FMCSA's HOS rule at final review stage. Learn more  

Hours of Service (HOS)

In the interest of preventing fatigue-related accidents, the hours-of-service regulations place restrictions on when and for how long drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) may be behind the wheel. Change has been a constant with these complex regulations, with future revisions planned, such as the HOS Final Rule that has an effective date of September 29, 2020.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced four significant changes to the HOS regulations which include:

  • Revisions to the 30-minute break rule for truck drivers so they can remain “on duty” for their breaks and not have to take a break until completing eight hours of driving. Under current rules, drivers must get 30 minutes off duty if they want to drive beyond the eighth consecutive hour of their workday.
  • Revisions to the sleeper-berth exception to allow truck drivers to split their required 10 hours off into two periods, one being at least seven hours in a sleeper berth and the other being at least two hours off (e.g., a 7/3 or 8/2 split) for a total of at least 10 hours. In addition, neither rest period will count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
  • Changes to the “adverse driving conditions” exception to extend by two hours the maximum window of time during which driving is allowed after a driver encounters unexpected weather or traffic conditions. For truck drivers, this means the exception will allow up to 13 hours of driving within a 16-hour window of time, instead of a 14-hour window. Bus drivers will be allowed up to 12 hours of driving within a 17-hour on-duty period, instead of a 15-hour on-duty period.
  • Revisions to the 100-air-mile short-haul exception to lengthen the maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extend the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

Another major change was that most interstate CMV drivers are required to use Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in place of paper logs to record drivers’ hours of service (although backup paper logs are still required). These devices automatically record driving time and certain other data and facilitate the completion of logs. Drivers using older ELog systems must upgrade to the ELD standards by December 16, 2019. Canada has also adopted ELD rules to be implemented in 2021, mirroring U.S. standards.

Requirements for supporting documents were also changed for drivers that must use an ELD or paper logs, affecting most motor carriers and CMV drivers. The rules include specific requirements for the types of supporting documents that must be kept.

As a top supplier of ELDs, log books, training materials, and log auditing solutions, J. J. Keller can help you comply with HOS regulations and keep your CSA scores low. We also offer Canada-specific log books and training that addresses Canadian hours-of-service regulations, as well as logs for oilfield operations and time records for short-haul drivers.

Topics — What You Need to Know

For truck drivers:

After 10 hours off duty, the driver of a property-carrying vehicle may drive for up to 11 hours within a 14-hour window of time, must take a 30-minute break before driving after 8 consecutive hours from the last break of 30-minutes or more, and must stop driving after accumulating 60 or 70 on-duty hours in 7 or 8 days.

Editor's Note: Effective September 29, 2020, this answer will change to reflect that the 30-minute break provision will require drivers to stop driving once they have accumulated eight hours of driving without at least a 30-minute interruption from driving.

For bus drivers:

After 8 hours off duty, the driver of a passenger-carrying vehicle may drive for up to 10 hours within the first 15 on-duty hours of the day, and must stop driving after accumulating 60 or 70 on-duty hours in 7 or 8 days.

For more details, see our HOS training solutions or visit our hours-of-service FAQs.

If a commercial driver uses a CMV for personal use – also known as personal conveyance – the driver may record the time as "off duty" if certain conditions are met. Most importantly, the driver must be relieved from work and all responsibility for performing work. For instance, drivers may use personal conveyance to commute to and from work, or to travel to local restaurants, shops, etc., if authorized by the carrier.

To learn more about personal conveyance, download a compliance brief, read an informational article or review regulatory guidance (opens a new window).

An electronic logging device, or ELD, is a device attached to a commercial vehicle's engine to capture speed, distance and driver location data. The data captured by an ELD device can provide critical assessments of fleet and driver performance, helping companies make decisions to improve operations.

On December 18, 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) began enforcing a new rule requiring all CMVs operating in interstate commerce and subject to the federal logging rules in Part 395 to be equipped with ELD technology unless the device was a grandfathered AOBRD or a device from the ELD registry that used AOBRD software. By December 16, 2019, drivers that used AOBRDs or ELDs with AOBRD software must have upgraded to the technical standards for ELDs.

For more information on the ELD mandate and our electronic logbooks, visit our ELDs, Elogs & Fleet Technology page.

HOS Compliance Solutions

Get solutions to help you comply with HOS requirements – from electronic solutions that save time and ensure compliance to manuals and training that help you understand the regulations.

J. J. Keller® Encompass® Fleet Management System with ELogs

Online system to help achieve HOS compliance. Compatible with iPad®, iPhone® and Android mobile devices.

Hours of Service Management

Compliance guidance based on critical data from ELDs, paper logs, and time sheets.

ELD Backup Log Books

Help you comply with ELD mandate backup logbook requirements.

Driver's Daily Log Books

Help drivers meet duty status requirements when ELogs are not required.

ELD & Hours of Service Training

Get help complying with HOS regulations and ELD requirements. Several formats and specific training topics available.

HOS Handbook: The Complete Guide for CMV Drivers

In-depth, plain-English explanation of all current hours-of-service requirements, for both truck and bus drivers.

J. J. Keller® Electronic Logging Device

A flexible ELog solution. Use with the Encompass® ELD and Android smart devices.

Document Holders & Supplies

Critical log book supplies help your drivers keep their log books protected and calculate their entries accurately.

FMCSA Compliance Manual

Provides comprehensive how-to information on critical topics, including HOS.

Transportation Regulatory Alert Newsletter

Quick-read transportation newsletter delivers the latest fleet safety and compliance news.

DOT Compliance & Safety Program Management Service

Work with a dedicated consultant to improve your safety and compliance through a customized program.