FMCSA issues guidance on breaks in on-duty time

| July 11, 2013

tuck stopIn a language clarification from the 1997 guidance on hours of service rules, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is issuing Friday, July 12, an updated version of regulatory guidance concerning breaks for drivers.

The guidance comes on the heels of the July 1 effective date of hours of service rule changes and clarifies guidance it says has an “effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks during the work day, or documenting such breaks in their logbooks.” Among other changes, the new regulations require drivers take a 30-minute break every eight hours on duty.

The two new conditions that FMCSA says must be met to record meal and other routine stops made during on-duty hours as off-duty break time:

(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 1997 guidance includes requirements for written instructions from a drivers’ employers concerning breaks and are inconsistent with FMCSA rules, the agency says. The new guidance, says the agency’s notice, attempts to make clear to carriers that they do not need to provide guidance to drivers — written or verbal — regarding specifics as to when and where they can take rest breaks.

“While FMCSA has not received any requests for clarification of the guidance, the agency believes it is out-of-date and no longer provides practical assistance to motor carriers attempting to achieve compliance with HOS rules,” says FMCSA’s notice.

  • Jason Haggard

    So if your Quallcomm beeps at you during that time you cannot answer it because then it invalidates your time. Same as a call from dispatch or a broker, shipper or receiver.

  • Michael A Brand

    I swear the Government get dumber and dumber as the years go on. This rule would make sense if we got paid hourly. I don’t like the new rules they mess up my running routine.I normally run half the trip and take an hr or 2 nap.

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  • cjmarley

    Well since time being loaded can now be used as “off-duty” time dispatchers can take advantage of that and make sure that the rest of the day is on-duty if you sit for more than 30 minutes.

  • Craig Vecellio

    To me, clarification 2 is specifically so that doesn’t happen….you’re not at liberty on a shipping dock.

  • Ken Nilsen

    it does not mess up your routine, you can still run half of a trip, legally 5.5 hours, take your nap then run another 5.5 hours. I guess you just needed to comment even if it did not make sense. The break is a minimum 30 minutes not maximum.

  • Ken Nilsen

    it is not that you cannot answer it, it is the fact that you have the option of answering it. You are physically capable, I hope, of turning off your phone or ignoring the qualcomm.

  • localnet

    What if you are hauling HazMat? Just walk away from the truck and forget about it?

  • cjmarley

    Sure I am. I can go into the driver’s lounge/area and watch some tv. I can get in my bunk and take a nap. I could walk down to the corner store and grab a drink. The shipper/receiver wouldn’t stop me from doing any of that.

  • Craig Vecellio

    You must have some very generous customers. Mostly what I have seen is docks that don’t even allow drivers to use their restroom, let alone a lounge. And they expect you to stay put and be ready to bump the dock or leave without notice. There are a few like what you described, but not many.

  • cjmarley

    I happen to be at one right now with a nice little sitting area for drivers. I’ve seen some that are nasty but still…its the thought that counts I guess. And of course I’ve been to ones without a place for drivers. I always appreciate the ones who do since I’m not allowed to idle even when it’s hot.
    Sent from my HTC One™ X, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone

    —– Reply message —–

  • Mike Smith

    The way I’m hearing it is, if you get a load that takes 8. 5 hrs to get to before the receiver closes you have to sit for 10 hrs plus wait until they open the next day. If this is so, I won’t take any loads with this time frame. I hope there’s provisions for this just like there’s provisions for the cattle hauler who doesn’t even have to go by this H S law.

  • Jason Haggard

    Ken you have absolutely no idea if it messes up his routine or not because you are not him. That is one of the key problem with the rule itself. No two drivers are the same and no two days are the same either. I guess you just wanted to comment, even if you didn’t have any knowledge of his situation.

  • Jason Haggard

    No you do not have the option, the reason being is that if you want to do things by the letter of the new rule then you CANNOT be engaged in anything pertaining to the job while under the 30 minute break period. If you do engage in either of those things then you invalidate the break period. That was the whole point of the comment. Go play instigator somewhere else Ken.

  • Gambler

    This is a complete Bullshit idea in the first place! End of story.

  • Ken Nilsen

    He stated his routine was to run half the trip and take a nap. He provided the information. This is really not a big deal. I have been driving for over 20 years and can only think of maybe 10 or 12 times that I have driven more than 8 hours without getting out of the seat. Remember that no one can make you do anything. You are the only person in the truck and you always have options.

  • Ken Nilsen

    Yes you do have the option, your phone has an off switch, simply turn it off and you do not have to worry about it.

  • James Puckett

    J.H. Puckett
    It is time to quit trucking and discourage anyone who is thinking about driving a truck. I have had enough.

  • Jason Haggard

    So based on that limited information you have in your great wisdom figured out this mans entire routine. I’m not going to argue with you Ken because surely everybody must run by your standards in your perfect little idea of the world. I have already fielded literally hundreds of complaints from drivers how it has in fact had a negative impact on their situations which are not the same as yours. You see some of us out here look out for other people instead of just ourselves, maybe you should try it sometime.

  • Frago

    The only thing that keeps drivers from taking breaks is the stupid lame 14 hour rule, the most unsafe rule ever created causing truckers to be in a hurry at all times of the day without a minute to spare.

  • jack

    ken ur just a dumb ass putting your nose in everyones business.. maybe you should go work for the gov. and help them come up with new stupid laws

  • Craig Vecellio

    Good point. With Hazmat, you are technically never released from responsibility unless you are at a Safe Haven.

  • kiko kika

    pls i need some advice to this driver know’s every thing and who drive for electronic logs how can you pei pei on this thing so it well stop working

  • William McKelvie

    Let’s examine the ruling itself. Please read the actual language of the ruling. Taken right from the article, QUOTE: to record meal and other routine stops made during on-duty hours as off-duty break time. Yes, that is what it says, ON DUTY hours as OFF DUTY break time. And WE let that go through? Very weak. How can that be legal? Because that is the way that the FMCSA wants it? It is illegal, and GOD FORBID anyone one of us gets into trouble, because the FMCSA is full of double talk, that is for sure.

  • Jimmy the Greek

    What the hell is a Quallcomm ? just kidding , however to this day i have never drove a rig with anything other than a tac-a-graff lol

  • Jimmy the Greek

    I never turn my motor off untill i get home or am fueling , i can’t stand a hot truck , and try not to go north of dallas or west of houston . Just sent in my 2nd 1/4 IFTA my average mpg for the last 1/4 was 6.8 mpg , years ago 3.5 was good lol running that 671 at 2400 and down shifting at 1900 , lol

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Not realy , I park my haz-mat loads on the street in frount of my nabors house if any bitches i well flip the plackerds . i do live on a dead end road around 35 miles north of houston lol

  • Jimmy the Greek

    Hit it with a 5lb hammer , or rip it out and say it got stollen . lol

  • Craig Vecellio

    You’re taking a heck of a chance…if anything happens to that load at your house…

  • EF McHenry

    William that’s a clever observation of what appears to be a contradiction in terms. However my take was that the change simply left the moment and incident of off-duty not driving breaks more or less up to the drivers discretion rather than having to be formally relief of responsibility by the motor carrier.

    Land Lines Dave Tanner just posted ”Is a harassment-proof EOBR even possible?” 7/16/13
    I personally have great respect for men like Jim Johnson and Todd Spencer they represent some of the best in the business.
    Good day to you. Floyd

  • William McKelvie

    Because that is exactly what it is Floyd. How can you be on break on duty? Simple, you cannot. A driver cannot be on duty and on break at the same time by definition. And that is how DOT and FMCSA work, correct? They work by the definition of the regulations, especially with regards to CSA points and violations. So let us hold them to the very same, exact standards that they hold us to, yes? Same thing with the eobr, contradictory in nature and regulation. How can you mandate a machine that has been proven to not be tamper proof, and proven data manipulations daily if not hourly.

  • EF McHenry

    Excellant points I’ll give it some more thought.

  • William McKelvie

    Just an FYI Floyd, Mr Johnson and I spoke for a good say 30 minutes and Mr Spencer I do believe was at least an hour if not more when I was out at OOIDA HQ about a month or so ago. We surely touched on these subjects. But they can only do so much. The hardest thing is getting everyone on board, uniting. Now we are seeing the FB, OOIDA, and Overdrive comments coming around just how the regulations are hurting drivers. The main problem, the public has forgotten just how important the trucks are to everyday life. Ponder that one. :)

  • Jimmy the Greek

    What are they going to do sue me ? i live in texas ! they cant even garnish you pay in this state , child support and federal income tax is the only ones that can get you in texas , they cant get the house you live in , i am 61 years old when you get to my age you well understand .

  • unwildbill

    So a parking place just magically appears at each 5.5 hr interval?…..NICE!

  • Mike Kiger

    The actual wording of the 30 min break rule does not imply in any way that the break had to be taken within 8 hours. It actually SAYS you cannot drive MORE THAN 8 hours without taking 30 minute break

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