Winter storms and applying the adverse driving conditions exception

HOS rules allow drivers extra two hours with restrictions

Posted February 4, 2016

The recent winter storms that hit the Northeast and Central parts of the United States created poor driving conditions. During certain conditions, drivers, dispatchers, and managers may use the adverse driving conditions exception.

Adverse driving conditions include snow, sleet, fog, other adverse weather conditions, or unusual road and traffic conditions, which were not apparent to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.

With the recent storm activity and the potential of more wintery conditions to come, carriers may want to remind workers on if and when they may use the exception.

How to use the exception

Under federal hours-of-service regulations, a driver who encounters “adverse driving conditions” and because of those conditions cannot complete a run in the maximum time allowed (10 hours for passenger-carrying vehicles, 11 hours for property-carrying vehicles) may drive up to an additional 2 hours to complete the run or find a safe place to stop.

However, drivers are subject to the following limits.

Property-carrying vehicles

The driver of a property-carrying vehicle who encounters adverse conditions may not drive:

  • More than 13 hours following 10 consecutive hours off duty,
  • After having been on duty after the end of the 14th hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty, or
  • If more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver’s last off-duty and/or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 consecutive minutes.

Passenger-carrying vehicles

The driver of a passenger-carrying vehicle who encounters adverse conditions may not drive:

  • More than 12 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty, or
  • After he/she has been on duty 15 hours following 8 consecutive hours off duty.

Special Report: Supervisor's Guide to Hours of ServiceJ. J. Keller's Special Report: Supervisor's Guide to Hours of Service helps motor carrier supervisors gain a better understanding of the hours of service regulations, including recent changes to 34-hour restart.


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