Make Proper Use of FMCSA’s 30-Minute Break Rule

To enhance safety and minimize accidents the FMCSA has introduced many Hours of Service (HOS) rules. One such rule is the 30-minute break rule which was introduced on December 27, 2011.

The rule requires CMV drivers to take a compulsory 30-minutes break after 8 hours of continuous driving. Drivers should bear in mind that they don’t need to take a break after 8 hours if they are involved in other non-driving tasks within that period. These tasks include fueling, loading or unloading cargos, waiting time, etc. The rule does not restrict the driver from other activities or limit them to only driving.

Some important points to remember:

  • Unlike the 34-hour restart rule, the 30-minute break is mandatory unless you fall into a category of drivers who are exempt.
  • The break should be for 30 consecutive minutes. If you want to break it down into two 15 minutes breaks it would be an HOS violation.
  • This break has no relation with the 14-hour window. If a driver takes this break it is taken out of the available 14 hours that he gets daily.
  • In the case of passenger-carrying vehicles, the 30-minute break rule is not applicable.
  • Drivers who qualify for the 100 air-mile radii and 150 air-mile radii exceptions are exempt from this 30-minute break rule.
  • Hazmat drivers and drivers who fall under the oil-field exemption also need to take this break and log it “off-duty”. However, drivers who are transporting Division 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 explosives must log their break as “on-duty”.

For most property-carrying drivers, FMCSA has made this HOS rule mandatory. If you continue driving after 8 hours without taking this mandatory break it will result in an HOS violation.

Need to monitor your fleet for HOS Compliance? Visit our website to learn more — FleetUp warns fleet managers and drivers when they need to take a break before they are in violation.

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