Trucking Federal agencies Hours of service Transportation

FMCSA clarifies off-duty time requirements

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Washington – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has revised its regulatory guidance on recording meals and routine stops as off-duty time to be more consistent with its hours-of-service regulations.

FMCSA’s previous guidance, published in 1997, stated that truck drivers must receive written instructions from employers prior to driving to count meals and routine stops as off-duty time. It also imposed an “unenforceable performance standard” by stating that the stop must significantly reduce a driver’s fatigue, according to FMCSA.

Under the revised guidance, the driver must be able to leave the vehicle and choose how to spend time during a stop. The revision also eliminates language from the previous guidance that discouraged drivers from taking breaks or recording them, FMCSA stated.

Among requirements in FMCSA’s current HOS regulations, which fully went into effect July 1, drivers must take breaks of at least 30 minutes after eight hours of continuous driving.