2020 FMCSA Hours of Service changes: Effective as early as September

2020 Hours of Service Rules | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

In response to the HOS issues highlighted during the ELD mandate rollout, and in an effort to improve safety and flexibility to CMV drivers, the FMCSA has moved into the final stages of publishing the new hours-of-service rule changes.

In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.

On March 2, 2020, the FMCSA announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.

When will the HOS rule take effect?

FMCSA Acting Administrator, Jim Mullen, announced Thursday, May 14, 2020 that the rule should be published in the Federal Register in the coming week and the changes will become effective 120 days after that.

During this time, ELD providers will have to implement software changes to reflect the new hours of service rules.

If the new rules are published next week, and ELD providers are given enough time to make the necessary changes, drivers could begin operating under the new HOS regulations in September 2020.

What are the new hours of service rules?

There are 4 major changes to be included in the hours of service reforms:

  1. Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the current 100 air-mile exemption of the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours, and extending the short-haul radius from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles, to be consistent with the 150 air-mile exemption of trucks with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.
  2. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend both their drive-time limit and their on-duty window by 2 hours if they encounter adverse conditions such as weather or traffic congestion.
    • According to the FMCSA, the provision will allow drivers to either sit and wait out the conditions or to slowly drive through them with caution.
  3. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on-duty (not driving status) rather than off-duty, and requiring it within their first 8 hours of drive time, rather than their first 8 hours on-duty.
    • For example, if you are on-duty refueling your truck and it takes 30 minutes, this could qualify as your 30-minute rest break.
  4. Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow more flexibility for drivers to split the required 10 hours off-duty into two periods.
    • 7 and 3 split: Must contain at least 7 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth, the shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.
    • 8 and 2 split: Cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth, the shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.

Unlike the proposal issued last August, the hours of service changes do not include the option for drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three hours while off-duty to extend the 14-hour clock.

Mullen said the agency deemed the seven-hour, three-hour split “sufficiently flexible” to that end, given with the new change the shorter period in any sleeper split will in fact stop the rolling duty clock, unlike the current split-sleeper rules.


What does this mean for fleets and truck drivers?

These changes provide an important time for fleets to update their driver training. CNS offers a variety of in-person and online training courses for the specific needs or weaknesses of your company or its’ drivers.

Fleets that incorporate training alongside driver qualification, drug testing and fuel tax management can create a complete picture of fleet safety.

Our complete safety program—Proactive Safety Management (PSM) Program—will complement or become your current safety department, without the cost of employing the many staff members it takes to run an effective safety program.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

FMCSA extends and expands Emergency HOS Declaration to May 15


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has extended and expanded its emergency declaration providing regulatory relief to truck drivers who are transporting emergency supplies during the coronavirus outbreak.

The notice, which was issued yesterday, April 8, 2020, states that the emergency declaration for all 50 states and the District of Columbia will be effective through May 15.

The original declaration was put in place on March 13 and was to remain in effect until April 12.

The FMCSA’s declaration grants exemption from Parts 390-399 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. This includes hours of service (HOS), parts and accessories needed for safe operation, and longer combination vehicles.

The FMCSA notice states that, “Because emergency conditions have not abated, FMCSA is extending [the] emergency declaration and associated regulatory relief.” “This extension of the emergency declaration addresses national emergency conditions that create a need for immediate transportation of essential supplies, equipment and persons, and provides necessary relief from the FMCSRs for motor carriers and drivers engaged in the transport of essential supplies, equipment and persons.”

In addition to extending the time frame for the declaration, the notice also expands on the already once expanded HOS exemption list, adding the transportation of liquefied gases used in refrigeration or cooling systems.

The first expansion to the HOS emergency declaration offering relief for drivers providing direct assistance in support of emergency efforts to meet immediate needs for:

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing or quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

The FMCSA has made it very clear that the emergency declaration does not change any traffic or safety laws drivers are expected to abide by, such as speed limits. Drivers are also still required to continue following FMCSA rules and requirements related to commercial driver licenses, drugs and alcohol, hazardous materials, size, weight and registration requirements.

Motor carriers are not allowed to force or even authorize a fatigued driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. In an instance where a driver makes it known to a carrier that he or she needs rest, the driver must be given at least 10 consecutive hours before returning to service.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

2020 CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria


Starting today, April 1, 2020, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 2020 North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria is now in effect. The 2020 out-of-service criteria replaces and supersedes all previous versions.

The North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC) is the pass-fail criteria for roadside safety inspections. The purpose of the criteria is to identify critical safety violations. Those violations render the driver, vehicle and/or motor carrier out of service until the condition(s) or violation(s) are corrected or repaired.

In accordance with CVSA Bylaws, the proposed changes were communicated to the voting members of the Alliance on Oct. 15, 2019 and were ratified on Nov. 1, 2019. There was an additional ballot clarification regarding OOSC Ballot Item #2 which was communicated to the membership on Dec. 10, 2019 and ratified on Dec. 20, 2019. The following changes were made to the out-of-service criteria:

  1. Modified the subtitle in Part I, Item 2. Operator’s/chauffeur’s license or permit (non-CDL), a. Vehicle 26,000 lbs. Or less GVWR not designed to transport 16 or more passengers or placarded loads of hazardous materials.
  2. Included information outlining a valid Canadian dangerous goods training certificate to Part I, Item 2. Operator’s/chauffeur’s license or permit (non-CDL), b. Endorsements and restrictions and Part I, item 3. Commercial driver’s license (CDL), c. Endorsements and restrictions.
  3. Amended Part I, Item 7. Drugs and other substances; as identified under section 392.4(a) by adding OOSC regarding the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse and removing “as identified under section 392.4(a)” from the title.
  4. Removed the reference to an AOBRD in Footnote 14 and added a note for Footnotes 11-14. Part I, Item 9. Driver’s record of duty status – US – footnotes for driver’s record of duty status – US
  5. Removed the out-of-service condition of 72 hours for no log from Part I, Item 10. Driver’s record of duty status – Canada, h. No daily log (See Footnote 2).
  6. Amended Part I, Item 10. Driver’s record of duty status – Canada – footnotes for driver’s record of duty status – Canada, Footnote 2, to reduce the amount of time a driver can be behind on his/her daily log and not be declared out of service.
  7. Updated Part I, Item 11. Driver’s record of duty status – Mexico by replacing the OOSC for Mexico to reflect the requirements in the NOM-087-SCT-2-2017 and adding footnotes.
  8. Added the new SAE J2899 markings found on brake chambers to Part II, Item 1. Brake systems, a. Defective brakes, Brake Adjustment Reference Charts (Clamp Type).
  9. Clarified in Part II, Item 1. Brake systems, e. Parking brake that a parking brake needs to be held by mechanical means.
  10. Amended Part II, Item 11. Suspensions, d. Suspension connecting rod, tracking component assembly or sway bar components by removing sway bars from the OOSC.
  11. Clarified in Part II, Item 12. Tires, a. Any tire on any steering axle(s) of a power unit, (9) and b. All tires other than those found on the front steering axle(s) of a powered unit that the condition refers to a wheel end of a vehicle.
  12. Amended Part II, Item 16. Buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles – emergency exits/electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments/seating (temporary and aisle seats) by adding OOSC for emergency exits that are marked but not necessarily required.
  13. Amended Part III, Item 3. Bulk packages, c. Bulk package authorization by modifying the title and out-of-service condition to include Canadian terminology.
  14. Added a note regarding manhole covers to Part III, Item 3. Bulk packages, d. Venting devices, manhole covers, fill/inspection openings and discharge valves.
  15. Modified the title and condition in Part III, Item 6. Non-bulk packaging to include Canadian terminology.
  16. Added a condition to Part III, Item 10. Emergency response assistance plan (ERAP) (in Canada only) by outlining that ERAP information must be on the shipping document.

For more information, CVSA provides a document that outlines each of the above-mentioned amendments, along with a detailed description of the rationale behind each change.

FMCSA expands HOS exemption list


We are continuing to monitor the COVID-19 (coronavirus) and we will work to update you with any important updates that we belive are necessary for you, our clients, to know. The FMCSA’s expanded declaration provides for regulatory relief for commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts intended to meet immediate needs for: 

  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
  • Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  • Immediate precursor raw materials—such as paper, plastic or alcohol—that are required and to be used for the manufacture of essential items.
  • Fuel.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

Final rule for hours of service goes to White House

HOS Final Rule to White House

HOS proposal goes to White House

In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.

As of Monday, March 2, 2020, the FMCSA has announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.

The rulemaking to reform the hours of service has maintained momentum, even with resignation of Ray Martinez in October of 2019. Martinez started the hours of service reform in the beginning of his term in 2018 and Jim Mullen said the FMCSA was still focused on seeing the rulemaking through.

The content of the final rule is not clear, as the text has not been made public, however it will still address the key issues that were covered in August 2019. You can review those proposed changes in our previous post.

>>> More driver flexibility after hours of service changes <<<

According to the Federal law, the rule must be approved or denied by the OMB within 90 days of its submission, however that deadline can be extended to 120 days.

When the OMB clears the rule, the FMCSA can publish the rule in the Federal Register. What does that mean? It means that the final rule could be filed in the coming months and once filed there will likely be an implementation period of months or years allowing the industry to prepare for the changes.


Stay DOT compliant

Knowing these Hours-of-Service rules and regulations will allow you to stay compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe and compliant.

If you have any questions, call (888) 260-9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.