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July 5, 2013

New Commercial Driver Hours of Service Rules Now in Effect

Truck safety sign - Caution Wide Right Turns
Wide Turn Safety Sign
On July 1, new DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours of service rules went into effect. Although lawsuits are pending on the new rules, FMCSA implemented the rules before the cases are decided. The rules were first announced in late 2011. The new rules:
  • Limit the average work week for truck drivers to 70 hours, down from the previous maximum of 82 hours.
  • Allow truck drivers who reach 70 hours of driving within a week to resume if they rest for 34 consecutive hours, including at least two nights from the hours of 1 to 5 a.m.
  • Require truck drivers to take a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of a shift.
  • Retain the current 11-hour daily driving limit and 14-hour work day.
FMCSA says companies and drivers who commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies and passenger carriers that allow drivers to exceed driving limits by more than three hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

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