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New FMCSA Hours-of-Service Enforcement Set for July 1

May 24, 2013

As thoughts of summer begin to take hold with the lead-in to the Memorial Day weekend, Wheels reminded its accounts and fleets in general that a 2011 law revising the federal hours-of-service requirements for commercial truck drivers in the U.S. will be enforced starting July 1.

The law, enacted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), reduces the maximum number of hours the driver of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) can work per week. Under the old rules, CMV drivers could work an average of up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new rules limit a driver’s weekly on-duty time to 70 hours, after which he or she must “restart” his or her weekly clocks with at least 34 consecutive hours of off-duty time. As part of this provision, drivers who maximize their weekly work hours must take at least two nights’ rest from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. during the 34 hour restart period.

The new law retains the 11-hour daily driving limit (within the 14-hour duty window) after 10 consecutive off-duty hours. However, CMV drivers now cannot be on duty for more than eight consecutive hours without taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break at any time during the eight-hour period; however, if eight hours of consecutive on duty time have elapsed without rest, the driver must immediately take a 30-minute break before driving. The 30 minute rest break does not apply to carriers in Alaska if they are using the Alaska exemption.

Companies should be aware that under the new rule, driving for three or more hours beyond the daily driving-time limit of 11 hours could be considered an “egregious” violation, Wheels noted.  Companies whose drivers commit such violations face fines of up to $11,000 for each offense, while individual drivers can be fined up to $2,750.

The new law, which was originally published in December of 2011, has technically been in effect since February 27, 2012.  But the “grace period” implemented by the FMCSA has postponed active enforcement of the law until July 1, 2013.

For additional details regarding the new law and information on what type of vehicle qualifies as a CMV, please visit the FMCSA’s website.  

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  1. 1. Taylor [ May 24, 2013 @ 12:40PM ]

    No way this is going go work..Less time to drive means less money..No way!!

  2. 2. Bruce [ May 25, 2013 @ 07:37AM ]

    11 hours of driving is a very long day, at a 55mph avg is 605 miles, Plenty for me. But the 2700 dollar fine pretty steep, to most company drivers otr, drivers witch is almost a months pay

  3. 3. andew fabian [ June 25, 2013 @ 05:53PM ]

    all well and good what are the hours of service regulations for a driver that works 5 days on with two days off as well as a driver that works 6 days a week with two days off what will be the daily hour limit since there has to be a 30 minute break? these questions would be for a local driver home every night not a longhaul driver

  4. 4. James Jones [ June 29, 2013 @ 12:23AM ]

    Just a bunch of bureaucratic bs! Biting the hand that feeds you.....check the statistics! Cars cause more accidents, kill more people, far more dangerous because of less integral drivers! You're regulating these truckers out of business....or was that the plan all along?

  5. 5. James Jones [ June 29, 2013 @ 12:26AM ]

    Sick of pencil pushers, you're the biggest problem. Just enforce the current laws and things will be just fine. But you the big government have to regulate regulations that have been regulated already, where does it stop?


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