Hours of Service regulations, or HOS. These rules are meant to limit driver hours to keep commercial drivers and others on the road safer, but the regulations also bring a lot of confusion.
Find out more about what HOS regulations are, why they are used, and who they impact.
HOS Regulations: What They Are
The Hours of Service rules put limits on how many consecutive hours drivers can operate vehicles. These regulations, as stated by FMCSA, include:
- Drivers can operate a product-carrying vehicle a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
- Drivers can operate a passenger-carrying vehicle a maximum of 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off-duty.
- Drivers can only drive if at least eight hours or less has passed since the end of the driver’s last sleeping period, or if he or she took at least a 30-minute break.
- Drivers carrying passengers must follow a 60/70-hour limit. This means that drivers cannot drive after 60/70 hours on-duty in 7/8 consecutive days.
A full list of HOS rules can be found on the FMCSA site.
How HOS Rules are Enforced
The HOS regulations require drivers to log the number of hours he or she drives each shift. Failure to follow the law may result in fines and consequences, including the following:
- The driver can be fined by the FMCSA and local officials.
- The driver may be placed out-of-service at the side of the road until he or she accumulates enough off-duty time to resume driving.
- The driver and company’s overall safety rating can be downgraded.
- Criminal penalties can be assessed against companies who knowingly allow HOS violations.
Why HOS Rules are Used
The Hours of Service rules are meant to prevent fatigue for drivers. The intent is to keep drivers off the road when they are drowsy by limiting the number of hours a driver can operate a vehicle. Taking breaks and resting more should make drivers more alert behind the wheel, increasing their safety and the safety of others on the road.
Which Drivers HOS Rules Impact
The HOS rules apply to the following types of drivers:
- Those who drive vehicles that weigh more than 10,000 pounds.
- Drivers who require payment to transport between nine and 15 passengers.
- Drivers who transport more than 16 passengers.
- Drivers who transport hazardous materials.
Changes May be Coming to HOS Rules
At the Mid-America Trucking Show in March, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said the U.S. Department of Transportation will propose changes to the HOS rules. Chao couldn’t provide specifics as to what changes might occur while the rule is being considered, but, according to CCJDigital.com, she said, “the department understands the strong interest in increasing flexibility and is giving it serious consideration.”
According to CCJDigital.com, “a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on Hours of Service change has been filed with the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for approval.” The OMB has to approve the NPRM before it is published. The FMCSA will accept feedback on the proposed changes after it is published in the Federal Register.
To learn how RTA can help your fleet operation and drivers stay compliant, contact us today to schedule a free demo.