The Department of Transportation through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a new rule (The FMCSA Rule) in the Federal Register. The FMCSA Rule revises the regulations on hours of service (HOS) for drivers that fall under its purview to allow greater flexibility without adversely affecting safety. A summary of the rule is provided below:
The FMCSA Rule:
- Expands the short-haul exception from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles and now allows for a 14-hour work shift as oppose to the previous 12-hour work shift. All other requirements of the short-haul exception remain in effect and unchanged. Further, the exception allows drivers to use time sheets as oppose to filling out logs.
- Expand the driving window during adverse driving conditions to allow an additional 2 hours;
- Changed from requiring a 30-minute break after 8 hours on-duty time to requiring a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time. Further, it now allows for non-driving time while still on duty (in addition to off duty and sleeper berth) to qualify as the required break; and
- Modifies the sleeper berth exception as it pertains to the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement. Drivers may divide their 10-hour off duty requirement into two periods, as long as one of those periods is at least 2 hours long (whether inside or outside of the berth) and the other period consists of at least 7 consecutive hours of time physically in the berth. The previous rule required 8 consecutive hours of time spent physically in the berth. The two periods must combine to total at least 10 hours of off-duty time and neither qualifying period may count against the 14-hour driving window.
This final rule will go into effect on September 11, 2020, 120 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register.
If you would like to read The FMCSA Rule, you can find it here.