DOT Trucking Hours of Service Regulations
You must follow the hours-of-service regulations if you drive a commercial motor vehicle. Just what is a commercial motor vehicle? In general it is a truck, or truck-tractor with a trailer, that:
• Is involved in interstate commerce and weighs (including any load) 10,001 pounds (4,536kg) or more.
• Is involved in interstate commerce and has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds (4,536 kg) or more.
• Is involved in interstate or intrastate commerce and is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards.
We will describe these terms in greater detail in the next sections of this document.
**NOTE** There are exceptions to certain hours-of-service requirements for some operations.
**NOTE** Be aware that we are only talking here about the hours-of-service regulations. For other areas of regulation, the definition of commercial motor vehicle will vary, for example drug
and alcohol regulations and commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirements.
To help you understand the definition of a commercial motor vehicle, let’s talk about the meanings of interstate commerce and intrastate commerce. Commerce deals with buying and selling goods and services. It also deals with moving those goods from place to place or going somewhere to perform the service. Basically any work done in support of a business is considered to be commerce.
Interstate commerce means the goods have traveled into or through another State or country or someone has gone into another State or country to perform the service. Even if your truck does not leave your State, but the goods have or will, the transportation is usually considered to be in interstate commerce. Interstate commerce means the goods have left their home State or the person performing a service has left his or her home State.
If you operate in interstate commerce once in a while, you are not required to comply with the Federal hours-of-service regulations all of the time. You must follow the Federal hours-of service regulations while you are operating in interstate commerce. At the point you start driving in interstate commerce you must have logs with you for your last 7 days (unless you were not required to log).
You must also follow the Federal hours-of-service regulations for a short period of time after you finish operating in interstate commerce. If you were using the 60-hour/7-day schedule, you must follow the Federal hours-of-service regulations for the next 7 days after you finish operating in interstate commerce. If you were using the 70-hour/8-day schedule, you must follow the Federal hours-of-service regulations for the next 8 days after you finish operating in interstate commerce. Intrastate commerce means the goods and services stay within a single State. The goods and services do not leave their State. If you are operating in intrastate commerce only and are not hauling hazardous materials requiring a placard, the Federal regulations do not apply to you. However, most States have regulations that are similar or identical to the Federal Regulations. To determine what State safety requirements you must follow, you should contact the appropriate state agency. This is usually the State police, highway patrol, or an office within the State’s department of transportation. Sometimes your truck may be empty. In these cases your truck is still considered to be in commerce because it is being used to support a business. Even if it is empty, you are considered to be operating in interstate commerce, if you go outside of your State. If the truck is empty and you are operating inside your State, you are operating in intrastate commerce.
Personal Use of a Commercial Motor Vehicle
It is possible that occasionally you may not use a truck in commerce at all. You may be moving your personal belongings to a new house or, as a hobby you may be taking your horses to a horse show. As long as the activity is not in support of a business, you are not operating in commerce. If you are not operating your truck in commerce, you are not subject to the hours-of service regulations.
A vehicle can be a commercial motor vehicle based on what it actually weighs or on what its weight rating is, whichever is greater. To find the gross vehicle weight rating of a truck or tractor, open the driver’s door and look for a plate on the door frame. In some models, the plate might be inside the glove box. To find the gross weight rating of a towed unit, look for a plate on the front of the trailer. If the trailer has a tongue, the plate might be on the tongue of the trailer. Your truck may have a gross combination weight rating posted in the same manner as the gross vehicle weight rating. If it does not, to figure the gross combination weight rating add the gross vehicle weight rating of the truck or tractor and the actual weight of the trailer and its load.
Air Miles and Statute Miles
In the short-haul exceptions to the hours-of-service regulations, you will see the term “air miles.” This is a different measurement of a mile than what is used for statute miles on a roadmap. An air mile is longer than a statute mile. There are 6,076 feet in an air mile and 5,280 feet in a statute mile. One-hundred air miles is equal to 115.08 statute miles. Therefore, a 100 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be figured as 115.08 statute, or “roadmap,” miles (185.2 km) from your work reporting location. A 150 air-mile radius from your work reporting location can be figured as 172.6 statute miles (277.8 km).