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Everything You Need to Know About FMCSA's Proposed HOS Rule Changes

Posted by ELD Expert on August 19, 2019


We outlined some of the suspected Hours of Service (HOS) changes that were indicated by the FMCSA in our last Podcast. We’re excited to see that some of those changes are indeed included (along with some that we didn't speculate) in the Proposed Notice of Rulemaking that was recently released by the Department of Transportation. What are the proposed changes and what can you do to help? Be sure to submit your comments before October 7th using the instructions at the end of this article!

Understand the Proposed Changes

The overall goal of these proposed HOS changes are to increase flexibility for the driver and account for the unique nature of the trucking industry. 


  1. Short Haul Exception: The proposed rule would extend the 12-hour duty window to a 14-hour window. Additionally, drivers who qualify for the short haul exception can travel within a 150 air-mile radius instead of a 100 air-mile radius as the current rule states.
  2. Adverse Driving Conditions Exception: Instead of only extending the allowable driving time by 2 hours, this proposed rule would also extend the entire driving window by 2 hours. This would allow drivers to park if conditions are especially dangerous and continue driving later into the day.
  3. 30-Minute Break Requirement: If the driver has not taken at least a 30-minute break in 8 hours, instead of having to take an off-duty 30-minute break, the new rule proposes an on-duty or off-duty 30-minute break to fulfill that requirement. 
  4. Split-Sleeper Berth: Instead of requiring that 8 consecutive hours are spent in the sleeper berth as part of your off-duty 10-hour break, only 7 hours would be required in the sleeper berth. This provides options for the driver to either do an 8-2 split or a 7-3 split for the required off-duty window.
  5. Split-Duty Provision: This change would allow a driver to take an added 30-minute to 3-hours long break that does not affect the 14-hour driving window. This would allow the driver to take additional breaks or “pause the clock” for long detention time, extra breaks, arriving at the destination early, or unexpected stops.

Which of these proposed changes do you feel with have the most significant impact on drivers?

For more detailed information, check out the video from Ray Martinez, the FMCSA's administrator, here.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

It’s your time to shine! Let the FMCSA know how these changes will affect you. Whether you’re a driver, owner/op, safety manager, dispatcher, or any other trucking professional. The Hours of Service laws have virtually stayed the same for decades. Take advantage of this opportunity to share your frustrations, opinions, and recommendations. 

How? Here are the four ways that the Department of Transportation has requested for comments to be submitted: 

[The following is an excerpt from the official document - 49 CFR Part 395 [Docket No. FMCSA-2018-02481]]

You may submit comments identified by Docket Number FMCSA-201 8- 0248 using any of the following methods: 

  1. Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments. 
  2. Mail: Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington, DC 20590-0001. 
  3. Hand Delivery or Courier: West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, DC 20590, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.
  4. Fax: (202) 493-2251. 


To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods. See the "Public Participation and Request for Comments" portion of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for instructions on submitting comments.


Topics: ELD Mandate, HOS, ELD Advice