HOS, Know the FACTS

Hours of Service can be confusing, we help you navigate through the regulations.

HOS is vital for all Commercial Vehicle (CMV) drivers to know. First, we need to start with who are CMV drivers. The federal government states that anyone who operates a vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000lbs in interstate commerce is a CMV driver. What that really means is that if you are trying to make money using and you use a vehicle that has a GVWR over 10,000lbs and you are crossing state lines then you are a CMV driver & must follow all of the federal regulations.

In this month’s newsletter, we are going to cover the basics for HOS as well as some of the exemptions that you might qualify to utilize.

We will also talk about some the new potential changes coming to HOS, hopefully in 2020.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and ask. That’s why we are her, to help simplify the regulations and help your company stay on top of the new regulations.

Let’s get started with the basics. Each state has their own intrastate regulations for HOS. If you are operating solely in one state you can operate under their intrastate regulations. We wont be covering all of the different states, today we will be focusing on the federal regulations. Here are the main rules for HOS:

  • 70 hours in 8 days or 60 hours in 7 days
  • 11 hours maximum driving time
  • 14 maximum on duty time
  • 30 min break after being on duty for 8 hours prior to driving
  • 10 consecutive hours off duty to reset 14 hour day clock
  • 34 hours to reset 70 or 60 hour clock
  • Electronic Logging Device Required (ELD)
  • Properly completed Logbook, ELD, or RODS (Record Of Daily Service)

You might be asking so what’s the worst that can happen if I go over my hours? There are a few things. For starters if an officer checks your logbook and finds the violations they will shut you down for 34 hours until your clock has been reset. In an audit situation they have the ability to check every drivers logs for the past 6 months, if they find violations then they can fine the company for allowing the violations to occur. If we go to worst, worst case, lets say you get in to an accident and litigation follows. The opposing lawyers will go through the past 6 moths of logs and if they find any violation it discredits the driver and the company. Even if you weren’t at fault for the incident if they find violations in the past 8 days the driver and the company could be charged with negligence which could change the entire outcome of the litigation.

Now lets dive a little deeper into the these requirements. If your company operates 7 days a week then you qualify to utilize the 70 hours in 8 days. If your company only operates 6 days week, then you can only use the 60 hours in 7 days. Here’s how that works. Lets say that you work 10 hours a day, for 7 days, you would have 70 hours on your clock. If you want to continue driving CMV’s you need to take 34 consecutive hours off duty to reset your clock. The regulation doesn’t say that you can’t work, it states that you can not operate a CMV after you have been on duty for 70 hours in the past 8 days.

11 hours drive time maximum. ALL CMV drivers are only allowed to operate a CMV for 11 hours before heaving to take 10 consecutive hours off duty. Passenger-carrying drivers can drive up to 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.

14 hours on duty time Maximum. ALL CMV Drivers can only be on duty for a maximum of 14 hours. This includes all on duty time. If the driver is being compensated then it would be considered on duty time. To reset this clock the driver must take a full 10 consecutive hours off duty. This 14 hour clock is not currently able to be stopped. Let say that you come on duty at 4am and start getting ready for the day, you work until 11am then take off 2 hours for an appointment. You come back to work at 1pm, then leave to make some deliveries. You would have to be back in the yard and no longer driving by 6pm. Once the 14 hour clock starts it does not stop, even if you are off duty. The regulation doesn’t say that you can’t keep working, but you can not operate a CMV after 14 hours. For passenger-carrying motor vehicles, the limit is 15 cumulative hours.

30 Min Break. After the driver has been on duty for 8 hours they must take a mandatory 30 min break prior to operating a CMV. If the employee is not operating an CMV then the 30 min break is not required. Be cautious about taking your break too early in the day. Lets say that you come into work at 7am, work around the yard for 3 hours. Take a 30 min break, then start driving until 6pm, without taking another break then the driver would be in violation because they drove for 9 hours without taking a 30min break. Another common mistake is taking a 25 min break, make sure it is full 30 min, we recommend that you take a full 31 min break to ensure that the clock is reset.

10 consecutive hours off duty. So far we have mentioned the 10 consecutive hours off duty several times. What is 10 consecutive hours? Lets say that you get off of work at 6pm, to achieve a full 10 consecutive hours you can not come back on duty until 4am. The only way to reset your 11 hours maximum drive time or your 14 on duty clock is to take a full 10 consecutive hours off duty.

34 hours reset. The 34 hour reset is only used for resetting your 70 or 60 hour clock.

ELD’s. ELDS could be book on their own, but we will keep it short and sweet. If you have to have a logbook more than 8 times in a 30 day cycle and your truck is newer than a 1999 then you are required to utilize an ELD. ELD stands for Electronic Logging Device the is tied into the ECM of the truck and records a ton of information.

Form and Manor. All logbooks must have several key items to stay in compliance. Those include:
• Company Name
• Date
• Home Terminal Address
• Main Office Address
• Driver Name
• Unit(s) Operated
• Total Daily Mileage
• Shipper
• Commodity
• Driver Signature
• Notation at beginning every duty status change including city and state
• Totals for every line
Exemptions: There are several exemptions that we will go over. Short Haul Exemption (100 Mile Exemption), Oilfield Exemption, Oversize Load Exemption, Adverse Driving Conditions, & Direct emergency assistance

Short Haul Exemption (SHE). If you operate a CDL vehicle within a 100 air mile radius or a non CDL CMV within a 150 air mile radius of your home base, AND you report back to your home base within 12 hours (CDL) (Non CDL CMV Drivers are allowed 14 hours) of coming on duty. Then you qualify for the SHE. When you operate under the SHE you do not need to carry logbooks or have ELD’s. You do how ever need to have a time ticket with your start time, end time, and total time listed for every day that you work. You also do not have to show a 30 min break. You do however have to comply with the 70 hour rule, the 11 hour drive time rule, and the 10 consecutive hour rule. You are also allowed to work one 16 hour day once a week without having to carry a logbook for that day. Something else to note is that an air mile is the same as a nautical mile so 100 nautical miles is actually 115.078 miles and 150 nautical miles is 172.617 miles.

Oilfield Exemption. The oilfield exemption is strictly for companies operating in the oilfield. This include any company that hauls oilfield specific equipment or ties directly to the well head. There are a few benefits to operating under this exemption. First the 34 hour reset drops to 24 hours. This means that your 70 hour clock would reset after being off duty for 24 hours. The second benefit is that if you tie directly to the well head you are allowed to claim off duty oilfield when you are on site, as long as the driver has been relieved of all “on duty” duties.

Oversize Load Exemption. The oversize load exemption has only one benefit, if hauling an oversize load you are not required to take the 30 min break. The government has ruled that it might possibly be more dangerous for an oversize load to stop on the side if the road than to drive through the break. In order to take advantage of this exemption the driver must have a copy of the exemption in their possession. If you need a copy of that exemption please reach out to us and we will get it to you.

Adverse Driving conditions. The “adverse driving conditions” exemption allows drivers to extend the maximum driving limit by two hours when certain conditions are met. When is the adverse driving conditions exemption applicable? This exemption only works when the adverse driving conditions could not have been known before the driver started driving. Circumstances include weather changes, such as unexpected fog or snow or the closure of a road due to unforeseen events, such as an accident. The exemption would not be applicable if the driver had previous knowledge of the adverse driving conditions or could have known of the conditions through basic trip planning or common sense. For example, a forecasted blizzard or rush hour traffic would not meet the conditions necessary for this exemption to be valid.

How does the adverse driving conditions exemption affect property-carrying drivers?

Property-carrying drivers can drive a maximum of 11 hours per shift. The adverse driving conditions exemption extends the 11-hour driving limit to 13 hours.

This exemption does not extend the 14-hour driving period. It means that all 13 hours of driving must still be completed within the 14-hour window.

How does the adverse driving conditions exemption affect passenger-carrying drivers?

Passenger-carrying drivers can drive a maximum of 10 hours per shift. The adverse driving conditions exemption extends the 10 hours of drive time to 12 hours.

Again, this exemption does not extend the 15-hour driving period for passenger-carrying drivers.

Direct Emergency Assistance. A CMV driver has to comply with all Hours-of-Service regulations. However, in emergency situations, some or all Hours-of-Service rules can be temporarily lifted. Who is exempt under the emergency conditions exception? Section 395.1(b)(2) states that in case of an emergency, a driver may complete his/her run without being in violation of the provisions of the regulations in this part, if such run reasonably could have been completed absent the emergency. How to know when the emergency conditions exemption is applicable? Emergency conditions are declared by the President, state governors, and/or the FMCSA. If an official federal or state institution has not acknowledged an emergency state, the exemption is not applicable. Drivers should always first check with federal and/or state officials.

We hope that this helps. As you go through this information keep in mind that even if you qualify for an exemption you still must meet the other parts of the HOS regulations. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are here to help you navigate your way through every aspect of DOT.

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