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 new hours-of-service rule changes effective September 29th.

“Right now, there’s no effort to abate or hold off on Sept. 29,” said the agency’s Acting Administrator, Jim Mullen, in FMCSA’s online Truck Safety Summit held Aug. 5.

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?

Drivers could begin operating under the new HOS regulations on September 29, 2020 after the rule was debuted on May 14, 2020.

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

The only thing that could delay the HOS rules is a $1.5 trillion transportation and infrastructure bill passed by the House in July.

According to the bill, it would require that the FMCSA perform a comprehensive review of the regulations to determine their safety impact and give an additional public comment period, delaying HOS rule changes for months.

2020 Hours of Service Rule Changes and their Effect on Trucker Workdays

What are the new hours of service rules?

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

For detailed examples of what would or would not qualify as a violation…
Download FMCSA HOS Updates Guide

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.

Drivers under the short-haul exemption are not required to keep records of duty status.

HOS 2020 short haul changes

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.

HOS 2020 adverse driving changes

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.

HOS 2020 30 min rest break changes

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 in the sleeper berth and 3 hours off duty. The shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.

8 and 2 split: Must contain at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and no less than 2 consecutive hours off duty. 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.

HOS 2020 split sleeper berth changes

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.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

FMCSA expands HOS exemption list

COVID-19 expands HOS exemption to Dec 31

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, which now lasts until Dec 21, 2020, 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.
  • Liquefied gases to be used in refrigeration or cooling systems.
  • Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine, and isolation facilities related to COVID-19.
  • Persons designated by federal, state or local authorities for medical, isolation, or quarantine purposes.
  • Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, , the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.

For more information, contact us at 888.260.9448 or info@cnsprotects.com.

Short-haul exemption: 100 air-mile radius


Are you 100 air-mile exempt?

What is an air mile?

An “air mile” is a nautical mile measuring a straight distance between two points, excluding any twists or turns.

What is the short-haul exemption?

If you are a short-haul driver or fleet, there are several short-haul exemptions, including time restrictions, as well as distance related exemptions, which are the 100 air-mile exemption and the 150 air-mile exemption.

100 air-mile exemption

The exemption applies to CDL drivers and to qualify they must:

  • remain operating within a 100 air-mile radius
  • return to the same work reporting location
  • go off duty within 12 hours, and
  • keep time cards with start and end times and total hours worked daily

150 air-mile exemption

This exemption is slightly different in that it applies to non-CDL drivers and instead of the operating radius being 100 air-miles, it is 150 air-miles.

Check out our industry library resources of 15 videos, 2 ebooks, industry links, and CNS In The News content.

Similarly, drivers are required to:

  • keep timecards
  • return to the same work reporting location, and
  • only drive in states not requiring a CDL for their vehicle.

Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

Exceeding the short-haul limitation

A driver may violate the short-haul limitations by going over the radius limit or exceeding the time it takes to return to their reporting location.

If this happens, drivers are required to maintain a Record of Duty Status (RODS) and more importantly, if they maintain a RODS for more than 8 days in a 30-day period, they must have an ELD because the mandate exemption does not apply after that 8 days.

The 8-day rule is one of the biggest issues for any short-haul fleet because they are unable to determine if they will hit that 8-day limitation. It is important to note that it is nearly impossible to implement an ELD on short notice, therefore, many questionable short-haul fleets are beginning to install ELDs.

Verifying compliance?

If you have drivers that are exempt, it is imperative that you check time records to verify compliance with time and distance restrictions.

If a driver is in violation, you must also verify that they followed proper procedure by taking a 30-minute break and submitting their daily log.

If your company is audited and you or your drivers are found to be misusing these exemptions, you will be cited for each violation every day it occurred which can lead to a rather large fine.

ELDs and short-haul exemptions

In most cases, a driver that qualifies for the 100 or 150 air mile radius is exempt from the upcoming ELD mandate, but there are exceptions.

The final regulation says if you are running short haul, you are not required to maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS) and, therefore, do not need to log your hours with an ELD, unless you break the rule more than eight (8) times in a 30-day rolling period.

If you do break the rule more than eight times, you will need an ELD to log your hours until you get back to the number of eight or fewer in a 30-day period.

Although not always required, ELDs can be an excellent resource for a short-haul fleet. Constant awareness of a driver’s distance, eliminating any concerns of going beyond the radius limit, and monitoring driver scorecards are just two of many benefits.

Need an ELD? We offer Pedigree ELD solutions


Stay DOT compliant

Staying knowledgeable on FMCSA rules and regulations will allow you to stay DOT compliant and plan your operations more efficiently.

All CNS services are geared toward keeping your trucking company safe, compliant, and on the road.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.

HOS short-haul exemptions and HOS compliance


What are short-haul exemptions?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) developed several Hours-of-Service rules and regulations with a goal for these HOS rules to minimize driver fatigue and improve road safety for everyone.

However, the FMCSA has created certain exemptions giving drivers and carriers flexibility, depending on their situation. Different rules apply to passenger-carrying drivers, property-carrying drivers and drivers of hazardous materials.

Considering all of the potential HOS changes and so we are on the same page, we will discuss a few important Hours-of-Service rules, including the 14-hour rule, the 11-hour rule and the 30-minute break.

What are 3 important hours-of-service rules?

  • The 14-hour rule?

The 14-hour rule disallows a property-carrying driver from driving longer than 14 consecutive hours after starting duty. The driver cannot continue driving until they have taken ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty.

Passenger-carrying motor vehicles are limited to 15 cumulative hours. This differs from the 14 consecutive hours of property-carrying drivers.

For both property-carrying and passenger-carrying vehicles, off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.

  • The 11-hour rule?

The 11-hour rule states that property-carrying drivers are allowed a maximum of 11 hours of drive time after 10 consecutive hours off duty, if they stay within the 14-hour window.

On the other hand, passenger-carrying drivers can drive up to 10 hours after eight consecutive hours off duty.

  • The 30-minute break rule?

According to the 30-minute break rule, drivers can’t log driving time if eight hours have passed since the last off-duty period of 30 consecutive minutes. Drivers can perform non-driving tasks after eight hours without taking a break, but they cannot drive.

Are you a short-haul driver?

The FMCSA rules and regulations state that you are a short-haul driver, if:

  • Start and return to the same location within twelve (12) hours of duty time.
  • Maintain your time-clock function.
  • Do not drive for more than eleven (11) hours.
  • Have ten (10) consecutive hours in off duty between shifts.
  • Operate within a 100 air-mile radius from your starting location (CDL driver)
  • Operate within a 150 air-mile radius (non-CDL drivers)
  • Does not drive through a state that requires a CDL for the vehicle they drive

The 16-hour short-haul exemption – Do you qualify?

The FMCSA implemented a hours of service exemption allowing short-haul drivers to extend their 14-hour driving window by two hours each week.

This could apply to you if you are a short-haul driver and report back to the same work location each day, you might be able to take advantage of the 16-hour short haul exemption.

The exemption doesn’t extend the 11-hour daily driving limit but does provide you with up to 16 hours to complete your workday.


Further ELD Questions? Get a Free Demo

Contact us with any questions. Our ELD specialists can perform a demo with our ELD devices.

ELDs and short-haul exemptions

In most cases, a driver that qualifies for the 100 or 150 air mile radius is exempt from the upcoming ELD mandate, but there are exceptions.

The final regulation says if you are running short haul, you are not required to maintain Record of Duty Status (RODS) and, therefore, do not need to log your hours with an ELD, unless you break the rule more than eight (8) times in a 30-day rolling period.

If you do break the rule more than eight times, you will need an ELD to log your hours until you get back to the number of eight or fewer in a 30-day period.

Learn why ELDs can be an excellent resource for a short-haul fleet.


Stay DOT compliant

Knowing these 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, compliant, and on the road.

If you have any questions, call 888.260.9448 or email at info@cnsprotects.com.