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DOT Changes the Hours of Service Rules for Truck Drivers



Yesterday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued a final rule impacting 49 CFR parts 385 and 395, relating to hours of servers for truck drivers.


The rule change is designed to give truck drivers more flexibility. Some of the significant changes include:

  • The short-haul exception is now increased 250 air miles and allows a 14-hour work shift as part of the exemption.
  • Driving in adverse conditions is extended by up to two hours.
  • A 30-minute break is required after eight consecutive hours of driving time as opposed to on-duty time. On-duty – not driving qualifies as a break.
  • The sleeper berth exception has been changed to permit a driver to satisfy the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending seven hours in the berth, and the remaining time to meet the 10-hour requirement may be spent out of the berth.

The new safety requirements loosen some requirements to comply with the minimum safety requirements of the regulations. You can read the full text of the changes by clicking here.

Because of the recent virus issues, the trucking industry has faced substantial pressure to deliver goods America needs to keep running. The new safety requirements are somewhat enhanced by the use of the Electronic Logging Device rule, which has tended to make it much easier to assess compliance with the hours of service regulations for commercial truck drivers.

The ELD rules have brought motor carriers and commercial drivers into the electronic information age, which has been a much more productive way to record compliance with the safety regulations.

According to the DOT, the final rules will improve driver efficiency and that compromise safety. None of the changes increases the maximum allowable driving time.

Here is a video of the announcement.


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Post under: Rules & Regulations

About Greg Baumgartner

Truck accident lawyer Greg Baumgartner
Greg Baumgartner is a preeminent rated personal injury lawyer based in Houston, Texas, with over three decades of experience representing severely injured clients in truck accidents. He founded Baumgartner Law Firm, in 1985, with a mission to provide excellent legal representation and personalized attention to every client.