DOT Proposes New Hours-of-Service Requirements for Commercial Truck Drivers

Feb. 12, 2011
Late last year, the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a regulatory proposal that would revise hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for commercial truck drivers. The new proposal retains the "34-hour ...

Late last year, the Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a regulatory proposal that would revise hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for commercial truck drivers.

The new proposal retains the "34-hour restart" provision allowing drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. However, it includes some significant changes, as well. For instance, under the proposed regulations:


The restart period would have to include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6:00 a.m.


Drivers would be allowed to use the restart only once during a seven-day period.


Commercial truck drivers would have to complete all driving within a 14-hour workday, and complete all on-duty work-related activities within 13 hours, to allow for at least a one hour break.


Hours of daily driving time are open to discussion. The proposal leaves open for comment whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours of daily driving time, although FMCSA currently favors a 10-hour limit.


Driving hours are regulated by federal HOS rules, which are designed to prevent commercial vehicle-related crashes and fatalities by prescribing on-duty and rest periods for drivers.
Commercial truck drivers who violate this proposed rule would face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense. Trucking companies that allow their drivers to violate the proposal's driving limits would face penalties of up to $11,000 for each offense.

HOS compliance would require commercial truck and bus companies to install electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs).
And, that has truckers worried about increased costs and harassment, according to an article last week at TheTrucker.com.

One trucker said that government "pencil pushers" don't understand how truckers do their job, and that mandating EOBRs is going to drive up prices throughout the supply chain.

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