Final rule lets truckers meet break-time rule by staying on duty, just not driving
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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Final rule lets truckers meet break-time rule by staying on duty, just not driving

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on May 14 released a final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules that the agency says will increase safety on America’s roadways by "modernizing" existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The new hours of service rule will be implemented 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

In 2018, the FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking soliciting public comment on portions of the HOS rules with the aim of alleviating unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on highways and roads. In August 2019, the agency published a detailed proposed rule which received an additional 2,800 public comments.

Final rule. Based on the public comments and input, the FMCSA’s final rule on hours of service makes four key revisions to existing HOS rules:

  • Increases safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after eight hours of consecutive driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
  • Modifies the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, or a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14 hour driving window.
  • Modifies the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • Changing the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

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