DOT Hours of Service: Understanding the Unique Compliance Requirements.

The federal Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations are designed to keep fatigued drivers off the nation’s roadways. The rules set limits on how much time commercial drivers can spend behind the wheel, mandate certain amounts of rest, and require documentation.

The interstate trucking safety rules apply to anyone who operates a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) that weighs or is rated at 10,001 pounds or more or that is placarded for hazardous materials. In-state-only rules may vary somewhat from federal rules. Companies and drivers are required to know and comply with all regulations. Ongoing training for drivers, dispatchers, safety personnel, and others is critical for staying well-informed about these ever-changing rules.

Preventing fatigued driving increases highway safety and prevents crashes, injuries, fatalities, cargo claims, fines, high CSA scores, and litigation. HOS compliance is one area of emphasis during DOT inspections and audits. Six digit fines for HOS violations are not common, but do happen. For example, 11 carriers were fined over $100,000 in 2014 when found in violation of HOS rules.

Truck drivers may drive for up to 11 hours within a 14-consecutive hour window of time, and must have 10 consecutive hours off duty between workdays. They also must get 30 consecutive minutes of rest at least every 8 hours, and must stop driving once they accumulate 60 on-duty hours in any 7 consecutive days (or 70 hours in 8 days for companies that operate 7 days per week). Getting an uninterrupted period of 34 hours of rest will “restart” t his weekly total. Drivers must keep accurate daily records of their time, either using paper logs or electronic logging devices.

Help for Understanding the Unique Compliance Requirements:

Preparation will be key to meeting this compliance challenge. For most commercial drivers, electronic logging devices (ELDs) must replace paper logs by December 18, 2017. ELDs are installed in the vehicle and automatically track driving time, making compliance easier and your operations more efficient.

To help you stay up to date and in compliance we recommend the following reference materials from JJ Keller. J. J. Keller is the trusted source for DOT / Transportation, OSHA / Workplace Safety, Human Resources, Construction Safety and Hazmat / Hazardous Materials regulation compliance products and services. J. J. Keller helps you increase safety awareness, reduce risk, follow best practices, improve safety training, and stay current with changing regulations.


jjk36491 GET THE REGULATIONS and easy-to-understand explanations of the FMCSRs with the best-selling FMCSA Compliance Manual. In addition to Hours of Service, it covers key topics such as driver qualification, vehicle management, personnel management, CSA and more.
jjk493h REMIND DRIVERS of the most current Hours of Service rules with the HOS Handbook: The Complete Guide for CMV Drivers. Makes an excellent in-cab reference.
Newsletter STAY CURRENT with the latest changes in federal and state motor carrier safety regulations when you subscribe to the JJ Keller® Motor Carrier Safety Report monthly newsletter.


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