What Are the FMCSA HOS Rules?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is an agency within the Department of Transportation (DOT) that regulates the trucking industry and sets rules and standards for the operation of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).
A critical aspect of the FMCSA regulations is the Hours of Service (HOS) rules, designed to prevent truck driver fatigue and ensure that drivers have adequate rest between shifts.
To Whom Do the HOS Rules Apply?
The HOS rules apply to commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders who operate CMVs in interstate commerce, which means they transport goods or passengers across state lines. These rules do not apply to intrastate truck drivers who operate within a single state.
The FMCSA HOS rules ensure that commercial drivers have sufficient rest to be alert and safe while driving. The rules limit the number of hours drivers can work and drive in a day and the number of hours they can work and drive in a week.
The specific limits depend on the type of driving the driver is doing and what they are transporting, property or passengers.
What Are the Daily and Weekly Limits for Property Carrying CMV Drivers?
The FMCSA HOS rules for CMV drivers transporting property, including Hazardous Material (HM), which includes most long-haul truckers, usually limit driving to 11 hours per day and 14 hours on duty per day. However, there are exceptions for “2 hours when adverse driving conditions are encountered” for both property and passenger modes of transport.
On duty means any time the driver is working or on call, including driving, loading and unloading, and other activities related to their job. The rules also require drivers to take a 30-minute rest break after driving for 8 hours. However, the 30-minute break can be considered on or off duty, and the driver can check the load and do other work-related activities, but it must be continuous.
What Are the Daily and Weekly Limits for CMV Drivers Who Transport Passengers?
The HOS rules for passenger-carrying CMV drivers are slightly different. These drivers are limited to 10 hours of driving per day and 15 hours on duty per day. They must take a rest break of at least 30 minutes before their 8-hour driving mark.
What Are the Requirements for Off-Duty Time and Rest Periods?
In addition to the daily limits, the HOS rules also set weekly limits on the number of hours drivers can work and drive. The weekly limit for CMV drivers transporting property is 60 hours on duty over seven consecutive days or 70 hours on duty over eight consecutive days. The CMV driver is limited to 70 hours on duty for passenger transport over eight consecutive days.
The HOS rules also include requirements for rest periods, known as "off-duty time." Drivers must take at least 34 hours off duty after working 70 hours a week. These off-duty periods must include two periods of sleep between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
The HOS rules also include provisions for "split sleeper berth" and "adjacent seating" time, allowing drivers to take shorter rest periods and still meet the required off-duty time.
How Are the FMCSA HOS Rules Enforced?
Enforcing the HOS rules is an essential aspect of the FMCSA's efforts to improve safety in the trucking industry. CMV drivers who violate the HOS rules can be cited and fined, and their employers can also be held accountable for any violations when they allow a driver they knew or should have known had exceeded the HOS limits.
There could be massive fines of as much as “…$16,000 per violation depending on severity” for the driver and the fleet manager when they exceed the FMCSA HOS rules.
The Crucial Nature of the HOS Rules in Improving CMV Driving & Industry Safety.
In conclusion, the FMCSA Hours of Service rules are designed to prevent CMV driver fatigue and ensure that drivers have adequate rest between shifts. These rules apply to drivers who operate CMVs in interstate commerce and set limits on the number of hours that drivers can work and drive in a day and a week, as well as requirements for rest periods and off-duty time. Enforcing the HOS rules is an important aspect of the FMCSA's efforts to improve safety in the trucking industry.
For more information and an explanation of the “final” DOT FMCSA HOS rules, read our blog post, New HOS Rules 30-Minute Break & the Split Sleeper Berth Explained.
Consult Bigger & Harman About Alleged FMCSA HOS Rule Violations Around Roseville, CA
When you were accused of violating the FMCSA HOS Rules around Roseville, CA, call Bigger & Harman, APC, at (661) 349-9300, use the contact form or email us at email@example.com.
We have been assisting drivers to maintain their CDL career in CA for over a decade. Contact us to help you resolve traffic violations, including HOS incidents.
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The DMV Portal CA Commercial Driver Handbook Copyright 2022.
The DOT FMCSA Final Rule 27 DEC 11, Summary of Hours of Service Regulations