How fleets and drivers can capitalize on new regs for 14-hour rule, 30-minute break
| August 7, 2020
Beginning Sept. 29 when the revised hours of service rule shifts into law, truck drivers will have an expanded split-sleeper berth option that will allow them to effectively stop their 14-hour clock for up to three hours in a duty shift.
The new option allows drivers to split the 10-hour off-duty period up in two segments, with one segment being a minimum of seven hours.
With the new 7/3 split-sleeper berth provision drivers have one more hour of flexibility than the current 8/2 split. However, as a key change under the looming HOS regulations, the shorter period does not count against a drivers’ 14-hour clock.
Another way drivers can preserve on-duty time is by logging the 30-minute break differently than they do now. Under the current regulations, drivers must take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of on-duty time and record it as off duty. If a driver stops to fuel, dock a trailer, or do other non-driving work, the time is considered as on duty and, as such, does not count toward the required break.
The new HOS rule offers more flexibility on that front. Drivers still break for 30 minutes, but within the first eight hours of drive time, rather than on-duty time, and they can log the time however they wish — as on duty, off duty or sleeper berth.
If drivers spend eight hours behind the wheel, stop for fuel or wait at a dock, they can drive another three hours by having more flexibility to reach the 11-hour drive limit.
Also, the radius of the short haul exemption extends from 100 to 150 air miles and allows fleets an increase in the maximum on-duty limit from 12 to 14 hours. With the new exemption, qualified fleets and their drivers do not have to keep a record of duty status or take 30-minute breaks.