The new 2020 Hours of Service (HOS) Rules went into effect on September 29, and we’ve broken down the key takeaways for the updated rules. 

As a reminder, the HOS regulates the maximum amount of time a driver is allowed to be on-duty (driving, loading/offloading, fueling, vehicle inspections, paperwork, etc.) as well as regulates the time and frequency of rest stops. These rules were put in place to protect drivers’ safety, ensuring every driver is taking time to rest so they are alert and awake while on the road. All drivers and carriers using commercial motor vehicles are required to comply with the HOS rules and regulations. 

The updated 2020 HOS rules were released on June 1, 2020 and required compliance began on September 29, 2020. To help you navigate these changes, we have summarised the top four major changes.

  1. Break Requirements – Added Flexibility

Drivers now have more flexibility as to when they can take their breaks. Thirty-minute breaks are now required after 8 hours of driving time. This is an update from the previous rule of 30-minute breaks after 8 consecutive hours of being on-duty. This means that drivers may remain on duty, but not driving, for their breaks. This change allows for more driver productivity since drivers can perform other duties (loading/offloading, fueling, vehicle inspections, paperwork, etc.) during their break.

2.     Short-Haul Exception – Increased Productivity

Local/regional drivers are now permitted to work 14 consecutive hour workdays. The air-mile radius for local/regional drivers has increased to 150 miles (from 100 miles previously). This allows drivers to keep basic time records instead of logs or ELD’s as long as they stay local and return to their starting location. This update allows increased driver productivity due to additional hours on the clock and greater operating area.

3.      Adverse Driving Conditions – Added Time

Drivers can extend their driving and on-duty limits by 2 hours due to unexpected delays, such as weather or traffic. This gives drivers more time to complete their runs by enabling them to wait out unexpected weather or traffic conditions, thus making for safer transit.

4.      Sleeper Berth Provision

Drivers can split their 10-hour rest breaks into two separate qualifying breaks, according to the changes to the sleeper-berth provision. Drivers can now spend 3 hours in the passenger seat after spending 7 hours in the sleeper. Neither of these rest periods count against the 14-hour limit, which makes drivers more productive since rest breaks don’t count against this.

Conclusion

We are hopeful that these changes will add flexibility to the regulations while still prioritizing driver safety. We encourage you to monitor the implementation of the updated rules and see how they may benefit your business’ operations.

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