Hours of Service

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General - Hours of Service Regulations

Hours of service is a fatigue prevention tool implemented by the Department of Transportation. Commercial drivers are only allowed to work and drive a certain amount of time each day and during a seven (7) or (8) day period.  Commercial drivers are also required to take rest periods outlined to prevent fatigue and crashes. 49 CFR Part 395 outlines the full regulation.

What commercial drivers do the hours of service regulations apply to?

A driver operating a truck or truck/trailer combination that:

  • Weighs 10,001 pounds or more.
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation.
  • Is designed or used to transport 9 or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards.

If a commercial driver is operating intrastate it may not apply. View your state at “State Agency” to check your state regulations to see if they have adopted part 395

What are the standard hours of service requirements?

  • Drivers may drive no more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period.
  • Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break during their first 8 hours.
  • Drivers are required to take 10 hours off duty before an 11-hour driving period. (see Driver Guide to Hours of Service for split sleeper berth information)
  • Drivers may not drive after the 14th hour. The 14-hour window starts when the drivers starts work, not when the drivers starts driving.
  • Drivers may not drive more than 60 hours in 7 days if company does not operate 7 days a week 24 hours a day.
  • Drivers may not drive more than 70 hours in 8 days if the company operates 7 days a week 24 hours per day.
  • A 34-hour reset can be used to complete reset a driver’s hours, though it is not required.
Exceptions to HOS Regulations

What are some of the most common exceptions?

100 Air-Mile Radius (driver/salesperson)

You are not required to fill out a log with a graph grid if you come under the 100 air-mile radius exception.

  • The 100 air-mile radius exception applies for any day in which you:
    • Drive within a 100 air-mile radius of your normal work reporting location, (115 actual miles under this regulation)
    • Return to your work reporting location and are released within 12 consecutive hours, and
    • Follow all other basic hours-of-service rules including the 10-hour off-duty and 11-hour driving requirements.

Your motor carrier must keep time records of the times you report for and are released from work each day, and the total hours on duty each day. You do not have to have these records in your truck.

This exception is optional. For example, you and your employer may choose to use a logbook even though you are within the 100 air-mile radius, so that you do not have to be released from work within 12 hours that day.

  • The motor carrier that employs the driver and utilizes this exception must maintain and retain for a period of 6 months accurate and true time records showing:

1) the time the driver reports for duty each day;

2) the total number of hours the driver is on duty each day;

3) the time the driver is released from duty each day; and

4) the total time for the preceding 7 days for drivers used for the first time or intermittently.

Non-CDL Short-Haul

You are not required to fill out a log with a graph grid if you come under the non-CDL short-haul exception.

  • The non-CDL short-haul exception applies on days when you:
    • Drive a truck that does not require a CDL,
    • Work within a 150 air-mile radius (172 actual road miles) of your normal work reporting location and return there each day.
    • Follow the 10-hour off duty and 11-hour driving requirements,
    • Do not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty on 5 days of any period of 7 consecutive days, and
    • Do not drive after the 16th hour after coming on duty on 2 days of any period of 7 consecutive days.
    • Your motor carrier must keep time records of the times you report for and are released from work each day, and the total hours on duty each day.

Adverse Driving Conditions

If unexpected adverse driving conditions slow you down, you may drive up to 2 extra hours to complete what could have been driven in normal conditions. This means you could drive for up to 13 hours, which is 2 hours more than allowed under normal conditions.

Adverse driving conditions mean things that you did not know about when you started your run, like snow, fog, or a shut-down of traffic due to a crash. Adverse driving conditions do not include situations that you should have known about, such as congested traffic during typical “rush hour” periods.

Even though you may drive 2 extra hours under this exception, you must not drive after the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty.

Looking for an exception that isn’t listed? Check out the FMCSA – A Drivers Guide to Hours of Service below. 

General - Electronic Logging Device

Electronic Logging Devices

As of December 18, 2017, electronic logging devices are required for all motor carriers operating in interstate commerce.

Check for registered ELD devices here

Review and check out other reviews on Electronic Logging Devices Here  

Excluding carriers that have an automatic onboarding recording device (AOBRD) they have two additional two years but must be compliant by December of 2019.

The electronic logging device enforcement began April 1, 2018.

Does your driver need an ELD?

The following are not required to use ELDs

  • Drivers who use paper logs no more than 8 days during any 30-day period.
  • Driveaway-towaway drivers (were the vehicle driven is the commodity) or the vehicle being transported is a motor home or a recreation vehicle trailer. (at least one set of wheels of the vehicle being transported must be on the surface while being transported)
  • Drivers of vehicles manufactured before model year 2000.
  • If no ELD is required due to short haul exemption, use the exception letter below under “Documents & Templates” to provide to drivers to keep in their trucks.

What are the ELD requirements to be FMCSA compliant?

ELD Requirements to be FMCSA Compliant
Has “integral synchronization” with the engine control module to automatically record engine power status, vehicle motion status, and other data
Automatically records all driving time and at intervals of 60 minutes. Records date, time, location, engine hours, vehicle miles, and driver identification
Records location with an accuracy of one-mile radius during on-duty driving periods
Reduces location accuracy to a 10-mile radius when vehicle is used for authorized personal use
ELD time is synchronized with UTC (coordinated universal time)
Retains data for the current 24-hour period and the previous 7 consecutive days
Prevents tampering; does not allow anyone to alter or erase information originally collected for driver ELD records
Requires driver to review unidentified driver records – and either acknowledge assignment of this driving time, or indicate that the records do not belong to the driver
Allows a driver to obtain a copy of his/her ELD records on demand – either through a printout or electronic file
Supports one of two options for electronic data transfer:
• Telematic type: using wireless web services or email
• Local transfer type: using USB2.0 or Bluetooth
Displays all required standardized data to authorized safety officials on demand – through a screen display or printout that includes three elements: a daily header, graph grid showing driving duty status changes, and detailed daily log data. The graph grid, if printed, must be at least 6 inches by 1.5 inches
Requires driver certification and annotation (written explanation) for any edits to records that are made by the driver or any other ELD user
Requires certification of driver records at the end of each 24-hour period
ELD provider furnishes user’s manual, instructions for handling malfunctions and record-keeping during malfunctions, and instructions for transferring ELD hours of service records to safety officials
Volume control or mute option for any audio feature

Additional requirements:

  • All drivers must have a paper log book in their truck in case the ELD is not working.
  • Must be able to hand the tablet out the door of the truck.
  • Have a manual for the ELD in the truck.
  • If a driver does not log into the ELD when he/she gets into the truck, there must be a visual reminder for the driver.
  • It must record unidentified driver miles.
  • A driver must review any unidentified driving time upon login.

ELDs must use the following duty status categories:

Driving An ELD automatically switches to driving status once the vehicle is moving at a speed of no more than five miles per hour.
On-Duty Not Driving When the vehicle has not been in motion for five consecutive minutes, the ELD will prompt the driver to confirm driving status or enter the proper status. If the driver doesn’t respond within one minute, the ELD will automatically switch to on-duty not driving.
Off-Duty The driver should indicate off-duty status for non-driving on-duty periods or must edit and annotate the record later. Periods of authorized personal use (see Special Driving Categories, below) may also be considered off-duty time.
Sleeper Berth The driver should indicate sleeper berth status for sleeper berth periods or must edit and annotate the RODS later.

Additional Information for Common and Special Driving Categories

Authorized Personal Use:  A driver can record periods when using a vehicle for authorized personal use. This may include the time traveling between a driver’s home and terminal (or normal work reporting location) and traveling short distances (from terminals or motels) to restaurants. These periods of personal use may be considered off-duty time. However, a driver who uses a vehicle for transportation home and is later dispatched from home would be on-duty from the time the driver leaves home.

An ELD does not change the duty status following a period of personal conveyance status. The driver should change the duty status to off-duty before powering off, or later annotate the record to explain off-duty status at the end of the driving time.

Yard Moves:  A driver can record periods of yard moves.

Adverse Operations: A driver can annotate the record to document sudden bad weather, crashes, or other unforeseeable conditions.

Oilfield Operations:  A driver can annotate the record to indicate oilfield operations.

Managing Electronic Logging Devices

What do motor carriers need to know about managing ELD’s?

ELD’s must be managed by an administrator or compliance support team.

  • Unassigned miles (miles without a driver assigned to them) needs to be managed and review for accuracy.
  • Give maintenance workers or anyone within the organization that drives a code for logging into an ELD. It will minimize unassigned miles.
  • If safety performance features are part of the ELD system, review and provide drivers with feedback on any negative safety events such as over speeds and hard brakes.
  • Compare fuel reports, roadside inspections and time keeping systems (i.e. Kronos) to your ELD data.  All events should align with the ELD on-duty not driving and beginning and end of shift. This will be reviewed in an audit/compliance review.
  • Track driver events and note any corrective action and training drivers receive.
Recordkeeping Requirements

Carriers are required to follow these retention schedules.

  • Hours of service logs and ELD data must be kept for six (6) months.
  • Supporting documents must be kept for six (6) months. (note state regulations may require a longer retention requirement for supporting documents if used for tax purposes)
Tips from Industry Professionals

Tips from hours of service professionals:

  • Motor carriers should have at least one hours of service expert and one electronic logging device (ELD) super user (expert) managing their program.
  • Monitor the ELD reports for miles without an assigned driver, this will be reviewed by officials during a compliance review.
  • To get a return on investment (ROI) on an electronic logging device (ELD), monitor safety and fuel performance and set goals to reduce fleet fleet in idle time and aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding. These are the easiest ways to decrease fuel costs.
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Documents & Templates

Download this file

ELD Short Haul Exception Letter

Download this file

FMCSA Driver’s Guide to Hours of Service