According to an article published on Trucker.com, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (“FMCSA”) recently approved four major changes to current hours-of-service rules for all commercial truck drivers. These new rules changed how “long-haul” truck drivers are obligated to take rest stops, and the rules also extend the distance that “short-haul” truck drivers may travel in one day. Supporters state that the new rules allow for greater flexibility for commercial truck drivers while focusing on highway safety.
The four key changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours-of-Service Rules:
- Expands the “short-haul” extends the allowable daily work shift from 12 to 14 hours and miles driven per day from 100 to 150 air-miles;
- Expands the “driving window” when driving in adverse driving conditions by up to two additional hours;
- Requires the driver to take a 30-minute break after eight hours of drive time (no longer “duty time”) and permits a not driving/on-duty time frame to qualify as the mandated “break;”
- Changes the sleeper berth exception by permitting the truck driver to meet his or her ten-hour minimum off-duty requirement by “spending at least seven hours” instead of at least eight hours of that rest period in the sleeper berth and a minimum off-duty period of at minimum two hours spent outside or inside of the sleeping berth, as long as the ten-hour minimum off-duty requirement is met, and that neither qualifying period counts toward the fourteen-hour driving window.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, these changes are more about creating a record of duty status than creating new hours-of-service exceptions. The truck driver is legally responsible for recording their time in/out and the cumulative hours have driven in the past 24-hours. The driver’s log must also show how many hours the truck driver has worked each day for the last seven days. These records are required, by law, to be held by the motor carrier company for at least six months.
The trucker who exceed these exceptions are required to complete a regular driver’s log if the behavior happened eight or fewer days within the past 30 days- If the driver failed to meet the exceptions more than eight days within the last 30 days, they would be forced to use an electronic logging device (ELD).
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