Home Why is DOT Changing the Rules? History and Background
History and Background- Truck Driver Hours of Service
  • 1939 - Hours of Service (HOS) rules for truck drivers were originally established by the federal government. These rules remained in place and virtually unchanged for more than 60 years.


  • 1995 - Congress directed DOT to establish new rules that incorporated the latest science about human fatigue and alertness.


  • April 2003 - DOT published new rules which met the Congressional directive and became effective in January 2004.


  • July 2004 - In response to a legal challenge by a public interest group, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned the April 2003 rules based on DOT’s oversight in performing one statutorily mandated analysis concerning driver health.


  • August 2005 - DOT issued new HOS rules identical to the April 2003 rules, with one exception—a significant change in how drivers could use a truck’s sleeper berth to obtain rest.


  • July 2007 - In response to another legal challenge by two public interest groups and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit overturned the rules based on procedural errors made by DOT in the rulemaking process.


  • December 2007 - DOT issued an Interim Final Rule (IFR) addressing the procedural issues identified by the Court and retaining the August 2005 HOS rules.


  • November 2008 - DOT reissued the August 2005 HOS rules as a Final Rule.


  • March 2009 - The same plaintiffs again filed suit against DOT.


  • October 2009 - Prior to the confirmation of current FMCSA Administrator Anne Ferro, politically appointed DOT officials signed a litigation settlement agreement with the public interest groups and the Teamsters in which DOT agreed to ‘review and reconsider’ the HOS rules.


  • September 2010 - The number of truck-involved traffic fatalities dropped to the lowest level in recorded history reflecting a 33 percent decrease in fatalities since the improved hours-of-service regulations first became effective in January 2004.


  • December 2010 – DOT proposes changes to the hours of service rules.

  • December 2011- DOT publishes new hours of service rules.
» Hours of Service Comparison Chart