Hours of Service Explained

Sep 2, 2021 10:29:08 AM / by Tiffney Lopez

Truck drivers have a certain amount of time they are allowed to be behind the wheel. With the ELD mandate in effect the problems with ELDs are their enforcement of Hours of Service laws.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a part of the Department of Transportation (DOT) and its primary goal is to prevent commercial motor vehicle (CMV) fatalities.1 In order to keep motorists safe, the FMCSA has what is known as Hours of Service (HOS) for CMV drivers.

Anyone who operates a CMV must follow the HOS regulations. The HOS regulations include: drive time, 30-minute break, sleeper-berth provisions, on-duty not driving, adverse driving conditions, and those who are exempt.

HOS Regulations

For property carrying drivers, the maximum time allowed to drive is 11 hours after 10 continuous hours of being off-duty. For passenger-carrying drivers there is a maximum drive-time of 10 hours only after 8 hours of being off-duty have been logged.

Once property-carrying drivers are on the clock, they have exactly 14 hours to complete their shift. How they spend that 14 hours is on them, their dispatcher/carrier, and the shipper. A passenger-carrying driver may not drive after being on-duty for 15 hours; this must follow an 8 hour period of being off-duty.

All CMV drivers who have driven for 8 hours without interruption must take a 30-minute break. The 30-minute break can be done as on-duty not driving, off-duty, sleeper berth, or any combination of these as long as the break isn’t interrupted.

Both property-carrying and passenger-carrying drivers have a 60/70 – 7/8 limit. This means a driver isn’t allowed to drive once they reach 60 hours in 7 days or 70 hours in 8 days. For property-carrying drivers, they may restart the 7/8 only after taking 34 (or more) consecutive hours off-duty.

For property-carrying and passenger-carrying drivers, all sleeper berth hours must add to 10 hours (at least). Those who are property-carrying, are allowed to split their required 10-hour, off-duty time as long as one period is at least 2 hours and the other period is at least 7 hours. These hours must be consecutive. These time periods do not count against the 14-hour drive time. For passenger-carrying drivers, they have to spend at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth which can be split into two periods as long as neither of those two periods is less than 2 hours. Again, all sleeper berth events must add to 10.

During adverse conditions, drivers who are property-carrying and encounter adverse conditions as defined by the FMCSA, can extend their 11-hour driving limit and 14-hour shift limit by up to 2 hours. Property-carrying drivers are also allowed to extend their 10-hour driving limit and 15-hour shift limit by up to 2 hours.

The short-haul exemption could apply to those who are property-carrying or passenger carrying. For these drivers, they must stay within a 150 air-mile radius of the normal work location, report to-and-from that same location, and cannot go past the 14-hour window.



Topics: ELDs, FMCSA, Hours of Service

Tiffney Lopez

Written by Tiffney Lopez