On July 1, 2013 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation) instituted a federal rule change regarding the hours of service for all truck drivers.
New hours of service
The FMCSA instituted these rules to make sure that truck drivers are not driving 20 hours a day, 7 days a week. Much like airline pilots, drivers need a break after extended periods on the road. It’s important to think of these rules as a timeline, and not as a calendar week.
- 70 hours – The total amount of time a driver is able to drive in eight days.
- 11 hours – The maximum number of hours a driver can drive in a day, after 10 hours off-duty.
- 14 hours – The maximum number of hours a driver can work in a day. After a 14 hour work day, a driver cannot drive.
- 10 hours – The amount of off-duty time for drivers between work days.
- 34 hours – Drivers may reset the “70 hour rule” after 34 hours of consecutive, off-duty time.
The new rules for hours of service for commercial drivers
The FMCSA instituted the new changes in an effort to keep drivers on a natural sleep cycle and enhance the rules that are currently in place. The rule changes will reduce the risk of fatigue-related crashes and long-term health problems for drivers. (Click here for more information from the FMCSA regarding the rules changes.)
Updates to the 34 hour restart period.
- A driver’s 34 hour restart period must include two time periods of 1 am – 5 am. This is to make sure the driver is sleeping at night and is fully rested.
- The 34 hour restart period may only be used once per eight day period. Previously, drivers could use the 34 hour restart period whenever they wanted; this is no longer the case.
Rest breaks are now mandatory.
- If a driver has been on-duty for eight hours, they may not drive unless they take a 30 minute break. This means no work of any kind. We recommend our drivers take the time directly after their rest break to perform a vehicle inspection.
How does JK keep track of all this information?
We knew the changes were coming and prepared our drivers so they were ready when the switch happened on July 1st. How did we do it?
- Electronic logs. Our safety team is able to check the logs of every JK driver. This means we know when they should be on-duty and when they are working. If a safety team member notices an issue with a driver’s logs, they will work directly with that driver. Safety is our main concern at JK and we continually reinforce this with our drivers.
- Training. The JK safety team created a training manual of the new rules for the drivers. The manual contains relevant examples so the drivers have a clear understanding of the new rules.