New Hours of Service Changes take effect September 29th
On June 1st, FMCSA published changes to truck driver hours of service rules in the Federal Register. The new changes – outlined below – become effective September 29, 2020.
- Short-Haul Operations
- Extends drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours.
- Extends the air-mile radius within which CDL drivers may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
- 30-Minute Rest Break
- Requires a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours of driving time have elapsed.
- Allows a break to be taken in an on-duty, not-driving status.
- Sleeper Berth Exception
- Allows drivers to split their required 10-hours off duty into two periods: an 8 and 2 split or a 7 and 3 split, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
- Neither period counts against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
- Adverse Driving Conditions
- Modifies the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the maximum on-duty window during which driving is permitted by 2 hours.
FMCSA Extends Coronavirus Trucking Exemptions through December 31st
On September 11, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) extended yet again the emergency declaration that provides truck drivers an exemption from Parts 390 to 399 of the federal motor carrier regulations (including hours of service, vehicle inspection and driver qualification rules).
COVID-19 trucking exemptions were originally issued on March 13, 2020, but have been repeatedly expanded to remain in force throughout the current pandemic. This latest extension is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2020, or until the national state of emergency ends, whichever comes sooner.
The exemptions apply to drivers who provide “direct assistance” in support of emergency relief efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes efforts to meet immediate needs for:
- Livestock and livestock feed;
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19;
- Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants;
- Food, paper products and other commodities for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
The exemptions do not apply to state transportation laws and regulations (including texting restrictions and speed limits), rules on impaired or fatigued driving, crash reporting obligations, or alcohol use and testing requirements.
Drivers and carriers should review the exemptions carefully to determine their obligations, restrictions and limitations during relief efforts.