Hours of Service (HOS): Rules & Regulations in Trucking
When drivers are tired, their safety is compromised, and that’s why HOS trucking regulations are in place. Hours of service tracking is vital for reducing driver fatigue that compromises driver safety and the welfare of all road users.
The HOS trucking were rules developed by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a stand-alone Department of Transportation (DOT) agency. Today, these regulations are instrumental in reducing collisions, injuries, and fatalities.
What is HOS?
HOS stands for ‘hours of service,’ and any driver who is subject to HOS trucking regulations is required to keep a record of:
- Total hours off duty
- Total hours while in sleeper berth
- Total hours driving
- Total hours on-duty not driving
- Total hours worked within a 7 or 8-day cycle
A clear HOS definition and a set of HOS rules help drivers organize their working hours so that they can stay alert and awake. Additionally, drivers are required to document records of duty status (RODS) so that they (and their fleet managers) stay aware when they are approaching their maximum driving limits.
Definition of HOS Rules
- 14-hour shift limit: In any 24-hour period, drivers cannot exceed one 14-hour shift.
- 11-hour driving limit: Only 11 hours of total driving time is permitted during any 14-hour shift.
- Off-duty hours: Drivers must take 10 consecutive off-duty hours between 14-hour shifts.
- 30-minute breaks: Within eight consecutive driving hours, a driver must take (at minimum) a 30-minute break.
- 60-70 hour limit: Drivers may not exceed 60 hours of driving over seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight days.
Learn more about HOS Regulations.
What Does HOS Mean for Drivers and Business Owners?
- FMCSA regulations require electronic logging devices (ELDs) for maintaining RODS for HOS-regulated vehicles. This includes any commercial truck, bus, tanker, or vehicle that carries cargo or passengers for interstate commerce and fit any of the following criteria:
- Weighted at 10,001 pounds or more, either in gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating.
- Designed to accommodate more than 15 passengers plus the driver.
- Designed to carry nine or more paying passengers.
- Used for the shipment of hazardous materials in quantities that require the use of placards.
HOS Coverage and Enforcement
Drivers should always have their RODS documentation up to date and available for inspection by law enforcement or FMCSA officials. Inspections are conducted at highway checkpoints, and any HOS trucking violations are counted towards the operator’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.
Law enforcement can sanction HOS compliance violations via:
- Written warnings
- Loss of commercial certification
- 16-Hour Short-Haul Exemption: When starting and finishing at the same location for five consecutive days, drivers can extend the 14-hour window and drive for 11 hours within a 16-hour period once every seven days.
- 150 Air-Mile Short-Haul Exemption: CDL (commercial driver’s license) drivers who start and finish their shift within a 150 air-mile radius need not complete ELD records. Additionally, they are not subject to the 30-minute break rule, provided they log 10 consecutive off-duty hours between each 14-hour shift.
- 150 Air-Mile Radius Exemption: Non-CDL drivers who start and finish their shift within a 150 air-mile radius do not need to complete ELD records and are not subject to the 30-minute break rule, provided that they do not exceed the 14-hour shift limit.
- >8-Day RODS Exemption: Drivers who maintain RODS for less than eight days in any 30-day period do not need to complete ELD records.
- Adverse Driving Conditions Exemption: In adverse weather conditions, drivers may extend their 11-hour driving limit and 14-hour window up to 2 hours.
Learn more about HOS Exemptions.
In 2020, the FMCSA suspended certain in response to Covid-19. Standard HOS trucking requirements do not apply when drivers are transporting:
- Any COVID-19-related medical supplies, equipment, raw materials, personnel, or other persons related to medical relief, testing, diagnosis, treatment, prevention, quarantine, isolation, emergency relief services, or sanitation
- Emergency supplies for restocking at distribution centers.
- Fuel for COVID-19 related tasks and services.
These exemptions do not apply to routine deliveries or mixed deliveries where only part of the load relates to the exemption categories.
How to Manage HOS
If you’re worried about navigating FMCSA’s regulations and exemptions, it’s time to look at a proper HOS management system. Lytx’s hours of service solutions help you transition from paper logs and timesheets to ELDs. You can help ensure DOT compliance when you keep track of your fleet by auditing driver logs and supporting documents to provide comprehensive datasets.
One of the latest companies to invest in Lytx Compliance Services is UniGroup, the $1.6 billion transportation company behind United Van Lines and Mayflower.
"With different branches of our business operating in different states and drivers collecting data in different formats, Lytx brings all this data to one centralized location and makes our records easier to manage and submit for DOT purposes." - Melissa Lawson, UniGroup’s compliance director.
Lytx Can Help You Stay Compliant
Lytx DOT Compliance Services can help fleets manage hours of service, driver vehicle inspection reports, and driver qualification files in one comprehensive system. Learn more about Lytx DOT compliance software and management services, or contact our sales team for more information or to book a demo.