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The New HOS Final Rule: What We Got, Didn't Get & Compromised On

Associate Vice President

FMCSA stirred up the trucking industry by releasing the new hours of service ruling just two days before Christmas. Upon reviewing this rulemaking, I think its best explained in the following format:   

  • Things we got (“we” being the trucking industry)
  • Things we didn’t get
  • Things we compromised on


11 Hours of drive time

There was talk of changing this, but this stayed the same in the final rule.

Revised definition of “on duty”

For team operation, a co-driver can log up to 2 hours in the passenger’s seat immediately before or after his/her 8 hour sleeper berth period

Time spend in a parked CMV (not just time in sleeper berth) can be logged as off duty (remember the issue with loading on duty and state of readiness which does not apply).

14-hour driving window requirements

The FMCSA had discussed a mandatory off duty period at the end of the 14 hour period (under the current rule a driver is only restricted from driving after the 14 th hour).  However this was not put into place in the final rule.  



Extension of the Driving Window for Drivers Leaving From/Returning To Different Terminals

Many were in favor of a Twice Weekly Extension of the Driving Window for drivers who do not leave and return to the same terminal.  This was not added to the final rule.

34 hour reset each time used

 Restart can now only be used once every 168 hours (7-days)



Limitations on 34 Hour restart

Proposed rule required two consecutive periods between midnight and 6 am to be included in the 34 hours.  We wanted the old 34 hour restart, but they gave us two periods between 1am and 5am.

Mandatory rest break

Proposed rule was 30 minutes every 7 hours and one hour every 14 which would have only given us 13 hours to work in a 14 hour period. 

They decided on a mandatory 30 minute break every 8 hours which gives us 13.5 hours to work in a 14 hour period.



It’s important to note that only a small portion of the rule goes into effect 60 days after being published in the federal register:

    • Definition of on-duty(part 395.2): 
      • Not to include (which means can be logged off duty) any time resting in a parked CMV.  Note:  this does not include time at a shipper/receiver loading or unloading or waiting in a state of readiness.  So, sitting in a break room is still considered on duty, sitting in unit where the shipper/receiver expects driver to be available to move equipment when finished is considered a state of readiness and driver would be considered on duty not driving.
      • For team operation:  In a moving CMV not to include (which means can be logged off duty) up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
      • Oil field exemption in part 395.1(2)(2)
      • Appendix B to part 386 – Penalty schedule; Violations and Monetary Penalties.  Note: “Egregious” penalties were never specifically defined. It is now  Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) 3 or more hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties.

        The rest of the rulemaking will not go into effect until July 1, 2013. 

        Hope you find this helpful.  We have a few questions we still need to get clarified and will keep you in the loop with those answers.


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        Topics: Transportation