New Hours Of Service Rule Enforcement Begins July 1

Hours of Service changes announced on December 2011 are scheduled to go into effect on July 1. This is the date when the FMCSA will begin enforcing the new regulations for all commercial vehicles that are involved in interstate commerce. A trucking company or driver that operates only within one state is not required to comply as individual state rules apply instead. Primarily there are two impending changes.

Within the 34-hour restart, a driver will only be able to use the restart once a week

Similarly the restart will need to include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. time periods

The 34 hour restart will primarily effect long haul drivers and their employers along with the shippers and brokers who hire them. Schedules for pickups and deliveries for long haul shipments will have to be re-examined as well as loading and unloading times. Other potential impacts include repetitive deliveries and pickups that occur daily between 1 am – 5 am, and some jobs that could be accomplished in two days may stretch into three.

There are two court cases that have a small chance of delaying the implementation of the HOS changes but the FMCSA has indicated they would like to see these changes occur on schedule. A summary of the new HOS rules from the FMCSA publication “interstate Truck Drivers Guide to Hours of Service “ is listed below:

  • 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.

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