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Common HOS Violations and How to Avoid Them

When you are managing a fleet, it is important to stay up to date on all regulations outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations are put in place in order to maintain compliance and ensure safe practices on the road. Hours of Service (HOS) violations are particularly important for the safety of your driver and your fleet. In this text, we will cover the most common HOS violations and how to prevent them.

What are Hours of Service Regulations?

According to FMCSA guidelines, Hours of Service refer to the maximum time drivers are allowed to be on duty. This includes drive time, number of breaks, and length of rest periods. The HOS regulations aim to prevent drivers from operating a vehicle while they are overexerted and fatigued from long driving hours. According to CRS reports, up to 20% of bus and large truck crashes in the U.S. happen due to drivers being tired while driving. When drivers are not at the top of their game it can put them and the public at risk. Hence, these violations carry hefty fines and other potential HOS violation penalties.

3 Most Common HOS Violations and How to Prevent Them

As mentioned, overlooking HOS rules can cause serious consequences, from expensive fines and violation points to revoking the driver’s license. Fortunately, there are a few easy procedures that can greatly comply with HOS regulations. Best of all, it can be done affordably and easily. Here are the most typical HOS violations and how to prevent them.

1. Driving past the 14-hour duty period

Being on the road is not as easy as it may seem to some people. Drivers have a lot of things on their minds during a working day, from staying alert to keeping their carriage safe. This may result in drivers losing track of time and driving long hours, which can cause frequent accidents.

The FMCSA established the 14-hour duty period rule to help prevent fatigued drivers. However, keeping track of the hours spent on duty can sometimes be an issue for drivers since their day-to-day job requires a lot of focus and alertness. If drivers go over this time span while on duty, they violate the HOS regulations, and nobody wants that.

Setting the alarm each day at the start of a shift is an effective way to prevent this HOS violation. But, if we take into consideration the number of things a driver must do in a day, this can be annoying. A driver will likely forget this task. So, an even better way to avoid driving beyond time is to have an overview of your hours on duty using an electronic logging system.

Avoid HOS Violations

2. Driving over 60/70 hours in 7/8 days

Last but not least, drivers should not exceed 60/70 hours of driving during 7/8 consecutive days. Violating this rule is considered a critical HOS violation that can seriously affect your CSA score. The consecutive day period restarts when the driver takes 34 or more consecutive hours off duty. It is important to stay educated on the 34-hour restart rule since it allows drivers to restart their cycle and quickly get back on the road.

Finding an ELD that covers all aspects can be challenging but not impossible. A comprehensive ELD, such as LionEight, is a good solution. It provides a precise, in-built notification system that notifies drivers periodically and helps them keep track of the time left until the end of the 14-hour duty period. LionEight ELD also offers an overview of all logs and hours of service on the device dashboard. It is very accessible and user-friendly, so it won’t create any confusion. This will help drivers be sure they are not close to violating HOS rules and keep their CSA score under control.

HOS Violations

3. No record of Duty Status

According to the FMCSA regulation, each driver must record the driver’s duty status for each 24-hour period. The recordkeeping HOS violations are classified as critical violations that can severely affect CSA scores and potentially put a driver out of service. The driver must record the following information:

  • The time the driver reports for duty 
  • The total number of hours the driver is on duty
  • The time the driver is released from duty each day
  • The total time for the preceding seven days

With an electronic logbook, fleets get instant alerts every time the driver is nearing violations or breaking them. With reliable and registered ELD, drivers will always be on top of their records of duty, avoiding an HOS violation.

Hours of Service Violation Consequences

As you already know, HOS violations can have severe consequences. Each violation has an assigned number of HOS violation points depending on the severity. These points determine the fleet’s overall Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) score, which FMSCA uses to identify high-risk drivers that may require intervention.

Maintaining a good CSA score is important to a fleet since it directly affects business opportunities. Preventing Hours of Service Violations will ensure safety for all on the road while also improving the overall efficiency of your fleet. The best way to maintain compliance is investing in a reliable ELD as well as establishing good practices through education.

Final Word

HOS rules may seem like something that can cause a lot of anxiety or even be boring to monitor. However, they exist with the most important thing in mind: drivers’ safety. Because of this, complying with them should be one of the top priorities on the road.

Fortunately, HOS violations can be easily prevented with an ELD device. If you wish to know more about LionEight ELD, do not hesitate to contact us.

What are the most common hours of service violations?

The most common hours of service violations are operating past hours of on-duty driving limits and not completing drivers’ logs.

What is the 14-hour period rule?

The 14-hour period rule is a law stating that a driver must take a mandatory ten hours off duty after their 14-hour driving shift.

How to restart a 7/8 consecutive day period?

A driver restarts the 7/8 consecutive day period after taking 34 or more hours off duty.

How to avoid common HOS violations?

The best way to avoid HOS violations is to invest in a reliable ELD and stay up to date with FMSCA regulations.

How can LionEight ELD help avoid HOS violations?

LionEight ELD provides a notification system that helps drivers keep track of their driving hours. Our software also provides an overview of all logs and hours of service which enables you to stay compliant and safe.

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