Hours of service violations may negatively impact the CMV driver as well as the carrier.
These negative impacts come in the form of penalties and fines that the driver or the carrier has to fix because, otherwise, they can add up and cause even bigger fines and issues.
For the driver, it might mean being fired while, for the carrier, it might mean fewer business opportunities.
What if you could prevent all this from happening? Your value as a truck driver or as a carrier would increase. Isn't it?
So, if this is your desire, understanding and following the hours of service rules is critical to staying compliant with the regulations.
But anything can happen. HOS violations as well.
Let's learn more about what are hos violations and how can you prevent or fix them.
After all, knowing and following the HOS rules are the best ways to avoid violation penalties.
In this post, I'll share the types of HOS violations and how an ELD helps to avoid them.
How do you get caught violating hours of service rules?
There are a few ways to get caught while violating the hours of service rules:
- First, the police or the DOT inspector may randomly stop the driver's vehicle to check his logs.
- Second, the DOT may catch the driver violating the HOS rules at a weigh station.
- Thirdly, the driver may be caught violating the hours of service while the trucking company that he works for gets audited.
- Fourth, the last and, possibly, the worst is getting into an accident while violating the HOS rules.
In the last situation, getting into an accident while violating the HOS rules means that you did exactly what FMCSA is trying to eliminate. The consequences may include fines, license suspensions, and possibly jail.
What Are the Hours of Service Violation Penalties?
If the law enforcement finds a driver in violation of any HOS rules:
- They can shut a truck down for 10 to 34 hours to sit on the side of the road.
- They can give you a ticket.
- According to the state and local laws, they can assess fines. Depending on the severity of the violation, these fines may range between $1,000 to $16,000. If the violation involves a hazardous material, the fine can exceed $75,000.
Some types of HOS violations can downgrade a carrier's or a driver's Compliance, Safety, and accountability (CSA score). In this case, federal criminal penalties can be brought against a carrier that knowingly allows violations or against the individual driver that knowingly violates the rules.
What are the most common hours of service violations?
1. Form and Manner Violations
Form and Manner are the types of violations that a road inspector can easily spot and put the driver out of service.
This HOS violation tells the inspector that the driver didn't bother to keep his logbook updated correctly. That also means that the driver's logs may have filling mistakes.
Generally, when the roadside inspector stops the driver, the driver is required to present the below information recorded in their logs.
- Name of carrier
- Main office address
- Total miles driven that day
- Vehicle number
- Driver’s signature/certification
- Name of co-driver
- Shipping document number(s)
Maintaining all this information manually leads to filling mistakes and, as a result, long inspections and HOS violations.
An ELD automatically fills out any fields and eliminates tiny mistakes.
Also, an ELD reminds the driver about unfilled fields and if the added remarks are legible. In this case, the mistakes are easily avoided.
2. "Not Current" Violations
With an ELD installed on the truck, the driver's duty status updates automatically. All the driver needs to do is update his status when he comes on duty and off duty. All the rest logbook updates are done automatically. The electronic logbooks can detect when a vehicle is in motion and it automatically changes the driver's duty status.
The driver's duty status graph on a log must be current to the last change of duty status. If not, the roadside inspector may register a "not current" violation of the driver's name.
This mistake happens because some drivers forget to update their duty statuses or prefer doing it at the end of the day.
3. Driving Beyond Time Violations
FMCSA wants to keep the US roads safe for everybody.
Their goal is to eliminate driver fatigue, which is one of the factors triggering vehicle accidents on the road.
So, driving over the allowed time allowed by the federal regulation is a violation.
The HOS rule states that a CMV driver can drive a maximum of 11-hours, which should take place within a 14-hour window. That means that a driver needs to pay attention to the sleeper berth rules. Especially, follow the two time periods, which are:
- the 11-hours driving period.
- the 14-hour of on-duty period.
The problem is when the driver wastes more than 3-hour of his on-duty time at the loading or unloading facility. This decreases the driver's driving hours. Often, in such a case, the driver may focus on driving the 11-hours while violating the 14 hours rule.
In this case, an electronic logbook can tell the driver how much time they have left to drive or of on-duty and alerts them when they are running low on hours.
4. False records violation
All CDL drivers are required to maintain their logs updated correctly.
If, for some reason, the driver falsifies his logs that means knowingly or not he violates the Federal Law.
Why would a truck driver falsify his logs?
Mainly, this kind of behavior comes from the desire to drive more miles and earn more money.
Or, because some drivers do a week's worth of logs in a single sitting, which means that some records are incorrect because they can't be certain if they drove within correct time limits.
If the roadside inspector spots false records he may put the driver out of service.
If the police officer feels that the driver is cheating, he'll ask questions and will compare the driver's words with what's written in the logs. He can also check the gas receipts. He'll also do a very thorough inspection.
An ELD automatically updates records of duty status and adds the location to the log at each change of the duty status. In that way, logs are completed properly.
5. Missing logs violation
When the DOT inspector stops the driver, the driver is required to present the logs for the last seven days.
If the driver fails to do so, then the inspector may penalize the driver by putting him out of service.
In the era of paper logs, the driver had to carry a lot of extra paperwork, which made it easy to misplace just one single day of record of duty status.
Giving the driver an ELD encourages him to be more diligent with their logs.
Also, ELD's eliminates the fear of losing any paperwork for the previous seven days.
How can an ELD help you to get rid of HOS violations
All these violations can be easily avoided with the help of an FMCSA-registered Electronic Logging Device. ELDs can inform drivers of upcoming Hours of Service violations with timely alerts.
Stay compliant to avoid hours of service violations
The ELD mandate has made it easier to keep track of the HOS rules. However, it has also made it easier to get caught violating them.
The only way to stay compliant with the hours of service rules is to follow them even if you don't like them.