Truck Driver Regulations Not as Tough As Proposed

The new truck driver Hours of Service (HOS) regulations released by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are tougher. However, the good news for logistics management is the final rule was not as bad as predicted.

The new rule addresses concerns over truck driver fatigue. The American Trucking Associations feared what it considers an inaccurate perception of highway safety and trucking accidents would produce overly restrictive regulations.

The final rule did not contain a 10-hour limit on drivers as some proposed. HOS retained the current 11-hour limit.

The following are key provisions of the regulations.

34-hour restarts – requires two rest periods between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. and drivers are allowed to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period

Rest breaks – requires a 30-minute rest after 8 hours of consecutive driving

Work week – the rule reduces a drivers’ maximum work week from 82 hours to 70 hours

The final rule defined “egregious” HOS violations as:

  • Drivers exceeding the daily 11-hour limit by three or more hours – possible $11,000 fine per offense
  • Drivers face possible civil penalties up to $2,750 per offense

The logistics industry has time for adjustment to the new rule. The effective date for compliance by commercial truck drivers and companies is July 1, 2013.  Time will tell if there will be any legal challenges to the HOS rule.

FMCSA has a summary of changes compared to the current rule with a download option in pdf format.