Hours Of ServiceU.S. Department of Transportation Issues New Rules Regulating Work and Sleep Schedules for Commercial Truck Drivers
New Rules Based on Review of Medical Research and Traffic Safety Data
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) have issued a new Hours-of-Service rule that spells out the length of time commercial drivers can operate trucks before they are required to take a break. The new rule is the product of years of research meant to keep drivers healthy and make highways safer, officials said today.
The new rule replaces Hours-of-Service regulations that were last updated in 2003. Parts of the rule, including the maximum driving time and minimum rest limits remain the same. However, the rule unveiled today includes changes affecting short-haul operators and longer distance drivers who use in-cab sleeper-berths for their rest.
"This new rule will help keep drivers healthy and make our roads safer," said Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta. "Drivers that are well rested are less likely to lose control, crash, or injure others."
"The research shows that this new rule will improve driver health and safety and the safety of our roadways," said FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg. "Ensuring drivers obtain necessary rest and restorative sleep will save lives."
As in the 2003 regulations, the new rule prohibits truckers from driving more than eleven hours in a row, working longer than 14 hours in a shift and driving more than 60 hours over a seven day period or 70 hours over an eight day period, Administrator Sandberg said. In addition, the new rule requires truckers to rest for at least ten hours between shifts and provides a 34-hour period to recover from cumulative fatigue.
FMCSA said it tasked driver health and safety experts to review over 1,000 health- and fatigue-related articles and studies and considered thousands of comments received from drivers, truck companies, safety advocates and researchers before settling on the new safety provisions. Based on this research, FMCSA concluded the new rule will keep drivers healthy and reduce the 5.5 percent of fatal truck crashes that are caused by driver fatigue.
A significant change contained in the new rule requires truckers who use sleeper-berths to rest for eight hours in a row, and take another two consecutive hours off duty before resetting their daily driving schedule. Studies show that drivers are less likely to be fatigued if they take a single eight hour block of rest than if they break their rest into smaller periods of time as they were allowed under the previous rule.
For more information, or to review the new Hours-of-Service rule, please go to www.fmsca.dot.gov
The major changes are shown below:
Property-Carrying CMV Drivers
Compliance Through 09/30/05
Property-Carrying CMV Drivers
Compliance On & After 10/01/05
|May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.||NO CHANGE|
|May not drive beyond the 14th hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty.||NO CHANGE|
|May not drive after 60/70 hours on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. A driver may restart a 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty.||NO CHANGE|
|Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) drivers using a sleeper berth must take 10 hours off duty, but may split sleeper-berth time into two periods provided neither is less than 2 hours.||CMV drivers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, plus 2 consecutive hours either in the sleeper berth, off duty, or any combination of the two.|
Texas Star, along with most other major carriers, is working with its shippers, consignees, drivers and other employees in determining the specific impact these new rules will have on how we operate our business. We recognize they will have a negative effect on our ability to meet certain delivery schedules. We also know certain driver activities, shipping and receiving practices and types of truckload freight will be impacted more than others. These include:
- Multiple stop loads
- Driver loading and unloading
- 'Waiting-in-line' for loading or unloading
- Other driver activities such as scaling, sorting, pallet exchange, etc.
- Any shipper or consignee related delays
It is not the intention of Texas Star to use the implementation of these new rules to raise rates for all our customers. Our desire is to insure our driver and our trucks do not lose revenue due to the new regulations. We will work with each of our customers to identify any problems created by these rules and, working together, develop new methods of operation, if possible to eliminate driver delays. We will seek compensation for delays we cannot eliminate in order to increase efficiencies. Some of the things our customers should consider, in order to reduce the impact of these new rules on them are:
- Reduce multiple-stop loads
- Extend loading hours and loading staff
- Eliminate driver involvement (loading, unloading, bracing, counting, etc.)
- Utilize drop & hook opportunities
- Adhere to specific appointments
We are currently reaching out to all our customers to discuss how the new hours of service apply to each of you. Our intent is to provide a safe and professional environment for our drivers while offering them an opportunity to earn a fair and competitive wage. We seek the cooperation of all our shippers, consignees and third party operations in the endeavor.