A Brief History of the Hours of Service Regulations

Since the 1930’s, when roads were beginning to be paved and the trucking industry started receiving a significant foothold in the United States economy, the industry has seen countless changes in regulations.

The first significant regulations were passed in 1938 when the “Hours of Service” was implemented. One year later, in 1939, changes were made again and a driver was expected to take an 8-hour break after a 10-hour driving shift.

The regulations did not change again until 1962 when a driver was still allowed 10 hours driving-time with on-duty time restricted to 15 hours before required to take an 8-hour break.

From that point, the regulations did not change again until 2003.

In 2003 the driving-time was increased to 11 hours, but a driver had only 14 hours to squeeze in the driving time before having to take a 10-hour break, which had increased 2 hours.

Those regulations remained intact until 2013 when a 34-hour restart was added, allowing drivers to reset their 70-hour work limitations within an 8-day period.

Throughout this time, the Hours of Service was kept on paper logs or a carrier could make the change to Electronic on Board Records (EOBR), an electronic version of paper logs.

Over recent years, more and more carriers have been moving to the EOBR’s to eliminate the possibility of drivers making errors on their hours that could be discovered by the law enforcement community, resulting in fines and poor safety scores.

Changes in 2017: The ELD Mandate

The next major change came in December 2015 when the United States Congress passed the “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” bill or MAP-21.  That bill included a provision requiring the FMCSA to develop a rule mandating the use of Electronic Logging Devices or “ELD’s”.

An ELD is used to electronically record a driver’s Record of Duty Status which replaces paper logbooks.  Fleets have until December 2017 to implement certified ELDs to record HOS, but not many carriers are prepared for the switch.

In a May 2017 Webinar about ELD’s, the question was asked of the carriers:

“How many already have the ELD’s implemented?”

The survey results showed that with only 7 months left, approximately 50% of the carriers did not have ELDs implemented, but were beginning to start the process of implementation.

With a large number of carriers in the implementation stage, ELD suppliers will experience problems getting units to carriers on time by December 2017.

The steps carriers should take to comply with the ELD mandate:

  • Research ELD suppliers and choose the unit you want and establish whether or not the supplier can get them delivered with sufficient time to implement prior to the December deadline.
  • Once installed, your employees will likely experience a learning curve with the drivers converting from paper logs to ELD’s. Manage this learning curve with training.
  • Part of training must prepare the driver for trip planning and recording on the ELD.
  • Carriers must play a part in the strategic trip planning to give drivers ample time to deliver on time and keep them from being stranded a few miles from home.
  • Educate your shippers about the regulations and any impact ELD’s might have on meeting customer delivery requirements.
  • You will need to train Safety Departments and dispatchers on how to use the Software to monitor Hours of Service under the ELD mandate.

What impact will a carrier’s customers have on helping a driver efficiently use their driving time?

  • Shipping docks must work to reduce wait time for drivers.
  • Extended delays at docks will reduce on-duty and drive time for drivers.
  • Shippers must understand the firm limitations of drivers and plan accordingly. 

Trucking 2017: Why Is All of This Important?

The new implementation of the ELD mandate, for the use of tracking available working hours and driver efficiency, is very important.

Regulations are not changing as of now. However, the way drivers record their daily statuses will change. This change will be strictly enforced and necessary for the survival of your trucking company.

The current Hours of Service regulations are:

  • A driver has 14 hours available in between mandatory 10-hour breaks.
  • In the available 14 hours, a driver has 11 hours of driving-time.
  • There must be a 30-minute break for every 8 hours on duty.
  • A driver can use the 34-hour restart (34 consecutive hours) to reset his/her 70 hours limitations in an 8-day period.

To learn more about the Hours of Service Regulations, carriers, drivers can research the Federal Motor Carrier website or contact one of your carriers.

About BR Williams: 

With humble beginnings back in 1958, BR Williams has grown into an award-winning supply chain management company servicing all 48 contiguous states and Canada. With facilities in Anniston (2), Oxford, Piedmont, Eastaboga, Mobile and Tallahassee, FL, BR Williams supports over 2550 customers across the Distribution, Logistics and Transportation divisions. Industries served: automotive, defense, home improvement, education, food raw materials, textiles, chemical, industrial packaging, metals (finished goods), highway safety and more. 

To discuss your Distribution, Logistics or Transportation Services options, please contact Matt Nelson at matt.nelson@brwilliams.com or (800)-523-7963.