Starting this Monday, truck drivers nationwide will have to adhere to the new hours of service regulations put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) concerning the number of hours they can drive in a week. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) the new regulations will reduce the maximum number of hours a trucker can work in a week by 12 hours.
Since we are a company with our own fleet of trucks, and these new HOS regulations will really affect the lives of truckers, let’s take a second here to break these new regulations down a bit.
Under the old Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, truck drivers were able to work up to 82 hours in a week/seven day period. If they chose to work more hours than they were allotted, they had to take a mandatory 34 hour “restart” break before working more hours. The important part of the old rule was that truckers were not limited to how many “restart” breaks they could take. However, under the new HOS regulation truckers are only allowed to take one “restart” break a week. The DOT reports that “13 percent of large truck accidents every year involve driver fatigue,” so they have put these new regulations in place in hopes of curbing that statistic.
Under the new HOS regulations, the “restart” breaks must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. According to an FMCSA study, resting during this time period results in top driving performance for truckers. By enforcing this rule, it seems as though the FMCSA hope truck drivers gain the best rest for high performance driving.
When talking about truckers and trucking, rest breaks are usually a pretty hot topic. If you didn’t know, truckers must adhere to guidelines that dictate when they must take breaks and for how long. Under the old regulations, there were no set rules on these rest breaks. However, under the new HOS rules truckers may not drive if they have been on the road for eight hours until they take a 30-minute break. On top of this, drivers may not drive for more than 11 hours in a row. After 11 hours of driving or 14 hours of being on duty, they must take 10 consecutive hours off from driving.
If truckers fail to adhere to the rules, fines can be issued. For instance, if a truck driver is on duty or drives for more than three hours over the 14 hour rule, the carrier company can be fined up to $11,000 and the actual driver can be fined $2,750. These fines make both the company and the driver responsible for violating the rules. With this new fine in place, truck drivers are not the only ones that have to adhere to these HOS regulations, but companies also need to pay close attention to their logs. Failure to do so may result in slimmed down revenue and unnecessary payments.