Trucking freight and want to make sure you’re ready to comply with the new, upcoming hours of service (HOS) rules? To help you out, we thought we’d break down the changes, so you’ll be ready when they go into effect on July 1, 2013.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released its final HOS rules on December 22, 2011, after years of analysis, lobbying and debates. And although the industry has more than a year to prepare, we believe everyone involved in trucking freight should understand these changes, because they reduce drivers’ maximum workweek by 15 percent.
The FMCSA originally wanted to reduce drivers’ daily driving limit from 11 to 10 hours, but strong opposition from industry professionals apparently put the kibosh on that change. In their news release announcing the new HOS rules, the FMCSA said they “will continue to conduct data analysis and research to further examine any risks associated with the 11 hours of driving time.” In the meantime, they are planning severe punishments for anyone who does not comply with the existing limits: Each time a driver trucks freight for three hours more than their 11-hour limit, the trucking company will face fines up to $11,000 and drivers could face fines up to $2,750.
Under the new HOS rules drivers must:
- Take a 30-minute break after driving for eight hours.
- Work no more than 70 hours in any seven-day period—down from the previous 82-hour limit.
Rest for two nights between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. if they work the maximum 70 hours. In other words, you can’t drive overnight, every night.
Once implemented, some trucking insiders predict these new rules will create additional driver shortages and increase the cost of goods, but the ultimate outcome remains to be seen. For now, we’ll keep following the issue and keep you updated if any new developments or changes occur.