Hours of Service

What are the new Hours of Service rules? (2020)

The FMCSA made changes to several parts of the Hours of Service rules in 2020 while preserving its foundational provisions. The changes did not impact the 11-hour driving limit, the 14-hour driving window, the weekly driving limitations, or the 34-hour restart

This post discusses which provisions were modified and how.

What was the purpose of the Hours of Service changes?

The changes were made to provide additional operational flexibility to truck drivers while preserving safety.

How was the CDL short-haul exemption changed?

The short-haul exemption was expanded to allow drivers operating equipment requiring a CDL within a 150 air-mile radius of their normal work reporting location to track their Hours of Service compliance using a simplified time-card type reporting system.

To qualify, drivers must return to their normal work reporting location and be relieved from duty within 14 hours. Prior to the change, the air-mile radius was limited to 100 air-miles, and drivers needed to be relieved from duty within 12 hours.

How was the adverse driving conditions exception changed?

The rules were modified to allow a driver who encounters adverse driving conditions, defined in Section 395.2 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, to expand the 14-hour driving window by up to two hours to complete their run or find a safe place to park.

Prior to the change, drivers could only add two hours of driving time but could not extend the driving window.

How was the 30-minute rest break provision changed?

The rules were changed to only require a break if eight hours of driving has been accumulated since the last 30 consecutive minute period of non-driving time. 

The rules also allow a driver to take all or part of the break in on duty (not driving) status provided the break includes a consecutive 30-minute break from driving. 

Before the change, drivers were required to take 30 minutes of consecutive off-duty time within eight hours of coming on duty. 

How has the split sleeper berth exception changed?

The split sleeper berth provision was modified to allow a sleeper berth period of seven or more hours to be paired with three hours off-duty, in addition to the already allowed 2/8 split. The rules also allow drivers to exclude the shorter qualifying rest period from the calculation of compliance to the 14-hour rule, which wasn’t previously allowed.