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Hours of Service
The 30-minute break rule is a part of the larger federal Hours of Service rules that apply to property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
This post explains the 30-minute break rule, along with when and how it applies.
The 30-minute break rule says that CMV drivers cannot drive for more than 8 hours in a shift before taking a break of at least 30 consecutive minutes.
The 8 driving hours do not have to be consecutive during a work shift — they are cumulative driving hours.
The 30-minute break rule is designed to promote alertness by requiring drivers to stop and get out from behind the wheel of the CMV, in order to break up a lengthy driving period.
The break requirement can be satisfied by any non-driving period of 30 consecutive minutes or more.
It means the driver could be on-duty but not driving (e.g., getting fuel, checking the security of the load), off-duty, in his/her sleeper berth, or any combination of these if they are consecutive.
A good example is a driver that stops for 5 minutes to get coffee, spends 10 minutes answering messages from the carrier, and then goes into the sleeper berth to take a 15-minute power nap.
No. If a driver does not accumulate 8 hours of driving time during a shift, the 30-minute break does not need to be taken.
Companies may, however, have policies in place that require drivers to take a break before accumulating 8 driving hours.
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