By Mary Motzko | October 1st, 2020 | | 0 Comments

In June, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced updates to its Hours of Service rules. These updates, which went into effect Sept. 29, change how long-haul drivers are required to take breaks and extends the distance short-haul drivers can travel in a day.

Find out what drivers need to know about these new rules.

Changes to the Rules

The Hours of Service rules were implemented by the FMCSA to prevent drivers from becoming drowsy behind the wheel to keep themselves and others on the roadways safe. The four key changes to the HOS rules that the agency announced in June are:

  • 30-minute break requirement: To increase safety and to add flexibility for the 30-minute break rule, drivers are required to take a break after eight hours of consecutive driving. The break can be used by a driver while on-duty – and not driving status – rather than off-duty status.
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  • Sleeper berth provision: The sleeper berth exception has been modified so drivers can split their required 10 hours of off-duty time into two periods, either eight hours in the berth and at least two hours off-duty, or seven hours in the berth and three hours off-duty. Neither period will count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
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  • Adverse driving conditions exception: The adverse driving conditions exception is modified to extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
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  • Short-haul exception: The short-haul exception is 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 can operation from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

A complete list of the rules can be found on the FMCSA website.

Who Is Required to Follow HOS Rules

According to the FMCSA, most commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must follow the HOS rules. The agency lists a CMV as a vehicle that is used as part of a business and in interstate commerce. It also includes any asset that fits the following criteria:

  • Weighs more than 10,001 pounds.
  • Has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross combination weight rating of 10,001 pounds or more.
  • Is designed or used to transport 16 or more passengers (including the driver) not for compensation.
  • Is designed or used to transport nine or more passengers (including the driver) for compensation.
  • Is transporting hazardous materials in a quantity requiring placards.

The FMCSA provides HOS resources for drivers and fleets on its website, including webinars, FAQs and fact sheets.

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