On July 1 two new hours-of-service requirements become effective. These rules require a 30 minute break after 8 hours on duty and impose requirements and limitations on the 34 hour restart.
We have posted two five minute narrated power point presentations on the video section of our web page, http://www.cdl-law.com/video/. They are intended to provide a quick, simple overview to drivers, operations, shippers, brokers, or yourself. Please feel free to share them with others.
Effective July 1, if more than 8 hours of on-duty time have passed since the last off-duty or sleeper berth period of at least 30 minutes, a driver must take a break of at least 30 minutes before driving.
How does it work? A driver who immediately begins driving can continue to do so for up to 8 hours. At that point he has to stop and take a 30 minute break.
However, if the driver goes on duty for 2 hours before driving, he can only drive up to 6 hours before the break is required. The 2 hours “on-duty” plus 6 hours “driving” total 8 hours since his last “off-duty” or “sleeper berth” break of 30 minutes or more.
The key—the break must be taken after 8 hours of “on-duty”, not just driving. A “break” is “off duty” time. It is not necessarily spent resting–meal breaks or any other “off duty” time of 30 minutes or more will qualify for the break.
The changed definition of “off duty” permits a driver to log “off duty” while remaining in or on a commercial motor vehicle. For teams, the changed rule permits a team driver to log as “off duty” up to 2 hours in the passenger seat of a moving vehicle. However, this must be immediately before or after an 8 hour period in the sleeper berth.
However, this change does not alter the existing requirement to log time “on duty” when the driver has vehicle responsibility such as loading or unloading. In explaining the final rules, the FMCSA stated, “Unless a driver is released from all responsibility for the vehicle while waiting to be loaded or unloaded, time spent waiting is still considered on duty time.”
34 HOUR RESTART
The regulations retain the 34 hour restart. However, there are several significant limitations that need to be met to get credit for the restart.
First, it can only be used once per week. This is not a calendar week, but refers to the 168 hours that comprise a week (7 days times 24 hours).
The 168 must pass from the time the driver begins his 34 hours off until the next time he can begin his next 34 hours off for the restart to count. It is from start of time off to start of time off.
For example, if he began his 34 hours off at 8 a.m. on a Tuesday, he cannot start his next 34 hours off duty time that would qualified as a restart until 8 a.m. the next Tuesday. It must be 168 hours from when he started his last 34 hours off.
If a driver would have 2 periods of 34 hours off within a 168 hour period, he must indicate in the remarks section of his record of duty status which of the two 34 hour periods is being used as a restart.
Second, the 34 hours off must include 2 periods between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. If the driver would park at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday to begin a 34 hour restart, he could not go back on duty until 5 a.m. on Thursday to get credit for the restart. This time off would include 2 periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.—one Wednesday morning and one on Thursday morning.
These time periods are calculated based upon the time zone of a driver’s home terminal, not the local time where a driver is located. For example, a driver for an east coast company who starts his restart in the Pacific Time Zone would need two periods from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. local time because he is logging his time based on Eastern Time.
As with the break after 8 hours, the key is planning. If a driver pulls off the road and begins his 34 hours off duty at 7 p.m., he can complete his restart in 34 hours. The math is as follows:
-5 hours from 7 p.m. to midnight;
-24 hours to the next midnight;
-5 hours from midnight to 5 a.m.
A total of 34 hours that includes 2 periods of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.
However, a driver has to park it for 51 hours parked if he pulls off at 2 a.m. This adds 17 hours to the time required to get credit for the restart.
The choreography is vital for team drivers. The time they must stop for a restart will depend on when they stop and whether the team overlaps restarts. If properly synchronized, both drivers could complete a 34 hours restart with a 28 hour stop of the truck.
If the team stops the truck for the 28 hours before 1 a.m. on one day, they would have the 2 night rest periods by 5 a.m. the next day. One driver would have to be off duty in the sleeper berth for the 6 hours before the truck stopped for 28 hours. The other driver would then remain off duty in the sleeper berth for the first 6 hours when they start again.
NEW RULES-NEW CHALLENGES
Knowing the rules and planning are the keys to the new rules. Coordinating breaks and restarts are a must to maximize operations and minimize down time.
Educating shippers and brokers is also important. They schedules can play a key role in minimizing the impact for our mutual benefit.
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