Written by Mark Winters, Assistant Transportation Manager – Safety

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revised the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations to provide greater flexibility for drivers. Motor carriers are required to comply with the new HOS regulations starting September 29, 2020.

HOS Final Rule: What is changing? 

1. Short-haul Exception

Expands the short-haul exception to 150 air miles and allows a 14-hour work shift to take place as part of the exception. 

Key Point: DTI garage personnel only use this exception.

2. Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

Expands the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional two hours. 

Definition of adverse driving conditions: means snow, ice, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions or unusual road or traffic conditions that were not known, or could not reasonably be known, to: a driver immediately prior to beginning the duty day or immediately before beginning driving after a qualifying rest break or sleeper-berth period.

3. 30-Minute Break Requirement

Requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break. 

Key Point: 30 consecutive minutes of on-duty not-driving status will now qualify for your legal break. CA Drivers are still subject to California State Rules regarding the 10-minute break.

4. Sleeper Berth Provision

Modifies the sleeper berth exception to allow a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least seven, rather than at least eight hours of that period in the berth and a minimum off-duty period of at least two hours spent inside or outside the berth, provided the two periods total at least 10 hours, and that neither qualify period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

Key Point: When using the Sleeper Berth Provision when BOTH breaks are used together neither period counts against the 14-hour driving window. Also note, an eight-hour sleeper-berth period by itself can no longer be excluded from the 14-hour driving window.

There are many gray areas surrounding the new rules. The Dot Transportation, Inc. (DTI) Safety department is currently researching to ensure the fleet is in proper compliance on September 29, 2020.

Located on the Samsung tablet is an FMCSA (HOS) document, which helps explain the changes. It is inside the DTI Portal icon, located just below the Driver Safety Meeting link and Dot COVID-19 page link.

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