New hours of service regulations start in September

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has made changes to the hours of service (HOS) regulations. They state that the purpose is to give drivers more flexibility while maintaining safety standards. The new regulations passed on June 1, 2020, and go into effect on September 29, 2020. 

Overview of changes

The changes apply to the following four areas:

  • Break requirements: Drivers may use any on-duty time where they are not driving as their 30-minute break. They will no longer have to be off-duty. In addition, they only need to take that break after eight hours of driving time, rather than on-duty time.
  • Short-haul exceptions: Drivers using the short-haul exception (150 air-miles) may have a 14-hour work shift, rather than the current 12-hour shift.
  • Adverse driving conditions: There will be an exception for adverse driving conditions that increase the driving window by two hours.
  • Sleeper berth modification: Drivers can meet their 10-hour off-duty requirement by spending seven hours in the berth, rather than eight. They can spend at least two hours inside or outside the berth, as long as they still total 10 hours.

Who does this affect?

These regulations apply to most commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers. The FMCSA defines a CMV as a truck used for interstate commerce on behalf of a business and may include any of the following traits:

  • Has a rating of 10,001 pounds or more in the gross combination rate or gross vehicle weight rate
  • The vehicle carries hazardous materials in any quantity that requires placards
  • A transportation vehicle designed for nine or more people, if compensated
  • A transportation vehicle designed for 16 or more people, whether or not compensated
  • Any vehicle weighing 10,001 pounds or more

These new regulations do not go into effect until September 29, 2020. If you would like more information regarding the HOS rules, you can find them on the FMCSA website. They also created an HOS rules webinar and provide a copy of the transcript from its live question and answer session.