There’s very limited information regarding fleet conditions before Hours of Service regulations were introduced in the 1930s. However, we can look to other industries and examine their resulting tragedies. Consider the fires and prolific child labor within the garment industry that occured before regulations were introduced.
While the garment and fleet industry are very different, there’s much to be said about learning from history.While neither of these issues are likely to occur in fleet situations, we should examine the issues drivers deal with on a daily basis.
High demand, the rush to fulfill orders, and the constant expectation for drivers to work overtime make it essential to mitigate risk via regulations.
The 1930s was a tumultuous time. It was the era of the Great Depression, mob crime, and Bonnie and Clyde. But it was also the era of rising government power and attempts to control the populace. The most prominent displays of this are in Prohibition, the 18th Amendment, and the New Deal. Labor and economic regulations rose steadily throughout much of the early 1900s. Perhaps the first HoS rules were simply rolled into the rising call for regulations.
While we don’t have the data to show exactly what served as the catalyst for HOS regulations, drivers today enjoy stability as a result. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how HoS regulations have changed and how your fleet company can avoid HoS fines.
The History Hours of Service Violation Regulations
The earliest regulations requiring rest for truck drivers were implemented in 1935 by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). Under these regulations drivers were allowed to work for 12 hours at a time, within a 15-hour period. They also required 9 hours of rest and 3 cumulative hours for breaks. In addition, they added a cap of 60 hours available to drive within a workweek of seven days. If these standards sound familiar, it’s because there’s been little change since they were first introduced.
Organized labor did petition a few years later, hoping to reduce daily and weekly hour limits. Their efforts were unsuccessful, and regulations didn’t change until 1962.
At that time, rules shifted to allow a drive of 10 hours within a 15-hour period. But while the ICC lowered the drive time permissible, they also shortened the break period from 9 hours to 8. The alterations allowed drivers to complete a trip in fewer days, but it also meant they were more likely to max out their 60 hours per week. To complicate matters further, lawmakers added a sleeper-berth provision. It allowed drivers to split on-duty time with sleeper time. Again, this allowed them to complete a trip faster, but it meant they had little rest time.
2012 HoS, But They Weren’t Enforced Until 2018
The rules were slightly changed in 1992, and then again with the new ELD mandate in 2012. These new regulations weren’t strictly enforced until April of 2018, when they took full effect. These new regulations were part of the 2012 initiative, MAP-21, to alter highway safety and tolls. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), as part of this bill, created the ELD mandate, which altered HoS rules to allow drivers to work 11 hours within a 14-hour period. They must have a break every 8hours, and there must be a 10-hour break between shifts. This still allows room for drivers to finish a trip faster, but it allows a little more rest time. Also, to ensure compliance, all fleet vehicles must have an authorized ELD device.
Penalties for Violating Hours of Service Rules
- Drivers may be placed on shut down until they have accumulated enough off-duty time to become compliant
- State and local laws may assess fines
- The FMCSA may place penalties on a driver or carrier, ranging from $1,000 to $11,000 per violation
- A carrier's safety rating could ultimately be downgraded
- Potential penalties against carriers who knowingly and willfully allow or require drivers to surpass defined HoS
- Potential penalties against drivers who knowingly and willfully violate the HoS
Compliance Requirement: All Fleet Vehicles Must Have an Authorized ELD Device
What is an ELD device?
An ELD, or Electronic Logging Device, records data about a vehicle. Basic devices record vehicle diagnostics such as engine run time. ELD devices that integrate with telematics software offer other features, such as:
- Idle time records
- Fuel consumption records & trending
- Driver behavior reports
- Engine diagnostics
- Hours of Service
- Route optimization
How do you get an approved ELD device?
Azuga provides an ELD device, referred to as eLogs, that meets or exceeds FMCSA 395.15 regulations for HOS and DVIRs—and it meets all requirements for the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate. An addition to the Azuga Fleet management software, eLogs is simple to use and brings ease and accuracy to log keeping.
How Fleet Managers Can Help Drivers Avoid HoS Violations
In order to avoid DOT HoS violations, research the HoS rules to understand rules and violations. Your drivers should know them just as well as you do, so ensure it’s in their training and onboarding processes. You should also, of course, have an authorized ELD device. It’s the main requirement of the new regulations. But it also helps to solve some of the most common violations during inspections. This includes incomplete paperwork, falsified records, and missing logs.
Knowing the rules and installing ELDs are obvious measures you can take to be compliant. Below are strategies for further reducing the risk of HoS violations:.
Dispatch & Route Optimization
Optimize routes for your drivers to make the most of their time. Instead of getting locked in traffic or detours, they’re taking the fastest path. This means they complete projects faster and won’t get stuck on the road waiting for a reset on their HoS. It also means they’ll be able to get more done within their allotted time. You should also ensure you’re dispatching the nearest driver. Telematics can help with both of these efforts.
Restart the Drive Cycle
HoS regulations include a 34-hour restart rule, which allows your driver to take 34 consecutive hours off to refresh their hours. In other words, after their break, they get a full 60 hour week back. This is a great way to mitigate your risk of violating HoS rules. If you have a telematics system, set HoS parameters for each trip to ensure you don’t go over.
Make Driver Rest Stop Plans
When drivers plan out their stops, they’re able to ensure there’s a place to rest within their HoS limits. It also ensures they don’t get too tired, and helps them stay focused on their route. There are several rest stop locator apps, such as “USA Rest Stop Locator.” Some telematics systems also include rest stop locators in their route optimization. You can also integrate fuel cards with your telematics to identify gas stations along the route that are within your fuel network. You can use these stations as rest stops, or incorporate them into your HoS planning.
Fleet maintenance may not jump to your mind when you think of HoS compliance, but there is a real link. Downtime for vehicle maintenance may trigger a domino effect, increasing the likelihood that your drivers take 30-minute breaks or drive overtime to make up for the downtime. Telematics systems help you track vehicle diagnostics and scheduling to encourage preventative maintenance. By reducing downtime, you can reduce risk of HoS violation.
ELD devices, or eLogs, electronically log driver hours of service. They also ensure you always have accurate logs immediately available for inspections. Drivers and managers can't falsify these records, and they require no manual filing. With an authorized ELD and telematics, you're sure to always stay compliant. Learn more about HoS compliance and ELD devices at Azuga.