As an interstate truck network driver, it is crucial to understand and abide by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations regarding the Guide To Hours of Service (HOS). These regulations promote safety on the roads by ensuring that truck drivers have adequate rest before they get back behind the wheel.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about HOS and how to stay compliant.
What are the Hours of Service Regulations?
The Hours of Service regulations specify the maximum number of hours a truck driver can operate a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) in a given work day or week. The rules also specify the minimum rest time a truck driver must take before operating a CMV again. The main goal of these regulations is to prevent truck driver fatigue, which is a leading cause of truck accidents.
How are Hours of Service Calculated?
Hours of Service are calculated based on the time a truck driver spends operating a CMV. That includes driving, as well as any other activities related to the operation of the CMV, such as loading and unloading cargo, performing vehicle inspections, and communicating with dispatchers.
What are the Rules for Driving Time?
Under the Hours of Service regulations, a truck driver may drive a CMV for 11 hours in a workday. After going for 11 hours, the driver must take ten consecutive hours off before operating the CMV again. In addition, a truck driver may not drive after having been on duty for 14 hours, regardless of the number of hours spent driving.
What are the Rules for On-Duty Time?
In addition to the regulations regarding driving time, the Hours of Service regulations also specify the maximum amount of time a truck driver may spend on duty in a workday or work week. On-duty time includes all activities related to the operation of a CMV, not just driving. A truck driver may spend 14 hours on duty in a workday and 60 hours on duty in a workweek.
What Happens if I Violate the Hours of Service Regulations?
Suppose a truck driver violates the Hours of Service regulations. In that case, they may face penalties, including fines, suspension or revocation of their commercial driver’s license, and even jail time in extreme cases. In addition, trucking companies that allow their drivers to violate the Hours of Service regulations may also face penalties.
How to Stay Compliant with the Hours of Service Regulations
To stay compliant with the Hours of Service regulations, truck drivers must keep accurate records of their driving and on-duty time. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, otherwise known in the auto transport industry as FMCSA, has strict guidelines for the number of hours a truck driver may operate on the road. They are not free to do whatever they want for their protection and the public. The FMCSA put it very succinctly and nicely:
“As the driver of a large, heavy truck, you have a lot of responsibility as you drive down the road. The biggest concern is safety. That brings us to the main reason for the hours-of-service regulations — to keep fatigued drivers off the public roadways. These regulations put limits in place for when and how long you may drive, with the idea that these limits will help make sure that you stay awake and alert while driving” (1).
Auto Transport Trucks That Are Susceptible To FMCSA Rules
If a truck is over 10,000 pounds and hauling commercial loads interstate, it is subject to the United States Department of Transportation rules and regulations. If a truck only operates within one state, it is considered intrastate and does not need to comply with federal government regulations. However, most car shipments cross state lines; therefore, the truck driver is subject to interstate rules.
What Are The Basic Hours of Service Guideline Limits?
Three primary rules make sense to everyone. And then come the lawyers to parse it this way, exceptions for this rule and that, and parsing exceptions to exceptions. It would help if you had a scorecard because there’s enough wiggle room to get out of almost every situation. Be that as it may, here are the three main rules that the FMCSA spelled out clearly, as quoted from the FMCSA Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service:
Rule #1 – The 14 Hour Duty Limit
This limit is usually thought of as a “daily” limit even though it is not based on a 24-hour period.
You are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours of duty time after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.
The 14-consecutive-hour duty period begins when you start any kind of work.
Once you have reached the end of this 14-consecutive-hour period, you cannot drive again until you have been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours.
Your driving is limited to the 14-consecutive-hour duty period even if you take some off-duty time, such as a lunch break or a nap, during those 14 hours.
Example: You have had 10 continuous hours off and you come to work at 6:00 a.m. in the morning. You must not drive your truck after 8:00 p.m. that evening. You may do other work after 8:00 p.m., but you cannot do any more driving until you have taken another 10 consecutive hours off.
This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(2).
Rule #2 – The 11 Hour Driving Limit
During the 14-consecutive-hour duty period explained above, you are only allowed to drive your truck for up to 11 total hours.
There is no limit on how many of those hours you are allowed to drive at one time — you may drive for as little as a few minutes or as much as 11 hours in a row.
Once you have driven a total of 11 hours, you have reached the driving limit and must be off duty for another 10 consecutive hours before driving your truck again.
Example: You have had 10 consecutive hours off. You come to work at 6:00 a.m. in the morning and drive from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., you must not drive again until you have at least 10 consecutive hours off. You may do other work after 6:00 p.m., but you cannot do any more driving of a commercial motor vehicle.
This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(1).
Rule #3 – The 60/70 Hour Duty Limit
In addition to the first two limits, which are explained above, is the 60/70-hour limit.
This limit is based on a 7-day or 8-day period, starting at the time specified by your motor carrier for the start of a 24-hour period.
This limit is sometimes thought of as a “weekly” limit.
However, this limit is not based on a “set” week, such as Sunday through Saturday.
The limit is based on a “rolling” or “floating” 7-day or 8-day period.
The oldest day’s hours drop off at the end of each day when you calculate the total on-duty time for the past 7 or 8 days.
For example, if you operate on a 70-hour/8-day schedule, the current day would be the newest day of your 8-day period and the hours you worked nine days ago would drop out of the calculation.
1. Sunday 0 hours
2. Monday 10 hours
3. Tuesday 8.5 hours
4. Wednesday 12.5 hours
5. Thursday 9 hours
6. Friday 10 hours
7. Saturday 12 hours
8. Sunday 5 hours
TOTAL 67 hours
You are required to follow one of these two “weekly” limits:
• If your company does not operate vehicles every day of the week, you are not allowed to drive after you’ve been on duty 60 hours during any 7 consecutive days. Once you reach the 60-hour limit, you will not be able to drive again until you have dropped below 60 hours for a 7-consecutive-day period. You may do other work, but you cannot do any more driving until you are off duty enough days to get below the limit. Any other hours you work, whether they are for a motor carrier or someone else, must be added to the total.
• If your company does operate vehicles every day of the week, your employer may assign you to the 70-hour/8-day schedule. This means that you are not allowed to drive after you’ve been on duty 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days. Once you reach the 70-hour limit, you will not be able to drive again until you have dropped below 70 hours for an 8consecutive day period. You may do other work, but you cannot do any more driving until you get below the limit. Any other hours you work, whether they are for a motor carrier or someone else, must be added to the total.
The regulations allow you to “restart” your 60 or 70-hour clock calculations after having at least 34 consecutive hours off duty. In other words, after you have taken at least 34 hours off duty in a row, you have the full 60 or 70 hours available again. You would then begin counting hours on the day of the restart and not go back the full 7 or 8 days.
Example: If you follow the 70-hour/8-day limit and work 14 hours for 5 days in a row, you will have been on duty for 70 hours. You would not be able to drive again until you drop below 70 hours worked in an 8-day period. However, if your company allows you to use the 34-hour restart provision, you would have driving time available immediately after 34 consecutive hours off duty. You would then begin a new period of 8 consecutive days and have 70 hours available.
This regulation is found in Section 395.3(b) and (c).
How To Treat A Car Transport Truck Driver
The FMCSA has tried its three basic rules to protect truck drivers from themselves. Time is money, and auto transport truck drivers are, by nature, hard-working people who will push themselves to make a buck to feed their families. It is incredibly grueling and demanding work they are doing. Don’t you think so? Try driving your cushy sedan 500 miles daily, and you will be stiff when done, your back sore, and your brain weary. Sleep it off and get up and do it again. And again. Please don’t stop there; gotta get to Baltimore, so do it again. Brothers and sisters, it’s hard. So the FMCSA set rules protecting auto transport truck drivers from themselves and the bosses who might push them too far.
The FMCSA rules protect the general public as well.
Here are Direct Express Auto Transport’s three tips on how to treat a car transport truck driver upon delivering your vehicle:
1. Be punctual even if the driver is not. He has several customers to meet, and any of them may throw his schedule off by showing up late or unprepared, i.e., failing to have cash or money order to pay the balance. The driver will appreciate your understanding of the pressures on his time. And he does feel bad if you, too, are inconvenienced.
2. Of course, they are paid for a service, but it would also be nice to say thank you. There is dignity in work, and when somebody does a job, it’s not all about the money. It is also respect for a job well done. Saying thank you is appreciated.
3. You know, a waiter or waitress gets tipped for hustling tables and providing good service, and they deserve it. Do you think an auto transport driver who just took good care of your car for several hundred miles, maybe thousands, deserves a little extra too? You don’t have to do that, but it sure would be considerate.
The Original Car Shipping Quote Calculator
Direct Express Auto Transport originated the instant car shipping quote calculator in 2004. It is still the best, most sophisticated, reliable tool available anywhere online. We offer three options that we call tiers of car shipping estimates. The standard rate is the cheapest car shipping quote, but it may take longer. Use it if you are patient. The expedited car shipping rate is most recommended, and we have countless satisfied customers because the shipping process tends to go quicker. The rush rate is our highest level of car shipping service, and we have many customers who are glad they went with that method.