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Key Changes in Hours of Service but 11-Hour Limit Maintained

December 22, 2011

A final rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) maintains the 11-hour daily limit that shippers and carriers say is central to U.S. domestic supply chains but revises the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers. 

The rule cuts the weekly total hours from the current 82 hours to 70 and requires a 30-minute rest after eight consecutive hours of driving. It also requires truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights' rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most - from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. Drivers can restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty but can only use the restart provision once during a seven-day period. The changes in the 34-hour restart will require adjustments for drivers, companies and customers.

The regulations will take effect July 1, 2013, giving companies and customers time to incorporate the changes into their work rules. 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.

http://www.joc.com/regulation/federal-regulators-issue-tougher-truck-driver-rules

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