Hours of Service Regulations — Why They Should Matter to You

hours of service

Federal service regulations has declared that drives who operate commercial motor vehicles, or CMVs, who is part of a business that takes part in interstate commerce should abide by the Hours of Service (HOS). HOS regulations are by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). They ensure the safety of commercial truck drivers.

What these regulations do is provide a standard of how many hours a driver should be driving and how long he/she should be resting. With these regulations, truck drivers are able to have a safe commute to and from the destinations.

Guidelines require several items. For example, Hours of Service only applies to commercial vehicles if:

  • The vehicle weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers, including the driver, not for compensation
  • Deigned to transport 9 or more passengers, including the driver, for compensation
  • Transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards.

HOS has come up with different break times that can help a driver rest. Those are as follows:

  • Hours of Service For Property Carrying Drivers

    • 11-Hour Driving Limit
      Drivers drive for 11 consecutive hours. This is followed immediately by 10 consecutive hours of off duty.
    • 14-Hour Work Day
      The driver may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
    • 60/70-Hour Limits
      The driver may not drive 60/70 consecutive hours while on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. Thirtyfour-hour restarts is allowed. This means, instead of having to take breaks between 1AM and 5AM, he/she can split it up between shifts or take a full 34-hour break.
    • Rest Breaks
      The driver may drive only if 8 hours or more have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. This does not apply to drivers using either of the short-haul exceptions in 395.1(e).
  • Hours of Service For Passenger Carrying Drivers

    • 10-Hour Driving Limit
      A driver may drive for 10 consecutive hours only after having 8 full hours of off duty.
    • 15-Hour Driving Limit
      A driver may not drive for 15 consecutive hours while on duty, following 8 consecutive hours off duty. Off duty is not included in the 15 hour period.
    • 60/70-Hour Limit
      The driver may not drive after 60/70 consecutive hours of 7/8 days on duty.
    • Sleeper Berth Provision
      Drivers using a sleeper berth must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, and may split the sleeper berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.

Lack of sleep is the main reason behind the HOS creation. It provides more safety to both the driver and his/her truck, and the people they drive by. Operators driving for five hours straight, or even longer, encounter drowsiness. This affects the way the driver operates the vehicle. Sleepy driver fall asleep at the wheel, causing a wreck with injuries or even casualties.

This chart shows study measuring quantity of sleep against performance. As shown, divers with six or less hours of sleep had a struggled with staying awake at the wheel. Those drivers who snored also experienced an even harder time staying awake. Compare his to drives who got seven to nine hours of sleep. They  stayed awake and remained aware.

Signs of drowsy driving consist of:

  • Yawning and/or blinking frequently, rubbing your eyes
  • Difficulty remembering the past few miles driven
  • Missing an exit
  • Drifting into other lanes or out of a lane
  • Hitting rumble strips
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Trouble keeping your head up

Preventing drowsy driving is relatively easy as according to the National Institutes of Health. All that is needed to be done is get enough sleep! Adults require seven to nine hours of sleep to function properly without any problems, while adolescents require nine to ten hours of sleep. Another step to avoid driving drowsy is to avoid drinking alcohol or taking medicines that are made to make you sleepy or to sedate. Also, if it is believed that one may be dealing with a sleep order, it I best to seek treatment for it as quickly as possible.

Taking these precautions can save both your life and those around you. Contact Truck-n-Trailer for details.

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