New Hours of Service (HOS) Rules for Drivers (FMCSA USA)
Updated: Jan 10
“Hours of service” refers to the maximum amount of time drivers are permitted to be on duty including driving time, and specifies the number and length of rest periods, to help ensure that drivers stay awake and alert. In general, all carriers and drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must comply with HOS regulations. Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and govern the working hours of anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the United States.
These regulations apply to truck drivers, commercial and intercity bus drivers, and school bus drivers who operate CMVs. Also, Read What is FMCSA? USA DOT
The need for HOS Regulations:
As the driver of a large, heavy truck, you have a lot of responsibility as you drive down the road. The biggest concern is safety. That brings us to the main reason for the hours-of-service regulations – to keep fatigued drivers off the public roadways. These regulations put limits in place for when and how long you may drive, to ensure that you stay awake and alert while driving, and on a continuing basis to help reduce the possibility of driver fatigue. Know What Exactly is CSA Score (FMCSA DOT BASICs)
HOURS-OF-SERVICE RULES & REGULATIONS FOR (PROPERTY-CARRYING DRIVERS):
11-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
30-Minute Driving Break
Drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for a period of 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption. The break may be satisfied by any non-driving period of 30 consecutive minutes (i.e., on-duty not driving, off-duty, sleeper berth, or any combination of these taken consecutively). Truck Drivers Diet Plan: Top 9 Healthiest Food/ Meal for Truck Drivers? (Detailed)
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Explore Further What is a Dash Cam? How does it help us?
Sleeper Berth Provision
Drivers may split their required 10-hour off-duty period, as long as one off-duty period (whether in or out of the sleeper berth) is at least 2 hours long and the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth. All sleeper berth pairings MUST add up to at least 10 hours. When used together, neither time period counts against the maximum 14- hour driving window. Explore further: What is Reckless Driving? Is it a Criminal Offense? (Simplified)
Adverse Driving Conditions
Drivers are allowed to extend the 11-hour maximum driving limit and 14-hour driving window by up to 2 hours when adverse driving conditions are encountered. Read More about America's 7 Most Haunted Roads
A driver is exempt from the requirements of §395.8 and §395.11 if: the driver operates within a 150 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location, and the driver does not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours. Drivers using the short-haul exception in §395.1(e)(1) must report and return to the normal work reporting location within 14 consecutive hours, and stay within a 150 air-mile radius of the work reporting location. Explore further What is a Good CSA Score? How to Improve my CSA Score (FMCSA)
HOURS-OF-SERVICE RULES & REGULATIONS FOR (PASSENGER-CARRYING DRIVERS):
10-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
May not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
Also, Read What is a Truck Stop? Is it Safe Staying at Truck Stop?
Sleeper Berth Provision
Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours. All sleeper berth pairings MUST add up to at least 10 hours. Here are the Top 6 Trends in Green Driving Habits for Your Fleet/vehicle
Adverse Driving Conditions
Drivers are allowed to extend the 10-hour maximum driving time and 15-hour on-duty limit by up to 2 hours when adverse driving conditions are encountered. Also, Know about the 8 Ways to Improve Driver Behavior with a Modern Fleet Management System
A driver is exempt from the requirements of §395.8 and §395.11 if: the driver operates within a 150 air-mile radius of the normal work reporting location, and the driver does not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours. Drivers using the short-haul exception in §395.1(e)(1) must report and return to the normal work reporting location within 14 consecutive hours, and stay within a 150 air-mile radius of the work reporting location.
The new rules, the FMCSA emphasized, took into consideration “thousands of comments from the American people,” and features four key revisions to the existing HOS rules:
● FMCSA has modified the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
● The sleeper-berth exception has been modified to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split or a 7/3 split, with neither period counting against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
● FMCSA has modified the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
● FMCSA has lengthened the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers so that the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period is now 14 hours (previously 12), and the agency has extended the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles. Read more about the Top 10 Winter Tips To Prepare Your Vehicles in US, Canada & UK
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