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How To Navigate HOS Regulations & Compliance

Hours of Service (HOS) regulations are legal requirements designed to protect the general public from fatigued drivers. HOS regulations place strict limits on the amount of time commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers can spend on duty and behind the wheel.

This blog post will be a brief overview of the basics of complying with HOS REGULATIONS. It will cover everything from what HOS compliance entails to the consequences of HOS noncompliance.

What Is HOS Compliance?

Hours of Service (HOS) compliance is adhering to HOS regulations that were put in place by the FMCSA and are made up of four specific time limit rules.

  1. 14-hour rule

    No driver is allowed to drive a CMV after working 14 hours without taking a 10-hour rest period. All time spent on driving and on-duty but not driving status counts towards the 14 hours worked. The 14-hours worked also includes time spent working in the office or shop, conducting pre and post trip inspections, unloading and loading cargo, meal breaks, rest/nap periods. The rest period can be sleeper berth time or off-duty time or a combination of the two. A driver is allowed to work more the 14 hours; however, you are not allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle until you have taken at least a 10 hour break.

  2. 11-hour rule

    No driver is allowed to drive a CMV more than 11 hours without taking a 10-hour rest period. Drivers are allowed to work after they have reached the 11 hours of driving time, but they are not allowed to drive a CMV until they have taken the required break.

  3. 30-Minute Break

    Drivers are not allowed to drive a CMV for more than 8 hours without taking a 30 (consecutive) minute break away from the operational controls of the CMV. This 30-minute period may be off-duty, sleeper berth, on-duty not driving or any combination of the 3, as long as they add up to more than 30 minutes.

  4. 60/70 hour

    In addition to the previous limits, there's a crucial 60/70-hour rule. The "60" part means that a driver cannot work more than 60 hours within any consecutive 7-day period. It's important to note that this 7-day period is not a fixed calendar week but a rolling week. This means that each day, the hours worked from the earliest day in the 7-day period will drop off as you continue working.

    The "70" part of the rule dictates that drivers cannot work more than 70 hours within any consecutive 8-day period. Similar to the 60-hour rule, this time period is also rolling. This implies that the hours worked on the earliest day within your 8-day period will always drop off when you work a new day.

    Drives cannot continue to work or drive until they able to comply with the 60/70 rule.

Who Needs To Follow HOS Regulations?

All CMV drivers operating vehicles that have a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) weigh over 10,000 pounds (involved in interstate commerce), transporting hazardous materials, or designed to carry more than 8 passengers (for compensation) must comply with HOS regulations. This includes long-haul truck drivers, bus drivers, and certain delivery drivers.

How Do You Follow HOS Compliance?

In today’s trucking industry, all CMV drivers are mandated to track their HOS using Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs). An ELD – like Samsara – will track your driving time, breaks, rest periods, and more to ensure that you are staying compliant with HOS regulations. ELDs also keep all your HOS data for the required 6-month minimum retention period. In addition, ELDs will easily provide you with real-time and accurate data in the event of a roadside inspection or an audit.

While ELDs are a useful tool, drivers using an ELD are required to have an eight-day supply of paper logbook pages and an instruction manual in case of an eld malfunction.

What Happens If You Break HOS Compliance?

At any point in time, an authorized government official can check your hours of service for compliance. Non-compliance with HOS regulations can result in serious consequences, ranging from fines and penalties to out-of-service orders, and even loss of operating authority. Additionally, violating HOS regulations compromises safety on the road and can lead to accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

HOS Compliance Support

Adhering to HOS regulations can be complex, but drivers and carriers don't have to do it alone. Having a safety partner on your side will help you successfully navigate HOS regulations and give you the peace of mind that you and your drivers are always in compliance.