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New FMCSA rule cuts drivers’ weekly hours

| December 22, 2011

Truckers will have fewer hours per week to work under a new hours of service rule announced Dec. 22 by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

The long-awaited revision from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires two early morning four-hour rest periods with the 34-hour restart, and does not change the 11-hour driving limit during one shift.

Drivers and companies must comply with the final rule by July 1, 2013.

Drivers cannot drive after working eight hours without first taking a break of at least 30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute break whenever they need rest during the eight-hour window.

The final rule retains the current 11-hour daily driving limit.  FMCSA had previously favored a reduction to 10 hours. The agency says it will continue to analyze risk data associated with the 11 hours of driving time.

The rule requires truck drivers who maximize their weekly work hours to take at least two nights’ rest – from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. The proposed rule had called for two periods of midnight to 6 a.m.

This rest requirement is part of the rule’s 34-hour restart provision that allows drivers to restart the clock on their work week by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. The final rule allows drivers to use the restart provision only once during a seven-day period.

Under the old rule, drivers could work 70 hours in five days, do the restart, and begin work again. Hours could average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period when figured over several weeks. The new HOS final rule, with the restart restricted to once every seven days, limits a driver’s work week to an average of 70 hours.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association complained that a “one-size-fits-all” approach will not improve safety.

“Collectively, the changes in this rule will have a dramatic effect on the lives and livelihoods of small-business truckers. The changes are unnecessary and unwelcome and will result in no significant safety gains,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

“The hours-of-service regulations should instead be more flexible to allow drivers to sleep when tired and to work when rested and not penalize them for doing so,” Spencer said. “It’s the only way to reach significant gains in highway safety and reduce non-compliance.”

The American Trucking Associations said in a release it is frustrated and disappointed the government issued an “unjustified final rule governing hours-of-service that will do nothing to improve highway safety, but will very likely increase the risk of truck-involved crashes.”

“For the first time in the agency’s history,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves, “FMCSA has chosen to eschew a stream of positive safety data and cave in to a vocal anti-truck minority and issue a rule that will have no positive impact on safety.”

Michael Campbell, executive vice president and CEO of the California Trucking Association said, “At a time when our roads are safer than ever before, it makes no sense to impose rules that will force more trucks onto the roads at peak drive times thus raising the risk of crashes and increasing congestion and emissions from all vehicles. California roads currently boast the lowest number of deaths in truck-involved crashes in the nation at less than one per million miles traveled.”

Companies and drivers that commit egregious violations of the rule could face the maximum penalties for each offense. Trucking companies that allow drivers to exceed the 11-hour driving limit by three or more hours could be fined $11,000 per offense, and the drivers themselves could face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense.

“This final rule is the culmination of the most extensive and transparent public outreach effort in our agency’s history,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro. “With robust input from all areas of the trucking community, coupled with the latest scientific research, we carefully crafted a rule acknowledging that when truckers are rested, alert and focused on safety, it makes our roadways safer.”

The hours rule was changed in 2003 and 2005, making this the third alteration in eight years.

The rule is being sent to the Federal Register today and is currently available here.

  • Jerry Mock

    What else is new…the government sticking its nose into a business it has NO idea of how it operates or what it takes to operate!
    Who wants to operate during daylight hours with other daily traffic, increasing the risk of acciddents?
    I would think the opposite should be true and that is to operate when the traffic is less!

  • d harris

    Why will the fmcsa not listen to the drivers th at are doing the job?

  • m.

    Well maybe we should all shut down and let these people figure out how to get stuff done on there own.

  • P B

    When are these jerks ever going to get it through their heads that we aren’t children and we don’t need the Feds. to tell us how to drive and when to take a rest. Maybe they want to tell us when to go potty and come and tuck us in at night as well. These idiots haven’t got a clue about anything anymore.

  • shawn cargal

    if we are gonna be ruled by a communist goverment then why dont doctors,lawers,farmers and everybody else have to be regulated how long you can work? i love my country but i hate my goverment!!!!!!!!!!

  • shawn cargal

    yes sir

  • Kevin Westbrook

    That will never happen cause the big companies like J.B.,Swift,and schneider won’t support it.I think those assholes in Washington need to get in a truck and see what it’s like before they mess with the truckers.

  • Maria

    Sounds like a plan. What are they thinking?

  • John Vermillion

    Thank God I retired last year and don’t have to put up with the government’s stupidity any long.They let people make rules that have no idea what it’s like to be a driver,they should make them live on the road with a driver for a month then they would see what their stupidity does to people’s live’s.They want you to drive when your tired and sleep when your wide awake then they bitch because driver’s have accident’s.

  • Mustang

    Ray LaHood is an idiot, these aholes in DC do not have a clue as to what drivers need as far as rest and what causes fatigue. Sitting in your truck even longer away from home worrying about the money you’re losing and how you’re going to feed your family is more fatiging than driving twelve more hours a week. LaHood, Ferro, and all FMCSA people are IDIOTS

  • Dave

    A vote for Ron Paul is a vote against this sort of foolishness

  • heavy haul

    THE ONLY THING THAT WILL EVER WORK IS A ALL TRUCK SHUT DOWN UNTIL THEY LISTEN TO US.. We all talk about it but we never do it afraid of losing a customer or loss of money.. The way I see it we will be losing money any way ( 12hrs = about 675 miles or a load or two a week for regional movers) add that up for a year!!! If we dont act the only choice our shippers will have is to add trucks more truck means more chances of saftey issues more trucks = more pollution more fuel consumption higher fuel prices!!!

  • Mike “RED”

    I sure as hell would like to know when these idiots in our goverment (fmcsa specificly ) are going to grow a set a balls and and do the right the right thing for a change, the previous rules worked great,the trucking industrys safty rating is the best in the world, but these idiots cant see that i have driven for 30 yrs 4.5 million miles no accidents i pride myself in being a very very safe driver as of now i no longer drive. I quit iam tired of getting kicked in the teeth for doing a very good job for this country and i,am very sure i,am not alone in that feeling, ray lahood and all the other assholes in the fmcsa and all the gd so called safty advocates can kiss my ass!!

  • Shawn

    As a local driver, the 70 hour max rule doesn’t affect me as much as it will affect the over-the-road drivers. But what does really screw me up is the two night rest period. I work graveyards so that rule effectively removes 800 dollars a month from my income because I usually work 6 days a week. So the “safety” groups got what they wanted. But I bet that they won’t be happy and a new lawsuit will follow shortly.

  • roger wheeler

    OMG these friggin idiots have no idea what this is going to do to the industry and also the cops trying to inforce the change. I swear I am so ready to just hang it up I can’t take much more of there BS.

  • Thomas Duncan

    IT IS TRUCKING NOT OFFICE WORK OR A @#$@$#$%$ FACTORY Job,keep caving in to busy bodies and unions and watch the wrecks happen.Narrowing a drivers ability to decide for himself how to do his day and disaster looms!It is NOT fatigue you deceitful Bastards,it is trying to run humans like robots.I am so tired of this baby sitter attitude this govt. has,sick of it 30 years and more of this crap!

  • Thomas Duncan

    I have never obeyed the stupid laws because they are unsafe,never hurt anyone no wrecks,With technology today the ability is there to moniter your every move.The only reason the roads are safe is because experienced drivers know to discard the rules and drive their way which is safer.Where is the media and why are they not talking to truckers(not just drivers)to get the straight scoop?every time they interview someone they search out the slowest prospect they can find for a comment.

  • Bad Oscar

    As long as Paper pushers can make the rules for the Workers, Drivers well have this mentality that caves into any LAWYER or Orginazation that believes they no better then the Individual who has YEARS of experience, Ive never had a ticket, or accident or freight claim yet Im treated as If I dont understand the laws or If Im tired I should sleep, How about we pass some laws that enforce driver detention pay, or make shippers keep appointments, the time wasted weekly by many drivers waiting to pick up or unload is far worse, Lahood is an Idiot, His Lackys and fellow Corporate pencil pushers are Idiots, There arent enough quality, professional drivers lets make it harder now to retain them, add some CSA, Sleep Apnea, EOBRs, On Board Video and NO CELL PHONES and we all might as well park em. Maybe what truckers in this country need is some backbone to say GET OFF OUR BACK AND OUT OF MY TRUCK, If my driving record is good, I dont need the Governemtn to attempt to Improve my quality of Life. BAH HUMBUG LAHOOD !!!!!

  • Ruben Madrid

    I have been driving for 16 years thanks the Lord never had a major accident. I’m a owner/op.; with own authority. And the only thing this will do to me is cutting my income. It will not help to get more rest this country is becoming more and more a comunist country I agree with all of you they want to tell us even when to go to the bathroom. I will support stopping our trucks and let them drive!.

  • David Stewart

    The bleeding hearts the government is listening to are funded by the railroad, it used to scroll across the bottom of the screen on their commercials.
    The other side of this goes right along with the current regimes policy of, We won the election and we will do what we want and you will live with it. So far everyrhing the people have come out against they have passed anyway.
    It is time the people reminded them that they are just employees and the people are the boss and they will do what they are told.
    Lahood and the fmcsa have just undone what we have worked to accompolish for the last twenty years.
    You will see another exodus of the experienced drivers form the industry and we will be left with the school graduates who havent figured out that you learn from the older drivers and you learn something new everyday or that truck will kill you and other people.
    We have until july of 2013 to get this corrected before we have to comply but it will be a fight.

  • Tony Calvert

    Well once again we’ve sat back and bitched at each other rather than did something constructive. We can gripe and complain about the FMSCA all we want but the truth is we keep voting/or not voting and refuse to stand up in a real unified manner and use out unified voices.
    all the whining and complaining in truckstops and on web sites is just that whining.
    You guys/gals need to grow some backbone and quit this!!! Take a stand! Unified we get something / divided we are just bitching!!
    This whole hrs of service things just bizarre to me-it’s so simple to fix !
    12 on and 12 off

  • danny roberson

    i been working the 70 hr week since i started driving didnt know you could do 82 hrs in a week

  • Michael

    I think this new HOS thing is confusing. These people in the government need to be experienced truck drivers in order to be one of the people making up this stupid confusing bullshit rules. I also believe that if all of us truckers just saif the hell with everyone and every last one of us stopped driving as sort of a strike against this crap that eventually they would freak out if they didn’t get their clothes and food and whatnot.

  • Michael O. Grimard Sr

    That a new one for me, I did not know that we could work 82 a week. I always the 70 hours rule. I know of the 60 hours and 70 hours rule, were did the 82 hour come from. What can i say i just a truck diver

  • Tony Calvert

    Back to my comments-
    My idea is simple-12 on duty and 12 off duty for singles – and a mandatory 72 consecutive hrs off after 120 in 10 days.
    Teams split 6 on and 6 off-can anyone acually stay in a sleeper 10 hrs in a moving truck?? Not me!

  • David Bliss

    Lets see if I got this rigth… Safest hwy in how long? And now you want to do what? A doctor can work 24 hrs straight during an operation to save someone’s life, though he can’t think for himself after 16 hrs straight.. A patrol officer works an average of 16 hr shifts and uses a laptop while driving..lawyers work round the clock to change laws they know nothing about..Why is it that our bodies are suppose to work like robots and everyone else;s isn’t? I been a driver for 16 yrs, an o/o for 14, and my own athority for 6 yrs. Have had 0 claims or accidents in over 14 yrs. Someone please tell me what I am doing wrong. LaHood climb in a truck for wk..see how we are trated at the shippers and recievers, see who cuts who off on the hwy, see who’s not home on the wkend or holidays, see who has more patience than most and gets treated like you are less than.. We put up with alot to keep this country moving,just like others who keep it safe. Give us the same respect that you want, let us work when we are able NOT when someone else thiks it is.. We know are how are bodies work YOU don’t!!

  • Mike LaVigne

    If you act like children then the nanny state will dictate how you work..And they did throw in a thirty minute potty break..

  • Craig Hansen

    Get used to being screwed by the government boys! I have 32 years out here and it is a mix of local and OTR. The government has regulated fuel to the point my old (1998) Detroit will barely run without some kind of additive to put back what I pay extra for them to take out per EPA regs. And the new engines, well most of them require hog piss(urea or DEF fluid) to meet regs, HOG PISS!!!!!!!!!Hours of service changes so many times…who can keep up. On board recorders…might as well all be converted to non thinking meat in the seat steering wheel holder robots.These EORB are just there so DOT and lawyers have another tool in the arsenal against us drivers(the safest in the world BTW) and can use them to check our logs or as a means of extracting more money in a law suit. The good times of making money in this business are nearly over, too many folks have put their hand in our pocket. Have you ever stopped to figure out how much it costs to put a truck and trailer on the road,what with plates, permits, 2290, UCR, IFTA, rising insurance costs, rising fuel prices, tire costs too, then some high school kid working at a brokers office offers freight for $1.00 to $1.50 a mile that either needs tarped or some other special services and can’t understand why I need more!!!!!! I got a buck a mile back in 70’s when fuel was .29 9/10 a gallon. Oh sure I get almost twice the mileage I used to but at nearly $4.00 a gallon we have too. Perhaps the answer is simple here….put a few ex-truckers in office and at FMSCA maybe then the boys in the suits will loosen the ties and let some blood get to the brain and make a few smart decisions. I am one of lucky ones, I have lived through the “good times” in our industy and am damn glad for it, things will only get better when we vote out idiots and make our voices heard at FHWA and FMCSA. By the way ATA does NOT represent my views and never has, The ATA is NOT truckers who work out on the road its CEO’s, CFO’s,and other reps from large companies who stand to profit by choking us litte guys out. Wise up, Drive safe, and Merry Christmas!

    P.S. Christmas is my holiday, if you find it offensive then shut up and go have your own celebration, Christ is my Savior and I am not giving Him up for your petty sensibilities. You have your rights and I have mine. This is the United States of America and that is how it works here ….get over it or get out!

  • Jeff Clark

    Just read the new rule on the FMCSA websire. It is really well organized and easy to read. i don’t like the new 34 hour restart rule. But, I understand their reasoning. It does not take effect until 2013. Hoefully, we can get them to amend it. Wish they had given us flex on the 14 hour rule that they were considering.

  • Domenic DiMento

    I don’t have a problem with the new rule personally. I already operate somewhat, within these hrs. anyway. But, to make it mandatory for all truckers to take an early morning break at least twice a week, seems impossible, due to lack of parking. The majority of drivers, drive during the day and rest through the night and early morning hrs. and already face a parking dilema. There is a minority that prefer to drive at night and rest during daylight hrs. to have both groups trying to find parking during the same 4 hr. window seems impossible.

  • Domenic DiMento

    Furthermore, I know the FMCSA is focused on safety. If they really want to make a difference on the highways of this country, they should start educating the average driver as to whats going on out here. Most of them don’t have a clue. Just because they pass a driving test, doesn’t make them good drivers. It’s already been proven that the average driver cause more accidents than CDL drivers do. Start regulating them, and leave us CDL drivers free to do our jobs.

  • Gil

    I see it as the fmcsa has handed all of us a pay cut in the name of safety.

  • Old scrappy

    Until we all get enough balls to stand together and make a stand against this type of crap they are just going to keep walking over us.Hell we’re easy money to them they know we are to chick in-shit to stand up to them so they do what they want.Come on people we have to make this stop

  • john deninger

    The Only Way to get these safety groups and the fmcsa out of our business..Is to get congress to take this up..make the changes we need..and make it LAW…

  • Jeff

    Im glad I sold my trucks last april. Just like the military they generalize everything. Some drive better at night. Everyone is different. All they do now is force drivers to drive tired!!!! I felt so much safer when i could pull over and sleep and not cut my self short on drive time. Id sleep 5 drive 5 sleep 5 drive 6 and stay within my 11 and never once drove tired!!

  • Ronnie Hughes

    This is enough of the old BS,WE SHOULD ALL QUIT AND TELL THEM TO SHOVE IT.


    “the culmination of the most extensive and transparent public outreach effort”
    More propaganda!
    The only fatal i’ve recently seen was caused by a fool in a car cutting off a truck causing it to flip and burn resulting in the death of the driver and his pregnant girlfriend minding their own business @ 6:30am on 95 in CT.INSANE!
    Don’t worry folks. This just means the rates will go up for everybody and we will get more money for working fewer hours RIGHT??
    And will our friends from South of the Border have to follow these rules too???

  • Stray-Cat


  • Chet Showalter

    If independent truckers had a lick of sense along with a little backbone, we could shut down the system and make a difference.

    We could bring to light all the unfair, unjustified rules and regulations including state by state rules that differ for no reason other than to discourage competition and efficiency, the HOS rules that put more trucks on the road at peak traffic times and all the other baloney that restricts our livelihood and actually works against road safety.

    In this age of instant communication (and before the gov. enacts internet “rules” for our “safety” that would circumvent our plans, which they would probably label “terrorist”) We could get enough owner operators to pull it off.

    What are we waiting for!???

  • earl ullom

    they need to get there heads out of there but 58 years drivering

  • viper

    look i dont like the feds. buy you have to admit that there is drivers that r as rouge as hell. we have bad drivers out there as well as good ones. do as the feds say or they can make your life as bad as they want.a shut down get real, big companys wont do it and indpt drivers dont have the ass/or balls to do it .quit bitchen like a girl

  • Joe DeArmitt

    Quit Bitchin about it and do some thing about it!!!!! PARK THEM UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE!!!! for the change we need NOT them

  • jim wise

    I hope all trucking companies will increase their rates by 12 percent to offset the money the idiots sitting behind the desks just took out of our pockets. The idiots don’t even have the brains to realize they just increased our day on the road by 30 minutes.

  • safetrucker

    AMEN brother and A MERRY CHRISTMAS to you

  • gonzo

    we finally get going with the last change, the country is in financial disaster and they think it’s a good idea to spend who knows how much to fix something that’s not broken. they should leave it alone and fix the whitehouse. just let them truckers roll 10-4

  • Todd

    This why I want out of this business after 27 years the regulations get worse and worse I hate it anymore

  • A379drvr

    Michael, you can be ‘on duty’ 14 hour sand take your ten hour break and run 14 again. If you start at 8 AM monday, at 10 PM Friday, you will have 70 hours in…take 36 consecutive off and you can run 14 hours Sunday…that 84 hours in 7 days.

  • A379drvr


  • A379drvr

    having a senior moment…84 in 8 days

  • Steve

    I suppose I can as easily ignore the latest missive from FMCSA as well as I have ignored the rest for the past 25 years of accident free driving. Remember folks, most DOT officers aren’t that smart and are easily fooled. KEEP ON TRUCKIN’!!!! strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.