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Hours of Service Violations - 10 Effects

Daniel Martin | July 21, 2022

hours of service graphic

Summary: If you're a professional driver, you might be wondering how violating hours of service can affect you and others. Here's SoloSuit's guide to HOS violations and their potential impact.

Do you know how serious it is to break hours of service rules? To put it bluntly, it might cost a driver their life if the hours of service rules are not followed. Hours of service violations risk the driver's life and endanger other people driving on the road.

There are regulations in place for truck and bus drivers under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). These regulations involve daily and weekly driving time limits with the goal of protecting both truck drivers and regular drivers from harm or accidents.

Drivers and bus companies face challenges when hours of service breaches occur. They have to pay substantial DOT fines for hours of service violations. Driver weariness is the key contributory element when drivers make awful mistakes.

Because of this, drivers must abide by the hours of service (HOS) regulations to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.

Understand these common hours of service violations

It makes no difference whether a driver is employed by a big firm or small; it is unacceptable to violate the HOS restrictions, jeopardizing the safety of more people than just the individual driver.

In case of accidents, if you are not at fault, you still have to prove your insurance claim in court. In such situations, a truck accident lawyer is one who can help you handle all aspects of your case.

Similarly, if the hours of service violations are committed by drivers or their companies, legal action may be taken against the truck driver and their respective companies. For that, one should know the hours of service violations.

The typical hours of service violations are as follows:

14-Hour Rule Violation

Property-carrying drivers are permitted to drive up to 11 hours a day. These 11 hours have to be finished within a timeframe of 14 hours.

Passenger-carrying drivers are permitted to drive up to 10 hours a day. These 10 hours have to be finished within a timeframe of 15 hours.

There is only one exemption in this case: adverse driving conditions. Drivers can add up to two hours to their allowed time if they encounter hazardous weather while on the road, including fog, snow, and rain. The driver must be unaware of these weather conditions when he starts his duty.

It is challenging for drivers to keep track of time on the road. They already have demanding work that requires high energy and focus.

11-Hour Rule Violation

It is permissible for property-carrying drivers to drive for up to 11 hours every day. For passengers-carrying drivers, driving for up to 10 hours daily is permitted.

Mostly, drivers frequently lose track of time and exceed the on-duty driving limit of their shift. Overworking of the driver leads to HOS violations.

70-Hour 8-Day Rule Violation

It is a common practice for drivers to violate the 70-hour, 8-day rule. This rule states that property-carrying drivers and passengers-carrying drivers are prohibited from driving after working 60 hours for seven consecutive days or 70 hours over eight straight days.

Once they have rested for at least 34 hours in a row without driving, drivers are eligible to start a new 60- or 70-hour period.

Incomplete Tracking of Drivers' Duty Statuses

Another typical HOS violation observed at inspections is that drivers do not provide a complete record of their duty status.

Every driver must record their hours worked to verify that they do not break any rules.

A driver's CSA score can take a significant hit. A poor CSA score could take him out of service for a breach of the DOT's log requirements.

30 Minutes Driving Break Rule Violation

It is one of the commercial driver hours of service violations. When a driver has been on the road driving for 8 hours without taking at least one 30-minute break during that time, they are required to take a break for 30 minutes.

Who is subject to HOS regulations?

If your fleet has CMVs in the U.S., Hours of Service requirements apply. You have to follow the rules if your vehicle fulfills any of the following:

  • It weighs or has a gross weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more.
  • It can transport any kind of hazardous material that must have a placard.
  • For free, it can carry 16 or more passengers, including the driver.

There can be serious effects caused by hours of service violations

effects caused by hours of service violations

Hours of service rules protect the public from exhausted or sleepy drivers and ensure all professional drivers operate their vehicles safely.

Because of the dangers associated with drowsy driving, violating these restrictions might result in significant legal consequences.

Drivers who disregard HOS regulations risk serious injuries and even death.

Here are 10 potential effects of HOS violations, aside from the obvious.

1. HOS violations can taint a carrier's CSA score

CSA stands for compliance, safety, and accountability. The purpose of the CSA program is to make the transportation industry and the public safer.

A motor carrier's CSA rating represents its safety performance as measured by the FMCSA's established safety metrics.

A carrier's score is calculated using information about its drivers' actions, such as the number of violations and reported accidents during roadside inspections.

So, if the driver does FMCSA hours of service violations, it will downgrade CSA scores. Carriers are given a CSA score based on the following factors:

  • Driver fitness
  • Unsafe driving
  • Hazardous Materials Compliance
  • HOS compliance
  • Vehicle maintenance

2. Violating the HOS will increase your insurance cost

CSA depends on what the drivers do, like how many tickets they get and how many violations they have committed.

HOS violations will increase the CSA score, which also leads to an increase in insurance rates. So, the CSA score should be as low as possible.

3. HOS violations can cost carriers big money

There will be audits or investigations of compliance records conducted by the FMCSA on carriers with the highest safety risk.

To further leverage highway safety, FMCSA imposes fines and penalties based on the results of these audits. This can lead to penalties for the motor carrier and its drivers.

Fines can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars which is a hefty amount to pay. You can read more about FMCSA hours of service violation fines.

4. Negative impact on safety scores and reputation

A motor carrier's violations and fines are public information and can be seen on the FMCSA website. This accessibility can potentially have a detrimental effect on the company's reputation.

People will avoid companies with high CSA scores and bad reputations if drivers do not follow HOS rules.

5. HOS violations can cause crashes and fatalities

When drivers overlook the HOS rules, especially the 14-hour, 11-hour, and 70-hour, 8-day rule, they become restless and tired.

Due to the lack of sleep and restlessness, the driver loses their attention and focus. This can cause crashes and accidents. It may also cause monetary loss and fatalities. So, hours of service violations are dangerous for the driver and other people on the road.

According to Rospa, studies have found that driver weariness contributes to as much as 20% of accidents in Britain. Studies conducted in other nations have found similar results regarding driver fatigue.

6. Monetary loss

Accidents and hazards are the aftermaths of DOT hours of service violations. Due to accidents, the luggage and equipment can be rendered useless, which can result in monetary and time loss.

7. The driver can lose their job

If you break the regulations, the implicated vehicle is forced to remain parked until the driver has accumulated around 10 to 30 hours away from work. At this point, they will be brought back into conformity with the regulations.

The driver can get an out-of-service order (OSO). An out-of-service order is a prohibition against driving a commercial motor vehicle issued by a duly authorized official at the local, state, or federal level.

According to Truck Insider, companies can terminate truck drivers due to accidents and vehicle crashes.

8. The health of the driver is affected

The driver may be working for a longer time, more than the time allotted by FMCSA.

The health and safety of drivers can be significantly compromised when they spend extended periods seated in the same position.

Driving for long hours in one day has the following adverse effects on the driver's health:

  • Fatigue
  • Bad eyesight
  • Weight gain
  • Lack of sleep
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Back pain
  • Joint stiffness

According to Digital Commons, continuous driving by truck drivers can also lead to other health issues such as:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart diseases
  • Stroke
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mental distress

9. Lawsuits

Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Tired truck drivers risk themselves and others on the road because they may not react quickly enough to avoid collisions or may fail to see obstacles in their path.

When a truck driver violates the hours of service or engages in other negligent behavior that results in injuries, personal injury laws may allow people to collect reimbursement for their losses.

10. CDL Suspension

The hour of service regulation is crucial to the Commercial Driver's License (CDL). It is intended to keep drivers safe by restricting their driving hours and ensuring they receive sufficient rest between shifts.

Drivers must follow their hours of service rules because even one violation can lead to a driver's license suspension.

Conclusion

Drivers who comply with the HOS regulations are less likely to become fatigued, putting themselves and other drivers at risk. The risks of accidents and injuries are minimized. They also avoid paying fines and lawsuit judgments incurred by hours of service violations.

This demonstrates quite clearly how serious HOS violations are, how dangerous they can be for other drivers on the road, and how severe the repercussions can be for drivers who disobey these regulations.

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