For the past few years, many commercial truck drivers have been subject to what is called the Hours of Service rule. Enacted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the HOS rule outlines the working and break hours for truckers.
The goal of the HOS rule is to limit trucker fatigue and, thereby, improve safety on the road for all people. At the end of September 2020, some of the provisions of the HOS rule were changed to provide more flexibility for truckers. The impact on safety remains unknown at this time.
Updates to the Hours of Service rule
American Trucker explains that select elements of the Hours of Service rule changed to reduce what many truckers felt were overly restrictive and unreasonable provisions. For example, a trucker designed as a short haul driver was previously limited to working a maximum of 12 hours in one shift. Two extra hours have been added to that now. Similarly, a driver may continue working for an additional two hours when adverse conditions arise.
Requirements for when breaks must be taken and how much time must be spent in a sleeper berth were also amended in the recent changes.
Tracking compliance with the HOS
The FMCSA also enacted a rule that requires drivers covered under the HOS rule to install devices in their rights that electronically track essential data to monitor compliance with the HOS rule. Details such as engine idle time and running time are automatically collected and reported with the electronic logging devices. All devices used must be registered with the FMCSA.