The 70-hour rule is also commonly referred to as the 70/8 rule, the 8 70 rule, or the 70-hour 8-day rule. It is one of the many hours of service (HOS) measures developed by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a stand-alone Department of Transportation (DOT) agency, to ensure driver safety and reduce fatigue that can lead to collisions, injuries, and fatalities.
DOT 70-Hour Rule
The DOT 8-day 70-hour rule prohibits commercial drivers from being on the road for more than 70 hours over 8 consecutive days. Fleet managers with drivers that do not operate every day of the week will not need to consider the 70-hour 8-day rule, as a separate 60-hour 7-day rule is in place for those drivers. These days, most fleets are on the road seven days a week, so the 70-hour rule applies to the majority of businesses.
How Does the 70-Hour Rule Work?
Provided they have not taken days off, the current working day for every driver serves as their newest. Any hours from nine days ago drop away from their cumulative tally, and so it continues on a rolling day-to-day basis. When a driver takes 34 hours or more off duty, a new 8-day cycle begins afresh from day one.
8-Day 70-hour Rule Explained
Four key considerations impact the hours of service 70-hour rule. Among the regulations listed below, it is important to note that the 70-hour 8-day rule takes precedence. For example, if a driver has already logged their maximum 70 hours in 8 days, the number of hours left in their 14-hour shift or 11-hour driving limit becomes irrelevant.
1. Drive time in a day
Drive time in any 11 hours should not exceed one 14-hour shift.
2. Number of hours on duty in a day
Only 14 hours of total driving time is permitted during any 24-hour shift.
3. Number of hours driven in the last 7 or 8 days
Drivers may not exceed 70 hours over eight consecutive days.
4. The number of off-duty hours
Ten consecutive off-duty hours are required between 14-hour shifts before a driver can start driving again.
Keeping a 70-hour Recap Sheet
Fleet managers and drivers must document records of duty status (RODS) to make sure both parties are aware when maximum limits are approaching. FMCSA regulations require DOT electronic logging devices (ELDs) as standard for maintaining RODS for HOS-regulated vehicles.
DOT HOS Rules
Do I Have to Comply With the Hours of Service Rules?
The FMCSA makes regular updates to HOS rules, and it is the responsibility of every fleet manager and individual driver to ensure compliance. HOS rules apply to most drivers in the commercial sector, and any business in an industry that manages a set of company vehicles, including:
Providers of services like utilities, landscaping, HVAC, plumbing, construction, etc.
Noncompliance can result in penalties and infringements, but there are some important exceptions to note. Learn more about DOT HOS Compliance.
Penalties for Violating HOS Rules
HOS regulations are strictly enforced by the Department of Transportation (DOT). If an enforcement authority finds you violating the regulations, it can lead to a variety of penalties for both the driver and the carrier. HOS violations count towards the carrier's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score and can also be sanctioned via:
Loss of operating authority
Violations can be costly on multiple levels. Individual fines tend to range from $1,000 to $16,000. However, in the case of carrying hazardous materials, penalties can exceed $75,000.
Interruptions to logistics can also be costly, as can the impact on successful delivery and customer service. For example, if a truck gets shut down for an HOS violation, it can be stuck roadside until the driver clocks enough off-duty time to resume driving – which could be anything between 10 and 34 hours.
Worried about the complexity of the 70-hour rule or other HOS regulations and how to comply? Lytx solutions can help you ensure DOT compliance.