Who Needs to Comply?
The Hours of Service regulations apply to drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles, also known as CMVs. A vehicle will be classified as a CMV if it:
- Weighs over 10,000 pounds
- Has a gross vehicle weight or combination weight rating of 10,001 or more pounds
- Can transport 16 or more people, including the driver; or nine or more people for paid transport purposes
- Transports hazardous materials that require placards
If your vehicle fits into one of these categories, then you are required to comply to Hours of Service regulations and maintain a qualified Hours of Service log.
Hours of Service Statuses and Rules
In your Hours of Service log, you will log four types of behavior, known as statuses. These include:
- Driving: This is the active driving you do in the vehicle.
- Off Duty: These are the hours you are not working.
- Sleeper Berth: These are the hours when you are sleeping in your truck's sleeper area.
- On Duty: These are the non-driving working hours, such as time unloading freight, fueling the vehicle, maintaining the vehicle or inspecting the vehicle.
Hours of Service regulations are designed to ensure drivers are alert and awake on the road, preventing errors and accidents due to driver fatigue. The current Hours of Service regulations are as follows:
- 11 Hours of Driving: Drivers must not drive more than 11 total hours before taking a 10-hour break. This only refers to driving hours.
- 14 Hours of On-Duty Work: Drivers must take a 10-hour break after 14-hours of on-duty status.
- 70 Hours in Eight Days: Drivers cannot spend more than 70 hours in eight days of driving status and on-duty status combined. After eight days, the time resets. In order to reset the 70 hours beyond the eight days, the driver must take a 34-hour break. Drivers may choose to count by seven days instead of eight, in which case they are limited to 60 hours per a seven-day period.
- Eight-Hour, 30-Minute Break: After eight hours of driving or on-duty status, the driver must take a 30-minute off-duty or sleeper status break.
- 10-Hour Break: Every 11 hours driving or 14 hours on duty, the driver must take 10 hours of off-duty and/or sleeper-duty status to reset the clock.
Exceptions to the Rules
While these rules are fairly straightforward, there are a few exceptions that are worth noting. These exceptions do not mean the vehicle is not a CMV, but they do release the driver from the responsibility of maintaining a log. Here are the current exceptions:
- If you are a short-haul, interstate carrier that operates within either 100 (CDL Driver) or 150 air miles (Non-CDL Driver) of your work location
- Drivers who use paper RODS for not more than 8 days out of every 30-day period.
- Drivers of vehicles manufactured before 2000.
- Drivers who conduct drive-away-tow-away operations, where the vehicle being driven is the commodity being delivered, or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer with one or more sets of wheels on the surface of the roadway.
The ELD Mandate
Finally, the ELD mandate requires that these logs be kept electronically. Most drivers and fleets must have ELD (electronic logging devices) installed and in effect by Dec. 18, 2017, if the truck is a model year 2001 or higher. Fleets that are still in need of these ELDs will find ELD mandate compliant systems that are easy to understand through Track Your Truck. Failure to maintain ELD Hours of Service logs after the upcoming deadline will result in fines and penalties for both the driver and the fleet. Thus, if you do not already have a compliant system in place, now is the time to do so.