It is sure a busy year for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Along with the myriad of updates and provisions going into effect on October 1, 2013 in the MAP-21 ACT, July 1st brings another deadline for compliance for the FMCSA and those who operate motor carriers: New Hours of Service rules go into effect. It’s vital that those in the freight and transportation world understand these changes in order to remain compliant, but also to know how it will affect your freight. Cerasis is well informed of these changes and have communicated these changes to both our Truckload division as well as our Carrier Relations team.
The FMCSA has officially denied the request from ATA and other groups to delay the implementation of new Hours of Service rules changes until three months after federal court renders its decision in current HOS litigation. Unless other options are found, this means that the hours of service changes will be implemented as originally stated, on July 1, 2013.
The new hours of service rules (HOS) are regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) governing the working hours of anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in the United States. This includes truck drivers, both commercial and city bus drivers, and school bus drivers who operate CMVs for motor carriers (their employers). These rules limit the number of daily and weekly hours spent driving and working, and regulate the minimum amount of time drivers must spend resting between driving shifts. For intrastate commerce, the respective state’s regulations apply.
Most drivers must follow the HOS Regulations if they drive a commercial motor vehicle, or CMV, but here are the exact specifications:
|PROVISION||PRIOR RULE||FINAL RULE – COMPLIANCE DATE JULY 1, 2013|
|Limitations on minimum “34-hour restarts”||None||(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.
|Rest breaks||None except as limited by other rule provisions.||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]|
|On-duty time||Includes any time in CMV except sleeper berth.||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.|
|Penalties||“Egregious” hours-of-service violations not specifically defined.||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.|
|Oilfield exemption||“Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields (which is off-duty but does extend 14-hour duty period) must be recorded and available to FMCSA, but no method or details are specified for the recordkeeping.||“Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields must be shown on logbook or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in “remarks” or a separate line added to “grid.”|
|Property-Carrying CMV Drivers (Valid Until July 1, 2013)||Passenger-Carrying CMV Drivers|
|11-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
|10-Hour Driving Limit
May drive a maximum of 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off duty.
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.
|15-Hour On-Duty Limit
May not drive after having been on duty for 15 hours, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time is not included in the 15-hour period.
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 may be included in break if no other duties performed]
|60/70-Hour On-Duty Limit
May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
|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 a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.
|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.
Why Change to the New Hours of Service Rules?
The goal of this rule making is to reduce excessively long work hours that increase both the risk of fatigue-related crashes and long-term health problems for drivers. A rule cannot ensure that drivers will be rested, but it can ensure that they have enough time off to obtain adequate rest on a daily and weekly basis. The objective of this rule, therefore, is to reduce both acute and chronic fatigue by limiting the maximum number of hours per day and week that the drivers can work. The rule reduces a driver’s average maximum allowable hours of work per week from 82 hours to 70 hours, a 15% reduction. The 15% reduction in the average maximum allowable hours of work based on the new rule results from the restrictions on the use of the restart period. The FMCSA estimates that the annual costs of the new rules are about $470 million while the benefits of improved driver safety amount to $630 million, a net benefit of $160 million a year.
The rule will mainly affect drivers who work more than 70 hours a week on a continuing basis. These drivers are mostly a subset of long-haul truckload drivers. Local drivers and less-than-truckload drivers, who rarely work more than 5 days a week, are unlikely to be affected.
In December 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that overall highway deaths had fallen, but truck-occupant deaths rose from 530 in 2010 to 635 in 2011. Drivers interviewed about this phenomenon cited two primary factors that could be responsible: a greater number of new, inexperienced drivers and the rigidity of the 14-hour HOS regulation.
The consensus among experienced drivers is that the average years of experience for all drivers has recently fallen, and it is believed that the average is continuing to drop. At the same time, the HOS regulation is said to be causing severe fatigue problems because it forces drivers to avoid short breaks in order to maximize their available hours.
If you want to read more, the FMCSA has put out a great “Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to HOS.”
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