News Alert

FMCSA Publishes New Hours of Service Rules

May 14, 2020

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released their anticipated revisions to the hours of service (HOS) regulations. The FMCSA states that these changes will provide greater flexibility for drivers subject to those rules without adversely affecting safety.

The final rule, announced by Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and FMCSA acting Administrator Jim Mullen on May 14, includes four revisions that pertain to issues truckers have voiced concerns about, such as the 30-minute rest break and splitting up time in the sleeper berth.

The final rule is effective 120 days after date of publication in the Federal Register.

Changes to the Hours of Service Rules


(1) expands the short-haul exception to 150 air-miles and allows a 14-hour work shift to take place as part of the exception;

  • The new rules extend the maximum duty period allowed under the short-haul exception in 49 CFR 395.1(e)(1) from 12 hours to 14 hours. It also extends the maximum radius in which the short-haul exception applies from 100 to 150 air-miles.

(2) expands the driving window during adverse driving conditions by up to an additional 2 hours;

  • FMCSA modifies the definition of adverse driving conditions so that the adverse driving conditions exception may be applied based on the driver’s (in addition to the dispatcher’s) knowledge of the conditions after being dispatched, and extends the driving window during which the current exception for extended driving time may be used by up to 2 hours for truck and bus operations under §§ 395.3(a)(2) and 395.5(a)(2), respectively.

(3) requires a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time (instead of on-duty time) and allows an on-duty/not driving period to qualify as the required break; and

  • The Agency makes the 30-minute break requirement for drivers of property-carrying CMVs in § 395.3(a)(3)(ii) applicable only when a driver has driven (instead of having been on-duty) for a period of 8 hours without at least a 30-minute non-driving interruption. The break may be satisfied by any non-driving period of 30 minutes, i.e., on-duty, off-duty, or sleeper berth time.

(4) modifies the sleeper berth exception to allow a driver to meet the 10-hour minimum off-duty requirement by spending at least 7, rather than at least 8 hours of that period in the berth and a minimum off-duty period of at least 2 hours spent inside or outside of the berth, provided the two periods total at least 10 hours, and that neither qualifying period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

  • FMCSA also modifies the sleeper berth requirements to (1) allow drivers to take their required 10 hours off-duty in two periods, provided one off-duty period (whether in or out of the sleeper berth) is at least 2 hours long and the other involves at least 7 consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth, and (2) add that neither period counts against the maximum 14-hour driving window in § 395.3(a)(2).

The FMCSA excluded from the final rule its proposal to allow a single off-duty period of up to 3 hours to be excluded from the 14-hour driving window. The announcement of the FMCSA final rule can be viewed here.