Draw a big, red circle around July 1 on your calendar. That's the date when the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration will officially begin enforcing the new hours of service regulations for all commercial motor vehicles that are involved in interstate commerce. A trucking company or driver that operates only within one state is not required to comply with FMCSA rules, because the individual state rules apply instead.
In our industry, the impact of HOS changes will be felt most keenly by long-haul truck drivers and their employers, with secondary effects for the shippers and brokers who hire them. Everyone involved with long-haul trucking will need to take a second look at schedules for pick-up and delivery, to accommodate the change in drivers' on-duty and off-duty periods. Specifically, fleet owners worry about reduced productivity, expressed as fewer miles per day or fewer hauls per week. From the driver's side, the new rules could lead to a forced reduction in total work hours, with a corresponding pay cut, due to mandatory breaks and the 34-hour restart.
Some jobs that could be accomplished in two days may stretch to three, increasing costs and causing all sorts of schedule adjustments up and down the supply chain. Drivers will be under pressure to minimize load and unload times, and carriers may be more inclined to charge their customers for excessive detention. These and other factors could add to pressure on rates, especially for long hauls and other overnight jobs, which will affect brokers and shippers as well as carriers.
Here is a summary of the new HOS rules, excerpted from the FMCSA's publication, "Interstate Truck Driver's Guide to Hours of Service"
11-Hour Driving Limit within a 14-Hour Time Window, with a 30-Minute Break After 8 Hours
- Drivers are allowed to drive 11 hours within a period of 14 consecutive hours.
- After 11 hours of driving, the driver must be off-duty for 10 consecutive hours before driving again.
- During the 11-hour on-duty period, the driver must take a 30-minute break within eight hours from the last off-duty period.
60/70-Hour "Weekly" On-Duty Limit, with 34-Hour Restart
- Total on-duty time is limited to 60 hours in each 7-day period or 70 hours in 8 days.
- The new 7-day or 8-day period can begin after the driver has 34 consecutive off-duty hours.
- NEW! The restart period must include at least two off-duty periods between 1:00 AM and 5:00 AM. This change mostly affects drivers who regularly drive more than five nights per week.
Defining "Egregious" Violations and Making Exceptions
- Driving for more than three hours beyond the mandated limit is considered an "egregious" violation, and the driver is liable for civil penalties.
- An extra two hours of driving time is permitted under "adverse conditions," such as bad weather or road closures due to accidents. Predictable traffic delays don't warrant extra time.
For more information on the new HOS rules and how they affect your business, check out the following sources:
You can read a follow-up to this entitled, "HOS Log: A Two-Day Trip Becomes a Three-Day Trip".
Republished with permission from DAT.