FMCSA New 30-Minute Break Rule Coming September
The Federal Carrier Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently published the Final Hours of Services (HOS) Rule that will go into effect on September 29, 2020. Of these changes, the required 30-minute break was changed for how it is to be used. Motor carriers and their drivers need to understand how it can be used to potentially reduce violations while increasing the distance drivers are able to drive in a day.
Currently, the 30-minute break is required after 8 hours of being on duty without interruption. A driver must take a minimum break of 30 minutes with a status of off-duty or sleeper berth.
When the new rule goes into effect in September, a driver will be required to take a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours of driving if he, or she, will continue driving for the day. This break is not required to be used in the sleeper berth or an off-duty status. It can be used as off-duty not driving status such as during a load or getting gas.
This will affect long-haul drivers by the distance, and productivity, they are able to cover in a day since their pre-trip inspections and any other on-duty status will not count towards the required break. As for short-haul drivers, they may not have to take a break if they will not be driving more than 8 hours during their workday.
The changes to this rule will allow for better flexibility when drivers choose to take their break. Notating what type of break was used to suffice the requirement is optional. Some companies may require drivers to make notes while others may not. This is something carriers should consider before the changes go into effect in September.