Hours of Service

What are Hours of Service Rules?

The Hours of Service rules (or HOS rules) are federal safety regulations that address the maximum amount of time commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are allowed to work in the United States, among other things.

This post explains the basic concept of the Hours of Service rules, their purpose, who must comply with HOS rules, and how CMV drivers and companies must demonstrate compliance.

Understanding the Hours of Service rules

The federal Hours of Service regulations are a fairly complex set of safety-related requirements that spell out:

  • How long a driver is allowed to drive during a work shift;
  • The amount of time a driver is allowed to drive during a week;
  • When a driver must take a rest break during a work shift, and 
  • How much time off a driver must have between work shifts.

What is the purpose of the Hours of Service regulations?

The purpose of Hours of Service rules is to help promote driver alertness and prevent accidents caused by driver fatigue.

Who must comply with the Hours of Service rules?

Motor carriers and drivers must comply with the rules if they move goods or passengers in interstate commerce.  

This means that the CMV either crosses state lines, or the shipment of the goods originated out of state.

How to demonstrate Hours of Service compliance

Generally, drivers must show their compliance with Hours of Service rules by logging their driving, on-duty, and off-duty time using an electronic logging device (ELD) or paper logs (if the carrier, driver, or vehicle qualifies for an ELD exemption).

Do States have Intrastate HOS rules?


And State Hours of Service rules sometimes differ from the federal since States are federally permitted to be more lenient for intrastate commerce.  

Generally speaking, intrastate commerce means the goods being hauled originated and are delivered within the State, and the transportation does not fall under the definition of interstate commerce.

What’s next?

Learn more about Hours of Service rules, how to avoid HOS violations, and some Hours of Service exemptions that drivers should know. Also, see how the KeepTruckin ELD can help you comply with the HOS regulations.