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Tractor Trailer / Semi Truck Motor Carrier Regulations

Tractor Trailer Crash / Semi Truck Accident Attorney - Lawyer Philip DeBerardMany things have changed in the motor carrier industry since 1939 when the original hours-of-service (HOS) regulations were prescribed for truck drivers. Our roads are better designed, constructed, and maintained in a nationwide network to provide greater mobility, accessibility, and safety for all highway users. Vehicles have been dramatically improved in terms of design, construction, safety, comfort, efficiency, emissions, technology, and ergonomics. These factors, combined with years of driver fatigue and sleep disorder research, have led to a revision of the HOS regulations for drivers, the most important component of trucks operating on the highway.

Hours of Service Regulation:

These regulations only apply to property carriers and drivers. Passenger carriers and drivers will continue operating under the existing rules while fatigue issues specifi c to the passenger carrier industry are assessed.

  • Drivers may drive up to 11 hours instead of 10 hours, but are limited to 14 hours in a duty period.
  • The 14-hour duty period may not be extended with off-duty time for meal and fuel stops, etc. Only the use of a sleeper berth can extend the 14-hour on-duty period.
  • Each duty period must begin with at least ten hours off-duty, rather than eight.
  • The 60 hours on-duty in 7 consecutive days, or 70 hours on-duty in 8 consecutive days, remains the same, but drivers can “restart” the 7/8- day period by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty.

Sleeper Berth Exception: Drivers may split on-duty time by using sleeper berth periods, but must comply with the new hours-of-service rules. These drivers may accumulate the equivalent of 10 consecutive hours off-duty by taking a combination of at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty and sleeper berth time; or by taking 2 periods of rest in the sleeper berth, provided:

  • Neither period is less than 2 hours;
  • Driving time in the period immediately before and after each rest period when added together does not exceed 11 hours; and
  • The driver does not drive after the 14th hour after coming on duty following 10 hours off-duty, where the 14th hour is calculated by: (A) Excluding any sleeper berth period of at least 2 hours which, when added to a subsequent sleeper berth period, totals at least 10 hours; and (B) Including all on-duty time, all off-duty time not spent in the sleeper berth, all sleeper berth periods of less than 2 hours, and any sleeper berth period not described in paragraph 3(A).

Industry Exceptions: Oil fi eld operations, ground water well drilling operations, construction materials and equipment operations, and utility service vehicle operations must comply with the new 11-hour driving, 10 consecutive hours off-duty, and 14-hours on-duty requirements of the new rule. However, the 24-hour restart provisions applicable to these operations remains in effect.

Agricultural Exemption: Agricultural operations retain their current statutory exemption from driving time requirements for transportation occurring within a 100 air-mile radius of a farm or distribution point during planting or harvesting season within each State, as determined by the State.

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