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Some Hours of Service (HOS) rules for cargo and passenger transports have been in effect for nearly a decade, and the FMCSA is considering revising some of the rule standards. The FMCSA laws came about due to the need to reduce the risk of drivers driving fatigued. However, many uncontrollable elements of transporting cargo make it nearly impossible to plan when to take your break so that you have parking and conveniences available.

What Does the HOS 8-Hour Break Entail?

The rule stipulates that a driver must stop driving and take a 30-minute break before they enter their eighth hour of driving. The driver cannot do other driving activities during the recess such as refueling, or loading and unloading cargo, apart from hazardous material (HazMat) drivers who must stay with and check on their load during their break. The break entails a single 30-minute break. It cannot get split into breaks amounting to 30 minutes.

Even the FMCSA is looking into ways to improve the efficiency of the 30-minute break such as allowing drivers more leeway about the timing of the break, as well as changes in other maximum HOS rules.

The 11-Hour Maximum Driving Time HOS Rule

The rule requires an individual to drive no more than a maximum of 11 hours and take ten consecutive hours off-duty. The driver can do non-driving related tasks for up to four more hours such as unloading cargo, an after-trip inspection, etc.

The 14 Hours Maximum Working Time

The 14-hour rule requires that a driver should not go beyond the 14th consecutive hour after resuming duty. While the driver may only drive for a maximum of 11 hours, they may do other non-driving related duty up to 14 hours.

The 60/70 Hours Maximum Driving Time per Week

The guideline disqualifies the driver from driving after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. The regulation allows one to restart the 7/8-day period after they take 34 hours off-duty. The 60/70-hour maximum driving time within 7/8 days is not considered a week, but any 7 or 8 consecutive days driving.

Waiting Times at the Shipping Yards and Limited Parking?

The HOS rules and mandatory break drastically affects drivers when inconvenienced by shipping companies and traffic jams. Although waiting times at loading docks may not count against the 11 hours of driving time, it will count against their 14-hour working schedule. Once the driver runs out of hours, they will need to take rest.

Since drivers cannot control when they get sleepy, taking a 30-minute break too soon into an 11-hour day could necessitate another interruption before reaching the 11th hour. The 8-hour break makes it necessary to create adequate rest areas along the freeway.

However, some of these rest stops are controlled by corporations who charge the drivers for everything. Sure, they may throw in the occasional shower after accumulating user points, but even after spending hundreds there on food and fuel, they’ll charge the driver $20 or more for parking. They know, in many cases, HOS rules do not give the driver many choices about going somewhere else.

Currently, the parking areas are limited and cannot accommodate all the individuals. There is a need for more effort from FMCSA to find a safe resting place for off-duty hours along our freeways. The resolution will help in reducing the congestion that arises when drivers run out of driving hours or must take an unplanned 30-minute break.

The addition of necessary infrastructure would go a lot further toward keeping our roads safe than the current over-regulation of HOS. The move will help improve compliance from the drivers.

Traffic Ticket Lawyers Who Defend HOS Violations in Riverside County

Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you get ticketed for an HOS violation or other traffic tickets. We handle overweight trucks, permit and bad equipment violations for CDL holders in Riverside, LA, Barstow, SLO, and throughout the Central Valley.

Send us an email, with your questions, and include a scanned copy of your ticket, if possible, and as much detail as you can remember.

Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.

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The 2018 CA Commercial Driver Handbook .pdf

The FMCSA’s Summary of HOS Rules article, HOS EZ Explanations

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