30 Minute Break Rule

The 30-Minute Break Rule

The FMCSA made big-time changes to its 30-minute break rule regulations in 2020. The agency overhauled its hours of service hos rule for all interstate truckers. Truck drivers can now fulfill the 30-minute requirement in an easier manner. How so? Well, drivers still cannot drive more than 8 hours without using a 30 consecutive minutes break.

But drivers don't need to take a break if they do not intend to drive over eight hours.

The break can get spent in sleeper-berth or off-duty mode. Or, the driver can have a not-driving/on-duty status. This change is very lenient compared to the previous FMCSA rule. Drivers used to have to take an off-duty 30-minute break within 8 on-duty hours. What is BOC-3?

The Old 30-Minute Break Rule

The previous FMCSA 30-minute break rule existed from 2013 to 2020. Truck drivers had to take a 30-minute break within 8 hours of operating on duty. The break could function as a sleeper berth status or as off-duty. Sleeper berth and off-duty status slowed many truck drivers down. Why? Because they couldn’t perform any on-duty functions. Drivers weren’t able to take care of fueling and minor maintenance. The majority of fleets and drivers didn’t like the old 30-minute rule. They felt it was a rigid regulation that slowed them down. When to Update Your MCS-150 ?

Sure, a driver might use the old 30-minute break to get a bite to eat.

But doing so didn’t guarantee that a break could last the complete 30 minutes. Say that a driver stopped for 15 minutes to get fuel. Then, he or she might take 15 minutes to go pick up some food. Through the old rule, those first 15 minutes didn’t even count. Many drivers had to sit around and wait another 15 minutes. This led to many 30-minute breaks turning into 45 (or more) minutes of time. The new 30-minute break rule of 2020 appears to have fixed this crucial problem. What is MC Number?

New FMCSA Rule Regulations Have Made a Difference

The FMCSA spent about two years revising the old 30-minute break rule. In 2020, new federal HOS (hours-of-service) regulations went into effect. Drivers now have a lot more flexibility during each break. Plus, they can take care of productive actions like getting fuel.

The new 30-minute break has already had a huge impact on truck drivers.

(Both long-haul and regional drivers.) The key is for drivers to understand how and when the new rule applies to them. Otherwise, they (and their carriers) could face FMCSA fines and penalties. Let’s now go over some basic information about the new rule. Do you need a California DOT number?

The Basics of the New 30 Minute Break Rule

First read about the basics of farm exemptions .

The old 30 minute rule affected when and how so many truck drivers took rest breaks. Each CMV driver had to take a rest break within driving 8 consecutive hours without a break. During the breaks, CMV drivers had to have either sleeper berth or off duty status. Through the new rule, a driver still has to take a 30 consecutive minutes break.

But only if the driver’s accumulated 8 hours of driving time and wants to continue driving.

This means that some drivers won’t need to consider the new 30 minute break rule. It now applies to drivers operating a CMV over 8 hours each workday. This means that not as many drivers will have to use a break to maintain compliance. The rule change might result in a reduction in the number of FMCSA trucking dot violations . Must visit Trucking Authority Packages .

Drivers can now stay on duty (without driving) during each break.

This provides an opportunity for drivers to become productive. With the new rule, almost anything beyond operating a CMV counts as an official break. The new rule positions truck drivers to perform plenty of crucial work activities. Getting fuel isn’t the only key action a truck driver on a break can now conduct. Drivers can also take care of loading and unloading. Plus, they can knock out paperwork and various vehicle inspections. Many other work activities also count as an official 30 minute break. Must visit UCR registration .

Tons of drivers can now shift breaks to later points in their workdays.

This applies to taking a break after driving 8 hours. (Instead of operating consecutive hours.) With the old FMCSA rule, some drivers in the industry secured a special exemption status. The exemption policy positioned them to stay on duty during breaks. It applied to some haulers of ready-mix concrete or explosives. Thanks to the rule change, most FMCSA exemptions no longer matter. Do you need USDOT number ?

More Points To Consider About the New Break Rule

Truck drivers cannot take risks due to the new 30 minute break rule. Driving while fatigued is, of course, still prohibited by the FMCSA. This makes off-duty rest breaks a crucial option for so many CMV drivers. Say that a driver gets fatigued and must take a break. (This can happen even if the driver has more workday driving time through the new rule.) The driver’s supervisor might enforce the driver to continue driving. This is more than immoral. It is illegal. The supervisor could get charged with harassment under FMCSA rule §390.36. Sure, the new rules provide flexibility for drivers. But they must still take their breaks when needed. Check what is IRP ?

Keep in mind that parking shortages are never an excuse to violate the 30 minute rule.

Drivers must do all they can to maintain complete compliance. They should never wait until driving 8 hours to find a place to stop for a break. Carrier policies might enforce that drivers log off duty during a break. That can happen even though this is no longer a requirement under US law. Plus, there is no rule where a driver has to add a note to an ELD or log. This refers to indicating that a break complied with an official break rule. These sorts of notes are optional for carriers and trucking companies. What is DOT Authority Package ?

Does the FMCSA Enforce That a 30 Minute Break Is Consecutive?

Yes, the FMCSA wants to ensure that every 30 minute break is consecutive. But drivers can use various non-driving statuses. Most statuses are either sleeper berth or off-duty. A driver can also have “on-duty, not driving” status during a break. These statuses can add up to thirty consecutive minutes. Here is an example. A truck driver can apply 10 minutes for off-duty time. Then, that time can get followed by 20 minutes to fill out paperwork. Or, to fuel the CMV truck. (This applies to on-duty, not driving status.) These consecutive minutes fulfill the driver’s 30 minute break. The minutes (and duty periods) must function in a consecutive manner. What are Driver Qualification Files ?

Understanding Key Points of the 30 Minute Break Rule

The basics of the new 30-minute rest break rule seem simple to most drivers. But there are certain elements that confuse some truckers. Let’s go over these elements now so that you can maintain complete FMCSA compliance. First off, the 30 minute break is required for almost all truck drivers. There are still a few minor exceptions that do not apply to most drivers. Take short-haul and require drivers operating within a 150 air mile radius of a starting location. They are exempt. Non-CDL drivers operating within that same radius also gain an FMCSA exemption. Learn about DOT Compliant Drug and Alcohol Program .

Remember that your 30 minute break has to take place in a consecutive manner.

Never take shorter breaks throughout the day. (Such as three 10 minute breaks.) Doing so can result in FMCSA fines and penalties. Keep in mind that a 30 minute break never extends the 14 hour driving window. You must deduct 30 minutes for any available 14 hour trucking window. Also, say that you take the 30 minute break early in the day. You might have to take more than one of the breaks on that same day. Also visit Starting a Trucking Company Package .

What if a Trucker Gets Asked To Move the Vehicle During a 30 Minute Break?

Say someone asks you to move your vehicle while you're taking the 30 minute break. And your break has only lasted 20 minutes. You might have to restart your break once you move your truck. That is the case when using some common ELD devices. Without consecutive minutes, the break might not count.

Try to talk to management at your carrier about this important issue

. The FMCSA has become more lenient with moving a vehicle during a break. But it depends on what your ELD will report to your carrier and to the FMCSA. Read about DOT Audit .

When Can You Take Your 30-Minute Break?

Each driver has an 8-hour window for driving after an off-duty period. (That off-duty period must last over 30 minutes.) Through the old rule, a driver had to take a break by the 8th hour. Otherwise, each driver was in violation of official FMCSA policies. But now, you can drive for 8 hours before taking the 30-minute break. Do you need Texas DOT Number ?

30 Minutes Break Rule