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4 Facts You Need to Understand About the Latest Hours of Service Regulations
3 mins read

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has suspended enforcement of certain sections of the regulatory code. These DOT Regulation updates affect the restart clause which has limited drivers ability to reset the hours of service within a 7 or 8 day period with a 34 hour rest period that includes 2 periods between 1 AM and 5 AM.

This change is the only change enacted and the remaining rules for Hours of Operation are unaffected by this revision. The revision came into effect on December 16th 2014. This change reverts to the original edition of the clause dating back to July 1st 2013.

This means that drivers are now able to reset their 7 or 8 day work period with any rest period of 34 hours or more. According to the most recent DOT Regulation updates, no more time constraints are in effect as to when these 34 hours have to happen. This 34 hour reset still can only occur once in a 168 hour period. If a driver has 2 periods of 34 hours off duty, he must choose which one will affect the 7 day work period.

Property carrying drivers are still allowed to drive for 11 hours after a rest period of 10 consecutive hours, however, a 30 minute break is required if more than 8 hours pass since the last off-duty period. For passenger carrying drivers the window is much smaller with 10 hours of driving time allowed after 8 consecutive hours of rest. Here also a 30 minute break is needed for time spent driving past 8 continuous hours.

A rest period qualifies even if the driver is not sleeping. Meals, short walk arounds, or restroom breaks qualify as break time if the driver spends more than 30 minutes on this type of activity. Time spent in the vehicle but at rest also qualifies for drivers of sensitive loads that require constant supervision such as explosives or certain hazardous materials. A driver is free to spend his break and off-duty time either in his sleeper berth or otherwise resting from on-duty activities. Time spent loading or unloading the truck, however, is not considered off-duty time.

A driver is not allowed to be on duty past 14 hours since his last 10 hour rest period. Passenger carrying drivers are allowed 15 hours of on duty time since the last 8 hour rest period. No amount of intermediate break or off duty time can extend this limit. After this limit is reached, the driver must spend another consecutive 10 or 8 hours respectively off duty.

These existing regulations and any new DOT Regulation updates are put in place to ensure the safety of drivers and other motorists. These rules must be adhered to in order to minimize fatigue and exhaustion related accidents.


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