Hours of Service Regulations – Are You Up To Speed?

It seems like every time we turn around, the FMCSA is announcing new Hours of Service regulations, CSA changes or safety initiatives. And it’s tough to keep up, especially for the owner/operators and small fleets that don’t have a full-time compliance manager to rely on.

So, we weren’t exactly surprised when X Nation friend, M Rick Richards, suggested we recap the current HOS rules, as well as review the changes coming down the pike this summer.

Well, here it is: The nuts and bolts of HOS.

Ready?

 

Be careful. Form and manner violations can be problematic with paper logs.

Hours of Service rule changes coming your way

There are two Hours of Service changes that will take effect this summer, and they’ll require a little more juggling on your part, so pay close attention:

 

34-hour restart

Right now, if you take 34 or more consecutive hours Off-Duty, you can restart your 60/7 or 70/8 clock. Meaning, you have your full 60 or 70 hours of available drive time and don’t have to count the previous 6 or 7 days’ worth of accumulated hours in your tally.

On July 1, 2013, the 34-hour restart gets trickier.

From that point, you’ll only be able to use the 34-hour restart once a week. (So, you won’t be able to use the restart until 168 hours or more have passed since your last restart began.)

Also, your 34-hour restart won’t count unless it includes two 1:00 am – 5:00 am Off-Duty periods. That might prove a bit challenging and grumble inducing for some of you. How? This can make the reset for the week be as much as 52 hours or 34. This depends if you run out of hours on 70 and don’t have enough pick-up.

 

Mandatory rest breaks

Starting July 1, 2013, you’ll also need to factor in a mandatory 30-minute rest break into the equation when you’ve reached eight consecutive hours of On-Duty.

When that rule takes effect, you’ll only be able to drive if you’ve taken a minimum 30-minute rest period in the previous eight hours.

Haven’t done that?

Then, take a stroll, grab something tasty for lunch or chill out with Johnny Cash.

After 30 minutes, you’ll be cleared to fire up your tractor again.

 

Coming up on 8 consecutive hours of On-Duty time? It’s time to stop and take a break.

Now this is important: The new mandatory 30-minute break does not extend your 14-hour driving window; rather, it counts against it. So, you’ll really only have 13-1/2 hours available to drive your limit of 11 hours.

Don’t forget, On-Duty time changes came last February

On February 27, 2012, the FMCSA updated its definition of On-Duty time.

Now you can sandwich up to two hours in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle as Off-Duty, as long as it’s wrapped around an 8-hour sleeper berth period. Meaning it can be two hours consecutively before or after your sleeper berth time, or it can be split—one hour before and one after. Once you’ve used those two Off-Duty hours in the passenger seat you must go to On-Duty.

Our Hours of Service Regulations Refresher

Last summer at XUE, FMCSA administrator, Annette Sandberg, told us that two of the top ten roadside inspection violations were for drivers who had exceeded their 14-hour driving window and 11-hour driving limit.

These kinds of violations can damage your CSA score, making you a less viable option for shippers, brokers and third party logistics companies—especially now that they’re being named in vicarious liability lawsuits.

So, be sure to comply with these three duty limits all the time, every time:

  • 14 hour “driving window” limit
  • 11 hour driving limit
  • 60 hour/7 day and 70 hour/8 day duty limit

 

14 hour driving window

While the 14-hour driving window isn’t based on a 24-hour day, you might think of it as your “daily allotted hours;” many drivers do.

It means that, when you start doing any kind of work for your carrier (or yourself, if you’re an o/o), whether it’s paid or unpaid, behind the wheel or not, your 14 hour clock starts ticking. During that window, you may drive up to 11 hours.

When the clock winds down on that 14th hour, you can do other work, but you can’t drive.

 

When the door closes on your 14 hour window, you can continue to do paid and unpaid work, provided you’re no longer driving.

For example, if you start your 14-hour clock running with a 6:00 am pre-trip inspection, you won’t be able to climb back behind the wheel after 8:00 pm—even if you’ve taken Off-Duty time and haven’t reached your maximum of 11 drive-time hours. Not until you can legally resume your next 14-hour window, that is.

A small caveat: If you spend eight consecutive hours in your sleeper berth or more, that time will not count toward your 14 hour work window.

 

11 hour driving limit
As I’ve just mentioned, you can only drive as many as 11 hours during your 14-hour driving window.

When you’ve hit your 11-hour limit, you must then take 10 consecutive hours Off-Duty before climbing back behind the wheel.

(Exception: If you’re hauling Division 1.1, 1.2 or 1.3 explosives, the On-Duty break time you spend watching your vehicle will count toward your 30-minute mandatory break, provided you’re not doing any other On-Duty work.)

 

60/7 and 70/8 hour duty limits
If your carrier doesn’t operate seven days a week, then you must follow the 60/7 rule; meaning, you can’t drive your rig after you’ve been On-Duty for 60 hours in the past seven consecutive days, including today. You can do other work-related activities—you just can’t get hit the road.

If your carrier does haul Sunday through Saturday, then you may run a 70/8 schedule. That means you can’t drive your truck if you’ve been On-Duty for 70 hours in the previous eight consecutive days, including today.

Keep in mind that both the 60/7 and 70/8 limits are rolling periods.

That means that today is Day One. So, if you’re on a 60/7 schedule, you can’t drive your rig if you’ve accumulated 60 On-Duty hours between today and the previous six days.

 

On-Duty time definition
If you’re working—whether your carrier is paying you or not—it’s On-Duty time.

That could mean time spent waiting to get loaded at a customer’s dock, pre and post trip inspections, shipment paperwork, and work training. Heck, even the time you spent submitting to blood alcohol testing counts as On-Duty.

Have a part time job on the side?

Any paid work time also goes against your On-Duty hours tally.

However, now, if your carrier releases you from responsibility for your rig and other work-related duties, you can log time spent resting in your parked vehicle as Off-Duty.

And, as I mentioned above, the FMCSA will also allow you to log two hours of Off-Duty time in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle, provided those hours immediately follow or precede eight consecutive hours in your sleeper berth.

Staying Hours of Service compliant

Delivering on shipper expectations is tough enough. Keeping customers happy, while remaining compliant amidst the constant evolution of trucking regulations can be an even greater challenge.

It’s one that’s worth taking on, however.

The fact is you have to stay Hours of Service compliant to remain competitive these days. A bad CSA score? Fewer customers will feel comfortable taking a risk with you. Run a squeaky clean operation, though, and you’ll become their go-to carrier.

So, know your HOS rules and be sure to dot your “I”s and cross your “T”s.

8 thoughts on “Hours of Service Regulations – Are You Up To Speed?

  1. If I only have 9 hours on my 70 hour clock and drive 2, then take my 30 min. Break, does that take away from my 70?

    • Thanks for your question, Rick. The 30 minute break takes away from daily duty time, but not from daily drive time, and it does not go against weekly available hours in your 70, either.

  2. If someone works a job (non CMV), If they work 8 hours at this job, do they have to take 10 hours off before they can drive a cmv as a part time job?.

    or does the 8hours they worked at this job need to be recorded on the log book as 8 hour on duty not driving, (even though they worked for a private company not CMV), meaning they have 5.5 hours to drive (subtract 30 min break / 8hrs )which would bring their total work day to 14 hours?.
    Or can they just start their logbook from the time they begin their part time driving job.
    with a log showing the last 7 days of not driving.

    • So, here’s the scoop: A driver cannot drive after 14 hours on-duty. So, if you work 8 hours, you’ll need to take that 30 minute mandatory break. Then, you can drive until your max of 14 hours of duty time is met for the day (you’ll run out of duty time before you run out of drive time).

      All of your work, whether in the employment of the CMV or an unrelated, “private” business must be recorded in your log, as it’s not considered rest time (you have obligations to something else other than rest).

      We hope that answers your questions. Thanks for reaching out, David!

  3. I drive a carrier who is only open five days a week , we have a Saturday route for the on call driver and who handles out of gas calls , in the pass we operated under the 60/7 and if im clear , the new rules states if your company isn’t open seven days a week , then you must operate under the 60/7 right ?

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