When does the FMCSA Hours of Service rule apply?

The commercial transportation industry is a highly competitive and important one. Whether operating in Alabama alone or in multiple states, drivers, owner-operators and companies alike must adhere to a wide range of laws and industry regulations. Among these is the Hours of Service rule as established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. But, does this rule apply to all commercial drivers in all situations?

According to the FMCSA, not every commercial driver may be subject to follow the Hours of Service rules at all times. The agency has outlined several criteria that identify when this rule would be in effect. A driver does not have to meet all of the criteria but simply a minimum of one criterion in order to be bound by the rule. Among the times that the rule would be applicable is when a vehicle must visibly display that it is transporting hazardous materials.

If being compensated while driving a vehicle capable of transporting at least eight passengers plus a driver, a driver must follow the rule. If driving a vehicle capable of transporting at least 16 passengers plus a driver, the rule applies even if no compensation is expected or required. Finally, drivers who operate vehicles with gross combination weight ratings, gross vehicle weight ratings or a weight more than 10,000 pounds must comply with the rule.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give truck drivers, truck owners and transportation companies operating in Alabama information about the scope of the FMCSA's Hours of Service rule.

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