Hours of Service (HOS)

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Hours of Service | DOT Compliance | Steve Talkington Consulting

Hours of service also know as HOS or records of duty status (RODS). Can be a logbook, an ELD, a phone App, or time records.

Exceptions to the Logbook

There are many exceptions to the HOS rules found in part 395.1. The exception that is most widely used is the “Short Haul Exception” or “Short Haul Exemption”, It is often misunderstood. While using the short haul exception a driver may drive 100 nautical miles (as the crow flies) without keeping a logbook or ELD, provided he does not exceed the 100 miles, returns to his work reporting location at the end of the day, does not exceed 12 hours a day, and their time is recorded including the start time the end time and the total time worked a day. 100 nautical miles is approximately 111 statute miles. To say it simply draw 100-mile radius around a work reporting location and know that a driver can go anywhere inside the circle provided he stays within the rules stated above. While travelling interstate he is limited to 11 hours driving but may work 12. When claiming the short haul exception, the driver need only tell an officer that he is using the short haul exception. Some states allow drivers a 150 nautical mile radius for intrastate driving. Many companies that use the Short Haul Exemption are local companies that preform work most of the day and drive very little during the 12 hours they are allowed to work.

Hauling Agriculture-Related Items

A driver hauling an agriculture related item from its source has a 150-natical mile radius both interstate and intrastate where they are not required any hours of service records. Also when hauling farm supplies for agriculture related purposes from a wholesaler to a retailer or to a farm or location where the supplies are to be used, and from a retail location to a farm or other location where they are to be used the driver may use the agriculture exception to the rule. This rule is available to private carriers and for hire carriers and may be used during the planting and harvesting season of the state they are operating in. (Most all states have a planting and harvesting season of 365 days a year). In this 150-mile radius no hours of service or RODS must be kept.

Interstate vs Intrastate Hours of Service

All states are given the option in the federal regulations to set their own intrastate HOS rules within certain parameters. Most states adopted the federal regulations just as written and other states take some or all of the options for intrastate travel. Check with your state to see if your intrastate rules vary from the interstate rules.

Intrastate Hours of Service

Some states like Texas have intrastate short haul exceptions that vary form the interstate rules. In Texas a driver can drive 150 nautical miles or 172 statue miles radius form their work reporting location and not keep a logbook or ELD provided he does not exceed the 150 NM, returns to his work reporting location at the end of the day, does not exceed 12 hours a day, and their time is recorded including the start time the end time and the total time they work a day. In Texas a driver may drive 12 hours, but many states restrict their drivers to 11 hours driving time. Check with your state for your intrastate rules or contact us and we can help you.

There are many other exceptions (15) that are usually tied to an industry or service type vehicle and can be found in 49 CFR 395.1

Logbook or Electronic Logging Device (ELD)

You may still use a paper logbook if you do not exceed 8 days use within any 30-day period. This is used for those that are occasional drivers or are usually short haul drivers that take an occasional trip outside of the short haul radius, or those that do not return to their work reporting location or exceed the 12 hour day. You may also use a written logbook if you operate a CMV equipped with an engine model year older than 2000 or if you are considered a drive-away, tow-away operator. (Hauling new vehicles while driving one to be delivered)

Interstate Hours of Service Rules

In general, while travelling interstate you may operate for 70 hours in 8 days if you are subject to operate everyday of the week or 60 hours in 7 days if you are shut down for one day a week. You are allowed to work 14 hours a day and drive 11 of the 14 hours. When a driver starts work his 14-hour clock starts and he may not drive past the 14 th hour. This allows the driver 3 hours during the day to load, unload, and take breaks. A driver must take a 30-minute break from work and driving for every 8 hours worked. A driver may restart his 70-hour week to zero after he takes a 34-hour period off duty.

Specialized Oil Field Hours of Service

Certain pieces of oilfield equipment can use “waiting time at the wellsite” in lieu of being on duty not driving. Specially trained CMV drivers using specialized pieces of equipment can use this exception and show off duty while waiting at the wellsite. Basically, this is for an operator of an instrument or machine used at the well site and it just happens to get there on a commercial motor vehicle. The specialized person’s main job is to preform a certain duty at the well, not necessarily drive a CMV.

Other Exceptions to the HOS Regulations

Several other exceptions for those drivers operating concrete mixing units, oil field vehicles, vehicle used in the making of motion pictures, cranes, explosive hauling vehicle, rail road signal operators, fuel haulers, agriculture plus a few others.