We all know winter weather can make driving hazardous, but for truck drivers it can also affect Hours of Service regulations (HOS) set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Extreme weather and adverse road conditions can require extra road time, make parking difficult, etc., all of which can result in a driver exceeding the standard driving limit.
In response, the FMCSA created an “Adverse Driving Conditions” exemption, which states:
“If unexpected adverse driving conditions slow you down, you may drive up to 2 extra hours to complete what could have been driven in normal conditions. This means you could drive for up to 13 hours, which is 2 hours more than allowed under normal conditions. Adverse driving conditions mean things that you did not know about when you started your run, like snow, fog, or a shut-down of traffic due to a crash. Adverse driving conditions do not include situations that you should have known about, such as congested traffic during typical “rush hour” periods.
Even though you may drive 2 extra hours under this exception, you must not drive after the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, and you must comply with the minimum 30-minute rest break provisions.”
If you do use this exemption, be sure and record in your log, along with a notation describing the circumstances. Also include the FMCSA ruling number for reference: 395.1(b)(1).
To learn more, check out this booklet from the FMCSA: