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New Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers 2020

On June 1, 2020, the FMCSA made some revisions to the hours of service rules for truck driver 2020.

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ABCO Transportation
September 9, 2020
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The year 2020 has been a year of change for the transport industry. There have been some changes to the Hours of Service. This is what you need to know as a truck driver about the new Hours of Service rules for truck drivers 2020. 

On June 1, 2020, the FMCSA made some revisions to the new hours of service rules for truck driver 2020. These changes will provide transportation companies and their drivers more flexibility and ensures that drivers have the same high level of safety. This rule does require a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time.

What Are The Hours of Service (HOS) Regulations?

Motor carriers must follow the regulations that will come into play on Sept. 29, 2020 - and not before. 

When you drive large trucks, there is a lot of responsibility as you drive to your destination. 

The biggest concern is safety. The main reason for the hours-of-service regulations is for keeping fatigued drivers off the public roadways. In doing so, this keeps both the driver and the public safe. 

These regulations put limits in place for how long and when a driver may drive. It also ensures that they stay awake and alert while driving and help reduce driver fatigue.

The hours-of-service (HOS) regulations are found in Part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These regulations are created and enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), part of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT)

The FMCSA hours of service (HOS) rules are designed to minimize and remove the type of drowsiness that can lead to crashes. 

Unfortunately, many (CMV) commercial motor vehicle drivers cannot truly assess their own drowsiness.

The FMCSA and the Department of Transportation (DOT) refer to these rules as the Hours of Service (HOS) rules. The idea is to regulate the number of hours drivers drive to minimize drowsiness and driver fatigue. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13% of commercial motor vehicle drivers (CMV) were considered to be fatigued at the time of a collision. 

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New Hours of Service (HOS) Rules 2020

On June 1 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the Hours of Service (HOS) final rule. This new ruling revised the HOS regulations in 49 CFR Part 395. These rules help to ensure the safety of (CMV) drivers. 

These changes are designed to offer drivers greater flexibility, finding the highest safety standards. Some extensive public and industry input developed these new regulations.

Here are a couple of things that are changing.

Short-Haul Exception

The short-haul exception maximum allowable workdays are increasing from 12 hours to 14 hours. The distance the driver may operate is also extending from 100 and miles radius to 150 air mile radius.

  • Passenger and property carriers using the short-haul exception in §395.1(e)(1) aren't required to take a 30-minute break from driving. They are also permitted to record hours in a time record, instead of a graph grid log or electronic logging device (ELD). Short-haul operators can drive within a more significant air-mile radius and have a longer duty-period under the new rules. 
  • There are no other provisions of the §395.1(e)(1) short-haul exception that have changed, neither has the non-CDL short-haul exception (property-carrying). 
  • When operating under the short-haul exception, drivers can keep a time record instead of recording time in a graph grid or ELD. 

Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

The adverse driving conditions exception extends the duty day by two hours when adverse driving conditions are encountered. This is an addition to the two hours that are already permitted. This change is applicable for both property (14-hour driving window) and the passenger (15-hour on-duty limit) motor carriers. 

Adverse driving conditions are ice, snow, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions or unusual road or traffic conditions that were not known. Or those that could not reasonably be known to a driver ahead of starting the duty day, immediately before beginning driving after a qualifying rest break, or sleeper-berth period, or a motor carrier before dispatching the driver.

30-Minute Break 

The 30-minute break requirement can be satisfied by an on-duty, not driving break (in addition to an off-duty break). Property-carrying drivers' requirements are applicable when a driver has operated for 8 hours without a 30-minute (at least) break. 

  • Per §395.3(a)(3)(ii), all property-carrying CMV drivers must take a 30-minute break. Once they reach 8 hours of driving without at least a 30-minute break.
  • A 30-minute break is satisfied by time: Off-duty; In sleeper cab; On-duty, not driving.  
  • Thirty minutes must be consecutive, but can be satisfied by any combination of activities.

Sleeper Cab Provision

The sleeper berth provision lets drivers split their 10-hour off-duty period differently (e.g., 7/3, 8/2, 7.5/2.5). Provided one off-duty period (in or out of the sleeper berth) is at least 2 hours long. The other involves at least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth. The time should add up to 10 hours. And, when used together, neither time period counts against the maximum 14-hour driving window. 

  • The sleeper berth provision (§395.1(g)) allows property-carrying drivers to split their 10-hour off-duty period when the following requirements are met:
  • One off-duty period (in or out of the sleeper berth) is at least 2 hours long, and 
  • The other involves at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. 
  • Both periods added together must equal at least 10 hours.
  • When paired, neither time period counts against the 14-hour driving window.
  •  8-hour sleeper-berth can no longer be excluded from the 14-hour driving window

When Do the New Hours of Service Start?

when-do-the-new-hours-of-service-start

Federal motor carrier safety administration, new Hours of Service (HOS) rules go into effect in late September.

The FMCSA hours of service rule were published on the 1st of June, 2020, and will take effect 120 days after it was published. This would set the effective date for the new hours of service rules to be the 29th of September.

That three month period gave the transportation industry time to update their technology to accommodate the changes in these new rules.

In these new HOS final rules, we see these four changes to the regulations:

Short-haul Exception

This rue increases the short-haul exception to 150 air-miles and allows a 14-hour work shift to occur as part of the exception.

Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

This rule lengthens the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional 2 hours.

30-Minute Break Requirement

This rule does require a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (rather than on-duty time); it also allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the break.

Sleeper Berth Provision

This changes the sleeper berth exception to allow a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least 7. This is instead of at least 8 hours of that is in the berth with a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside the berth. 

So long as the two periods total at least 10 hours, and neither qualify period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

"America's truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time, and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in a U.S. Department of Transportation release.

It is no secret that the transportation industry has been keeping every country in food, medical supplies, and more during the pandemic. These rules and job security has increased people joining the industry - if you’re interested in a career trucking, check out the form for more information. 

DOT Hours of Service 2019

dot-hours-of-service-2019

The United States Department of Transportation is the regulating body that decides how long a truck driver may be on the road per day. As well as the total hours per week. The rules are in place for the safety of both the driver and other road users.

Breaking them down into categories to help clarify them:

General Hours of Service Guidelines

There are different hours of service regulations in place for different drivers. 

Drivers who transport property within the same state will be subject to state regulations. However, they are not subject to federal regulations. Drivers that deliver materials state to state have to adhere to federal regulations. 

  • Its duty period must begin with at least 10 days off duty.
  • Drives may work no more than 60 hours on duty over seven consecutive days. Or 70 hours over eight days.
  • Drivers are required to take a mandatory 30-minute break by their 8th hour of coming on duty.
  • 14 hours duty period may not be extended with off due to times for breaks, fuel stops, meals, or other
  • A reset occurs when a driver has marked 34 consecutive hours off duty. The workweek shall start on the last legal restart. For example, if you were to start work at 1 a.m. on Monday, then the workweek continues until 1 a.m. is the following Monday.

When Do the Hours of Service Regulations Apply?

when-do-the-new-hours-of-service-regulations-apply

On June 1 2020, the FMCSA revised the hours of service regulations to provide greater flexibility for drivers without having a negative impact on safety. Motor carriers must comply with the new HOS regulations starting on the Sept. 29, 2020, not before.

What Are The Definitions of Property Carrying and Passenger Carrying Vehicles?

According to the federal hours-of-service regulations, any commercial motor vehicle (CMV) as defined in 49 CFR §390.5 that isn't a "passenger-carrying" vehicle, is considered a "property-carrying" vehicle. 

If a driver is operating a CMV:

"designed or used to transport more than eight passengers (including the driver) for compensation." 

"designed or used to transport more than 15 passengers; including the driver, and is not used to transport passengers for compensation," 

then the driver is understood to be "passenger-carrying." 

Under the hours of service regulations - it doesn't matter whether there were actually any passengers in the vehicle. This also includes things like new buses being driven from manufacturer to dealer. 

Where there are passengers (8 or 15 depending on the circumstances) being carried in the back of a straight truck, that truck would be "passenger-carrying."

What Is A Drivers Daily Log?

Drivers daily log is a type of document used to monitor and document the drivers' daily trips and activities. The users of daily logs are bus drivers, train drivers, taxi drivers, and company drivers. 

Drivers need to record everything they're doing; this ensures that they're doing their jobs to the best of their ability.

Should the Waiting Time be Logged? If So, How?

"Waiting" time at a terminal, port, or plant can be recorded as off duty. As can the sleeper cab, or on duty/not driving, depending on the circumstances. For "waiting" time, the following points must be met:

  • A driver must be relieved of all duties and responsibilities for the vehicle's care and custody, any cargo or passengers they may be carrying, and its accessories
  • During the stop, and for the stop's duration, the driver must be at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing.

Suppose circumstances allow a driver to use a valid sleeper berth without being disturbed for a specific waiting period. In that case, the sleeper berth may be recorded as "sleeper berth" time. In most other circumstances, like when the driver must stay with the vehicle to move it when necessary, the waiting time should be noted as "on duty/not driving."

Adverse Driving Conditions Exceptions

The adverse driving condition exception will allow drivers to extend their drive time by two hours if adverse weather like a frog or traffic delays due to unforeseen traffic incidents or construction slows their journey time.

When weather conditions do not allow the driver to say if you pull over at the hotel or a rest stop and stop for 10 hours of duty, and the driver may extend the drivetime about up to 2 hours.

If the driver is unable to complete the run within the maximum driving time of 11 hours, a driver may drive up to an additional two hours to reach a destination. The driver may not, however, drive after the 14th hour since coming on duty.

This does not mean that truck drivers can work longer hours because of bad weather. For example, if a truck driver can stop at a layover within an 11 hour drive time, they must do so.

16-hour Exception

new-hours-of-service-rules-2020
  • Drivetime may not exceed 11 hours.
  • If the driver has a layover on any day, the 16-hour exception it cannot be used, and this does include the date of the light over
  • Drivers are not allowed to drive past the 16th hour when coming on duty.
  • A driver cannot use both of the adverse driving condition exception and the 16-hour exception together.
  • A driver who is on a one-day work schedule can be on duty for 16 hours, but only if the driver begins and ends at the same terminal.
  • A driver that uses the 16-hour exception can then not use it again until they have had a 34-hour restart.

Penalties for Violating Hours of Service Rule

There are several penalties for highlighting the hours of service role in 2019, here they are:

  • The carrier’s safety rating can be downgraded if there is shown to be a pattern of violations
  • The federal motor carriers safety administration may levy civil penalties on a driver or carrier. These penalties will range from $1000 to $11,000 per violation, depending on the severity.
  • State and local law in force meant officials and may assess the fines.
  • A driver may be placed on shutdown, at the roadside, until they have accumulated enough of duty time to be back in compliance.

14-Hour Driving Window Example:

You have had 10 continuous hours off, then you come to work at 6 a.m. You cannot drive your truck after 8 p.m. that evening. This is 14 hours later. You can do other work after 8 p.m. Still, you cannot do any more driving until you have taken another 10 consecutive hours off, or the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.

11-Hour Driving Limit Example:

You have had ten consecutive hours off. You arrive at work at 6 a.m. then drive for 7 hours between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. You have a 30-minute break as required, then drive for 4 more hours until 6:30 p.m. You can not drive again until you have at least ten consecutive hours off duty. You are allowed to do other work after 6:30 p.m., but you cannot drive a CMV on a public road.

70-Hour/8-Day Limit Example:

Following the 70-hour/8-day limit and work 14 hours a day for five consecutive days, you will have done 70 hours of duty. You are unable to drive again until you drop below 70 hours worked in 8 days. When your company allows you to use the 34-hour restart provision, you'll have driving time available once you have 34 consecutive hours clocked as off duty. You will then begin a new period of 8 straight days and have 70 hours available.

FMSCA New Rules

fmsca-new-rules

Updated on the 23rd of July, 2020. 

The FMCSA revised the hours of service to give a more flexible way of working for drivers, but still providing them with a high safety level. 

(1) expands the short-haul exception to 150 air-miles (from 100 air-miles), allows a 14-hour work shift to take place as part of the exception; 

(2) extends the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional 2 hours; 

(3) requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break; and 

(4) modifies the sleeper berth exception to allow a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least 7, rather than at least 8 hours of that period in the berth and a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside of the berth, provided the two periods total at least 10 hours, and that neither qualifying period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

DOT Hours of Service Local Drivers

dot-hours-of-service-local-drivers

According to DOT Hours of Service rules, U.S. property-carrying CMV drivers generally have 14-hour windows to finish all driving-related work. Within those 14 hours, a driver can drive up to 11 hours. However, the driver must also take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving.

Weight Ratings

A vehicle can be classified as a commercial motor vehicle based on what it weighs or its weight rating, whichever is greater.

To find the truck or tractor's gross vehicle weight rating, open the driver's door and look for a plate on the door frame. In some truck models, the plate is inside the glove box. To find the towed unit's gross weight rating, you are looking for a plate on the front of the trailer. Where the trailer has a tongue, the plate can often be on the tongue of the trailer.

Your truck may have a gross combination weight rating posted in the same manner as the gross vehicle weight rating. If it does not, to figure the gross combination weight rating, add the truck or tractor's gross vehicle weight rating and the actual weight of the trailer and its load.

Air Miles & Statute Miles

When checking the short-haul exceptions to the hours-of-service regulations, you will notice the usage of "air miles." This is not the same as standard miles and is different from what is used for statute miles on a "roadmap."

Follow this cheat sheet:

  • Air miles are longer than statute miles. 
  • 100 air miles is equal to 115.08 statute miles.

Meaning, a 100 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be figured as 115.08 stat­utes.

A 150 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be worked out as 172.6 statute miles (277.8 km).

Hours of Service Regulations that Apply to All Interstate Drivers

hours-of-service-regulations-that-apply-to-all-interstate-drivers

You are required to follow the hours-of-service regulations if you drive a commercial motor vehicle. But what counts as a commercial motor vehicle?

In general, it is a truck or truck-tractor with a trailer involved in interstate commerce and:

• Weighs (including any load) 10,001 pounds (4,536 kg) or more, or

• Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds (4,536 kg) or more, or

• Is transporting hazardous materials in quantity requiring placards.

What Is On-Duty Time? 

The 60 and 70-hour limit is based on how many hours can a trucker drive over a set period of days.

What is Included in 'On-Duty' Time? 

It consists of all time you are working or must be ready to work for any employer. It consists of the following activities:

  • All the time at a plant, terminal, or another facility of a motor carrier or shipper, unless the drive has been relieved from duty by the motor carrier;
  • All the time inspecting or servicing the truck, including fueling it and washing it;
  • All driving time;
  • Any other time in a truck unless you are resting in a sleeper berth;
  • All the time loading, unloading, supervising, or attending your truck; or handling paperwork for shipments;
  • All the time taking care of your truck when it is broken down;
  • All the time spent providing a breath, saliva, or urine sample for drug/alcohol testing, including travel to and from the collection site;
  • All the time spent doing any other work for a motor car­rier, including driv­ing a company car; giving or receiving training and
  • The time spent doing paid work for anyone who is not a motor carrier includes things like a part-time job at a res­taurant.
  • On-duty time includes the entire time you are working for a motor carrier, paid or not, and all the time, you are doing paid work in other capacities too.
  • The definition of on-duty time can be found in Section 395.2.

What is Off-Duty Time?

For time to be considered off duty, you should be relieved of all duty and responsibility for performing work. You must be free to pursue your own choosing activities and be able to leave the place where your vehicle is parked.

Suppose you are not doing any work (paid or unpaid) for a motor car­ river and aren't doing any paid work for anyone else. In that case, you may record the time as off-duty time.

Who Should Comply With These HOS Service Rules?

Almost all commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must comply.

In general, a CMV is a vehicle used as part of a business it is involved in interstate commerce, and likely fits one of the following descriptions:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating/gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Designed/used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation
  • Designed/used to transport nine or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in quantity requiring placards

What Is the Non-CDL Short-Haul Exception?

When driving short distances in a truck that does not require a commercial driver's license (CDL), you might use the non-CDL short-haul exception. 

The short-haul exception will allow you to extend the 14-consecutive-hour duty period two days in a 7-consecutive-day or the 34-hour restart.

This exception applied to you if you meet the following criteria:

  • Drive a truck that doesn't require a CDL, and
  • Work within a 150 air-mile radius of your regular work reporting location and return there each day.
  • If you meet the criteria for using the non-CDL short-haul exception:
  • You must not drive for more than 11 hours following ten hours off duty (these must be consecutive hours);
  • You cannot drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty five days in any period of 7 consec­utive days; and
  • You cannot drive beyond the 16th hour after coming on duty two days in any period of 7 consec­utive days.
  • You cannot drive after being on duty 60 hours in any seven consecutive days or 70 hours in any eight consecutive days (unless you took 34 straight hours off to restart 7/8 days).
  • Under this exception, you are not required to keep a logbook. Still, your company must maintain a time record for six months. This should show your duty period's times start and finished, and your total hours on duty for each day.
  • If you come under this exception, you aren't eligible for the 100 air-mile radius exception, or the split sleeper berth provision, or 16­ hour short-haul exception.
  • This regulation can be found in Section 395.1(e)(2).

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Summary

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration changes the hours of service (HOS) regulations to give truck drivers greater flexibility subject to those rules without impacting safety. 

The Agency lengths the short-haul exception to 150 air-miles and allows a 14-hour work shift to occur as part of the exception. 

Lengthens the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional 2 hours. This now requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time). And also allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the needed break. 

Changes the sleeper berth exception to allow a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by: 

The drive must spend at least 7, rather than at least 8 hours of that period in the berth. Having a minimum off-duty period of 2 hours spent inside/outside the berth provided the two periods total at least 10 hours. 

None of the qualifying periods count against the 14-hour driving window.

Get a New Trucking Job Application Today

While the rules seem stressful, it’s a manageable process if you stay up to date with the new hours of service rules for truck driver 2020. Remember that the final rule is effective Sept. 29, 2020. 

At ABCO Transportation, we offer new truck driver jobs for drivers that are seeking a change and looking to start a new career. We have new positions available for experienced truck drivers looking for a company that cares. We have truck driver jobs in Florida and local driving jobs in Atlanta Ga. If you’re thinking about a career change, you can find a job today

If you are interested in a trucking position and want to find out more about how you can start in your career, then fill out our trucking job application today to learn more. We have Regional, OTR and limited local trucking jobs. Connect with us today at 866-980-2710 and enjoy a new trucking career with great benefits.

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