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Truckers Must Comply With Federal Hours-of-service Rules

All drivers of commercial motor vehicles must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours-of-Service Regulations. HOS Regulations were put in place to restrict the amount of consecutive hours that CMV drivers spend on the road. Long work hours increases the risk of driver fatigue, which can lead to truck accidents.

HOS rules apply to CMV’s used in interstate commerce that weigh more than 1,001 pounds, transport 10 or more passengers without compensation, transport nine or more passengers for compensation or transport hazardous materials.

HOS rules limit truckers from driving no more than 11 hours after they have been off duty for 10 consecutive hours. Following 10 hours off duty they cannot drive more than 14 consecutive hours. They cannot drive after being on duty for 60/70 hours for 7/8 consecutive days. Drivers cannot start another 7/8 consecutive day on duty period until they have spent at least 34 hours off duty. If truckers have a sleeper berth on their trucks then they must spend eight consecutive hours in the sleeper birth every HOS cycle. Additionally, they must spend two more hours off duty, in the sleeper birth or some combination of those two in order to achieve 10 full off duty hours.

Truck drivers and trucking companies must maintain detailed HOS logbooks. In the past this has meant that drivers carry paper HOS logbooks, delivery receipts and toll receipts to prove the hours that they spend on and off the road. But now many CMV’s have electric on-board recorders installed. It is mandatory that all CMV’s manufactured after June 4, 2012, have EOBR’s installed. EOBR’s automatically record the following information:

  • Hours of service
  • Name of the driver
  • Duty status
  • Date and time
  • Location of the vehicle
  • Distance travelled

Violations of HOS rules still occur quite often. Many CMV drivers drive beyond HOS limits in order to make deliveries on time or earn more money. This is dangerous activity and leads to driver fatigue. According to studies, driver fatigue causes 30 percent of commercial truck accident fatalities. Therefore, as of July 1, 2013, driving three or more hours past the HOS rules limits is considered an egregious violation of the rules, and violating drivers will be subjected to maximum civil penalties.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, “Summary of Hours-of-Service (HOS) Regulations.”