Safety & Compliance

New Hours-of-Service: You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers

June 14, 2013

SHARING TOOLS        | Print Subscribe

The clock is ticking down toward July 1, when truck drivers and carriers must comply with new hours-of-service rules, but a lot of questions about them remain. Below is an outline of the rules and some frequently asked questions, courtesy of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association.

Mandatory Rest Break

The final rule requires that if more than 8 consecutive hours on duty have passed since the last off-duty (or sleeper-berth) period of at least half an hour, a driver must take an off-duty or sleeper berth break of at least 30 minutes before driving.

To address an issue raised by commenters, FMCSA has also added an exception for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) carrying Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives to allow them to count on-duty time spent attending the CMV, but doing no other on-duty work, toward the break.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is FMCSA requiring drivers to take breaks?

Recent research found that any break from driving reduces risk in the hour following the break, but off-duty breaks produced the largest reduction. This study also showed that when non-driving activities (both work- and rest-related) were introduced during the driver's shift-creating a break from the driving task-these breaks significantly reduced the risk of being involved in a safety critical event during the 1-hour window after the break. The benefits of breaks from driving ranged from a 30- to 50-percent reduction in risk with the greatest benefit occurring for off-duty (non-working) breaks.

2. Do I have to take a break exactly 8 hours after I come on duty?

No, the rule gives drivers flexibility in when and where to take the break. The rule only prohibits driving if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. For example, if a driver spends 2 hours loading at the beginning of the day, then has a 10-hour drive ahead, he or she must take the break no later than 8 hours after coming on duty. The driver can, however, take the break earlier. If he or she takes a half-hour or more break at some point between the 4th and 8th hours after coming on duty, the driver can complete the rest of the planned 10 hours of driving without another break.

3. Does the break have to be spent resting?

No. The driver must be off duty for at least a half hour. Meal breaks or any other off-duty time of at least 30 minutes qualifies as a break. Drivers carrying certain explosives, who are required to attend the vehicle at all times, are allowed to count attendance time, which is on duty, toward the break if they do no other work during that time.

4. Can the shorter sleeper-berth break (minimum 2 hours) be used to meet the half-hour break requirement?

Yes. Any off-duty or sleeper-berth period of 30 minutes or more will meet the requirement.

5. Does the break count against the 14-hour driving window?

Yes. Allowing off-duty time to extend the work day would allow drivers to drive long past the time when fatigue becomes extreme. The 14-consecutive-hour rule was adopted to prevent that and to help drivers maintain a schedule that is consistent with circadian rhythms.

6. Which drivers are most likely to be affected by this provision?

Commenters to the proposed rule stated that most drivers already take breaks, so they are unlikely to be affected. The only drivers who will be affected are those who drive after working for more than 8 hours without taking any off-duty time.

7. Can time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded count toward the break requirement?

Time spent waiting to be loaded or unloaded is on duty unless the driver has been released from all responsibility for the truck. Except for drivers attending loads of certain explosives, on-duty time cannot be considered as a break.

8. Are drivers using the "100 air-mile radius" or "non-CDL 150 air-mile radius" provisions in § 395.1(e) required to take the minimum 30-minute break if applicable?

Yes. Drivers operating under the 395.1(e) exceptions may not drive if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. Because they are not required to maintain records of duty status ("logbooks"), they are not required to record the break periods.

34-Hour Restart

Drivers can only use the 34-hour restart once every seven calendar days (168 hours). In addition, the restart must include two nighttime period of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. using one's home terminal time zone. If you go off duty at 7 p.m. on a Friday, for example, you would be eligible to drive again at 5 a.m. on Sunday. After you've taken 34 consecutive hours off duty that include the two nighttime periods, you have your full 60 or 70 hours available again.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the purpose of the 168-hour provision?

The purpose of the rule change is to limit work to no more than 70 hours a week on average. Working long daily and weekly hours on a continuing basis is associated with chronic fatigue, a high risk of crashes, and a number of serious chronic health conditions in drivers.

2. Which drivers are most likely to be affected by the 168-hour provision?

Drivers who work very long hours (more than 70 per week) on a continuing basis are most likely to be affected by the 168-hour provision. The available data indicate that a small percentage of truckload drivers work these extreme hours.

3. How will inspectors be able to enforce the provision during roadside inspections?

FMCSA recognizes that this provision will not always be enforceable during roadside inspections. FMCSA and our State partners will be able to verify compliance with this provision during compliance reviews or other interventions.

4. Who will be affected by the 2-night provision?

Only drivers who drive nights and work more than 60 or 70 hours in a week will be impacted. The nighttime operations of the major less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers should be minimally impacted, as their drivers generally receive 2 days off duty a week. Drivers who will be impacted by this provision work heavy and irregular schedules that include some nighttime driving.

5. What is the minimum length of time a driver has to be off duty to get the 2 night periods?

The minimum period is 34 hours. Most drivers driving day-time schedules will be able to obtain the 2 nights in a minimum 34-hour restart, if they need to use the restart at all. For example, a driver who begins a restart period when going off duty at 7:00 pm on a Friday would complete the minimum 34 hours off duty at 5:00 a.m. on Sunday. This would have included the required 2 nights off between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. Only drivers who have a regular overnight driving schedule and who work more than 5 nights a week will need to take longer restarts to obtain the 2 nights off.

6. If a driver works 10 hours a night 6 nights a week and takes the 7th night off, does he then have to take an extra night off?

No, the driver would be working 60 hours in 7 days and would not need a restart to start working again on the 8th day. The driver, therefore, would not need to use the restart provision.

7. Are the two nighttime periods based on the driver's terminal time or local time, when different?

Drivers' logs are based on the time zone of their home terminal. The 2-night periods are, therefore, set by the time at the home terminal. They are not related to "local time." 

Click here for new Hours of Service visor card for drivers. 

Click here for more information about Hours of Services regulations. 

If you have a question about a specific scenario or are looking for an interpretation related to these changes, please contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at 609-275-2604.


  1. 1. Greg Bacon [ June 16, 2013 @ 06:46AM ]

    Won,t be long we will be seeing 2 bunks on trucks, one will be for sleeping and the other will be a D.O.T office space with Laptop,copymachine,satelite dish,GPS, oh ya and file cabnets too..

  2. 2. Bruce Beckensen [ June 17, 2013 @ 08:31AM ]

    I'm an owner operator. just like all the other previous rules of service These don't and won't apply to me. I've got to make a living And I've got a truck when the trucking is there. If I followed all the government mandated hoo doo there wouldn't be enough money to be made. The government people to sit around and think of this BS but know nothing about tracking a transportation But need to prove their relevance by doing this crap. Their stupid rules get more people killed Then if we had no rules. Look at the way these idiots drive through these truck stop parking lotS like it's a race track. It's because the clock is ticking there is a pressure to get as much done as possible or lose their jobs. This is what causes driver fatigue! All the good drivers being chased out of the industry. That's causing another group of accidents! Two middle fingers to the US government And their FMCSA CLOWNS!! You do nothing and you are nothing!!

  3. 3. Lucian Wayne Mullins Jr. [ June 17, 2013 @ 06:37PM ]

    I have been on the road for 20yrs and the changes that have been made to the trucking industry are and always will be garbage most of you idiots are pencil pushing desk jockey who get to go home every night go to all their kids activities and family functions because of truck drivers doing what they're supposed so lets you set behind that desk to do and keep this country moving we miss out on all those things yes it was our choice to be in the trucking industry but somebody has to do it and if we truck drivers as a whole would stop the wheels for 2 days this country would be on its knees begging us to go back to work and not only that it would prove who really runs this country it's the men and women behind the wheels of these trucks so as you sit behind that desk and push that pencil and make up these ignorant rules try getting your asses out here and see what it's really like.

  4. 4. Jeff Clevenger [ June 18, 2013 @ 03:52PM ]

    From the FMSCA's own studies:
    2004 there were 1.68 million trucks registered and operating in the U.S. 18 major accidents for every 1 million miles driven.
    2010 there were 3.2 million trucks registered and for every million miles driven .................. 2.5 accidents!!!!!
    Where's the proof we need a change?!?!? For the number of " employees" our industriy has along with the number of hours worked WE HAVE THE BEST TRACK RECORD IN THE COUNTRY yet we have the most regulations!!!!
    Way to go government officials!! Way to go.

  5. 5. Michael Ritzman [ June 19, 2013 @ 04:29AM ]

    I would like to know how these rules apply and work with team drivers . The rules only have explanations for single drivers as usual the government let's big grey areas for you to figure out on your own and be in violation at their discretion

  6. 6. anonymous [ June 20, 2013 @ 02:20AM ]

    Anybody who spent at least an hour comprehending and contemplating has already figured out a backdoor around this (hint-at a shipper or receiver). Relax... They'll have foreign labor soon enough.

  7. 7. Doug mead [ June 20, 2013 @ 03:08PM ]

    Iam a 42 year vetrean trucker it not hard to figer out drive when you feel good sleep when your tired. Over 4 milion miles act free.

  8. 8. lee [ June 20, 2013 @ 10:21PM ]

    It's just another form of government control. I have 15 year's of accident free driving. So here this government and I know you are..I WILL NOT COMPLY WITH YOUR SOCIALISM, YOUR obama care, OR ANY OTHER FREEDOM TAKING ANTICHRIST WAYS. And you can take your rfid chips and shove it. You will not put one in me. Ees tattoo ether. Live free or DIE. Carb, the fmcsa ect are all liberal idiot organizations. God bless America!!!!

  9. 9. Thomas Gillies [ June 21, 2013 @ 12:06PM ]

    Again, the Washington "Know it alls" are the ones causing all the wrecks on the roads. I'm a 29 year vetran of trucking and I agree with Doug, drive when you feel rested and alert, if you get tired or fatigued, then stop. I drive primarily at night, 1) Because there is less traffic and stress, 2) I can make it further at night. 3) It's easier to find a parking space after the sun comes up, 4) To not be sitting in traffic watching the clock tick away. If these brainiacs in Washinton had half a brain, they would see that the 80s' HOS rules were much more safe than the drive 11 hours in a 14 hour block. Anne Ferro and her cloneys need to get in a truck and make a cross country trip to see that their plan is STUPID. Thanks for letting me vent.

  10. 10. Lorene [ June 21, 2013 @ 02:21PM ]

    All these rules are going to hurt because the government has no real records on owner op who are teams which are a lot of small 1&2 truck fleets .how do I get 34 restart then my daughter gets one too. We all ready in trouble because for 2 nd in two yrs we have to buy a new truck because we live in ca don't tell me to sell when ever was buying we paid off are place which the only reason we survived 2009&2010 we also managed to pay off our & though we going to ahead till carb rules made us sell a truck gritting 7.5 miles for 06 we barel get 6 after new injectors reg valve that don't work

  11. 11. Dianna [ June 23, 2013 @ 08:01PM ]

    Seriously, I team with my husband, we have 2 dogs on the truck (Freightliner Cascadia) and with all these activist, government idiots who "Think" drivers are operating fatigued, over-worked and cause accidents, I say GET OUT OF MY TRUCK! there isn't enough room in here! There are too many people in a truck (metaphorically speaking) who have no business in the industry. We would have less accidents on the freeways if trucks were allowed in the left lanes and other motorists in the right lanes, not crossing in our paths; as most have no clue how to use a mirror or a turn signal. Getting 2 million drivers strike is a fantasy, since no two drivers can agree on much else, but if we all did a 34-hr restart the same weekend, this country would discover how fast the shelves empty out, and perhaps diesel cost would drop. I also wish freight cost were more... we cant make a living hauling cheap freight while the cost of fuel keeps going up.

  12. 12. bryan [ June 24, 2013 @ 04:49PM ]

    They want the stores to be emptied out, people to riot because of food shortages. Gas stations to run out of fuel Etc.... They r selling our country out to foriegn countries. OUR goverment is only lining their pockets, while draining america;s. We need 2 shut down for 2 days... WE THE PEOPLE, CONTROL THIS COUNTRY, NOT THE POLITICANS !!! NO ONE HAS THE BALLS TO STAND UP N DO IT, DO TO THEIR OWN PERSONAL GREED!!!!

  13. 13. Cruisin50 [ June 29, 2013 @ 02:19PM ]

    Does this apply to team drivers? My husband and I live in our truck on the road ?

  14. 14. stoney [ June 30, 2013 @ 04:39PM ]

    ive been on th road for over 2o years seen a lot of changes and i do belive the goverment is trying to get rid of th good safe drivers to bring in th mexican pilot program . the new rules are bs there not about safety its something else i think its time to look for another line of work

  15. 15. Billy Zirkle [ June 30, 2013 @ 05:29PM ]

    I've been driving for over 30 years and these new rules will cause more accidents than they prevent. I'm glad there trying something but trucking is not a 9 to 5 job and the FMCSA forces drivers to drive differently and make more unwise moves because of time restraint. To fix the problem, go back to the 1936 rules with multable sleeper berth breaks and 11 hours driving 14 hour days. The government has shown once again that they are totaly cluless. Start stocking up on food and gas, this will cause shortages. Good luck FMCSA. Your going to need it......

  16. 16. Kayo [ July 01, 2013 @ 09:25AM ]

    If I have started my 34hr reset 10am on the 30th before the new hrs of enforcement. Will that affect my start time? Will I have to sit for another 1-5 am period, making my restart on tuesday morning?

  17. 17. Lee Lenard [ July 03, 2013 @ 05:38PM ]

    Jeff Clevenger, (#4 comment) ---totally on target! Joe Clapp's rewrite of HOS provided a very good safety system that protected the public and enhanced both the trucking/distribution system as well as driver ability to maximize earnings. BUT they could not leave that alone.....under pressure from Teamsters, they wanted the Government to force their employers to comply with their likes rather than negotiate this in their contracts. FMCSA should not have been involved in this. Safety of the public of the entire nation should be more important than Teamster desires.

  18. 18. richard barona [ July 13, 2013 @ 01:37PM ]

    Whit these new rules no one is realizing that are just going to slowdown the economy, because is only going to slow down the times to turn in the loads and to pic the loads up. Because we will take more time Resting than working because some Company s take more time to load or unload plus the 30 minutes break that we are need it to take, 168 hours rule the cities are going to be back up on traffic at all times of the day, because everyone is going to try to make it to their destination on time at the same time. So there for is going to be a night mare drivers good luck.

  19. 19. [email protected] [ July 18, 2013 @ 05:06AM ]

    What is it about you going off the air in August? I sometimes fall asleep and I seemed to have missed this info. I am 83 and I have listened to WLW for years. I live in Centerville, In. and remember when our own Caroll McConaha was a member of a farm program at WLW.

  20. 20. [email protected] [ July 18, 2013 @ 05:06AM ]

    What is it about you going off the air in August? I sometimes fall asleep and I seemed to have missed this info. I am 83 and I have listened to WLW for years. I live in Centerville, In. and remember when our own Caroll McConaha was a member of a farm program at WLW.

  21. 21. Tony [ July 23, 2013 @ 12:54PM ]

    It's time to stop this trucks, and teach them a lesson!!!!!!!

  22. 22. tabby cook [ August 02, 2013 @ 02:40PM ]

    Have a question and hope someone can help, IF I drive approx 1 1/2 hrs to get loaded/unloaded spend anywhere from 30 min to 2 hrs getting loaded / unloaded then drive back another 1 1/2 hrs and make 2 trips a day doing this , do I have to take a 30 min break and show it on my logs ? I thought the rule was if your driving 8 consecitive hrs that you had to log a 30 min break but I drive less than 8 hrs total a day . I just got wrote up for not doing it so if anyone could please help asap . Thanks

  23. 23. Wilma Randall [ August 10, 2013 @ 09:22AM ]

    D.O.T. is always looking at the driver, do they ever look at the conditions driver work in. Such as the seats they sit in for hours or the mattresses they sleep on? If you drive for hours in a seat that is substandard, worn out or simply uncomfortable then get into your bunk that has the same type of mattress in it how much rest are you going to get? Why don't they look at the ergonomics?

  24. 24. Randy Owen [ November 18, 2013 @ 05:13PM ]

    Stop the talking and let's start the planning. Shut the trucks down, take a stance and let the government and employers know, "we've had enough".

  25. 25. paul seags [ March 19, 2014 @ 09:46AM ]

    we drop linen off from our hotel to 2 other hotels nearly every day both hotels are bout 2 to 3 miles away so its only 10 to 15 mins drive there an the same back we do it twice a day once to drop clean and afternoon to pick up dirty so obviously not much driving is required but one of our drivers has claimed the law is he cant drive 7 days in a row which i wud of thought this rule wud apply to people who do a few hours or more driving? in between b4 they go and come back they work in the laundry an have a 20 min an a 30 min break an another 20 min break wen they get back is this 7 day driving rule he said the law? thanks...

  26. 26. cory [ April 22, 2014 @ 02:26PM ]

    Do I get a time exxtention if im involved in a fender bender accident?

  27. 27. Jason Castile [ May 22, 2014 @ 05:22AM ]

    I have been working nights, a contractor wants us to go from nights 2 days with just a 10 hour break, is that legal

  28. 28. Jeremy [ May 30, 2014 @ 09:30AM ]

    I drive the night shift. I get plenty of rest during the day and show up to work wide awake and ready to go. For me the half hour break is wasting valuable time and actually makes me tired. Takes the wind out of my sails.

  29. 29. juan pujols [ June 06, 2014 @ 11:19AM ]

    spent everyday 30 minutes parked on the side of the road for nothing. They took our 14 hours away ,now we work 13 hours a day for a s12 hr day.

  30. 30. doug [ June 18, 2014 @ 12:17PM ]

    I'm out of service on 70 hour rule can I drive to truckstop 1 mile away or can dot hold me at the scale house where no food or shower

  31. 31. chris [ July 03, 2014 @ 04:48PM ]

    I am at a hotel working for the oilfield. I drive a company pickup truck equipped with an electronic log along with 3 other workers to an oilfield site. I then relieve a driver of a tanker. I work 12 & 1/2 hours then somebody else drives the pickup one hour back to the hotel and I do this for 14 straight days, am I in violation of my hos? Basically I don't drive the cmv on site but will I be able to move it to a different site after 14 days under those conditions or am I in violation. It also has an electronic log so because the pickup has one I am confused. Thanks in advance.

  32. 32. Alice [ July 28, 2014 @ 05:14PM ]

    My hubby works for a truck companies and the last 3 weeks they have taken over 7 thousand miles ranked away from him. They told him is cause he's home too often. How is every 3 or 4 weeks too often and how can they take miles away from him legally. Seems to me he earned them miles they shouldn't be taking them from him.

  33. 33. Ronnie [ September 25, 2014 @ 04:39AM ]

    If I drive for three hours and then take a ten hours off duty can I start a new 14 hours again the same day?


Comment On This Story

Comment: (Maximum 2000 characters)  
Leave this field empty:
* Please note that every comment is moderated.


We offer e-newsletters that deliver targeted news and information for the entire fleet industry.


ELDs and Telematics

sponsored by
sponsor logo

Scott Sutarik from Geotab will answer your questions and challenges

View All

Sleeper Cab Power

Steve Carlson from Xantrex will answer your questions and challenges

View All