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Final Trucking HOS Rules Released
Final Trucking HOS Rules Released

By Staff
Date Posted: 2/1/2012

            The final Hours-of-Service (HOS) rule for truck drivers was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) just before Christmas.

            For once, the trucking industry has been mostly united in its opposition to this rule. Both the American Trucking Association (ATA) and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) have called it unjustified
regulation that will reduce productivity and increase costs without improving safety.

            “Despite the fact that trucking has never been safer, federal regulators and big businesses continue to push for mandates that hurt small-business truckers,” said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president.

            ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said that legal options are already being considered by the association.

            The final HOS rule reduced the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week from 82 hours to 70 hours. In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Though the final rule retained the current 11-hour daily driving limit, the FMCSA said that it will continue to conduct data analysis and research to further examine any risks associated with the 11 hours of driving time.

            Other new requirements include requiring drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights’ rest from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. as part of the rule’s “34-hour restart” provision. In addition, the number of times drivers can use the restart provision is limited to once within a seven-day period.

            Driving, or allowing a driver to drive, three or more hours beyond the limit is now considered an egregious violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties. This means each offense could cost trucking companies up to $11,000 and drivers up to $2,750.

            Parts of the rule, including new fines for HOS violations and a provision that affects which hours are considered off-duty when drivers rest in a truck versus being in their sleeper berths go into effect February 27. The compliance date for most of the regulations is delayed until July 2013.

            The complete rule can be viewed online at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/HOSFinalRule.








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