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Gianelli & Associates News Blog

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Maximum Driving Hour Rules for Truck Drivers Updated

Effective July 1, 2013, truck drivers must comply with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) update to the hours of service (HOS) rules. 

The stated purpose of the rule update is to reduce the number of fatigue-related trucking accidents and fatalities. Under the old HOS rules truck drivers were able to structure their work week to maximize their driving hours by:

  • Starting a new work week (for the purposes of calculating the maximum number of driving hours) at any point after a 34-hour break from driving.
  • Starting and stopping the 34-hour break from driving at any point during a given day.

The HOS rule update limits the use of the 34-hour week restart provision. Specifically, truck drivers:

  • Can only start a new work week every seven days; and
  • Must include two rest periods between 1:00a.m. and 5:00a.m. when using the 34-hour rest period to restart the work-week.
  • Are allowed to drive if they have had a break of at least 30 minutes, at a time of their choosing, sometime within the previous eight hour period.

According to the FMCSA, the net effect of this rule update will be to reduce a truck driver’s maximum work week from 82 to 70 hours. Carriers and allied service providers should be aware of potentially increased costs that may be associated with this rule update.

Potential penalties for violating the HOS rules include:

  • Driving prohibitions until drivers have accumulated enough off time.
  • State and local fines. 
  • Civil penalties ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, levied by the FMCSA on both drivers and carriers.
  • Safety rating reductions for both the carrier and the individual driver.&
  • Federal criminal penalties levied on carriers for knowingly or willfully allowing violations by individual drivers.

If this law change affects you or your business and you have any additional questions please contact us and we’d be glad to work with you.


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