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A final rule that modernizes hours of service rules to improve safety and increase flexibility for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers was announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) earlier today.

Based on the thousands of comments from the American people, FMCSA’s final rule on hours of service offers four major changes to the existing HOS rules. Specifically, the final rule:

  • Increases safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.

  • Modifies the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, or a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.

  • Alters the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.

  • Changes the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by 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.

The rule changes do not increase driving time and will continue to prevent CMV operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute break.

The new hours of service rule will have an implementation date of 120 days after publication in the Federal Register, which is expected to be next week.

To view the complete final rule, visit the FMCSA website here.


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