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How Will the Hours-of-Service Revisions Affect Your Fleet?

January 2013, Work Truck - Feature

by Sean Lyden - Also by this author

On Dec. 27, 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued its final ruling on revisions to the hours-of-service (HOS) rules, which regulate driving and work-time of commercial vehicle operators (10,001-lb. GVWR and larger) to “help prevent fatigue-related truck crashes and save lives.”

Despite legal challenges by trucking groups, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA), arguing that the HOS changes would be too burdensome and expensive for fleets and may actually undermine the government’s intent to improve driver safety, the new HOS rules are still on track to go into effect July 1, 2013.

Reviewing Changes to HOS

The first step is to understand exactly what changes to expect. Here are highlights of the FMCSA’s hours-of-service final ruling. (Details are available online at

Eleven-hour daily driving limit retained. Although safety organizations and labor groups pressed the FMSCA to reduce the driving limit from 11 hours to 10, the agency kept the current 11-hour limit with the caveat that it will “continue to conduct data analysis and research to further examine any risks associated with the 11 hours of driving time.”
Maximum weekly work hours. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new HOS final rule limits a driver’s workweek to a maximum 70 hours.

Mandatory 30-minute break. Truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break anytime during the eight-hour window.

Thirty-four-hour restart. Drivers who maximize their weekly work hours must take at least 34 consecutive hours off, including two consecutive periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a 168-hour (seven-day) period. Under the previous rule, drivers could take their 34-hour restart more than once a week, without the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. requirement.

Egregious violations. The previous rule did not clearly define maximum penalties for non-compliance. Under the new rule, trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by three or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

According to the FMCSA, drivers most likely to be affected by the final ruling are long-haul truckload drivers who work more than 70 hours per week on a continuing basis. Local drivers and less-than-truckload drivers who rarely work more than five days per week are not likely to be affected.

The chart above summarizes changes to the 2011 hours-of-service rule provisions. Full details are available online at
The chart above summarizes changes to the 2011 hours-of-service rule provisions. Full details are available online at


  1. 1. Kurt [ June 18, 2013 @ 10:43AM ]

    Will 30min break rule affect indiana construction drivers who are already exempt from hos

  2. 2. joe morelli [ July 29, 2013 @ 02:35PM ]

    Why you all waist your time on this hours of service crud. you should be looking at all these big company's that are putting drivers on the road with very little training. and not only that if that's not enough they get just a little training and then they train some else with no real traning, in 2001 when I got my cdl I took a 5 weak course and finished early .but still had a hard time getting hired do to my experience although I had points on my test company's back then wanted a skilled driver. let's look at that for once ,other then that good job ...

  3. 3. jimmy [ July 29, 2013 @ 09:16PM ]

    There is no real train any where.big company only use new drver to make money because of low labor. It will allways be like that.only thing hurts me is the 7 day restart only. If I drive from la to newyork. Leaving Tuesday and unload Friday. If I get no load on Friday afternoon. Means I have to stay there for 4 days. Because of the 7 days only restart rule. Some body please tell me is not wright.


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