What are the new hours of service (HOS)?

If you’re in the trucking industry, you need to be aware of new regulations that took effect on September 29, 2020. To learn more about how the new Hours of Service will affect you, read on.


“Hours of service” refers to the maximum amount of time drivers are permitted to be on duty. This includes driving time. Hours of service specify the number and length of rest periods to help ensure that drivers stay awake and alert. These apply to all carriers and drivers operating commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

Here’s a breakdown of what the final changes are and our view on how this will impact fleet repair and maintenance shops. 

The Hours of Service changes affected four key areas:

  1. Short-Haul Exception: The short-haul exception extends the driving distance from 100 to 150 air-mile radius and the maximum allowable workday from 12 to 14 hours.
  2. Adverse Driving Conditions Exception: Extending the driving window by up to two hours during adverse driving conditions, in addition to the extra two hours of driving time already allowed.
  3. 30-Minute Break Requirement: Requires break of at least 30 consecutive minutes after 8 cumulative hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break.
  4. Sleep Berth Provision: Allow drivers to split their 10-hour off-duty time in different ways (7/3, 8/2, 7.5/2.5) as long as one off-duty period is at least 2 hours long and the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. The periods must add up to 10 hours. When used together, neither time period counts against the maximum 14-hour driving window.

This is the first time in 15 years the Hours of Service have been changed. According to the FMCSA, the new changes took place based on extensive public and industry input. These changes offer drivers great flexibility while maintaining high safety standards on the roads.

This will of course have a huge impact on our drivers that are affected by the new rules. But how does it impact fleet maintenance and repair shops?

How the New Regulations Impact Fleet Repair Shops

The new regulations allow more flexibility for drivers, but they also potentially allow them more time behind the wheel. More time behind the wheel equals more stress on the vehicle. Extending the driving air-mile radios and maximum allowable workday, as well as adding an additional two hours to the adverse driving conditions exception, all directly contribute to more driving time and more miles on the trucks.

FleetSquared recommends that fleet repair shops take extra precautions with heavy-duty vehicles operated by drivers affected by the new regulations. Keep up on regularly scheduled maintenance based on mileage as well as the routes the trucks may be driving.  Peform more frequent maintenance checks if your vehicles drive routes often subjected to adverse weather conditions. Make sure you have a fleet maintenance software that will help you keep track of maintenance checks and repair orders. 

Check out our latest infographic below outlining the change in the regulations in an easy to view format. And be sure to check out our fleet maintenance software at https://www.fleetsquared.com!