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Hours of service (HOS) violations can result in severe penalties for both the driver and the carrier. Correcting HOS violations before they occur is frequently the key to keeping Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) scores low and avoiding costly interventions, increased roadside inspections, and out-of-service orders hours.  

HOS rules apply to any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) engaged in interstate or international commerce or transportation of passengers for business purposes. Many states have adopted HOS rules for interstate CMV drivers as well. 

The 10/11-Hour HOS Rule   

A driver hauling goods may only drive for 11 continuous hours before taking a 10-hour rest break, either in the sleeper or off-duty. A driver transporting passengers may only operate for ten consecutive hours after an eight-hour break, and not more than 15 hours on-duty.

The 14-Hour HOS Rule

The 14-hour rule is a little more complicated than the 11-hour rule. It is 14 hours after beginning duty, regardless of hours driving. If you get delayed in a traffic jam, spend four hours waiting for a load, have a 30-minute break, all those counts against the 14-hour clock. If you begin your shift at 9 am, you must end it at 11 pm regardless. However, you get a new clock after ten hours in the sleeper.

The 60/70-Hour HOS Rule

A driver hauling goods cannot drive more than 70 hours within an eight-day period without taking 34 continuous hours off-duty. A driver transporting passengers can only drive 60 hours in a seven-day period, or 70 hours in an eight-day period.   

The 30-Minute HOS Rule 

This rule states that a driver must take a 30-minute break before their eighth hour on duty. Therefore, if a driver begins a shift at 9 am, they must take their break before 5 pm. If the driver waits four hours to get loaded and then gets stuck in traffic for an hour, they must still take their break before 5 pm. Likewise, if they take their break too soon during a 14-hour driving shift, they might have to take a second 30-minute break.  

Plan Mandatory Breaks 

HOS rules require a driver to take a 30-minute break before the eight-hour mark of driving. Even though the driver might not be able to control loading times or traffic, planning their break could save a violation or prevent them from taking a break where no services are available.

Other HOS Violations

Since 75 percent of HOS violations are “form and manner” mistakes, eliminating those is a big step toward correcting CSA point assessments. Form and manner entries on the driver’s log are mostly repetitive data, such as the carrier’s name andfleet address, vehicle and trailer number, shipping document number, etc. 

Drivers should have a system of updating this data before every trip. Many drivers do their DVIR or pre-trip inspection first and then update their log data. The order in which you do these tasks is irrelevant, as long as you are consistent to avoid missing a step. The electronic log (e-log), for all its other faults, will allow a semi-permanent record for most of these entries. This will also prevent the e-log from logging another driver, mechanic, or fueler’s hours off your log. 

Riverside County   

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, whenever you receive a traffic ticket or need legal advice about an HOS violation. Bigger & Harman provide legal advice and representation for CDL holders and other drivers in Riverside County. 

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The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

The 2018 Judicial Council of California’s Uniform Bail & Penalty Schedule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website

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