New Hours of Service Rules Explained With Compliance Date Coming July 1, 2013

New Hours of Service Rules Going into Effect July 1, 2013

It is sure a busy year for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Along with the myriad of updates and provisions going into effect on October 1, 2013 in the MAP-21 ACT, July 1st brings another deadline for compliance for the FMCSA and those who operate motor carriers: New Hours of Service rules go into effect. It's vital that those in the freight and transportation world understand these changes in order to remain compliant, but also to know how it will affect your freight. Thomasholmes is well informed of these changes and have communicated these changes to both our Truckload division as well as our Carrier Relations team.

The FMCSA has officially denied the request from ATA and other groups to delay the implementation of new Hours of Service rules changes until three months after federal court renders its decision in current HOS litigation. Unless other options are found, this means that the hours of service changes will be implemented as originally stated, on July 1, 2013.

What are Hours of Service?

The new hours of service rules (HOS) are regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governing the working hours of anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the United States. This includes truck drivers, both commercial and city bus drivers, and school bus drivers who operate CMVs for motor carriers (their employers). These rules limit the number of daily and weekly hours spent driving and working, and regulate the minimum amount of time drivers must spend resting between driving shifts. For intrastate commerce, the respective state's regulations apply.

Who Must Comply to the New Hours Of Service Rules?

Most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV, but here are the exact specifications:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • A vehicle that is involved in Interstate or intrastate commerce and is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards is also considered a CMV

What are the new Hours of Service of Rules Changes?

Limitations on minimum "34-hour restarts" None (1) Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., home terminal time.
(2) May only be used once per week, 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.
Rest breaks None except as limited by other rule provisions. May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time for hazardous materials may be included in break if no other duties performed]
On-duty time Includes any time in CMV except sleeper berth. Does not include any time resting in a parked vehicle (also applies to passenger carrying drivers). In a moving property-carrying CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper berth.
Penalties “Egregious” hours-of-service violations not specifically defined. Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) more than 3 hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an “egregious” violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.
Oilfield exemption “Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields (which is off-duty but does extend 14-hour duty period) must be recorded and available to FMCSA, but no method or details are specified for the recordkeeping. “Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields must be shown on logbook or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in “remarks” or a separate line added to “grid.”
[/table] [table]
Property-Carrying CMV Drivers (Valid Until July 1, 2013) Passenger-Carrying CMV Drivers
11-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
10-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
14-Hour Limit
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.
15-Hour On-Duty Limit
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.
Rest Breaks
May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]
60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit
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. Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. home terminal time, and may only be used once per week, or 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.
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.
Sleeper Berth Provision
Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
[/table] Why Change to the New Hours of Service Rules?

The goal of this rule making is to reduce excessively long work hours that increase both the risk of fatigue-related crashes and long-term health problems for drivers. A rule cannot ensure that drivers will be rested, but it can ensure that they have enough time off to obtain adequate rest on a daily and weekly basis. The objective of this rule, therefore, is to reduce both acute and chronic fatigue by limiting the maximum number of hours per day and week that the drivers can work. The rule reduces a driver’s average maximum allowable hours of work per week from 82 hours to 70 hours, a 15% reduction. The 15% reduction in the average maximum allowable hours of work based on the new rule results from the restrictions on the use of the restart period. The FMCSA estimates that the annual costs of the new rules are about $470 million while the benefits of improved driver safety amount to $630 million, a net benefit of $160 million a year.

The rule will mainly affect drivers who work more than 70 hours a week on a continuing basis. These drivers are mostly a subset of long-haul truckload drivers. Local drivers and less-than-truckload drivers, who rarely work more than 5 days a week, are unlikely to be affected.

Drivers State HOS Regulations to Blame for Rise in Deaths

In December 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that overall highway deaths had fallen, but truck-occupant deaths rose from 530 in 2010 to 635 in 2011. Drivers interviewed about this phenomenon cited two primary factors that could be responsible: a greater number of new, inexperienced drivers and the rigidity of the 14-hour HOS regulation.

The consensus among experienced drivers is that the average years of experience for all drivers has recently fallen, and it is believed that the average is continuing to drop. At the same time, the HOS regulation is said to be causing severe fatigue problems because it forces drivers to avoid short breaks in order to maximize their available hours.

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  • bill

    I would like to know what these ding-a-lings in D.C. are smoking. First they create the 14 hour limit, then they cant figure out after 8 or 9 years that its dangerous, so they come up with some other dimwitted rules that don’t have anything to do with safety. Do you think that maybe its because none of them have ever driven a truck? Duhhh. Meanwhile we’ve been starving to death for quite a few years and are trying to figure out how we’re going to survive in this business and then they decide to make that even tougher. I think people in our country are losing their minds…and it’s the knuckleheads in our government that are making sure that we do it.

  • David Bokor

    I feel as though my livelihood was taken away due to the government mandating the transportation industry.
    After driving 35 years, I ingested second hand smoke at a party, just my luck, was randomly tested at work 2-days later and found to be positive for THC. The company I was planning on retiring with, after being with them for almost 5-years, did not think twice about giving me the boot, and there is no company that will even give me a chance to drive again. Due to federal motor regulations on “0” tolerance. Quite extreme to think that I was standing at the wrong place at the wrong time,
    and even some state entities say the same thing, in regards to :oh, you can’t ingest enough second hand smoke to test positive.
    I am living proof ,and have ran across a half a dozen other drivers that this has happened to.
    So, please, let us band together and say enough is enough, get our government out of the transportation business, and get our country moving again.

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  • Elbert White

    The FMCSA and the Politicians who vote to allow changes like these to the HOS, are nothing but a bunch of retarded, corrupt assassins. They think they can legislate safety. What stupid asses. OSHA worked out real well too didn’t it? The reference made above to being forced to drive LONGER hours to make sure you have enough hours, is 100% correct. I know of no drivers who either want to die behind the wheel or kill someone else. There would be fewer drivers putting themselves in dangerous positions without HOS rules, than there are drivers being forced to drive sleepy by the dumbass rules which basically force us to drive 11 hours straight. Even the new 1/2 hour break is beyond stupid for anyone who actually drives a truck. When you are in a rhythm, especially in the middle of the night, the worst thing you can do is stop and hit the bunk for 30 minutes. Afterward you are sleepy, groggy and lose the adrenalin to motivate you to drive. The HOS are ‘fools rules’ and I do not use them. I will not use them. In my opinion the Fed has no right to legislate how I drive my truck, or how much money I earn per week. In what other profession does the Government put their heavy hand to the extent that they do in commercial trucking? I drive the way I want to drive to keep me refreshed and safe; and that is by taking multiple breaks as needed and continuing my work day past the 14 hours by however much I want to or need to. I keep a current log that shows I am driving in compliance with HOS and revise it along route as needed, and when I return to base I spend an hour and a half or so completely redoing the weeks logs to meet HOS and calculating everything to save me as many hours as possible. I will say that the new regulations of two 1am to 5am periods, only one reset a week and no reset until 168 hours have passed, coupled with having to log correctly the fueling times; has definitely made it harder to circumnavigate the HOS. But it can be done, and because of the loss of income it has become more necessary to do it. There are some 500+ truckdriver deaths per year according to the above statistics. There are some 40,000 auto deaths per year. I will lay odds that there are not 80 times as many auto miles driven per year as there are truck miles. Where is the government control over auto drivers? The Government and stupid special interest groups who care only for their agenda and don’t give a damn what the negative trickle down effect has on others, can all kiss my ass. YOU DON’T CONTROL ME!


      No doubt you have this opinion I respect . I have experienced difference while working in team with one owner operator. As the team we were driving 24 HRS some time I drive 11 HRs some time he ,most of the time we remain in truck from Monday to Friday was beginning from Sunday 11 Pm to Friday 10 PM ,
      In my case the regulation will save me my life , I will say it is safe driving regulation for drivers who drivers the transport .
      Thanks god you can not stop some idiot buy if regulation is there at least law is on your side if I have right to refuse to work for more HRS if some one pressure me to drive.

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  • i 100% agree with your opinion. But i guess the time consumed as a team or as a business operator, a team gives its more time to its duty..

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  • Robert Lalonde

    i am just stating out as a truck driver, and i dont get why we have to work 70h a week to make a living, in no other industry are you forced to do that….when you break it down its payed very poorly for the responsibility we carry

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