Fatigue Hours of service Trucking Guidance

FMCSA clarifies rest-break exemptions for short-haul drivers

Washington – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has released guidance on break requirements for short-haul commercial truck drivers who unintentionally exceed time or distance driving limits.

Current hours-of-service regulations require non-exempt long-haul truck drivers to break for 30 minutes after eight hours of continuous on-duty time. Short-haul drivers are exempt if they only operate up to a maximum 12 continuous hours per duty day and drive within a radius of 100 air miles. Short-haul drivers who do not require a commercial driver’s license to operate also qualify for the exemption if they drive only within a radius of 150 air miles.

According to FMCSA’s guidance, schedule changes or other situations may force short-haul drivers to exceed the time or distance eligibility criteria after they already have driven for eight continuous hours. FMCSA stated that these drivers will not be in violation of the 30-minute break requirement as long as they take a break at the “earliest safe opportunity” after exceeding the limits and note in their record-of-duty-status logbook the reason why they did not take a break at the required time.