How the Changes to the DOT HOS Rules Deal with the Mandatory 30-Minute Break
As of midnight, Eastern Standard Time (EST) 29 September 2020, the mandatory 30-minute break required before eight hours of driving can now be considered on-duty, not driving time.
The 30-minute break can be satisfied in:
- Sleeper berth
- On-duty, not driving
The driver could take a break in the sleeper berth, have a sandwich and coffee, do a vehicle walk-around checking the load and lights, and record the vehicle inspection on the driver vehicle inspection report (DVIR) on their electronic logging device (ELD), and continue on their trip after thirty minutes. The break can include a combination of on-duty and off-duty functions but must be for a consecutive 30-minute period without driving.
When the break is interrupted by law enforcement or other reasons that require driving, the break must be re-initiated to include a full 30-minutes.
At no time can a CDL holder (property or passenger carrier) drive for more than 8 hours without a full 30-minute break. The primary consideration is bus and truck driver fatigue management and safety.
It is the driver’s responsibility to know and understand the FMCSA HOS rules and how they apply to them.
How the Changes to the CDL HOS Rules Deal with the Split Sleeper Berth
Many property-carrying drivers are asking, how do these rule changes apply to me “splitting my sleeper berth?” The drivers now have more flexibility with a split sleeper berth. Drivers can now take a 7-hour break in the sleeper berth and use another period in a diner, the shower, or another sleeper berth of two hours or more.
However, both periods added together must equal or exceed the ten-hour off-duty period to comply with the FMCSA HOS rules and DOT compliance.
When put together, neither period counts against the 14-hour duty time; these are considered non-driving hours. The sequence of breaks is up to the driver; the two-hour period may be used before or after the minimum seven-hour sleeper berth period.
Once again, the primary concern is the safety of the driver and the public.
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When you get caught for a “supposed” FMCSA HOS rules violation at the weigh station on I-80 in the Donner Pass near Truckee, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
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The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
The DOT FMCSA .pdf, Updates to Hours of Service Rules
The eroad.com article, Common HOS Final Rule FAQs: AnsweredThe trucker.com article, What drivers need to know about new HOS rules