The maximum hours of service (HOS) will be reduced, meaning the maximum number of hours that a driver may operate their equipment goes from 82 hours within one week to 70 hours within one week. The new HOS Rule also prohibits drivers from driving more than eight hours at a time without taking a break for at least thirty minutes. Prior rules had no provisions regarding limitations on minimum 34-hour restarts, but the new rules state that such a restart must include two periods between 1 a.m.-5 a.m. home terminal time, and may only be used once a week. The new HOS rules also place limitations on time resting in a sleeper berth, what constitutes a real rest, and how hours are to be calculated by drivers and companies.
Proponents of the new safety requirements for commercial truck drivers state that reducing the hours a driver is required or even able to work will reduce accidents. The DOT's stated goal is to limit the ability of drivers to work the maximum number of hours currently allowed, or close to the maximum, on a continuing basis to reduce the possibility of driver fatigue."
Critics of the new rules state that they do not go far enough towards meaningful reform of current HOS, and will ultimately have a negative impact on manufacturers' supply chains, distribution operations and productivity, says Jay Timmons, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO.
Penalties to companies who violate the new HOS rule are stiff: up to $11,000 per offense, plus drivers may face fines up to $2,750 per offense.