Final Hours of Service Rule – Five Things to KnowJanuary 31, 2012
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently released the final rule that revises Hours of Service (HOS) regulatory requirements for commercial truck drivers. The origin of revising the rule is safety. According to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the rule is meant to lower fatigue-related truck crashes and to save lives on the road. Drivers and companies must comply with the HOS final rule by July 1, 2013. There are several items for flexibility that have a February 27, 2012 effective date.
The revised rule is one of the most heavily debated topics within the trucking industry because it will modify the time a driver is allowed to spend on duty, and because the weekly reset criteria will be time-variable. Companies and drivers are each made accountable for following the new rules: the intent is that carriers encourage and require drivers to operate within the HOS limits.
Since the rule was released in late December 2011, there have been many questions regarding what the new rule entails. The most frequent answers and rules we’ve clarified here at Xata are:
1. Under the final rule, a driver’s work week is now limited to an average of 70 hours. This is 12 fewer hours than the current rule of 82 hours per week.
2. Drivers are not permitted to drive after 8 hours without a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute rest anytime during the 8-hour window.
3. The 34-hour reset can be used only once per week and must include two full consecutive periods of rest between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. This makes the reset time variable, with 34 hours being a minimum.
4. No changes were made to the basic rule of 11 hours of drive time. However, with the requirement of the 30-minute break, the effective use of the 14-hour duty day has been reduced to 13.5 hours.
5. Flexibility has been added to the “Off Duty” requirement of 10 hours to allow 2 hours of off-duty time to be spent in a moving vehicle as a co-driver before or after 8 hours of “Sleeper-Berth” time.
Many fleets are effectively managing hours of service with EOBRs. Watch how one small trucking company did just that.
What has been your biggest confusion with the newly updated HOS rule?