Know your rights as a truck driver to enjoy the safe working conditions you deserve. Whether you’re considering a new career as a trucker in Arizona or have been on the road for years, find out how the DOT hours of service changes in 2020 can affect your rights and working conditions. Learn more and search for excellent trucking positions at Duncan and Son Lines.

Hours of Service Defined

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has introduced hours of service changes to take effect on September 29, 2020, hours of service are defined as the time you can legally be required to drive.

These regulations are designed to keep you safe and allow you to have more flexibility with your HOS, Some regulation changes give you the freedom to add a few hours to your day to make up time lost in adverse driving conditions. Other regulations prevent you from driving without proper rest or breaks.

Your Rights As a Trucker

It’s essential to understand how federally regulated hours of service affect your career in Arizona or California. Check out each of these areas to review the driving limits and accommodations you have at your disposal. The following rights describe property-carrying drivers, but passenger-carrying drivers have similar rights and limitations.

Driving Limits

You can be on duty as long as you want but you can’t drive after being on duty 14 hours. This on-duty time can include up to 11 driving hours. You must receive ten consecutive off-duty hours after driving 11 hours this period to sleep and take a break. You may not drive more than 60 hours in seven days or 70 hours in eight days. This time limit restarts after 34 consecutive off-duty hours.

Break Periods

Drivers should take frequent breaks to prevent them from becoming distracted at the wheel. It’s important to take a break if you’re feeling drowsy or losing focus on the road, but you’re only required to take one 30-minute break every eight hours of driving. This break can be off duty, and with these new changes you can be on duty not driving.

Sleeper Berth Exception

The sleeper birth exception allows you to pause your 14 hour clock when you take an off duty period of 2-3 hours as long as it is followed by a sleeper berth period of 7 to 8 hours. For example….2 off duty plus 8 in the sleeper = 10 hours. 3 off duty plus 7 in the sleeper = 10 hours. The two periods combined must equal 10 hours. Any on duty time and driving time that occurred between the two periods must be subtracted from your 11 or 14.

Adverse Driving and Short Haul Information

The federal hours of service regulations also account for unique driving situations. When adverse weather conditions strike, you may find your route seriously delayed. The standard 14-hour on-duty and 11-hour driving times can stall your delivery. If you experience poor driving conditions on the journey, you’re allowed to add up to two hours to both driving and on-duty periods. However, the adverse conditions could not have been foreseen by your or your dispatcher. Heavy traffic during commuting hours or predicted storms are not qualifying events for adverse weather conditions.

Drivers who operate close to home are exempt from many of these regulations. As long as you’re driving within 150 air miles from your regular work location at home, you don’t have to follow many of these hours of service guidelines. These guidelines are primarily to protect drivers who are on the road and away from home. Local route drivers need only to follow the 14-hour on-duty requirement.
Changes in 2020

As of September 29, 2020, the hours of service regulations have been changed. Even if you’re familiar with your rights as a trucker, it’s a good idea to check out the following changes to ensure you know your current rights.
Accelerate Your Career in Trucking

This is just a brief overview of the new hours of service requirements. For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us at Duncan and Son Lines. As a Southern California and Arizona trucking leader, we understand truck drivers’ legal requirements and offer excellent benefits that go above and beyond the legally mandated breaks and time off duty. Start a career as a truck driver or join a trucking team with your best interest in mind.

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