Warning for short haulers: Exceeding distance, time limits makes 30-min. break mandatory

| December 18, 2013

truck-highwayThough the 30-minute break required by the July 1 hours of service rule was vacated by court for short haulers — and the rule subsequently changed by FMCSA — drivers who exceed the distance or time limits that qualify them as short haul drivers would be subject to complying with the break requirement, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will announce this week via the Federal Register. 


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Short haul drivers are defined as those who drive within 150 air-miles of their home base or those who drive within 100 air-miles and complete their duty day within 12 hours. 

Short haulers who go beyond the 150-mile radius would need to take the mandatory 30-minute break within the first eight hours of on-duty time or at the “earliest safe opportunity” if the eight-hour threshold had been exceeded by the time the driver first learned he or she was ineligible for the short-haul exemption, FMCSA says. 

That applies to short haulers who qualify for the exemption under the 100 air-mile, 12-hour limits, too. 


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The driver, however, is not in violation of the rest break provision if he or she exceeds the short haul exemption limits “for unforeseen reasons,” FMCSA’s notice says, as long as the driver annotates his or her record of duty status “to indicate why the required rest break was not taken earlier, and should take the break at the earliest safe opportunity.” 

The regulatory guidance is scheduled to be published Dec. 19 in the Federal Register.

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  • guest

    PAY needs to INCREASE with each new RULEthe trucker has to follow…Driver needs to be PAID for this 30 minute “break” by the side of the road…..company drivers shouldbe PAID for the 10hour break like they do for WALMART DRIVERS…they get about $60 and they should…..this stupid industry is a complete RIP OFF for the drivers…who get CHEATED and Paid crap.

  • T48

    Then buy your own truck & charge your own customers the inconvenience of the bloated government they voted for.

  • safetygirl

    This is a prime example of the problem created by overcomplicating hours of service.
    Now each law enforcement officer will need to decide what is a good reason for the driver not to have known in advance that he was going to exceed hours of service. The FMCSA will fix the newly created vague rule problem by issuing an obscure list of reasons that officers dont know exist; a list we will have to scrutinize and ask for interpretation on in order to comply.
    Reasons for exceeding the 12 hour limit can range from bad weather to additional unexpected customer orders. No matter how you slice it the driver is not going to know ahead of time or he would have been logging the day and taking his break to begin with. The FMCSA is making us all crazy!

  • James

    This “unforseen reasons” thing sounds like a judgement call,and we KNOW whose “judgement” will carry the most weight in THIS discussion. (Won’t be the driver…)

  • bill

    straight out communism. USA your freedom went
    by the wayside it’s up to you to stop it. American
    people are becoming puppets

  • BunniRabbyt

    What is your big problem T48 dont you think a driver should be compensated for every minute that he is obligated to a company vehicle whether it be a break or sleep the driver is still in charge. Way too much free time given away and not paid for

  • safetygirl

    T48’s point is correct though many dont understand the meaning.
    If the government mandates an extra half hour and the driver must be paid for it then the customer must pay for the extra half hour (as well as fuel, inconvenience, and the scheduleing changes it causes) or the narrow margin of profit disappears in which case the company has nothing to combat risk with and must close. As a result the trucker has no job as well as all of the people in the offices at the company who, by the way, dont get paid for their mandatory lunch break either.
    The problem with passing on cost of regulation is that the customer can get some other company who is not yet smart enough to raise their rate. In the meantime.. we are all out a job.
    Unfortunately only people who have run their own business at some point in time understand how that works.
    Of course we should all be paid for our time. The problem is government mandating time and work without designating a payer. It’s a fairytale world in the halls of government…..they just regulate. Someone else will pay for it.

  • Veronica

    very well said safetygirl

  • guest

    Yep straight out of Communism, Dictatorship, Tyranny…no longer Free Enterprize Capitalism….it is now like a Gov Run UTILITY like Airlines and Railroads….PAY needs to INCREASE along with all the NEW mandates and regulations….of which there have been MANY lately that CRUSH trucker revenues….Gov says NOTHING about that part in their “studies”.

  • John Scott

    So many drivers are not paid well now. Mileage pay and/or percentage pay. Really has not kept up with what a driver should be making. If you think about it, much of our pay increases have come from longer hours. Working harder and more to keep up with inflation. Many times not even doing that.

  • John Scott

    Yea unfortunately the result of any added unpaid hours to our day is never fully or even partially compensated for.. I guess maybe the end result eventually will be more drivers leaving the industry.

  • Joseph Morris

    I am really confused. Driving a truck is a JOB, and pay is either by the mile, the day, the hour or the trip. It appears from the comments that the JOB payment is for showing up for work and everything else requires extra pay.When I started driving, my boss said ” If the truck is not running we do not make money.” You do pretrip before you leave. You do Post-trip after the trip ends for the day and list what you cannot fix. If you are tired-DO NOT DRIVE , I got paid for every bit of work I documented. I did not get paid for sleeping in the truck. I did not get paid for eating. I did not get paid for cleaning the cab interior or the trailer. I did not get paid for adjusting the brakes during pretrip and I did not get paid for filling out my logs or loading and securing the load. But since we now have to trip the person who bags the donuts and puts black coffee in a cup and points to the area where sugar and creamers are stored I guess I should be paid for finding the delivery address and for arriving on time with undamaged freight as a tip since he only hired me to drive the truck.

  • Joseph Morris

    The ENTIRE INDUSTRY is in a turmoil about two conditions.
    1) work conditions
    2) workers pay

    The tools needed should be in good working order. All OF THEM including the nut behind the steering wheel. The work day should be eight hours as in a warehouse or store or factory. Maximum without a sleep break was a double shift or 16 hours. The Driver was expected to transport the item so as to arrive undamaged, on-time without violating safe driving guidelines and laws. The Driver was expected to replace burnt out lights, fuses, and other safety issues.

    Pay should be at least that of day workers at the factory.
    Since the Driver is mobile he should be paid for all hours worked from the pretrip inspection to the post -trip writeup required by law. Factory workers recieved a 15 minute break every two hours. We took 30 minutes every four hours. D. O. T. records showed a trend that driving at 55 mph resulted in an average of 38 miles drven each hour unless a lot of highway ,non city driving was involved so a
    ten hour maximum driving without an eight hour sleep was in effect. Long haul highway driving usually averaged out to 50 – 53 miles each hour or 500 mile days

  • Joseph Morris

    those are physical realities and used to determine driver pay. Most companies paid extra for loading and securing the load. tailgate delivery, unloading at a dock or waiting to deliver at receiver’s request Total time for the work day was 16 hours without an eight hour sleep break. WHY WERE THESE CHANGED?? WHAT DID WE GAIN??

  • g

    Just to be safe always stop before 8 hours and have a little warm milk and a nappy……Anne Knows Best now…

  • g

    It is pretty funny..alot of guys will stop and lay down for a few…and wake up too late to make their delivery…ignorant chumps at d.o.t. should really Butt Out.

  • g

    Correct..unless you like being RIPPED OFF.

  • g

    Yea…cops need more stupid “rules” to investigate….while illegal alien truckers go racing by with a trailer full of narcotics?? What about Priorities?? Cops are supposed to be looking for criminal activities….are they our personal Babysitters?? This has gotten rediculous….who in the HELL cares if a driver takes a 30 minute “break”(without PAY)…this is beyond stupid…take a survey..who in the industry give a damn about this NEW LAW?? Naturally a WORKER is going to take a BREAK to go to the toilet, get coffee, use the PHONE…who in the HELL is so OVERZEALOUS about WORKING that he wont take a stinkin BREAK?? Why would you document the time aman is on the CRAPPER??

  • g

    Bottomline is accurate to the max….FMCSA is making even the COPS pissed off at these stupid “RULES”….rediculous crap.

  • g

    Every minute of a D.O.T. inspection for company driver should be PAID as much asthe dumb Union Cop mooches off the Gov…alot of them are too dumb to survive if not for their parasite sucking off the taxpayer…many are deranged Kooks who would not last on a Non Government job..like in the work place…they have to suck from the Government from cradle to grave….and be a bother to everyone. Why should the COP get PAID but the Working American gets NOTHING???? Communism at its best. Dictatorship.

  • g

    The pay for a company driver is below Min Wage when you figure in all the extra TIME he is required to be on the job…sometimes it takes an HOUR just driving in LINE to ENTER a shipper…then Open the Doors, possibly sweep some debris from the trailer, then go park and wait for a DOOR at a warehouse for Loading..which can be 2 hours and more…NO PAY for any of this…Inspected by DOT at scalehouse?? All the time inching up to the scale…report to Door 3..inpection..answer questions, show certificates…sign the TICKET he issues….ALL FREE…this goes on all week…..NO PAY.

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