Understanding trucking’s hours of service regulations

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In the trucking industry, drivers must follow the rules outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regarding hours of service (HOS). This specifies the maximum number of hours a driver can be on the road, rest period lengths and more to ensure drivers aren’t driving while fatigued. 

Learn more about the latest update to these regulations and who must comply here. 

What drivers must comply with the HOS requirements

Most CMV (commercial motor vehicle) drivers are required to comply with the HOS regulations. This includes CMVs that weigh more than 10,001 pounds, are used for transporting nine or more passengers for pay, are used to transport 16 or more passengers for no pay or transport hazardous materials in certain quantities. 

What are the HOS stipulations?

There are a few new regulations in place that were introduced in 2020 to the HOS. These include:

  • Expansion of the short-haul exception to 150 air miles with a 14-hour work shift
  • Increases ability to drive in adverse weather conditions by two hours
  • Requirement of a break of 30 minutes minimum after eight hours of driving (on-duty/not driving qualifies for this break)

New sleep berth provision that helps drivers meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement with seven hours in the berth and a minimum off-duty period of two hours 

The importance of following the HOS regulations

If a driver doesn’t comply with the regulations outlined by the FCMSA, they can face several consequences. This includes written warnings, fines and additional penalties. Making sure that drivers know and follow these regulations will prevent these potential penalties and minimize the risk that the driver poses to other vehicles while on the road.