The 2015 FMCSA Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours-of-Service document was recently released. It is a very important document to assist in preventing fatigue-involved crashes. Since it is a 27-page document we pulled out some of the key points as a quick reference for you. This reference should not take the place of reading the document in its entirety. The complete document can be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/interstate-truck-drivers-guide-hours-service-0.
What Are the Hours-of-Service Limits? – You must follow three maximum duty limits at all times. They are the 14-hour “driving window” limit, 11-hour driving limit, and 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day duty limits.
14-Hour Driving Window – You are allowed a period of 14 consecutive hours in which to drive up to 11 hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. The 14-consecutive-hour driving window begins when you start any kind of work. Once you have reached the end of this 14-consecutive-hour period, you cannot drive again until you have been off duty for another 10 consecutive hours, or the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.
11-Hour Driving Limit – A driver may drive a total of 11 hours during the 14-hour period, however, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. Once you have driven a total of 11 hours, you have reached the driving limit and must be off duty for another 10 consecutive hours (or equivalent) before driving your truck again.
Thirty-Minute Rest Break – If more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the last off-duty (or sleeper-berth) period of at least half an hour, a driver must take an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes before driving.
60/70-Hour Duty Limit – This limit is based on a 7 or 8-day period, starting at the time specified by your motor carrier for the start of a 24-hour period. You are required to follow one of these two limits:
- If your company does not operate vehicles every day of the week, you are not allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle after you’ve been on duty 60 hours during any 7 consecutive days. You may do other work, but you cannot do any more driving until you are off duty enough days to get below the limit. Any other hours you work, whether they are for a motor carrier or someone else, must be added to the total.
- If your company does operate vehicles every day of the week, your employer may assign you to the 70-hour/8-day schedule. This means that you are not allowed to drive a commercial motor vehicle after you’ve been on duty 70 hours in any 8 consecutive days. You may do other work, but you cannot do any more driving until you get below the limit. Any other hours you work, whether they are for a motor carrier or someone else, must be added to the total.
34-Hour Restart – The hours-of-service regulations allow you to “restart” your 60- or 70-hour clock calculations by taking 34 or more consecutive hours off duty (or in the sleeper berth) or some combination of both.
What Is On-Duty Time? – It includes all time you are working or are required to be ready to work, for any employer.
On-Duty Time In a Commercial Motor Vehicle – Excluded from the definition of on-duty time is any time resting in a parked commercial motor vehicle, with the driver relieved of all responsibility for the vehicle. Also excluded is up to 2 hours in the passenger seat of a moving commercial motor vehicle, immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. It bears noting that only the first 2 hours in the passenger seat of the commercial motor vehicle can be combined with the 8 hours in the sleeper berth to get the required 10 consecutive hours off-duty. Any hours spent in the passenger seat after these 2 hours count – and are properly logged as – on-duty (not driving) time.
Travel Time - “Travel Time” refers to the time you are being transported to a new location as part of your job, while not performing any driving on the trip. Any travel time you do at the direction of your motor carrier is considered on-duty time.
What Is Off-Duty Time? – In order for time to be considered off-duty, you must be relieved of all duty and responsibility for performing work. You must be free to pursue activities of your own choosing and be able to leave the place where your vehicle is parked.
What Is the Adverse Driving Conditions Exception? – If unexpected adverse driving conditions slow you down, you may drive up to 2 extra hours to complete what could have been driven in normal conditions. Adverse driving conditions do not include situations that you should have known about, such as congested traffic during typical “rush hour” periods.
Even though you may drive 2 extra hours under this exception, you must not drive after the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, and you must comply with the minimum 30-minute rest break provisions.
How Does the Sleeper-Berth Provision Work? – If you drive a truck that has a sleeper berth that meets the requirements of the safety regulations, you may use it to get the required off-duty time in three ways:
- You may spend time in your sleeper berth to get some, or all, of the 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time. When getting your 10 consecutive hours of off-duty time, what is most important is that you do not go on duty or drive during those 10 hours.
- You may also use the sleeper berth to extend the 14-hour limit. Any period in the sleeper berth of at least 8 consecutive hours does not count as part of the 14 hours.
- You may also use the sleeper berth in a different way to get the “equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off duty.” To do this, you must spend at least 8 consecutive hours (but less than 10 consecutive hours) in the sleeper berth. This rest period will not count as part of the 14 hours. A second, separate rest period must be at least 2 (but less than 10) consecutive hours long. This period may be spent in the sleeper berth, off duty, or sleeper berth and off duty combined. It does count as part of the 14 hours.
What Is a “Driver’s Daily Log”? – This is done in written form, unless your time is being recorded electronically using an automatic on-board recording device (AOBRD), or other electronic logging device (ELD) system. The written form you must fill out as you do your work is called the “record of duty status.” Everything you write on the log must be true and correct. You must make all of your own entries (unless something has been preprinted on the log). You must fill out an original and one copy of your log.
You must account for every day on your log, even days off. The log must cover all 24 hours of every day.
Authorized government inspectors may check your logs at any time. You must have a log for each day of the last 8 days that you were required to log (you might have been under an exception on some of those days). The current day’s log must be current to your last change of duty status. Inspectors check your logs to see if you have violated the hours-of-service regulations. Violations of the hours-of-service regulations can result in being fined and/or placed out of service.
What Must the Log Include? – The regulations do not say what the log form must look like. However, it must include a 24-hour graph grid, which is shown in the regulations, and the following information on each page:
- Total miles driving today
- Truck or tractor and trailer number
- Name of carrier
- Main office address
- Your signature
- Name of co-driver
- Time base to be used
- Remarks – This is the area where you must list the city, town, or village, and State abbreviation when a change of duty status occurs. You should also explain any unusual circumstances or log entries that may be unclear when reviewed later, such as encountering adverse driving conditions.
- Total hours
- Shipping document number(s), or name of shipper and commodity, for each shipment
Please note the this information has been pulled from the 2015 FMCSA Interstate Truck Driver’s Guide to Hours-of-Service document which can be found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/interstate-truck-drivers-guide-hours-service-0. This information is only to be used as a quick reference and should not take the place of reading the document in its entirety.