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

2020 Hours of Service Rules | DOT Compliance Services | CNS

With new HOS rules on the horizon, it is time to start training company drivers so they understand how their workday will improve. 

This week will be the first time the hours of service rules will have a major update in years that were highlighted after the ELD rollout.

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

The four HOS rules changes will improve the workday for many truckers, including short-haul and team drivers, and will increase overall flexibility while the overall structure of HOS rules have not changed.

Drivers must still abide by the:

  • maximum 11 hour driving limit within a 14-hour window/workday (except for adverse driving conditions)
  •  10 minimum hours off between workdays; and
  • continued weekly 7 or 8 day  driving time maximums

 

What is changing and how will this affect the trucker’s workday?

What are the 2020 HOS Rule Changes?

The 4 major changes in the 2020 hours of service reforms will affect the: 30-minute rest break requirement, split-sleeper berth exception, short-haul exemption and adverse driving condition exemption.

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

30-minute rest break: The changes to the rest break requirement will affect most long-haul truckers on the road as it will allow drivers to take their required 30-minute break during an “on-duty, not driving” status, rather than “off-duty” status.

Previously, drivers had to be “off-duty” to take a rest break, meaning they could not perform any work functions during their break.

Now, drivers can be “on-duty, not driving”, which allows them to perform paperwork or fuel their truck while on break.

For many truck drivers, this change is exciting as it allows them to complete some of the busywork required of them.

Note: This change does not affect short-haul drivers as they do not need to take a 30-minute break.

Team driving split sleeper berth exception: Team drivers can now choose to spend only seven hours in the sleeper berth instead of eight as drivers can split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 or a 7/3 split.

While this does not change the 14-hour driving window, the FMCSA hopes this will reduce driver temptations to speed or operate unsafely because their workday is ending.

Short-haul exemption: For short-haulers operating larger or heavier vehicles, drivers can now increase their maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extend the short-haul radius from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles. Learn more about the original Short-Haul Exemption

This change is simply being consistent with short-haulers driving vehicles under 26,000 lbs.

While drive-time is not being extended, these short-haul drivers, such as local delivery, construction, or waste drivers, can increase their driving distance by 50 air-miles, and allow them to work at their job site or office for a couple more hours.

Drivers and fleet managers can now be more creative with a driver’s work schedule and should be trained on these hours of service rule changes to make sure they understand the boundaries of the FMCSA regulations.

Adverse driving conditions exemption: Truck drivers who experience unanticipated adverse road conditions, such as unexpected inclement weather, vehicle accidents, or road closures can extend their 11 hour drive time to 13 hours and allow the 14-hour driving window to be extended to 16 hours.

This flexibility gives drivers more time to slowly drive through poor road conditions or find a safe place to park and wait without rushing to finish their shift.

Drivers need to be trained on exactly what  situations are considered “adverse driving conditions,” what their options are regarding log books, and how to notate or document the exemption.


DOT and Driver Training

Truck drivers and fleet managers need continuous training on new FMCSA rules

These HOS rule changes provide an important opportunity 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 DOT Compliance Programs promotes proactive safety and 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.


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.

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.

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.

DOT hours-of-service: Comment extension


The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) wants more time to collect and analyze comments on the FMCSA’s proposal for changes to the hours-of-service rules.

The CVSA sent a formal petition to the FMCSA requesting a 45-day extension to the comment period regarding a notice of proposed rulemaking aimed at providing commercial motor vehicle drivers more hours-of-service flexibility.

In early August the FMCSA proposed five changes to the hours-of-service regulations:

  1. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  2. Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow drivers to split the required 10 hours off duty into two periods.
    • One period must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
    • The other period cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
    • Note: Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window
  3. 30-minute to 3-hour off-duty break: Changes will allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours, that pauses the driver’s 14-hour driving window
    • Note: Driver must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  4. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  5. Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extends the operating distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.

CVSA fully supports FMCSA in their request for comments, however, Executive Director Collin Mooney said that 45 days is not enough time to prepare and approve comments on such a complicated and important issue. Mooney stated that it is imperative that stakeholders provide more time.

The August 22, 2019 proposal opened a 45-day comment period allowing comments on regulations.gov using docket number FMCSA-2018-0248 until Oct. 7, however the extension would leave the comment period open until November 21, 2019.

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.

US DOT seeks comment on Agriculture HOS regulations


The US DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is seeking public comment to revise the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for agricultural commodity or livestock definitions.

The FMCSA partnered with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide clarity for the nation’s farmers and commercial drivers, eliminate confusion and align the agencies’ agricultural commodity definitions.

With the American agriculture industry contributing more than $1 trillion annually to the US economy, the FMCSA recognizes the importance of the agricultural industry.

The FMCSA is determined to find a balance that provides more flexibility to those hauling agricultural commodities.

Current regulations have certain restrictions lacking the flexibility that farmers and commercial drivers need due to the unique realities of hauling agriculture commodities.

Currently, during harvesting and planting seasons, drivers transporting agricultural commodities, including livestock, are exempt from the HOS requirements.

The HOS exemption is called a short haul exemption and applies when the destination of the commodity is within a 150-air-mile radius from the source.

Each individual state is currently determining HOS requirements for agricultural commodities.

The advanced rule (ANPRM) authored by FMCSA was prompted by indications that the current definition of these terms may not be understood or enforced consistently when determining whether the HOS exemption applies.

The FMCSA is encouraging all commercial motor vehicle stakeholders to provide feedback on how the current definitions impact safety, compliance, and enforcement. More specifically, the FMCSA wants to hear from those transporting agricultural commodities and livestock.

Canadian ELD mandate for commercial vehicles


Commercial driver fatigue is a long-standing road safety issue that the United States has addressed through the use of ELDs. Canada is following suit with the Canadian ELD mandate.

The Canadian government is committed to improving road safety for all Canadians and is falling in line with the US to address this issue through the implementation of the Canadian ELD mandate.

As a result of a longstanding collaboration among all levels of government and industry partners, this past June, the Honorable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, mandated the use of ELDs or electronic logging devices by federally regulated commercial truck and bus operators.

The Canadian ELD mandate requiring the use of ELDs will go into effect on June 12, 2021 and will replace paper-based daily logbooks.

What is an ELD or electronic logging device?

Electronic logging devices are tamper-resistant devices that are integrated into commercial vehicle engines. The devices track when and how long drivers have been at the wheel, and ensure they are complying with the Commercial Vehicle Drivers Hours of Service Regulations.

There are many advantages to using ELDs, but the main purpose is to ensure that commercial drivers remain within their daily driving limit and accurately log their working hours. If commercial drivers are not within the regulated limit, there may be fines associated with the violation.

The use of ELDs also reduces administrative burdens, such as eliminating the need for paper daily logs and reducing the time enforcement officers need to verify regulatory compliance.

These new electronic logs for truckers are aligned with the United States road safety regulations and will support economic growth, trade, and transportation on both sides of the border.

After extensive research and consultation, Transport Canada has implemented a third-party certification process will be put in place to ensure that the electronic logging devices will be accurate and reliable.

Other important facts about the Canadian ELD mandate:

  • Transport Canada is committed to aligning with vehicle regulations in the United States.
  • Aligning Canadian and US electronic logging device regulations will allow Canadian and US operators to use the same logging device in both countries.
  • Transport Canada estimates that requiring the use of electronic logs for truckers will reduce the risk of fatigue-related collisions by approximately 10 percent.

More driver flexibility after hours of service changes


5 major DOT hours of service changes

In an effort to improve safety and provide more flexibility to commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that proposes changes to the hours of service (HOS) rules.

In 2018, the FMCSA release an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on Hours of Service of Drivers and requested public comment on portions of the HOS rules to alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers.

The FMCSA proposed changes focus on the five areas below:

  1. 30-minute break requirement: Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
  2. Sleeper berth exception: Changes will allow drivers to split the required 10 hours off duty into two periods.
    • One period must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth.
    • The other period cannot be less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth.
    • Note: Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window
  3. 30-minute to 3-hour off-duty break: Changes will allow drivers one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours, that pauses the driver’s 14-hour driving window
    1. Note: Driver must take 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
  4. Adverse driving conditions exception: Changes will extend the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  5. Short-haul exception: Changes will lengthen the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extends the operating distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.

The proposed rules are open for public comment and the FMCSA Administrator, Raymond Martinez, is encouraging all drivers and CMV stakeholders to submit thoughts and opinions on the hours of service changes within the 45-day timeframe they have allotted. There is potential for the comment period to be extended.

Pausing the 14-hour clock has been discussed since last 2018 and may now become a reality.

>>> Final rule goes to White House as of March 2020 <<<


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.