What you need to know about the latest truck drivers’ hours-of-service rules change

by | May 21, 2021 | truck accidents

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented new hours-of-service (HOS) rules in Sept. 2020. These rules updated how long truckers can lawfully remain on shift and how often they must take breaks. The federal agency updated these regulations in their continued effort to maintain the safety of our nation’s highways.

Truckers must maintain an electronic logbook documenting when they take breaks and how long they’ve been on the road.

Tractor-trailer operator break requirements

The most recent DOT regulation requires truckers to take a 30-minute break after working eight hours. Tractor-trailer operators can count the time that they don’t spend driving as a break under the newly revised rule.

Tractor-trailer operators gained the right to extend their driving window by up to two hours once the new regulations went into effect late last year. The DOT argued that it updated this rule, in part, to account for inclement weather delays.

The latest updates downgraded the sleeper berth requirements to seven hours when the new hours-of-service rules went into effect. The update also permitted tractor-trailer operators to spend at least two hours off-duty either inside or outside their berths with the implementation of these new rules.

The implementation of the new rule extended the workday of long-haul truckers from 12 to 14 hours. It increased the distance short-haul drivers could travel in a single day from 150 air miles, 50 more than before.

Why should a trucker’s log book matter to you?

Law enforcement can ask to see a trucker’s log during a traffic stop or if an accident occurs. Any violations of these regulations could result in a trucker facing civil penalties. A personal injury attorney may also rely on this information to prove a tractor-trailer driver’s liability for a crash.

Preserving evidence is key in any truck accident case. An attorney can advise you of the steps you may need to take to ensure that no one destroys this important evidence..