The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and its state enforcement partners have developed regulations they claim benefit drivers by giving them an increased opportunity to obtain necessary rest and sleep while recognizing the operational realities of the trucking industry. They claim the new rules will improve highway safety and help reduce the number of commercial crashes and related injuries and deaths.
The hours-of-service regulations govern drivers transporting freight in interstate commerce in property-carrying commercial vehicles with a gross weight rating (GWR) of 10,001 pounds or more, and operating vehicles carrying hazardous materials in quantities requiring vehicle placards.
Rules for the driver's daily log (record-of-duty status form) are unchanged for truck drivers.
Hours-of-Service summary high-lights:
Waiting time at a terminal, plant, port or wharehouse is now considered ON-DUTY. This is a major change and potentially reduces available daily driving time. Time spent loading and un-loading may be charged back to the shippers and receivers, however, as an independent owner-operator you will need to negotiate this in advance. What is a “reasonable” loading and un-loading time in one industry is not in another. Weather may also be a factor even though loading and un-loading is a planned routine. Take a clue from the insurance companies policies and define “acts of God” for what will and will not be paid.
OFF-DUTY time during the day (or night) – meal-times logged as off-duty time – does not extend the 14-hour on-duty time. Off-duty breaks do not extend the 14-hours on-duty time, however, time logged as off-duty is not calculated in the 60/70- hours WEEKLY on-duty time. Whenever a driver has completed a 34-consecutive-hour off period, he may re-start the 60/70 hour on-duty week.
Hours-of-service regulations include Canadian and Mexican drivers, and any commercial driver driving with the U.S.A.; even if a driver is driving for a foreign-owned company, they must follow the hours-of-service and keep current daily logs for the 7/8 consecutive day periods.
The FMCSA (federal motor carrier safety act) is a separate administration within the U.S. Department of Transportation.
There are 4 regional centers, the headquarters being located in Washington, D.C. The federal address is:
200 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590
The FMCSA's mission is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving commercial trucks and buses. It's responsible for the hours-of-regulation compliance. The other FMCSA programs related to owner-operators are:
http://fmcsa.dot.gov/ntc (training materials related to the
different programs, in English and Spanish.