Hours of Service Update

As many of you may have two provisions relating to the 34 hour restart rule were suspended as part of the 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill. With these two rules being suspended here is the new reality.

 

Provision

Prior Rules (Before July 1, 2013)

Current Rule (As of July 1, 2013)

Limitations on minimum “34-hour restarts”

None

1)      Must include two periods from 1A to 5A home terminal time

2)      May only be used once per week (168 hours) measured from the beginning of the previous restarts

Rest Breaks

None except as limited by other rule provisions

May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of drivers last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes

On-Duty Time

Includes any time in Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) except sleeper berth

Does not include any time resting in a parked vehicle (also applies to passenger-carry drivers).  In a moving property-carrying CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth

Penalties

“Egregious” hours of service violations not specifically defined

Driver (or allowing a driver to drive) move than 3 hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an “egregious” violation and subject to the maximum civil penalties.  Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers

Oilfield Exemption

“Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields (which is off-duty but does not extend 14 hour duty period) must be recorded and available to FMCSA, but no method or details are specified for the record keeping

“Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields must be shown on logbook or electronic equivalent as off duty and identified by annotations in “remarks” or a separate line added to “grid”

 

Drivers and carriers now have the flexibility to reset their available driving time at any point that the driver can be off duty for 34 consecutive hours.  Without restrictions related to when, or how frequently, the reset can occur, carriers are more likely to provide capacity for over the weekend deliveries and/or early morning deliveries.  Before the suspension of these two provisions, if a driver were to deliver on a Saturday at 0800 and then take a reset, they would not be able to go back to work until Monday morning at 0500 – approximately 45 hours later.  In the new scenario, the driver would be able to deliver at 0800, take the 34 hours reset and be available at 1900 – 2000 on Sunday.

 

What does this mean for you when negotiating with either carriers or customers?  There will be more opportunities to get freight on the road as drivers will have better availability to physically move freight.  But not much!  This is not the time to lower rates for your customers, nor is it time to try to get carriers to lower their rates based on availability.  What it may be time for is focusing on getting committed capacity and maintaining current rate levels.  Your customers will get to enjoy the benefits of committed carriers and your steps taken to get freight covered should decrease, making it more profitable for you.  All in all, a win-win for everyone involved.