What is Hours of Service (HOS)

Compliance is a crucial concern when managing a successful fleet. As fatigue-related incidents can harm your fleet and other road users, monitoring your vehicle’s on and off hours is crucial to improving safety and productivity.

Hours of service (HOS) is the maximum hours commercial vehicle drivers are permitted to be on duty. Learn how businesses can leverage MiX's HOS compliance solutions.

What is Hours of Service?

In a nutshell, Hours of Service refers to the maximum amount of time drivers are allowed to be on the road, including driving time and rest periods. HOS is implemented to prevent fatigue and ensure that drivers are well-rested and alert while on the road. 

Despite HOS compliance being compulsory for all fleets, it can have multiple benefits for your business and its operations, such as:

  • Centralized user interface: Making driver monitoring simple, operators can utilize a single interface to stay in the loop regarding driver performance. 
  • Improved fatigue management: Streamlining the fatigue management process makes safety a priority while lowering risk and potential liabilities.  
  • Safer operations: Monitoring driver fatigue improves road safety for your drivers and other road users.
  • Paperless solution: Making the switch to electronic solutions allows for more accurate and efficient driver management, saving you time and money.
  • Optimal compliance: Utilizing a HOS solution ensures all Health, Safety, and Environmental (HSE) requirements are being met.

What does on-duty time mean? 

One may think that being on-duty time just refers to driving but it also includes the following activities, which count towards a driver’s HOS:

  • Inspecting or servicing their vehicle
  • Waiting to be dispatched
  • Supervising a vehicle while it's being serviced
  • Loading and unloading their vehicle
  • Going for drug or alcohol tests
  • Doing paid work for alternative employers
  • Doing work outside of their regular role for the carrier

What are the Hours of Service laws?

Hours of Service was implemented by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the lead government agency responsible for regulating and providing safety guidelines for commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). 

The FMCSA aims to reduce the number of crashes on the road, and prevent injuries and fatalities, specifically for large trucks and buses. They regulate national roadways by working with local states and governments, industry experts, and safety officials to educate businesses on these regulations and enforce these regulations. 

The American Department of Transportation (DOT) stipulates the amount of time drivers can work per day and per week. These regulations differ depending on whether the driver is operating a property-carrying vehicle or a passenger-carrying vehicle. 

Property-Carrying Driver Regulations

11-Hour Driving Limit

Drivers may drive a maximum of 11 hours after they’ve had 10 consecutive hours off duty within a 14-hour period.

14-Hour Limit

This regulation prohibits driving past the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend over the 14-hour period.

30-Minute Driving Break Rule

Drivers must take a 30-minute long break after driving for 8 consecutive hours without a break. 

60/70-Hour Limit

Drivers are prohibited from driving after they’ve worked for 60/70 hours over 7/8 consecutive days. However, the driver may resume duty after they’ve taken 34 hours or longer off duty. 

Sleeper Berth Provision

This provision enables drivers to split their required 10-hour off-duty period up, as long as one off-duty period (whether it is during the sleeper berth or not ) is at least 2 hours long and the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours spent off-duty. It is mandatory that sleeper berth periods add up to at least 10 hours in total. When used together, neither time period counts towards the maximum 14-hour driving window.

Adverse Driving Conditions

Drivers are allowed to extend the 11-hour maximum driving period and 14-hour on-duty limit by up to 2 hours when they find themself in adverse driving conditions.

Short-Haul Exception

The short-haul exemption stipulates that certain fleets may be exempt from using ELDs to track their drivers’ activities. This is intended to guide short-haul drivers, who drive shorter distances and thus spend less time on the road. Additionally, drivers who use the short-haul exemption are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS).

Passenger-Carrying Driver Regulations

10-Hour Driving Limit

Passenger-carrying vehicles have a slightly shorter driving limit compared to property carriers. They may drive for 10 hours max after 8 consecutive hours off duty. 

15-Hour Limit

Passenger carriers are prohibited from driving after being on duty for 15 hours, after 8 hours on duty. Off-duty time does not extend over the 15-hour period.

60/70-Hour Limit

Similar to property-carrying drivers, passenger carriers are prohibited from driving after they’ve worked for 60/70 hours over 7/8 consecutive days

Sleeper Berth Provision

Passenger carriers using the sleeper berth provision must take at least 8 hours in the sleeper berth, but it may be split into two periods provided neither break is less than 2 hours. All sleeper berth pairings need to add up to at least 8 hours.

Adverse Driving Conditions

Drivers are allowed to extend the 10-hour maximum driving period and 15-hour on-duty limit by up to 2 hours when they find themself in adverse driving conditions.

Short-Haul Exception

This exemption is the same for both types of drivers. As mentioned, short-haul exemption imposes that certain fleets may be exempt from using ELDs to track their drivers’ activities. This is intended to guide short-haul drivers, who drive shorter distances and thus spend less time on the road. Additionally, drivers who use the short-haul exemption are not required to keep records of duty status (RODS). 

The Importance of HOS Compliance

Implementing HOS regulations was essential as 10% to 25% of all road accidents are fatigue-related and directly correlate with the number of hours drivers spend on the road. 

At the crux of the matter, a fatigued driver is not just a danger to your fleet but to all road users, and it can lead to your company spending a great deal of money on repair and insurance fees. What’s more, when a vehicle is out of action due to a fatigue-related incident, it creates a significant dip in productivity, which also loses your business money over time. Remember, a safe fleet is an efficient fleet. 

On the other hand, not adhering to compliance regulations could also land your business in hot water legally. If a driver or company is found to be violating HOS regulations, their operations could be shut down until the driver takes the stipulated time off. Furthermore, a driver violating HOS regulations could be fined anywhere from $1,100 to $16,000 per violation. 

If a company’s violations happen on a recurring basis, they are displaying negligence regarding their drivers’ and operational safety, leading them to face criminal charges if matters escalate. 

How do you record Hours of Service?

Hours of service are recorded on electronic logging devices or ELDs. The ELD Mandate was enacted in December 2017 and was instituted by the FMCSA. The Mandate calls for commercial motor vehicle drivers to electronically track their Record of Duty Status (RODS), using compliant ELDs in place of paper logbooks.

Complying with the ELD Mandate has many unanticipated benefits on business operations, this includes: 

  • Lower crash rates: As HOS closely monitors fatigue, it helps prevent fatigue-related crashes.
  • Better planning: As fleet managers are constantly aware of their driver’s behavior and performance, they are able to better plan around their schedules and dispatch times. 
  • Less paperwork: Not having to manually fill out paper logbooks will save your driver heaps of time, streamlining operations.

Verifying and Enforcing Hours of Service

HOS compliance is verified and enforced with the aforementioned ELD. The ELD creates a digital record of a driver’s activity automatically, ensuring they have as few distractions as possible so that they can focus on the road. 

MiX’s ELDS are fitted as a part of our Hours of Service solution and is fully FMCSA compliant. 

MiX Telematic’s ELD system:

  • Is secure and tamper-resistant
  • Captures location data at ignition, when the ignition is turned off, when the vehicle moves, and every hour as regulated. 
  • Connects and syncs to the vehicle’s engine
  • Displays each driver's duty status as it changes in a graph/grid format
  • Detects any errors or malfunctions within the system and automatically records them
  • Makes data transfer easy via USB

MiX’s HOS Solutions

At MiX we know the safety and compliance of your fleet are your main priorities, which is why we offer an Hours of Service solution. This HOS solution enables fleet managers to efficiently monitor a driver’s on-duty time. 

With this solution, operators can track their assets as well as unsafe driver behaviors such as speeding, harsh braking, and rapid acceleration. Using real-time insights, operators can then help the driver improve their performance, thus improving overall fleet safety.

Additionally, when used in tandem with an ELD and fleet management software that hosts integrated in-cab video, like MiX Fleet Manager, you can gather insight into your driver’s activity. Our HOS solutions deliver real-time insight notifications regarding performance. 

MiX’s HOS solutions benefit fleet operators as well because it helps them to meet compliance regulations across different states, using online methods to simplify adherence to HOS rules. This solution is designed to minimize interference with the driver while on the road, reducing safety risks and enabling operators to improve overall efficiency while reducing fatigue risks.

The software benefits drivers as well, as they can utilize it to log their on and off-duty hours automatically with no fuss. Moreover, they can use any footage captured as evidence in accident reconstruction for insurance purposes.

Learn more about Hours of Service.

A fully-implemented and supported MiX Telematics solution is guaranteed to improve driver safety and reduce accident rates while also lowering risk, liability and cost.

All content © MiX Telematics | Terms & ConditionsPrivacy Notice | Email Disclaimer