Learn about proposed changes to hours-of-service regulations.

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

May 13 , 2019

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that it intends to publish proposed changes to its hours-of-service rules as soon as June 7, 2019*. While we can’t predict exactly what will be proposed, the FMCSA asked for public input in late 2018 on five possible ways it could add more flexibility to the HOS rules for drivers of property-carrying vehicles, including:

  • Updating the 100-air-mile exception,
  • Changing the “adverse driving conditions” exception,
  • Removing or changing the 30-minute break requirement,
  • Modifying the split-sleeper provision, and
  • Providing an extension to the 14-hour rule.

One or more of these changes are likely to appear in the proposal, and together they would provide a little something for everyone (though any final changes could be challenged in court).

  • Proposed changes to the-100 air-mile exception would give short-haul drivers an extra two work hours per day, allowing many more drivers to use “exemption logs” in place of regular “grid logs” or ELDs. This is the proposed change that would have the greatest impact.
  • Any truck driver who uses a log or ELD and works over 8 hours per day could be exempted from taking a 30-minute rest break, adding to their productivity.
  • Regional and long-haul drivers who run into delays caused by accidents or bad weather will be able to extend their driving and on-duty limits by two hours so they can complete the run. Again, more productivity – and less need for overnight parking – but not a big impact for most carriers.
  • Long-haul truck drivers (and teams) who use a sleeper berth will have more flexibility in scheduling and taking their 10-hour rest breaks. Though many drivers gave up trying to use the split-sleeper option after it was changed in 2005, drivers may return to using it if this change goes through (though they will need help understanding how to use it).
  • Though highly unlikely, a change to allow drivers to extend the 14-hour limit by taking a long rest break during the day would benefit all regional and long-haul truck drivers who put in long hours.

* Note that while the FMCSA originally indicated on May 1, 2019, that the proposal would be out as soon as May 8, 2019, the agency revised that anticipated date to June 7, 2019, later that same day.


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