The Economy Continues to Recover and the HOS Rules are Finally In Effect

  • Home
  • News
  • The Economy Continues to Recover and the HOS Rules are Finally In Effect
News Image


The trucking industry continues to recover from an “unseen” enemy, and while this has become something we are learning to live with, there are also ongoing changes we experience in our day-to-day job. Mainly, we refer here to the new HOS rules, and what they mean in practice, once they’ve finally arrived.

Here are the latest updates on how the industry is recovering, and how people are reacting to the implementation of the new HOS.


Trucking Industry is Recovering in a “V-Shaped” Pattern – Which is a Good Thing


“The coronavirus had a profound impact on the driver market – particularly in the first part of the second quarter. But by the end of the quarter, we had begun to see the market tighten again as various restrictions began to be lifted” – said Bob Costello in a press release, and added: “In the second quarter, the turnover rate at truckload carriers with more than $30 million in annual revenue fell 12 percentage points to 82% – the lowest level since the end of 2018. The rate at smaller truckload carriers fell ten points to 60%, the lowest level since the final quarter of 2011.” The annualized turnover rate at less-than-truckload carriers was unchanged at 12% during the second quarter. 


OTR drivers are enjoying a period of volume growth, which is a direct consequence of COVID-19 having a lighter effect on goods-producing sectors, which are truck intensive, as compared to the devastation still being felt by services sectors, which are not trucking intensive. The freight is also supported by the consumers switching their focus from experiences to goods, such as inventory restocking, a hot housing market, low-interest rates, and low energy prices.


It’s something we discussed in one of our earlier blog posts - while demand is strong in some segments, others are not experiencing the same type of surge in demand. He reported on Twitter (read the whole thread here) - The August softness suggests that freight is very uneven in the trucking industry. The trucking sectors that haul for the industrial and energy industries are not seeing the surge in freight like the consumer side of the economy.


As a conclusion, the ACT Research found that the freight economy is experiencing a “V-shaped” recovery, which puts it on a positive path towards recovery.


Despite a rebound in unemployment, more than 1.3 million people in the trucking industry remain on unemployment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate achieved its peak in March 2020, which was 14.7%, then fell to 8.4% by August, and the expected rate in September is 7.7%. Which is in accordance with the aforementioned. Take a look on at a more detailed report here.



New HOS Rules Are Now in Effect – There are Four Major Changes You Should Know About



On Tuesday, September 29, four major changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service regulations will go into effect after the agency published the Hours of Service Final Rule on June 1, 2020.


Here’s what they essentially are:


1. Short-haul Exception

Short-haul drivers can travel within a 150 air-mile radius, and have up to 14 hours to start and end their shift at the same reporting location.

To be able to use the short-haul exception, the CMV driver must:

  • Operate within a 150 air-miles radius
  • Not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours
  • Start and end shift in the same location
  • Have at least 8 (passenger) or 10 (property) hours off between shifts
  • Include the start and end times for the day and the total hours on-duty on the time record for the day

While operating under the short-haul exception, drivers are not required to fill out a log with a graph grid or use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD), they can use a time record instead.

  • Motor carrier must record the driver’s time in, time out, and total number of hours per day – Time must include the total time for the 7 preceding days – Records must be maintained for 6 months
  • When a driver no longer meets the exception, (drives too far/works too many hours), the driver must complete a regular log or use an ELD for the day


2. Adverse Driving Conditions Exception


Expands the driving window (both driving limit and on-duty limit) during adverse driving conditions (like flooding, wildfires, or hurricanes) by up to an additional 2 hours.


The definition of Adverse Driving Conditions also changed to include the driver.


Previous Definition: Adverse driving conditions means snow, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun.

New Definition: Adverse driving conditions means snow, ice, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions or unusual road or traffic conditions that were not known, or could not reasonably be known, to a driver immediately prior to beginning the duty day or immediately before beginning driving after a qualifying rest break or sleeper berth period, or a motor carrier immediately prior to dispatching the driver.


EXAMPLE: A driver is 15 miles from his destination when there is a gravel spill on the bridge ahead (the bridge is the only access to the destination)


  • Driver has 1 hour left of driving time and 1 hour left in the driving day
  • Driver can stop at the next exit (for up to 2 hours) until the road is clear, and still have time to get to the destination without violating HOS rule


3. 30-Minute Break Requirement


Requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break.


Previous: 30-minute break can be satisfied with:

  • Off-duty
  • Sleeper berth


New: 30-minute break can be satisfied with:

  • Off-duty
  • Sleeper berth
  • On-duty, not driving

Short non-consecutive periods cannot be combined to reach 30 minutes of non-driving time. 30 minutes must be consecutive.


4. Sleeper Berth Provision


Modifies the sleeper berth exception to allow a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least 7, rather than at least 8 hours of that period in the berth and a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside the berth, provided the two periods total at least 10 hours, and that neither qualify period counts against the 14-hour driving window.


Source: cdllife


The official information on the new HOS rules can be found on the official FMCSA page, here.


If you want to find out How have drivers reacted to the new rules, and check unofficial polls made by Truckers News, you can find it here.


If you have any questions, please write and we will help you overcome any difficulty with understanding new HOS rules.