical is better, but does not count. Patricia has to renew biannually but because I have high blood pressure I have to renew annually. The doctor spent less than 10 minutes with me.
So what does all this mean? First and foremost some shows will not be as economically feasible, as they were before. California is now a 4 day trip instead of 2 ½ days. We will have additional expenses for lodging and food. Some shows will be impossible because we cannot drive as many hours and cannot make the trip in time. We cannot count nap time in the front seat to extend our driving time. We can work no more than 70 hours in a week and drive. I am a business owner, if I want to work hard, it is my choice. I do not need a government to tell me to back off.
I understand why these regulations are in place, but Quilter’s Rule is not really a Motor Carrier. We have simply been caught in the cross hairs of a regulation to prevent an owner from abusing his employees, and a Government trying to keep the public safe. I share the road with 18 wheelers, I understand how dangerous the roads can be. I slow down for icy conditions, rain, snow, high winds and at night. I pull off and sleep when I am tired and get up and go when I am rested. Resting does not take 10 hours.
I resent my government telling me how hard I can work.