HOS log violations: How FMCSA fines reduce fleet profits


Maintaining accurate HOS logs is a difficult balance. Drivers are busy, fleets work with strained capacity, and errors are easy to make.

But fleets can’t afford to ignore these costs. Violations are expensive and can rack up quickly. In addition, they have to worry about additional costs – the cost of having a driver taken out-of-service, the cost of Department of Transportation on-site inspection, and more.

This guide breaks down exactly what costs fleets can expect when HOS is violated. It also points users toward the official government documents where they can find the exact text of the rules and their associated costs.


The price of HOS log violations

All HOS fines are pegged to inflation, which means their cost goes up every year. The most recent price updated occurred in March, 2022 and can be found here. These are the precise types of violations and their associated prices:

  • Recordkeeping: $1,388 – $13,885

“A person or entity that fails to prepare or maintain (HOS logs and other mandated records)… or prepares or maintains (HOS logs and other mandated records that are) incomplete, inaccurate, or false, is subject to a maximum civil penalty of $1,388 for each day the violation continues, up to $13,885.”

  • Knowing falsification of records: $13,885

“A person or entity that knowingly falsifies, destroys, mutilates, or changes (HOS logs and other mandated records)… knowingly makes or causes to be made a false or incomplete (HOS logs and other mandated records), or knowingly makes, prepares, or preserves a record in violation of a regulation… is subject to a maximum civil penalty of $13,885 if such action misrepresents a fact that constitutes a violation other than a reporting or recordkeeping violation.”

  • Non-recordkeeping violations: Not more than $16,684 for each violation

“A person or entity that violates (HOS and other regulations)… is subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $16,864 for each violation.”

  • Egregious violations of driving-time limits: An amount “calculated to induce compliance”

“A driver who exceeds, and a motor carrier that requires or permits a driver to exceed, by more than 3 hours the driving-time limit… shall be deemed to have committed an egregious driving-time limit violation.” The amount of the fine is outlined in 49 U.S.C. 521(b)(2)(D), which states that it “shall… be determined by the Secretary… the assessment shall be calculated to induce further compliance.”

Other consequences of HOS log violations

Fines are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total true cost of HOS violations. Other factors have the potential to cause much more damage.

When drivers violate HOS, officers can place them out-of-service for 10 hours. This can cause a number of problems – most notably, late and spoiled deliveries. This is an easy way to lose client trust. The time it takes to deal with angry customers and rebuild relationships is time back office workers would much rather spend on more productive work.

Even more concerning, a high number of HOS log violations will hurt a fleet’s BASIC score (find more BASIC information here). If that score falls too far below the industry average, it will trigger an on-site inspection. Violations can quickly cascade, ending in anything up to and including a forced fleet shutdown.

Maintain HOS logs with FleetUp’s ELD

Fleets need to make sure drivers correctly log their HOS hours – but too many ELDs confuse drivers. Their complex interfaces increase HOS errors. Drivers accidentally enter inaccurate hours – and fleets receive huge FMCSA fines.
That’s why FleetUp designed an ELD for drivers – so fleets can train drivers quickly, keep drivers compliant, and reduce FMCSA fines.
FleetUp’s ELD has three driver-friendly features:

  1. An intuitive user interface: Even the least tech-savvy driver will quickly understand how the FleetUp Driver mobile app works.
  2. An HOS voice assistant: FleetUp’s voice assistant automatically identifies potential HOS errors – then suggests how drivers can correct those errors.
  3. A tutorial voice assistant: FleetUp’s voice assistant also teaches drivers how to fill out HOS logs correctly – it’s an AI teacher that reduces confusion and prevents HOS mistakes.


Don’t let HOS log errors slash your fleet’s profitability.

Use the most driver-friendly ELD on the market.

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