Hours of Service Rules
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The goal of the U.S. Department of Transportation is to maintain reliable and accessible transportation networks so that the country can remain “economically productive and globally competitive.” Rules, regulations, and compliance are essential for keeping things so safe and effective. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency (FMCSA) is an agency within the Department of Transportation that controls the maximum daily and weekly driving and working hours for commercial truck drivers. Its purpose is to ensure the safety of truck drivers and other motorists. The FMCSA’s hours of service (HOS) rules are among its most fundamental safety measures and also among its most effective. Understanding when and how these hours of service rules apply to transportation companies such as bus drivers, railroad and the commercial truck drivers they employ is crucial. A bus driver and team of driving hours of service rules will be discussed in this article.

What Are the Hours of Service Rules?

The term “hours of service rules” is used to describe the maximum number of consecutive hours a driver can be on the clock. This protects drivers from dangerous circumstances and keeps them alert on the job. All commercial motor vehicle carriers and drivers must abide by the hours-of-service rules outlined in 49 CFR 395.

Specifically, the federal hours-of-service rules specify:

  • The maximum number of hours a driver can be behind the wheel in a single shift
  • If a driver needs a break to sleep throughout their shift,
  • The minimum amount of time a driver must rest between shifts
  • The amount of time a driver can drive during the week.

Furthermore, to prevent accidents caused by driver weariness, regulations strictly cap the number of hours a trucker can be on the road. Unfortunately, truck drivers don’t always play by the book. Truck drivers who cause accidents because they were too tired to drive safely because they had exceeded the allowed number of hours on the road could face criminal charges if their actions were found to have violated federal law.

While investigating a truck accident in South Carolina, it is important to determine whether or not driver weariness or drowsiness had a role, as well as whether or not the driver adhered to the state’s maximum allowable driving duration.

New Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers

On September 29 at midnight Eastern time, new rules regarding truck drivers’ hours of service will go into force.

The rules go into effect at the same time everywhere, so drivers on the West Coast, for example, will start following the new rules at 9 p.m. on September 28. Because time zones are treated the same, East and West Coast drivers will be subject to the new laws simultaneously.

There were four major adjustments to the hours of service rules that were introduced in May.

#1. The 30-Minute Break Rule

which formerly required taking a break after no more than eight hours of time spent on duty, now requires taking a break after no more than eight hours of consecutive time spent driving. In addition, the status of “on-duty but not driving” can fulfill the necessity for a break, rather than the situation of “off-duty but still working.” It means a driver could “take a break” by, say, pulling over to refill the truck’s gas tank.

#2. The New Rule Alters the Adverse Driving Circumstances Exception

Under the new regulation, drivers will have a two-hour longer window in which they can be on the road. Although the law as it stands allows for an additional two hours of driving time, this time must still be accommodated within the confines of a maximum workday of 14 hours. In the event of extraordinary circumstances, including excessive traffic or terrible weather, the new rule allows for a sixteen-hour workday.

#3. Sleeper-Berth Rules

This rule which previously only allowed a split of the needed 10 hours of off-duty time up to 2 hours for the shorter split period, will now allow drivers to take up to 3 hours for the shorter split period, with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.

#4. The Governing Body Will Enlarge the Scope of the Short-Haul Exemption

This clause raises commercial drivers’ maximum duty duration from 12 to 14 hours and 100 to 150 statute miles.

CMV drivers will still be prohibited from driving for more than eight hours straight without taking at least a 30-minute break, according to agency officials, thus no additional driving time will be allotted as a result of the rule changes.

A provision in the proposed rule from the previous year would have allowed truck drivers to take a break of at least 30 minutes but no more than three hours during their 14-hour on-duty window provided that they also took 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of their work shift, did not make it into the final rule. For instance, drivers might wait out a rush hour with a three-hour break from work without counting against their total allowed on-duty hours.

In addition, the government wants to evaluate the effects of letting drivers take one three-hour break from driving.

How Are Hours of Service Rules Monitored?

In 1937, Congress established the very first federal statute requiring truck drivers to maintain a log of their working hours. The government’s only means of monitoring compliance with its regulations back then were drivers’ word and paper logs. Since this procedure was so challenging to oversee, there were often disagreements in the drivers’ logs.

Keeping tabs on a driver’s hours of service has become less of a hassle in the digital era. Due to technological advances, paper log oversight inequalities are now easier to track.

Truck drivers today, especially those operating newer trucks, use electronic tracking systems to keep tabs on their hours of service rules. The FMCSA’s ELD regulation was actually enacted on February 16, 2016. To comply with this rule, businesses that employ commercial trucks were required to install electronic logging systems to monitor drivers’ hours of service.

These systems use GPS tracking to track drivers’ driving time, route, and break times as soon as their vehicles move. Attaining enlightenment and KeepTrucking are two logging systems that store all important data in a single, easy-to-use mobile app.

When trucker drivers use these hours of service monitoring devices, they can rest assured that they are in accordance with all relevant rules and regulations regarding driver safety. In addition, these apps make it simple for drivers, brokerages, and shippers to view their current HOS balances. Having this knowledge aids in the logistics of transporting cargo.

How Do You Calculate Hours of Service?

Knowing the number of hours your employees work will help you pay them fairly. The time spent working can be determined in a number of ways. When it comes to keeping track of time, it’s important to pick the ideal system and train your staff on how to utilize it properly. Here are simples steps to calculate hours of service.

  1. Calculate the beginning and end times. To compute employee pay using a physical timesheet, you’ll need to calculate arrival and departure times.
  2. Determine the time in military time (24 hours).  Just add 12 to the afternoon hours and keep the morning hours the same to get the military time. Furthermore, since morning and night times will be different, a.m. and p.m. are unnecessary.
  3. Convert minutes to decimal form: Divide the minutes by 60 to get the decimal equivalent.
  4. Calculate by subtracting the beginning and end times. Subtract the time the employee clocked in from the time they clocked out to get the total number of hours.
  5. Deduct the amount of unpaid time spent on breaks. When an employee takes an unpaid break, such as to visit the doctor, you might need to deduct time.

What Is the 16-Hour Rule?

The 16-hour rule lets some drivers work 16 hours instead of 14 without exceeding their 11-hour daily driving limit. This regulation does not apply to drivers who have started and ended the previous five workdays at the same location. These motorists are classified as short-haul motorists because they travel no further than their regular place of employment each day.

To comply with the 16-hour rule, the driver can be on duty for an additional two hours but must be taken off duty immediately after the 16th hour. Once a 5-day pattern has been established, this deviation can be requested once every 34 hours.

However, once the prerequisites are known, the rationale for this exemption becomes clear. It’s unreasonable to prevent drivers who work at the same place from leaving early if they’re late. The 16-hour restriction is in place to prevent drivers from taking a 5-hour trip, experiencing a 5-hour delay when delivering a load, and then still needing to return to the reporting point. A driver may be an hour from home and beyond the 14-hour on-duty limit after 9 hours.

In addition, drivers who aren’t bound by the DOT’s 16-hour rule could resort to risky behaviors like speeding or reckless driving to make it home before their HOS limit expires. The common-sense 16-hour rule prevents drivers from sleeping in the berth or at a hotel when a home is nearby. Also, read TRUCK LOAN: What It Is and How It Works.

Railroad Hours of Service Rules 

The Railroad Hours of Service Act was initially passed into law by the United States Congress in 1907 as a response to growing concerns that the long hours that train operators and other railroad personnel worked led to unsafe levels of weariness. By limiting the number of hours in a row that railroad personnel is allowed to work and mandating rest breaks at regular intervals, the regulation seeks to protect the health and safety of both workers and members of the general public.

Furthermore, here are some of the railroad hours of service rules.

#1. Provision of Train line Signaling, Communication, and Dispatch

There are three categories of railroad workers who must adhere to the Hours of Service Act rules because of their involvement in the transportation of trains. The regulation places restrictions on the number of shifts that train crew members can work. The federal law also applies to those who set up and maintain the signaling systems used to direct and warn trains. The third group of workers protected by the Hours of Service Act is those who work for dispatching services, which sends orders and reports to trains on the track. The initial Hours of Service Act only applied to those who worked for train carriers directly. In addition, the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008 covered employees of contractors and subcontractors with comparable duties.

#2. Limits on Working Time

The Hours of Service rules mandate a daily maximum of 12 hours of work for railroad workers. The law mandates a minimum of 10 hours of uninterrupted rest between shifts during a 24-hour period. The 10-hour clock starts over if the carrier or employer contacts the employee within that time. Moreover, employees are not permitted to work more than six days consecutively. Employees on both local and long-distance passenger trains are subject to strict regulations on their work hours because of the Rail Safety Improvement Act. Passenger rail companies must submit schedules for FRA approval every two years with uniform maximum hours for all trains. Carriers are also obligated by FRA requirements to employ fatigue reduction techniques that have been approved by the FRA.

#3. The Keeping and Maintenance of Records

Regulations requiring carriers to keep track of employee hours and report them to the Department of Transportation have been given to the FRA by the Hours of Service Act. The ultimate responsibility for making sure workers comply with federal law rests with the carrier or contractor. If an employee works more hours than permitted by law, the company will face penalties. The FRA mandates that businesses keep track of employee hours worked, either manually or digitally. Employees are required to sign and date their daily time sheets, and employers must keep these records for at least two years.

What Are the Penalties for Railroad Hours of Service Rules?

In accordance with the Rail Safety Enhancement Act of 2008, commuter and intercity passenger trains that violate the hours of service limitations face slightly higher fines than other trains. Trucking companies that have workers who break the law must pay civil penalties ranging from $650 to $25,000. If the FRA discovers a pattern of recurrent infractions that poses an imminent threat to the safety of employees or passengers, the fine per infraction can climb to as much as $105,000. Willfully falsifying a report or record to cover up a violation or violating hours of service requirements can result in criminal penalties, including fines and up to two years in jail. There is a fine range of $500-$25,000 per infraction for all other trains for exceeding the allowed hours of service. In addition, the maximum penalty for a single instance of repeated infractions is $100,000.

What is 60 7 vs 70 8? 

The 70/8 rule, 8/70 rule, or 70-hour 8-day rule are all common shorthand references to the same concept. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Agency (FMCSA), an independent body under the Department of Transportation (DOT), created it as one of many hours of service (HOS) measures meant to assure driver safety and decrease weariness that can contribute to crashes, injuries, and fatalities.

According to the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 70-hour 8-day regulation, professionals can’t log more than eight days of driving time totaling 70 hours. Drivers who do not work every day of the week are exempt from the 70-hour 8-day rule, and fleet managers who employ such drivers can instead rely on the 60-hour 7-day rule.

Since the bulk of fleets today operates around the clock, seven days a week, the 70-hour rule is generally applicable.

How Does It Work?

Assuming they haven’t taken any vacation days recently, every driver’s “newest” working day is today. Their daily total is updated on a rolling basis, so hours worked nine days ago are no longer counted. If a driver has been off the clock for 34 hours or more, a new 8-day cycle begins.

There are four main factors that influence the 70-hour norm for working hours. The 70-hour 8-day rule supersedes any conflicting regulations that may appear below. If a driver has worked 70 hours in 8 days, then it doesn’t matter how much of their 14-hour shift or 11-hour driving restriction is left.

  1. Daily commute time
  2. The daily work schedule in terms of hours
  3. Count of recent driving time (7 or 8 days)
  4. Time spent away from work

Team Driving Hours of Service Rules

As a truck driver, you have a demanding profession that requires you to stop at regular intervals to ensure you don’t exceed DOT and hours of service rules for allowable driving time. Due to the restrictions imposed by these laws, many truck drivers choose to travel in pairs. One trucker can take a break while the other is behind the wheel when they work as a team. To cover more ground in less time, the drivers might take turns behind the wheel several times throughout the journey.

Not all truck drivers are on board with this idea. At any rate, there are benefits to driving in a group that is too substantial to be ignored.

Team driving is subject to the same federal hours of service rules as solo drivers; however, each team vehicle is equipped with two on-duty and driving clocks. Each driver’s shift consists of 14 hours on duty and 11 hours of driving, separated by a 30-minute break.

What Is the Final Rule for Hours of Service Fmcsa?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in the process of revising the hours of service (HOS) regulations to provide drivers who are subject to those restrictions more leeway while maintaining the same level of safety. The Agency: (1) increases the short-haul exception to 150 air miles and permits a 14-hour work shift to take place as part of the exception; (2) increases the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional 2 hours; (3) requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and permits an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break; and (4) modifies the sleeper berth exception to permit a driver to meet the 10-hour requirement without


You should get ready in advance. There are a lot of factors beyond your control, and that’s something you’ll learn quickly in this field. So, it is imperative that you do what is necessary to exert whatever control you have. The most important thing a shipper can do to protect their business against HOS is to plan ahead.

When the truck arrives, be prepared to immediately begin loading your cargo. Doing so will aid in preventing the trucker’s hours of service from disrupting your supply chain.  Having open lines of communication with your transportation provider on your freight’s precise requirements is also helpful in avoiding HOS-related hassles.


What is the 60-hour rule?

The rule states that a commercial truck driver must not exceed 60 hours of duty in a 7-day period and must then wait until his hours drop below 60 (either through a 34-hour reset or by waiting for hours to “drop off”) before returning to work.

What is the 7 3 sleeper berth rule?

A 7/3 split means that a driver must sleep in the sleeper berth for seven hours and then spend the subsequent three hours either relaxing in some other way or returning to the sleeper berth.

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