FMCSA Publishes Revisions to Driver Hours of Service Rule
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published its final rule revising the driver hours of service regulations. 85 Fed. Reg. 33396 (June 1, 2020). The new regulations will go into effect on September 29, 2020.
The final rule makes changes in four areas:
- It revises the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of driving rather than 8 hours on duty and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving or sleeper berth status, rather than off-duty status.
- The rule modifies the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split and a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
- The rule modifies the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- It changes 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. These drivers will be exempt from the requirements for driver logs and Electronic Logging Devices and the 30-minute break requirement.
The FMCSA did not adopt in the final rule its proposal to allow a single off-duty period of up to 3 hours to be excluded from the 14-hour driving window. The agency noted commenters’ concerns about the potential for unintended consequences associated with actions by employers, shippers and receivers that might be contrary to drivers’ interests, and said the issue deserves further study.
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