How FMCSA Proposed Changes Will Impact Businesses.

Posted: Aug, 27th 2019

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published their notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). If any of our clients are affected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulation (FMCSR) hours of service, you will want to look this over and see if the proposed changes either hurt or help you. The FMCSR has proposed to: 


Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes. Also allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty. 

Currently: 30-minute break must be in off-duty status.


The agency proposes to modify the sleeper-berth exception; allowing drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods. One period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth. The other period of no less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.  Neither period would count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.

Currently: the sleeper berth provision is 8 consecutive hours in a sleeper berth coupled with 2 consecutive hours of either off duty or sleeper berth.  It could change to 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and 3 consecutive hours off duty or sleeper berth


The agency proposes to allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours. That would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window if the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift. 

Currently:  A minimum 30 minute off-duty break is required after working for 8 hours.  It counts in the 14-hour rule.


The agency proposes a modification to the adverse driving conditions exemption by extending the 2-hour maximum window during which driving is permitted.

Currently:  It is 2 hours.  


The agency proposes a change to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers. The change includes lengthening the drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles. 

Currently: The 100 air-mile radius exception would become the 150 air-mile radius rule. This would allow 14 hours instead of 12 hours of work under this exception.


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