Federal Safety regulations require drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles to stop driving after reaching the end of their 14th consecutive hour after first coming on duty. The 14-hour limit was specifically designed to reduce fatigue-related accidents on the nation's highways. Since the enactment of this new law, truck related accidents and fatalities is now at it's lowest level ever.
However, studies have shown that truck drivers that stay closer to home are involved in fewer fatigue-related accidents than over-the-road drivers. That is one of the reasons that the Hours of Service rules has an exception to the 14-hour on duty rule. It is called the 16-Hour Short Haul Exception.
Section 395.1 paragraph "o" of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations states that eligible short-haul drivers can extend the 14-hour limit by up to 2 hours for a total of 16 hours. This exception allows a driver to drive a commercial motor vehicle after the 14th hour after coming on duty, but not after the 16th hour if the following conditions are met:
- The driver must have been released from duty at the normal work reporting location for the previous 5 duty tours. A "duty tour" is the interval between the time a driver comes on duty and is released from duty on a daily basis. The 5 required duty tours do not have to fall on consecutive calendar days, but must be consecutive work days.
- The driver must not have used this exception in the previous 6 consecutive days, except following a 34-hour restart. So by using the restart option, the 16-hour exception can be used more than once per week. However, the driver still must have returned to the starting location on the last 5 duty tours.
- The driver must return to the normal reporting location and be released from duty within 16 consecutive hours on the day the exception is used.
- The driver must not drive more than 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty. If adverse driving conditions keep the driver behind the wheel for more than 11 hours, the 16-hour exception cannot be used
One note to remember: Even if you fall under the 100-air mile radius exception and do not normally keep a log book, on the day you use the 16-hour exception, you must fill out a record of duty status (log book) because the driver will be working beyond the 12-hour limit specified by the 100-air-mile exception. Please click here to find out more. – JJ Keller "Keller Online Learning Center"