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New hours of service rules for commercial truck drivers

Truck accident lawyer explains updated HOS rules for truckers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently released new hours of service rules for truckers.

To help prevent truck crashes caused by tired truckers, truck accident lawyers from throughout the country were pushing for a 10-hour drive limitation and a 48-hour restart provision at the least. But disappointingly, the 11-hour daily drive limitation and a 34 hour restart provision with some exceptions remain.

Below is a list of the new provisions:

Limitations on minimum “34-hours restarts”

o Current rule: None.
o Final rule: Must include two periods between 1 a.m.- 5 a.m. home terminal time. May only be used once per week.

Rest breaks
o Current rule: None except as limited by other rule provisions.
o Final rule: May drive only if 8 hours or less have passed since end of driver’s last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes [HM 397.5 mandatory “in attendance” time may be included in break if no other duties performed].

On-duty time
o Current rule: Includes any time in CMV except sleeper-berth.
o Final rule: Does not include any time resting in a parked CMV. In a moving property-carrying CMV, does not include up to 2 hours in passenger seat immediately before or after 8 consecutive hours in sleeper-berth. Also applies to passenger-carrying drivers.

o Current rule: “Egregious” hours of service violations not specifically defined.
o Final rule: Driving (or allowing a driver to drive) 3 or more 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
o Current rule: “Waiting time” for certain drivers at oilfields (which is off-duty but does extend 14-hour duty period) must be recorded and available to FMCSA, but no method or details are specified for the record keeping.
o Final rule: “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.”

Here’s more information on the new HOS rules from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Our truck accident lawyers expect ongoing litigation over the provisions of this rule. We need to do as much as we can to prevent truck driver fatigue and the pressure truckers face to drive past the hours that are safe.

Steven Gursten is a partner of Michigan Auto Law and one of the top truck accident lawyers in the country. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Litigation Group, and has received the top-reported jury verdict in Michigan for a truck accident case. Steve was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his work to promote national truck safety.

Related information to protect yourself:

Help for truck lawyers: Did a fatigued truck driver cause the crash?

Advice for truck accident attorneys

Support for truck drivers

Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Call (800) 777-0028 to speak with one of our Michigan truck accident lawyers.

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