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Hours of Service Break-down

Understanding hours of service is one of the most important and most fundamental pieces of being a safe and lawful trucker. There are a lot of different parts and pieces that can make this otherwise easy-to-understand concept a little more difficult to grasp. Things like the 8/2 rule and figuring out the ideal time to take your mandatory 30 minute break can all lead to a real headache over something meant to make your life safer and easier.

Questions about hours of service can generally be broken down into a few basic categories:

  1. What are the hours of service?

  2. What are the types of hours of service?

  3. How can I best use my hours of service?

It’s always best to begin any discussion of hours of service with a brief explanation of the 100/150 rule. If you are a CDL driver that operates within a 12-hour, 100 mile radius of your terminal OR you are a non-CDL driver that operates within a 14-hour, 150 mile radius of your terminal and in both cases you return to your starting terminal at the end of your hours you are exempt from maintaining electronic logs.

Hours of service for most CDL drivers are broken into two basic categories: 60/7 or 70/8; that is a sixty-hour week over 7 days or a seventy-hour week over 8 days. That means over the course of seven days you can work a total of 60 “on duty” hours or 70 “on duty” hours over the course of eight. “On duty” hours are hours that you are working and can be a combination of driving, paperwork, loading/off-loading, fueling, etc. You can work a maximum of 14 “on duty” hours a day but cannot exceed 60 hours in a 7 day period or 70 hours in an 8 day period. Of those 14 hours you may only drive for 11 of them.

You must also take a 30 minute break every 8 hours that you drive. (include note here that’s every 8 hours you drive not once in every 14 hour on-duty shift) And at the end of your 14 hour day you must do a 10 hour reset!

There are two (main) exceptions to these rules.

  • The first is the 16-hour exception which allows you to add 2-hours of Non-Driving time to your hours on duty. It is specifically so that you are able to get back to your starting terminal after being held at a loading site or pulled over waiting for traffic to clear, or some other non-driving incident that kept you a little longer. This exception MAY NOT be added to drive time.

  • The second is the Adverse Driving Conditions exception which can extend your drive time by two hours. This exception is ONLY used when unexpected unsafe weather conditions have slowed you down on a run that you could normally complete in your standard 11 hour drive time. It DOES NOT apply to on-duty hours meaning that while you now have 13 hours of drive time your day must still end by the 14 hour cut-off.

  • HazMat operators have one further exception called the Safe Haven exception if they are hauling Division 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 materials and products. This exception states that they cannot stop at a pace where their cargo may be unattended. An operator hauling one of these materials must stop at monitored trucks stops, monitored hotels and other locations with security, good lighting, and where tampering with the trailer and load is likely to be noticed.

When you’ve reached your maximum number of hours (60 or 70 depending on your number of days on duty) you must do a “hard reset” or a 34-hour rest and reset that will start your on-duty time worked back at zero. This is in place to make sure that companies and individuals cannot abuse the on-duty time and try to force you to work when you are exhausted! When you use your 34-hour reset all your exceptions are reset as well and can be used again for the next “week” of driving.

There & Back Logistics is planning to cover the 8/2 exception in another blog post and an accompanying video! The 8/2 exception can be very complicated and make things very difficult - in general, it’s our recommendation that, unless you understand hours of service very well and keep close track of your logs, that you avoid trying to use this exception.

Hours of Service violation fines can be very steep (up to $11,000) and you definitely don’t want to be fined, or worse, find yourself exhausted and cause an accident.

HoS Violation FMCSA USDOT Hours of Service

While there are a number of details that can add varying degrees of frustration the basics of Hours of Service can be broken down like this:

  • You can drive no more than 11 hours in a day

  • You can work no more than 14 hours in a day

  • You can work/drive no more than 60 hours over 7 days or 70 hours over 8 days

  • Every 14 hours worked must be followed by 10 hours of off-duty

  • Every 60/7 or 70/8 must be followed by 34 hours of reset

  • Every 8 hours of driving you must take a break of at least 30 minutes

Follow these rules and you’ll stay in compliance! If you have any questions, comments, or would just like to let us know what you think please contact us, or find us on Facebook!

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