By Ilana R. Morady

July 1, 2013 is the compliance date for two new provisions of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.

What are the HOS regulations?

The HOS regulations are found at 49 CFR Part 395 and apply to drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles. The basics are:

  • 14-hour duty limit. You can be on duty 14 consecutive hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours.
  • 11-hour driving limit. You can only drive for up to 11 hours during the 14-consecutive-hour duty period.
  • 60/70-hour duty limit. You can’t drive after you’ve been on duty 60 hours during any 7 consecutive days OR you can’t drive after you’ve been on duty 70 hours during any 8 consecutive days.
  • 34-hour restart. You can “restart” your 60 or 70-hour calculations after having at least 34 consecutive hours off duty.

What do you need to do before July 13, 2013?

The DOT’s new HOS regulations, which became effective February 27, 2012, contain two primary changes.

  • Limits on use of 34-hour restart. The old HOS regulations did not contain limits on the use of the 34-restart provision. Now drivers can only use the restart once per week (i.e. once every 168 hours), and the 34-hour time frame must include two periods between 1 a.m. – 5 a.m.  
  • Rest breaks. Before the new HOS regulations, the DOT did not have any specific requirements for rest breaks. Now if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since your last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes, you must take a break of at least 30 minutes.

The DOT implemented these new requirements with the hopes that they will reduce driver fatigue and, therefore, increase safety on the road.