What do the Hours-of-Service Limits?

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What do the Hours-of-Service Limits?

The Hours-of-Service Limits regulate when and for how long commercial motor vehicle drivers can operate. These guidelines include three crucial limits: the 14-hour “driving window,” 11-hour driving limit, and 60-hour/7-day and 70-hour/8-day duty limits. The 14-hour window permits driving for up to 11 hours after a minimum 10-hour off-duty period, and once it ends, an additional 10 consecutive hours off duty are required before driving again. The rules apply even if breaks, like lunch or naps, are taken during the 14-hour period. Sleeper berths may extend the 14-hour limit if available.

What do the Hours-of-Service Limits?14-hour driving window

This timeframe is commonly perceived as a “daily” limit, although it does not adhere to a traditional 24-hour cycle. Within a continuous span of 14 hours, you have permission to drive for up to 11 hours following a minimum 10-hour off-duty period. The 14-hour driving window commences upon initiating any work-related activity. After completing this 14-hour period, driving is restricted until another 10 consecutive hours off duty or an equivalent duration have been observed. This limitation persists even if you take breaks, such as lunch or naps, during the 14-hour timeframe.

**NOTE** If your vehicle has a sleeper berth, you may be able to use it to carry luggage. Resting and extending the 14-hour limit. Sleeper-berth arrangements will be discussed later in this section.

Example: After having 10 consecutive hours off, if you commence work at 6:00 AM, refrain from driving your truck after 8:00 PM on the same day, which marks 14 hours later. Although you can engage in other activities after 8:00 PM, you’re prohibited from driving until you’ve observed another 10 consecutive hours off duty or an equivalent duration.

This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(2).

11-Hour Driving Limit

The 11-Hour Driving Limit occurs within the previously mentioned 14-consecutive-hour window, allowing you to drive your truck for a maximum of 11 hours. Once you reach the 11-hour driving limit, it is mandatory to be off duty for 10 consecutive hours (or an equivalent duration) before resuming driving your truck.

“Example: Having enjoyed 10 consecutive hours off duty, suppose you start work at 6:00 a.m. and drive from 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (7 hours of driving). After a mandatory 30-minute break, you can continue driving for an additional 4 hours until 6:30 p.m. However, you are prohibited from driving any further until you have taken a minimum of 10 consecutive hours off duty. While other work is permitted after 6:30 p.m., operating a commercial motor vehicle on a public road is not allowed.

This regulation is found in Section 395.3(a)(3).
Thirty-Minute Rest Break

According to the hours-of-service regulations, if more than 8 consecutive hours have elapsed since the last off-duty (or sleeper-berth) period of at least 30 minutes, drivers are obligated to take an off-duty break of at least 30 minutes before resuming driving. For instance, a driver can drive for 8 consecutive hours, take a half-hour break, and then drive an additional 3 hours, totaling 11 hours. Meal breaks or any other off-duty period of at least 30 minutes qualifies as a break. It’s important to note that this break time is considered within the 14-hour driving window to prevent excessive driving hours that could lead to extreme fatigue. Additionally, an exception is made for drivers carrying certain explosives, allowing them to count on-duty time spent attending the commercial motor vehicle towards the break, as long as no other on-duty work is performed. Further details on this 30-minute break are explained in greater detail throughout this document, particularly concerning the 11-hour driving rule.

60/70-Hour Duty Limit

In addition to the previously explained limits, there is the 60/70-hour limit, operating on a 7 or 8-day basis, commencing at the time designated by your motor carrier for the beginning of a 24-hour period. Although often perceived as a “weekly” limit, it doesn’t adhere to a fixed week such as Sunday through Saturday. Instead, it operates on a “rolling” or “floating” 7-day or 8-day period. The accumulated hours drop off at the conclusion of each day when calculating the total on-duty time for the past 7 or 8 days. For instance, under a 70-hour/8-day schedule, the current day is the newest within the 8-day period, and the hours worked nine days ago are excluded from the calculation. If, according to the table provided, a driver accumulates 67 on-duty hours in an 8-day period, they would comply with HOS rules under the 70-hour/8-day rule. Upon reaching the 70-hour mark, driving is prohibited until sufficient off-duty hours are taken. In this example, on the 9th day of the cycle (the second Monday), the hours from Day 1 (the first Sunday) would drop off, and the driver would then calculate hours for Days 2 through 9 (Monday–Monday). These principles similarly apply to the 60-hour/7-day HOS rule.

34-Hour Restart

In compliance with hours-of-service regulations, you have the option to reset your 60- or 70-hour clock calculations by taking a consecutive off-duty period of 34 hours or more, either entirely off duty or in the sleeper berth, or a combination of both. Once this 34-hour break is completed, the full 60 or 70 hours become available anew. Utilizing a “valid” 34-hour restart effectively resets a driver’s “weekly” hours to zero. Additionally, individuals may engage in other on-duty tasks, such as loading, unloading, and paperwork, after reaching the 60/7 or 70/8-hour limits. However, the legal operation of a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) on a public road is not permitted once these limits are reached. Importantly, it’s emphasized that the 34-hour restart is an optional regulatory provision, not a mandatory one.

“Example: Adhering to the 70-hour/8-day limit and working 14 hours daily for 5 consecutive days results in a total of 70 hours on duty. Driving becomes restricted until you fall below the 70 hours worked within an 8-day period. Nonetheless, if your company permits the utilization of the 34-hour restart provision, you would regain driving time immediately after a 34-hour consecutive off-duty period. Subsequently, you commence a new 8-day period with 70 hours available for duty.

FAQs

Q.1) What is the 60/70-hour duty limit, and how is it calculated?

Ans-: The 60/70-hour duty limit is a time restriction for commercial drivers over a 7 or 8-day period, starting at the motor carrier’s designated 24-hour period. It is calculated based on a rolling or floating timeframe, with the oldest day’s hours dropping off daily when totaling on-duty time.

Q.2) How does the rolling 7 or 8-day period apply to the 60/70-hour duty limit?

Ans-: The rolling 7 or 8-day period for the 60/70-hour duty limit means that the calculation spans the most recent consecutive 7 or 8 days. As each day concludes, the on-duty hours from the oldest day are dropped, maintaining a continuous calculation.

Q.3) What are the key hours-of-service limits for commercial drivers?

Ans-: The key hours-of-service limits for commercial drivers include the 14-hour driving window, 11-hour driving limit, and the 60/70-hour duty limit over a rolling 7 or 8-day period. Adhering to these limits is essential for driver safety and compliance.

Q.4) The 34-hour restart provision and how it impacts hours-of-service?

Ans-: The 34-hour restart provision allows drivers to reset their 60/70-hour clock calculations by taking a minimum of 34 consecutive hours off duty, providing a fresh allocation of available hours. It serves as an optional reset mechanism to maximize flexibility within hours-of-service regulations.

Q.5) Is there flexibility for drivers to split their off-duty time, and if so, how does it work?

Ans-: Yes, there is flexibility for drivers to split their off-duty time under certain conditions. The split sleeper berth provision allows them to divide the required rest period into two separate segments, enhancing adaptability within hours-of-service regulations.

Click here to know about Split Sleeper Berth Rules

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