DOT & ELD Guidance Blog

Drivers and the 30-Minute Break

Could your drivers be completely exempt from the 30-minute break? Learn more about the September 2020 hours-of-service rule change.

J.J. Keller Senior Editor Daren Hansen

Daren Hansen - Sr. DOT Editor - J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

March 17 , 2021

Over the years, many truck drivers have been exempted from the need to go off duty for their 30-minute breaks. Typically, these were drivers carrying sensitive cargo — explosives, fuel, asphalt, concrete, etc. — which require constant “on duty” attendance.

With the September 2020 rule change, all interstate truck drivers can remain on duty for their breaks, making those special exemptions obsolete.

Completely Exempt

Some drivers, however, will continue to enjoy a complete exemption from needing any 30-minute breaks at all. Do you have drivers who qualify?

The following exemptions from the 30-minute break requirement are in place, even after the September 2020 rules went into effect. That is, these drivers will not be in violation if they continue to drive after 8 hours of driving:

  • Short-haul drivers — Those who qualify for one of the 150-air-mile “short-haul” exceptions in §395.1(e), which exempt drivers from logs, breaks, and supporting documents.
  • Livestock and bees — Drivers transporting livestock or bees are exempt due to concerns about the health of the animals. When the livestock or bees are unloaded, however, they are no longer exempt.
  • Oversize/overweight loads — Drivers of oversize or overweight loads moving in interstate commerce that require a government-issued permit. These drivers must carry a copy of an exemption notice that appeared in the Federal Register on June 24, 2020.
  • Mobile cranes — Drivers operating mobile cranes with a rated lifting capacity of greater than 30 tons. These drivers must carry a copy of an exemption notice that appeared in the Federal Register on November 27, 2018.

Comply with HOS Exemptions with J. J. Keller® ELDs

The Encompass® ELD app makes compliance with hours of service easier for your drivers, mechanics, and other employees with exempt driving rulesets and quick ELog annotation entry to document exceptions that impact their record of duty status. Talk with a compliance specialist today about the Encompass® ELD app. Get a free quote.


Three Steps to a Best-in-Class Safety Program

Do you want to improve your company's safety metrics, reduce the chance of costly post-crash litigation, and better retain your drivers? Here are three steps to get there.


Electronic DOT Recordkeeping — The Foundation of Compliant Fleet Management

In today's world of off-site DOT audits and nuclear verdicts, you must maintain your records to the highest standards, and that means switching to electronic recordkeeping.


Canada's ELD Mandate: Get Started with Compliance Today

The Canadian ELD mandate has a new enforcement date. Here's what you need to know so you're prepared for January 1, 2023.