The Complete Guide to FMCSA’s 30 Minute Break Rule

The Complete Guide to FMCSA’s 30 Minute Break Rule

The FMCSA has several Hours of Service rules and regulations (HOS rules) to ensure safety and minimize driving accidents. One of those Hours of Service rules is the 30-minute break rule, which requires commercial drivers to take a break after 8 hours of driving.

The 30-minute break rule has been around for years now. However, the FMCSA recently made some changes to the rule.

In this post, we discuss the 30-minute break rule in detail.

What is the 30-minute break rule?

The 30-minute break rule is an Hours of Service regulation that requires most commercial drivers to take a break of at least 30 minutes after driving for 8 hours.

The 30-minute consecutive break could be satisfied by:

  • Taking 30 consecutive minutes off duty/-on-duty while not driving, or
  • Spending 30 consecutive minutes in the sleeper berth, or
  • A combination of both that equals 30 consecutive minutes.

As per the rule, commercial drivers can work beyond 8 hours of driving time without taking a 30-minute break, but they cannot drive. For instance, a driver can perform other non-driving tasks, such as loading and unloading cargo.

Moreover, the 30-minute break does not extend the 14-hour window in which a driver must complete their drive time.

Changes to the 30-minute break rule

The FMCSA first introduced the 30-minute break rule back on December 27, 2011. However, on June 1, 2020, the FMCSA published the revised HOS regulations, including the 30-minute break provision.

The new 30-minute break rule became effective on September 29, 2020.

Qualifying motor carriers and drivers now follow the provisions of this revised regulation.

Differences between the old and new 30-minute break rules

According to the old rule, drivers had to take a break of 30 consecutive minutes after being on duty for 8 hours.

According to the new rule, drivers only have to take a 30-minute break after driving for 8 cumulative hours.

The modified 30-minute break rule gives commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers greater flexibility without compromising road safety.

10 points to remember about the DOT 30-minute break rule

If the 30-minute break rule seems confusing, just remember the following points:

  1. Drivers cannot drive after 8 hours of drive time until they take a break of 30 consecutive minutes.
  2. However, they can perform other non-driving tasks.
  3. Driving for 8 hours does not have to be consecutive. The 8-hour driving time is cumulative.
  4. The 30-minute break is mandatory for commercial drivers. It is not optional like the 34-hour restart rule is.
  5. The 30 minutes must be consecutive.
  6. The 30-minute break can be taken off-duty, on-duty, in the sleeper berth, or as a combination of the above.
  7. The 30-minute break does not extend the 14-hour window. Therefore, those 30 minutes will count towards the available 14 on-duty hours.
  8. The 30-minute break rule does not apply to passenger-carrying vehicles.
  9. Short-haul drivers who qualify for the 150 air-mile radius exceptions are not required to take the break.
  10. Hazmat drivers also need to take the 30-minute break and log it “off-duty.” But drivers transporting Division 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 explosives must log their 30-minute break as “on-duty.”

How to take the 30-minute break in the KeepTruckin Driver App

The KeepTruckin Driver App makes it incredibly simple for drivers to log their mandatory 30-minute break. If you are a property-carrying driver, just make sure that the “30-minute rest break required” option is active in the app’s logs settings.

Go to the sidebar menu > Settings > Cycle Rules. Select the correct cycle (e.g., USA 70 hour / 8 day) and cargo type (property) to see the 30-minute rest break option.

The KeepTruckin Driver App will automatically notify you of a possible HOS violation if you do not take the 30-minute break after driving for 8 hours.

KeepTruckin Driver App - Hours of Service Violation Alert

If, for some reason, the 30-minute break rule does not apply to you, just deselect the 30-minute break option under the app settings, and you will not be notified to take the break.


Property-carrying commercial drivers are required to take a break of 30 consecutive minutes after driving for 8 hours. Failure to do so may result in an Hours of Service violation.

Previously, the 30-minute break rule didn’t offer as much flexibility because drivers were required to take the break after being on duty for 8 hours. However, the FMCSA has recently tweaked the Hours of Service rules to make it more flexible and driver-friendly.

KeepTruckin makes it incredibly easy for drivers to take these breaks when required and avoid Hours of Service violations and subsequent penalties. You can download the KeepTruckin Driver App for free on iOS and Android and give it a try today.

Learn more about the KeepTruckin ELD solution and how it simplifies fleet management and helps with ELD compliance.

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Disclaimer: All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, and does not constitute financial, business, or legal advice. Although KeepTruckin strives to provide accurate general information, the information presented here is not a substitute for any kind of professional advice, and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in the area for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any professional, legal, business and financial, or tax-related decisions.

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Jimmy Rodela writes about transportation industry challenges, insights, and compliance news. He specializes in digital media and blogging.

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