May 14, 2020: (FR) FMCSA Issues Final Rule on Hours of Service Rules

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a final rule updating hour of service rules. Elaine Chao, U.S. Transportation Secretary,  said “America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving. The Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration listened directly to the concerns of truckers seeking rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted. These updated hours of service rules are based on the thousands of comments we received from the American people. These reforms will improve safety on America’s roadways and strengthen the nation’s motor carrier industry.”
Based on comments received during the comment period for the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that was published in 2018, the four important revisions to the new HOS rules are:

  • Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 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.
  • Modifications made to the sleeper-berth exception will 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
  • Modifying 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

U.S. Department of Transportation Modernizes Hours of Service Rules to Improve Safety and Increase Flexibility for America’s Truckers