It’s the day many in trucking have dreaded. July 1 is the day updated hours of service regulations go into effect.
Opponents of the new rules, which include most every group in trucking, had been hoping for a ruling from federal court on a challenge to the new regulations would stop them before they were able to take effect.
The court ruling will now obviously take place after the fact. The court could still rule against the FMCSA, forcing the new regulations to be withdrawn, though most likely not immediately.
The court also could invalidate portions of the new rules, causing FMCSA to revise them. Or it could leave the new regulations in place. There is no indication when this ruling will be issued, after oral arguments challenging the new rules took place in March.
HOS and OOS
The New York State Motor Truck Association reports the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance issued a memo to its members (truck-safety enforcement officers) clarifying how the out-of-service criteria would be impacted by the changes to the hours of service rules.
Drivers may be placed out of service for 60- or 70-hour violations when they result from a non-qualifying restart, such as not including two nighttime periods from 1 a.m.-5 a.m. or beginning within 168 hours of the beginning of the prior restart.
However, drivers will not be placed out-of-service when discovered to have violated the new 30-minute rest break requirement. Such violations may be noted on the roadside inspection report, but will not result in the driver being placed out-of-service.
NYSMTA notes that although this is not a uniform approach, CVSA has indicated that drivers found in violation may be required by some states to cease operating and immediately take a 30 minute break. However, this scenario will not result in an official out-of-service order affecting the carrier's safety records.
Also, CVSA's position on rest break violations is subject to change as the organization is due to revisit the issue at its upcoming Annual Conference in September.
Summary of the Rules
In the meantime, here is a summary of updated hours of service rules, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, some of which have changed while others have not.
Limitations on minimum "34-hour restarts"
Prior rule: None
New Rule: (1) Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., home terminal time. (2) May only be used once per week, 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.
Prior rule: None except as limited by other rule provisions.
New rule: May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time for hazardous materials may be included in break if no other duties performed]
Prior rule: Includes any time in CMV except sleeper berth.
New rule: Does not include any time resting in a parked vehicle (also applies to passenger carrying drivers). In a moving property-carrying CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper berth.
Prior rule: “Egregious” hours-of-service violations not specifically defined.
New rule: Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) more than 3 hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an “egregious” violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.
Summary of hours of service regulations
11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
14-Hour Limit: May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. home terminal time, and may only be used once per week, or 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.
Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.
Links for more information
- You can download a cabcard that summarizes the new rules from FMCSA.
- Summary of how new HOS rules compare to the old ones from FMCSA.
- FMCSA has also published an “Interstate Truck Drivers Guide to Hours of Service.”
- There are also answers to frequently asked questions about hours of service.
- There is analysis of the new rules from DAT.
- Thoughts on how some believe the new hours of service regulations will cause some two-day trips to become ones that take three days.