If I am running with an empty trailer,and NOT getting paid, do I have to maintain a log for that day?
The DOT, whether we’re talking Canadian or American, make no distinction for paid or unpaid work. You could try to make a case that all time spent with no possibility of getting paid shouldn’t count as on-duty time, but the DOT doesn’t look at it that way.
They decided, long ago, that any time spent doing you duties as a professional commercial driver had to be logged accordingly. Since you are operating a commercial motor vehicle on a public highway, the hours must be recorded. It doesn’t seem right, but if everybody had an out like that, the industry would probably switch its method of paying drivers to paying them for time spent doing anything other than driving --just kidding.
As a professional driver who operates more than 100 miles, as the crow flies, away from a designated terminal, you are require to account for every moment of your life. Even days off must appear in the log, although consecutive days off can be logged on a single page.
No, my friend, there is no escaping the driver duty status requirements of the motor carrier safety regulations. Once you’re in, you’re in for life. Hauling an empty around for free doesn’t exempt you from the regulations. Sorry.