The new federal hours-of-service (HOS) rules, with a compliance deadline of July 1, 2013, apply to drivers and motor carriers who are operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and either:
Although portions of the new rules apply to passenger-carrying vehicles (specifically, some of the changes that took effect February 27, 2012), the changes taking place on July 1, 2013, apply only to drivers of property-carrying vehicles.
The hours-of-service final rule was published December 27, 2011. The effective date was February 27, 2012; however, not all the new provisions had to be complied with at that time. The rule included two separate compliance deadlines:
February 27, 2012 (all CMVs)
Effective February 27, 2012, drivers resting in a legally parked vehicle and not using the sleeper berth — whether a bus or a truck — are allowed to log the time as “off duty.” Truck drivers will also be able to log off duty for up to 2 hours riding in a passenger seat on a moving vehicle immediately before or after spending at least 8 consecutive hours in a sleeper berth.
July 1, 2013 (property-carrying CMVs only)
Beginning July 1, 2013, the driving of a property-carrying CMV will not be permitted if more than 8 consecutive hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last rest break of at least 30 consecutive minutes. If the driver has not had at least a 30-minute break by the end of his/her eighth hour, the driver must take a 30-minute break before driving. A lunch break or time resting in the sleeper berth will satisfy this in most cases.
The biggest change will be in the reduction of hours a driver will be allowed to log in a 7-day (168-hour) period, due to changes in the 34-hour “restart” provision. The current rule allows a driver to work right up to his or her 60- or 70-hour limit, take a 34-hour restart, and then go again. This allows a driver to accumulate up to 82 working hours in a 7-day period.
As of July 1, 2013, the new rule will limit the maximum number of hours a driver can work and drive to 70 hours per week, by limiting when and how often a driver can take a “restart.” One change will require that the restart break include two back-to-back nighttime periods of rest from 1:00 am to 5:00 am, which could force some drivers to be off duty for longer than 34 hours to get a valid restart. Another change will limit the use of the restart to once in any 168-hour period (exactly 7 days, down to the hour). The rule specifically says that a driver cannot start another restart break until 168 hours have passed since the start of his or her last restart break. Also, if a driver has multiple potential 34-hour restart periods off within a 7 day period, the driver will need to indicate on the log or time records which one of those breaks is being counted as the restart, if any.
Early compliance with 2013 rules
As these new rules are stricter than the ones they are replacing, voluntary compliance was allowed with all the new 2013 provisions beginning February 27, 2012.
(Read the full article here: hours of service new rules)