New HOS To Be Implemented by July 1, 2013

The FMCSA has just released its final Hours of  Service Rule and carriers are expected to comply by July 1, 2013. However, like  so many other government regulations, I wonder if compliance mandates will be postponed for months, if not years.
The following is a summary of the changes:
  • The final rules will reduce the work week of truck drivers by up to 12 hours as under current rules a driver could be on duty for up to 82 hours in a seven day period. New rules will reduce that to 70 hours.
  • Drivers will now be required to take a 30 minute break after they drive for 8 hours, this break maybe taken at any time during that 8 hour period.
  • On duty time will no longer include:
    • Time resting in a parked CMV this can be off duty
    • Time in the passenger seat before or after 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, this can be off duty.
  • The current 11 hour drive limits will remain the same.
  • The rule 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. This rest requirement is part of the rule’s “34-hour restart” provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.
  • The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.
  • 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. This will be an egregious violation.
Carriers have until July 1, 2013 to comply with the new rules though some portions come into effect February 27, 2012 namely the change in the definition of “egregious” violations and the change in definition of on-duty time, go into effect Feb. 27, 2012.
Let’s see what happens in the  next few weeks!
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