New Hours of Service Rules now in effect

Hours of Service Rules 2013It’s July 1 people, the day that some have said will turn the trucking industry on it’s ear. The new Hours of Service regulations went into effect an hour ago with immediate enforcement of the new rules expected.

Two changes to the rules, first put into place in on January 1, 2004, have many truckers concerned. The 34 hour restart may only be used once in a 7 day, 168 hour cycle and must include two consecutive periods of off duty time between 0100-0500. The 168 hours begins at the start of the restart cycle, not at the end.

The immediate good news on the restart provision is that every truck driver started Monday with a clean slate.

The second change that has many truckers upset and concerned is the requirement to take a 30 minute break off duty during the first 8 hours of your 14 hours on-duty period. Logically, I don’t see what the cause for concern is on this part of the rule change. Most drivers stop at some point in their day for a few moments. Difference now is it will have to be logged specific to the rules. This shouldn’t effect those of us still using paper logs. Drivers forced to use electronic logs however will be forced to do the entire 30 minutes. This ridiculous requirement is FMCSA’s answer to the industries call for more “flexibility” in the rules.

Our friends at THE TRUCKER put it this way.

As for the 30-minute break, officials warned drivers to remember that the new law does not say one 30-minute break per 14-hour duty period. It says a driver must take a break after no more than eight consecutive hours on duty, regardless of how many hours were driven during that eight hours.

Therefore, if a driver takes a 30-minute break too early in the 14-hour duty cycle, he or she would have to take a second 30-minute break.

The D.C. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments concerning the new rules on March 15 on lawsuits filed by ATA, OOIDA and others opposing the rules change, but as of this past Friday had not handed down a ruling. The court publishes it’s rulings every Tuesday and Friday and it’s still conceivable that they throw out the new regulations sometime in the near future, but our sources tell us that it is highly unlikely that will happen. So for the immediate future, this is what we’re stuck with.

And what brought about the changes in the rules? What I call the “bogus safety groups” whose goal is to reduce a truck drivers hours to 8 hours driving with a 10 hour rest period.

FMCSA officials claim that 85% of the more than 3 million US truckers will not be effected by the rule change. They say that the new safety regulations will save 19 lives and prevent approximately 1,400 crashes and 560 injuries each year.

FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro stated,

“These fatigue-fighting rules for truck drivers were carefully crafted based on years of scientific research and unprecedented stakeholder outreach. The result is a fair and balanced approach that will result in an estimated $280 million in savings from fewer large truck crashes and $470 million in savings from improved driver health. Most importantly, it will save lives.”

Unfortunately, in crafting these rules, FMCSA turned a blind ear to the “unprecedented stakeholder outreach” and followed the demands of the bogus safety interests.


Prior ruleNone

New Rule: (1) Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m., home terminal time. (2) May only be used once per week, 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.

Rest breaks

Prior rule: None except as limited by other rule provisions.

New rule: May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes. [49 CFR 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time for hazardous materials may be included in break if no other duties performed]

On-duty time

Prior ruleIncludes any time in CMV except sleeper berth.

New rule: Does not include any time resting in a parked vehicle (also applies to passenger carrying drivers). In a moving property-carrying CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper berth.


Prior rule: “Egregious” hours-of-service violations not specifically defined.

New rule: Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) more than 3 hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an “egregious” violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.

Summary of hours of service regulations

11-Hour Driving Limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.

14-Hour Limit: 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 On-Duty Limit: May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. Must include two periods from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. home terminal time, and may only be used once per week, or 168 hours, measured from the beginning of the previous restart.

Sleeper Berth Provision: Drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus a separate 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.


The good news is that everyone began the new month with a clean slate of hours. In other words, if you’re just coming off of a 34 hour restart under the old rules, you can take your next one at anytime, at which time, the new 168 hour limitation will kick in.


So how will the new US HOS rules will affect Mexican and  Canadian drivers? The answer is no differently than American drivers.

What happens in Canada stays in Canada and what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico.

As Jim Park of  OBAC (Owner-Operator’s Business Association of Canada) explained on one of the trucking talk shows this past Friday,

 There has been an agreement is place for sometime now that lets drivers of either nationality follow the ruls of the country they are operating in without risking an infraction of they return home in apparent violation of local rules. For example, if a US driver drives 13 hours in Canada on Monday, crosses back into the after 10 hours off on Tuesday, he or she would not be in violation of the 11-hour driving rule. Similar thinking applies to Canadian drivers crossing into the US. Just remember, if you have succeeded any US thresholds while in Canada, you’ll need to clear the slate with a full 10 hours off before entering the US.

The same holds true for Mexican truckers operating within the United States and outside the border commercial zones.

It’s here folks so lets work it to our advantage and quite the whining and bitching. Bubba Bo, Steve Sommers and the rest of the radio personalities can’t do a thing to change the rules.