Scopelitis, Garvin, Light, Hanson & Feary, P.C.


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Transportation Brief: FMCSA Proposes Revisions to Hours of Service Rules

October 31, 2019

In mid-August, FMCSA released its highly-anticipated hours-of-service Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with the stated goal of enhancing safety by giving commercial drivers more flexibility. The proposal has five main components:

 Modifying the existing 30-minute rest break requirement, such that a break would only be required after a driver accumulates 8 hours of drive time, and allowing the break to be satisfied by “on-duty, not driving” time in addition to “off-duty” time.

  • Allowing drivers to pause their 14-hour driving window with one off-duty break of between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
  • Modifying the adverse driving condition exception by extending the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
  • Lengthening the maximum on-duty period and air-mile radius for the CDL short-haul exemption to 14 hours and 150 air-miles, respectively. 
  • Broadening the split-sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10-hour off-duty period into two periods of 7 hours and 3 hours (either off-duty or sleeper berth), and counting neither period against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.

The proposal has already garnered thousands of public comments, which FMCSA must review over the coming months before deciding how to proceed. In all likelihood, the proposal will not take final form until sometime in 2020, unless it is further delayed by litigation.   




Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


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