U.S. Department of Transportation Takes Action to Ensure Truck Driver Rest Time and Improve Safety Behind the Wheel

        WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced a final rule that employs the latest research in driver fatigue to make sure truck drivers can get the rest they need to operate safely when on the road.  The new rule by the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revises the hours-of-service (HOS) safety requirements for commercial truck drivers.     

"Trucking is a difficult job, and a big rig can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "This final rule will help prevent fatigue-related truck crashes and save lives. Truck drivers deserve a work environment that allows them to perform their jobs safely." 

As part of the HOS rulemaking process, FMCSA held six public listening sessions across the country and encouraged safety advocates, drivers, truck company owners, law enforcement and the public to share their input on HOS requirements. The listening sessions were live webcast on the FMCSA Web site, allowing a broad cross-section of individuals to participate in the development of this safety-critical rule.

"This final rule is the culmination of the most extensive and transparent public outreach effort in our agency's history," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro.  "With robust input from all areas of the trucking community, coupled with the latest scientific research, we carefully crafted a rule acknowledging that when truckers are rested, alert and focused on safety, it makes our roadways safer."

FMCSA's new HOS final rule reduces by 12 hours the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new HOS final rule limits a driver's work week to 70 hours.  

In addition, truck drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window.

The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit.  FMCSA will continue to conduct data analysis and research to further examine any risks associated with the 11 hours of driving time.

The rule requires truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights' rest when their 24-hour body clock demands sleep the most - from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. This rest requirement is part of the rule's "34-hour restart" provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.

Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by 3 or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

Commercial truck drivers and companies must comply with the HOS final rule by July 1, 2013. The rule is being sent to the Federal Register today and is currently available on FMCSA's Web site at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/HOSFinalRule.

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These hours seem to be an improvement I think, I have always insisted that driving for up to 11 hours and not be required to take a break is dangerous. When I run from NYC to St Albans VT it involves 6.5 to 7 hours actual driving and I allow 8 to nine hours for the driver, when asked by dispatch why ? I always give the reply that driving for over 5 hours no stop is downright dangerous. The 30 minute break within 8 hours is a vastly safer way to do things, it will possibly save lots of lives.

I only find one fault and that is that it's going to be a year before the rule becomes law.

I do what I think I need to do to drive safely, I don't need the government telling me what to do. If I am tired I take a break, it's a no brainer.

yes the 30 min. cat nap is a good thing, but still no one is looking out for the driver pay with all the limits to the work week. The pay needs to be revised......


Nanette, you hit on the head, Pay is not being adjusted for all the hours we lose, and no one seem to get a crap!

Yet another change to the system.  The 'little cat nap' might not be such a bad idea, but as some folks have indicated above, the pay structure for truckers, needs some serious attention.

E-logs and trucker's pay issues at Smart Trucking

with the old rules the driver could break up thier day how the needed to and I know I got a lot more sleep drivers need to rest when their body tells them to, not a log or company. The cat naps I know were like gold for me I was not fighting it to do my 14hours in one shot.

Nanette Montgomery said:

yes the 30 min. cat nap is a good thing, but still no one is looking out for the driver pay with all the limits to the work week. The pay needs to be revised......


Borja, that is interesting how Europe is doing logs. and far as the tracking yes they do in a way with the E-logs they can track you by the second, when the put the computer logs in your truck it is tracked useing cell phone towers.

Hi Borja,

it is hard to compare the european rules to the north american rules. they are quit different as you will see soon :)

i like the rules here much more then the rules over there. it is still more flexibility in them.

but thet doesent mean i agree with the rules here. in a matter i do but i think a bit more flexibility at the restperiods would be a big plus for everyone.

i dont see a point why i can not log 2 resets in one week anymore. what difference is it if i stay for 2 days on the begin of the week and 2 days at the end of the week ?

i still stay 2 days. right ?

why would the one 2 days be considered a reset and the othere not ?


the other thing is, why the 12:00 to 05:00 rule ? what sence make this ? i love to drive at night. i sleep way better at daytime becaus the truckstops are empty and it is easyer to find a spot wher nobody idles the truck with high rpm beside you. this option is gone now.



Borja Ruiz said:

Excuse me if I'm in a mistake, but I remember that I read some time ago that there was a project to control the driving hours with a tacograph, like the ones we have in Europe. Is there still the project or it was forgotten?


We have 9 hours to drive per day. We can divide it in 4'5 hours driving, 45 min off, and others 4'5 hours driving. Or also we can divide in 4'5 hours driving, 30 min off, and during the last 4'5 hours we must rest 15 min.


Sorry if I only speak about Europe regulations, is the only I know. Soon, I'll be in Canada driving a big rig, and I'll can speak about Canadian an American themes...

Screw it... im playing stupid... jk



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