Hours-of-service (HOS) rules are some of the most important government regulations affecting the commercial trucking industry. These rules cover how long drivers are allowed to be on the road, how much time they must take off between shifts, and more.
As these rules mainly affect drivers, dispatchers need to understand them in order to do their jobs properly. After all, the best way for a good dispatcher to ensure cargo is delivered on time is by knowing which drivers are allowed to drive and for how long. Let’s take a look at three things that are important to know about HOS rules in Canada.
Dispatchers Should Know the Difference Between the 13-Hour Rule and the 14-Hour Rule
Two of the most important HOS rules are the 13-hour rule and the 14-hour rule. Under the 13-hour rule, a driver must stop driving after accumulating 13 hours of driving time since their most recent 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time. Under the 14-hour rule, drivers must stop driving after being on-duty (which can refer to both driving and non-driving work) for 14 hours since their last 8 consecutive hours of off-duty time. While a driver can still perform non-driving duties after 14 hours, they cannot drive.
Students in Dispatch Schools Should Understand the 7-Day and 14-Day Cycles
Canadian law has two duty cycles that truck drivers can use, the 7-day cycle and the 14-day cycle. Under the 7-day cycle, a driver can only log up to 70 hours of on-duty time in 7 days. With the 14-day cycle, drivers can log a maximum of 120 hours of on-duty time in 14 days. During both cycles, the driver must take 24 consecutive hours off work at least once. Under the 14-day cycle, drivers cannot drive after hitting the 70-hour on-duty mark unless they first take this 24-hour off-duty period. While cycle rules can be confusing initially, they are important for graduates of dispatch schools.
HOS Rules Change Depending on Where Truck Drivers Are Operating
As graduates of dispatcher school know, many truck drivers in Canada have to cross into the United States, sometimes on a daily or weekly basis. The US, of course, has its own HOS rules and when drivers are operating south of the border they must follow American HOS rules, which tend to be stricter than Canadian HOS rules.
Furthermore, HOS rules change even within Canada. For truckers operating north of 60 degrees latitude in areas such as the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut, HOS rules tend to be less restrictive. For example, instead of the 13-hour and 14-hour rule, drivers north of latitude 60 follow the longer 15-hour and 18-hour rules.
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