New Hours of Service Rules for Commercial Drivers Issued

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a revised hours of service (HOS) rule for commercial vehicle drivers. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on December 27, 2011, and has been slightly modified from the December 29, 2010, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

FMCSA’s new HOS final rule revises the 34 hour restart provision. Following a maximum work week of 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days, a driver must have 34 consecutive hours off-duty. Effective July 1, 2013, the revision requires that the 34 hour restart period include two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods based on FMCSA’s assertion that nighttime rest is more restorative than daytime rest. The final rule is an improvement over the original proposal, which required two 12 a.m. to 6 a.m. periods, but may require as little as 34 hours or as much as 48 hours off-duty depending upon when the driving week ends.

Effective February 27, 2012, the new rule specifies that driving (or allowing a driver to drive) three or more hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to maximum civil penalties of $11,000 per offense for the trucking company and up to $2,750 for each offense for the driver.

February 2012 RENDER | back