On July 12, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued revised guidance under the hours of service (HOS) rules for how commercial drivers should record and take breaks. The guidance, effective immediately, revises the 1997 guidance, which the agency states “has the effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks during the work day, or documenting such breaks in the workbook.”

The guidance revises question 2 of 49 CFR395.2:

Question 2: What conditions must be met for a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver to record meal and other routine stops made during a work shift as off-duty time?

Guidance: Drivers may record meal and other routine stops, including a rest break of at least 30 minutes intended to satisfy 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii), as off-duty time provided:
  1. The driver is relieved of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the vehicle, its accessories, and any cargo or passengers it may be carrying.
  2. During the stop, and for the duration of the stop, the driver must be at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing.
The FMCSA’s new HOS rule went into effect July 1 and is currently under review by the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A ruling is expected to be made any day. ABC will continue to monitor this court case and will notify members of any developments through Newsline

*Update: An Aug. 7 enforcement policy posted on FMCSA's website clarifies it will not apply the provision that requires drivers to take a 30-minutes break for every eight hours of consecutive driving to short-haul drives.