July 1, 2013 Deadline Approaching for Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule

In December 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) enacted a new rule that revised the hours of service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers. The rule was aimed at preventing fatigue-related truck crashes and helping save lives.  The new HOS regulations became effective on February 27, 2012, but two provisions, limitations on minimum 34 hours restarts and rest breaks, were given a July 1, 2013 compliance date.  

According to the FMCSA, a CMV is a vehicle that is used as part of a business and is involved in interstate commerce and weigh 10,001 pounds or more, is designated to transport 16 or more passengers not for compensation, is designated to drive 9 or more passengers for compensation or is involved in transporting hazardous materials in quantity requiring placards.

Under the Hours of Service of Drivers Final Rule drivers face new restrictions. The new restrictions include:

Limitations on minimum “34-hour restarts” – Must include two periods between 1 a.m.- 5 a.m. home terminal time and may only be used once per week.

Rest breaks- May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. [HM 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed]

Off duty time- 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- Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) 3 or more 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 must be shown on logbook or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in “remarks” or a separate line added to “grid.”

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