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Hours of Service

DOT Announces New Hours-of-Service Rules

U.S. Department of Transportation officials today released details of a plan to educate truck drivers about and to enforce a new hours-of-service rule. Starting October 1, 2005, when the rule is implemented, state and federal officials expect to spend the first 60 days waging an aggressive education campaign and enforcing egregious violations.

These new rules provide an increased opportunity for drivers to obtain necessary rest and restorative sleep, while recognizing the business needs of drivers and motor carriers.

These regulations only apply to property carriers and commercial motor vehicle drivers. Passenger carriers and their drivers will continue operating under the pre-2003 rules while fatigue issues specific to the passenger carrier industry are assessed.

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The Revised Hours-Of-Service Regulations

Many things have changed in the motor carrier industry since 1939 when the original hours-of-service (HOS) regulations were prescribed for truck drivers. Our roads are better designed, constructed, and maintained in a nationwide network to provide greater mobility, accessibility, and safety for all highway users. Vehicles have been dramatically improved in terms of design, construction, safety, comfort, efficiency, emissions, technology, and ergonomics. These factors, combined with years of driver fatigue and sleep disorder research, have led to a revision of the HOS regulations for drivers, the most important component of trucks operating on the highway.

Reform of the HOS regulations has been under consideration by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for several years. In 1995, Congress, concerned about the effect of fatigue as a contributing factor in commercial motor vehicle crashes, directed the FMCSA to begin a rulemaking to increase driver alertness and reduce fatigue-related incidents.

In response to the Congressional directive, FMCSA analyzed the scientific research, convened expert panels, held hearings and roundtable discussions, and reviewed over 53,000 individual comments submitted during the rulemaking process. In April 2003, FMCSA issued the first significant revision to the HOS regulations in over 60 years. The new regulations provide an increased opportunity for drivers to obtain necessary rest and restorative sleep, and at the same time reflect operational realities of motor carrier transportation.

New Rules were implemented starting October 1, 2005.  See Hours-of-Service (HOS) Proposed Rulemaking (December 2010).

Article taken from FMCSA Web Site

Hours of Service, simply stated:

  • Drivers may drive up to 11 hours in the 14-hour on-duty window after they come on duty following 10 or more consecutive hours off duty.
  • The 14-hour on-duty window may not be extended with off-duty time for meal and fuel stops, etc.
  • The prohibition on driving after being on duty 60 hours in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours in 8 consecutive days, remains the same, but drivers can "restart" the 7/8 day period anytime a driver has 34 consecutive hours off duty.
  • CMV drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.

Article taken from FMCSA Web Sites


Tina Rowland