FMCSA Clarifies Guidance on HOS Rest Break Requirement – July 5, 2013

FMCSA has revised its previous guidance related to rest breaks. This change is significant in the context of the new 30-minute rest break requirement. Previously, FMCSA’s guidance stated that qualifying rest breaks be authorized by specific written instructions from the motor carrier detailing the duration of the break, when it could be taken, and required that it be of sufficient duration to ensure that the accumulated fatigue was significantly reduced. The prior guidance had also instructed that the driver be able “to leave the premises where the vehicle is situated.” Those requirements have now been eliminated as they were perceived to be outdated and unenforceable. FMCSA’s revised guidance no longer requires written instructions from the employer or that the driver have the means or opportunity to leave where the vehicle is situated. Qualifying rest breaks now require only that the driver be relieved of all duty and responsibility for the vehicle and load and that the driver “be at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing.” ATA commends FMCSA for the change as it grants needed flexibility in complying with the new rest break requirement. A link to the Federal Register publication of FMCSA’s revised guidance can be found here.

~ATA The Dispatch