New Hours of Service Rule Released

FMCSA logoThe Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released its final hours-of-service (HOS) rule. Below you will find a brief summary that describes the main provisions of the new HOS rule.

11 Hours Driving Limit Kept:
The rule holds truck drivers’ daily driving limit at 11 hours, instead of the 10 hours that was proposed in FMCA’s original rule proposal that was released in 2010. FMCSA concluded that adequate and reasonable grounds under the Administrative Procedure Act for adopting a new regulation on this issue do not exist and that the current driving limit should therefore be allowed to stand. 

60/70 Limits:
Like the 11 Hour Driving limits, the 60- and 70-hour limits were left unchanged by FMCSA. 

34-Hour Restart Changes:
FMCSA did retain the portion of the proposed rulemaking that restricts the use of the 34-hour restart provision to one time a week. But it adjusted the parameters from the proposed rulemaking somewhat. The proposed rulemaking required truckers to include two consecutive 12 midnight to 6 a.m. rest periods. The final rule narrows the rest window by two hours, requiring the two nights include 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods. 

The new rule also states that truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window. 

Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by 3 or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense. 

Compliance Dates:  The on-duty rule changes will take effect on by Feb. 27, 2012 .On July 1, 2013, the 34-hour restart change and the rest break rule will come into effect.

FMCSA Final Rule

FMCSA FAQ’S on the HOS Changes 

Below you will find a side-by-side comparison chart for the new Hours of Service rule that was released late last week by the FMCSA. All property-carrying members that haul interstate freight must follow these rules. 

Most of the rule will go into effect on July 1, 2013. However, the oilfield exemption language found in §395.1(d)(2) of the FMCSR; and the definition of on-duty time in § 395.2 must be complied with on February 27, 2012. Additionally, the FMCSA is adopting, as proposed, a rule that 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. This provision also goes into effect February 27, 2012. 

Rule Subject

Current HOS Rule

New HOS Rule

Minimum Off-Duty Hours Between Shifts

10 consecutive hours

No Change

Total On-Duty Window in Each Shift

14 consecutive hours

Change based on Rest Break – Still 14 consecutive hours; with 30 minute rest break, maximum on-duty time within 14 hour window is 13.5 hours.


No driving may occur after 14 consecutive hours of coming on duty;

non-driving work is allowed past the 14 hour driving window;

Sleeper Berth:

Splitting Off-Duty Time

Team and Solo Drivers:

2 periods totaling > 10 hours;


1 period must be at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth;


second period of time may be spent either in or out of the sleeper berth.

No Change



Maximum Driving Hours



Limit on

Consecutive Hours







11 hours, but it may not be consecutive.



No driving if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last break of 30 minutes or more.






















Source: CTA