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Hours of Service: Reviewing Changes to the 100-Air-Mile Exemption
Mariah Barr
6 mins read

Following hours-of-service regulations can be the difference between passing and failing a compliance audit.

The FMCSA’s hours of service regulations are a complex set of rules that help ensure drivers of large property-carrying vehicles are not too tired or overworked to drive safely. DOT-regulated businesses that operate primarily in a local area are allowed to use what was once known as the 100-air-mile rule, but it is now the 150-air-mile radius exemption.

What is an air mile?

An “air mile” is a nautical distance measurement that excludes twists or turns. So, if your headquarters is located at Point A, an air mile is the distance you would travel in a straight line to your destination – Point B.

What are the air mile exemption regulations?

As of September 29, 2020, the FMCSA updated the 100-air-mile exemption rule to 150 air miles, along with some other important changes for short-haul property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, highlighted below.

Old Regulations Updated Regulations (as of 09/29/2020)
Drivers must stay within a 100-air-mile radius. Drivers must stay within a 150-mile-radius.
Drivers can work for only 12 consecutive hours. Drivers can work for only 14 consecutive hours.
Drivers must take a 30-minute break after 8 consecutive hours on the clock if they will continue to operate a CMV. Drivers must take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of driving time if they will continue to operate a CMV.
Drivers must be off duty and/or in a sleeper berth for their breaks. Drivers may stay on duty (but not driving) for their breaks.

Who can use the 150 air mile exemption?

To be able to use the short-haul exception, property-carrying CMV drivers must:

  • Operate within a 150-air-mile radius of the work location they report to
  • Not exceed a maximum duty period of 14 hours
  • Start and end their shift in the same location
  • Have at least 10 hours off between shifts

When using the air mile exemption, the driver must include the following on their daily time record:

  • The start and end times for the day
  • The total number of hours on-duty

Speaking of time records, let’s look into how short-haul drivers must log their hours when using the exception.

What are the logging requirements under the exemption?

While operating under the short-haul exception, drivers are not required to fill out a log with a graph grid or use an Electronic Logging Device (ELD). Instead, they can use a time record.

Motor carriers must record the driver’s time in, time out, and the total number of hours per day. These records must be maintained for six months.

What happens when a driver no longer meets the exemption?

When a driver either drives beyond the 150-air-mile radius or works too many hours, they must complete a regular log or use an ELD for the day.

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If the driver is required to complete a log…

• Eight or fewer days within the last 30 days, the driver can use a paper log with a graph grid

• More than 8 days within the last 30 days, the driver must use an ELD to record time for that day

What is the adverse driving conditions exemption?

If a driver experiences unpredictable, potentially dangerous driving conditions during their short-haul run, they are allowed to extend their 14-hour driving time by up to two hours. 

Here’s how the definition of the adverse driving conditions exemption changed in 2020.

Old Regulations Updated Regulations (as of 09/29/2020)
Snow, sleet, fog, or other challenging weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, which were not known to the dispatcher at the time the run began. Snow, sleet, fog, or other challenging weather conditions, a highway covered with snow or ice, or unusual road and traffic conditions, which were not known to the dispatcher or driver at the time the run began.

It is important to understand that ALL of the qualifications listed above must be met in order to use the short-haul or adverse driving exceptions. If a situation arises that cancels out even one of the qualifications, then all of the standard hours of service rules apply. 

Keeping Up with Hours-of-Service Compliance

As with all federal regulations, you should familiarize yourself with the hours-of-service requirements. They may seem unnecessary if your drivers don’t travel long distances, but you don’t want to risk failing a compliance audit.

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Have questions surrounding hours-of-service (HOS) rules? Foley is the first place you should turn to for answers. Our compliance specialists know the changes to the 100 air mile exemption inside and out, and we’ll make sure you have the right ELD solution and DOT recordkeeping programs in place for complete compliance.

Get a free demo of our DOT compliance software solution today and put hours-of-service confusion in the review mirror!

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