Hours of service (HOS) is a series of FMCSA-issued regulations that administer the driver hours of anyone operating a commercial motor vehicle for interstate commerce. FMCSA's new HOS final rule reduces the maximum number of hours a truck driver can work within a week by 12 hours. Under the old rule, truck drivers could work on average up to 82 hours within a seven-day period. The new HOS final rule limits a driver's work week to 70 hours.
Hours are monitored in order to eliminate driver fatigue and increase productive fleet management. Electronic on-board recorders (EOBRs) help with compliance by recording the amount of hours a vehicle is driven in order to comply with HOS rules.
1. Why the HOS rule now?
The goal of the FMCSA is to reduce long driver hours that increase fatigue-related crashes and long-term health problems for drivers. According to the FMCSA, “a rule cannot ensure that drivers will be rested, but it can ensure that they have enough time off to obtain adequate rest on a daily and weekly basis.” By reducing the number of hours per day drivers can work, the FMCSA aims to minimize fatigue. The rule reduces a driver’s average maximum allowable hours of work per week from 82 hours to 70 hours, a 15% reduction.
2. Which drivers are most likely to be affected by the rule changes?
The rule will mainly affect drivers who work more than 70 hours a week on a continuing basis. These drivers are mostly a subset of long-haul truckload drivers. Truck drivers who rarely work more than 5 days a week are unlikely to be affected.
3. What are the costs and benefits of the rule?
The rule has annual costs of $470 million and benefits that range from $630 million to $750 million, according to the FMCSA. Their best estimate is that the rule will produce net benefits of $160 to $280 million a year.
Now, as promised, answers from last week's quiz:
1. C. 1 billion
2. B. A special gasoline blend comprised of 15% ethanol
3. D. 14%
4. B. 55 mpg
5. C. 3.4 million drivers
6. C. July 1, 2013