Proposed Hours of Service Limits Driving to 7 Consecutive Hours

The biggest change in the new proposed hours of service is a 7-hour limit on how long a truck driver can drive without a break. After 7 hours, drivers would be required to take a 30-minute (or longer) break before finishing their driving day.

There is still debate on whether that day will allow for 11 hours like the current hours of service, or go back to a 10 hour maximum drive time like the previous hours of service rules.

There are benefits to taking a break when driving. Getting out of the vehicle and stretching your legs can help get the blood flowing, wake up up, and relieve stress and sore muscles. I can’t say I would object to taking a break, and most days I drove I did take a lunch break somewhere in th middle of the day.

In spite of that, I think this part of the rule is one most truckers will object to, whether they take breaks or not. No one likes to feel like big brother is watching, or have to watch the clock instead of the mile markers to determine where that break will take place.

Another limitation is in the 34-hour rule. The new rule would require drivers to include two nights in their 34-hour break. Again, I have to say this is a good idea, and the way I like to run my days anyway. But it is still hard to have someone looking over your shoulder and mandating that you do it that way.

In truth, I’d be happy enough to give back the 34-hour restart in exchange for the old sleeper berth split.

The real problem is that there is still a 14-hour window that drivers have to complete their work. Now that they have to include a break in the middle, there will only be more pressure to hurry. I think that the “in a hurry” mindset is also a contributing factor to truck accidents. Not as easy to study as hours behind the wheel though.

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