New Driver Hours of Service Rule: Webinar Key Takeaways

September 21, 2020

By: Jim Dudlicek, NGA Director, Communications and External Affairs

New Driver Hours of Service Rule: Webinar Key Takeaways

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in May published a final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules, which made adjustments to existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.

Scheduled to take effect Sept. 29, the rule changes are based on nearly 8,000 comments received over two years of hearings and listening sessions from truckers, carriers, safety advocates, other industry members and the public.

Intended to give greater flexibility to motor carriers, the new rules are expected to bring critical regulatory savings of more than $270 million, according to Joe DeLorenzo, FMCSA director of enforcement and compliance, who, along with FMCSA Transportation Specialist Richard Clemente, presented the new final rule in a Sept. 16 webinar hosted by the National Grocers Association (NGA).

Here are some key takeaways:

New short-haul exception:  The agency lengthened drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extended the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles. “This is a more realistic representation of transport conditions today,” DeLorenzo said, noting that drivers must start and end shifts in the same location and have eight to 10 hours off between shifts.

New adverse driving conditions exception: The agency extended by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted, to account for unexpected delays en route. The new rule also allows drivers to play a role in determining adverse conditions instead of just the dispatcher.

Increased safety and flexibility for breaks: The agency amended the 30-minute break rule by tying driver breaks to driving time rather than start of shift. It now requires a break after 8 hours of driving time (which need not be consecutive) and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty not-driving status as well as off-duty and sleeper berth status.

New sleeper-berth exception: This change allows drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods, an 8/2 split or a 7/3 split, with neither period counting against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.

Further information about the final rule can be found at

To view this complete webinar and others in the series, visit