HOS changes start on Tuesday — Here’s what you need to know

Major changes to truck driver Hours of Service regulations will go into effect in just a few days, so we rounded up the information you need to be ready.

On Tuesday, September 29, four major changes to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Hours of Service regulations will go into effect after the agency published the Hours of Service Final Rule on June 1, 2020.

Here’s a breakdown of the four major changes.

1. Short-haul Exception

Starting on Tuesday, short-haul drivers can travel within a 150 air-mile radius, and have up to 14 hours to start and end their shift at the same reporting location.

“Under the previous rule, a driver based in Peoria could not service Chicago and St. Louis. The new rule allows the driver to service those two cities, as well as an additional 2 hours to do so,” the FMCSA said.

To be able to use the short-haul exception, the CMV driver must:

  • Operate within a 150 air-miles radius
  • Not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours
  • Start and end shift in the same location
  • Have at least 8 (passenger) or 10 (property) hours off between shifts
  • Include the start and end times for the day and the total hours on-duty on the time record for the day

While operating under the short-haul exception, drivers are not required to fill out a log with a graph grid or use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD), they can use a time record instead.

  • Motor carrier must record the driver’s time in, time out, and total number of hours per day – Time must include the total time for the 7 preceding days – Records must be maintained for 6 months
  • When a driver no longer meets the exception, (drives too far/works too many hours), the driver must complete a regular log or use an ELD for the day

2. Adverse Driving Conditions Exception

Expands the driving window (both driving limit and on-duty limit) during adverse driving conditions (like flooding, wildfires, or hurricanes) by up to an additional 2 hours.

The definition of Adverse Driving Conditions also changed to include the driver.

Previous Definition: Adverse driving conditions means snow, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, none of which were apparent on the basis of information known to the person dispatching the run at the time it was begun

New Definition: Adverse driving conditions means snow, ice, sleet, fog, or other adverse weather conditions or unusual road or traffic conditions that were not known, or could not reasonably be known, to a driver immediately prior to beginning the duty day or immediately before beginning driving after a qualifying rest break or sleeper berth period, or a motor carrier immediately prior to dispatching the driver

EXAMPLE: A driver is 15 miles from his destination when there is a gravel spill on the bridge ahead (the bridge is the only access to the destination)

  • Driver has 1 hour left of driving time and 1 hour left in the driving day
  • Driver can stop at the next exit (for up to 2 hours) until the road is clear, and still have time to get to the destination without violating HOS rule

3. 30-Minute Break Requirement

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.

Short non-consecutive periods cannot be combined to reach 30 minutes of non-driving time. 30 minutes must be consecutive.

4. Sleeper Berth Provision

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 the berth, provided the two periods total at least 10 hours, and that neither qualify period counts against the 14-hour driving window.

For more information on the upcoming Hours of Service changes, please click here.