Hours of Service: How Will You Be Affected?


Hours of Service: How Will You Be Affected?

Have you heard about the new Hours of Service provisions that are scheduled to take effect on July 1st, 2013? Are you prepared for how these new provisions will affect you? 

Starting on July 1st, unless a lawsuit pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia blocks the new rules, the entire trucking industry is facing big changes. In December of 2011, the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA) published a new final rule for hours of service. The rule is being implemented in two phases. The first phase took effect in February of 2012 and the next phase of guidelines is scheduled to take effect on July 1st.

New Provisions:

  • You are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours on duty,  during which you can drive up to 11 hours, after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.

    • The definition of on duty time has been revised to exclude any time resting in a parked commercial motor vehicle, or up to 2 hours in the passenger seat of a moving commercial motor vehicle immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
    • To qualify as off duty time, you must be able to pursue activities of your own choosing and be able to leave the place where your vehicle is parked. If you are not doing any work for a motor carrier, and you are not doing any paid work for anyone else, you may record the time as off-duty time.
  • For every 8 hours you drive, you must take a 30 minute break.
  • You cannot drive after 60 hours on duty in 7 consecutive days, or after 70 hours on duty in 8 consecutive days.
  • You may restart a 7 or 8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty once per week.

    •  In order to take a 34 hour restart, you must take two breaks during your 60 or 70 hours work week.  
    •  The breaks must start at 1 a.m. and end no earlier than 5 a.m in your home terminal time zone.
    • Without these two breaks during your 60 or 70 hour week, you will not be allowed to do a 34 hour restart.


FMCSA Regulations Chart 

“Theoretically, the ultimate goal is to reduce fatigue-related crashes (and thereby improve safety) and is also to improve driver health” said Mason Wilson, president of the Traffic Club of Memphis. Do you feel the new guidelines will increase safety, or cause more problems than good?