Answers to Your Questions About the New Hours of Service Rules

July 2013, - WebXclusive

by Tom Bray, J.J. Keller

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Since the new hours-of-service rules went into effect July 1, there have been many questions asked of experts both inside and outside of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration related to the new rules. In this article we will look at some of the more frequently asked questions we here at J.J. Keller & Associates have been receiving.

30-minute break

Question: Does the break need to be taken right at 8 hours?

Answer: No. the break can be taken at any time before the end of the 8th hour of duty. The regulation only requires that the driver stop driving and take the 30-minute break if it has been 8 hours since the driver’s last break of 30 minutes or more.

Question: If I am unloading or fueling when I reach the point where it has been 8 hours since my last break of 30 minutes or more, do I have to stop what I’m doing and take the break?

Answer: No. The only thing a driver cannot do once the 8 hours is reached is drive. The driver would be able to finish unloading or fueling, but would then have to take a 30-minute break before driving again.

Question: The company I am leased to does not have an “off-duty policy.” Do I need to log the break as “on-duty” rather than “off duty”?

Answer: Unless you are transporting certain explosives or radioactive materials, you must log the break as off-duty or sleeper-berth time. To be able to log off duty, you must be relieved of all duty and responsibility, and at liberty to pursue activities of your own choosing. Whether your company has a policy allowing this or not is moot, since the regulations require it.

Question: We haul flammable liquids and corrosives. Am I supposed to be logging the break on duty due to the attendance requirements?

Answer: The attendance requirements for hazardous materials other than 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 explosives only apply if the vehicle is parked on the roadway or the right-of-way. As long as the vehicle is off of the roadway and right-of-way, the driver can log off duty. Therefore, a driver hauling non-explosive hazardous materials must park in a safe and secure location off the roadway, and then take the 30 minutes off duty.

Question: What drivers are allowed to disregard the 30-minute break requirement?

Answer: Presently, there are three exceptions to the 30-minute break requirement, and only one allows the driver to completely disregard the requirement. These are:

  • Drivers transporting 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 explosives: When a driver is transporting 1.1, 1.2, or 1.3 explosives, the driver must still stop and take the break, but the break must be logged on duty due to the driver having to stay in attendance of the vehicle.
  • Drivers transporting route controlled Department of Energy (DOE) highly radioactive materials: When a driver is transporting these highly radioactive materials, the driver must still stop and take the break, but the break must be logged on duty due to the driver having to stay in attendance of the vehicle.
  • Drivers transporting livestock: When loaded with live animals (including poultry, fish, and even lobsters) a driver does not have to stop and take the 30-minute break. This exception only applies in July, August, and September 2013 due to the predicted heat.

Question: What special note do I need to put on my log to show when the break took place?

Answer: The FMCSA has stated that there are no “special documentation requirements” when it comes to the 30-minute break. This is because there is no special entry required in the hours-of-service regulations at §395.3, which is the regulation that changed. There were also no changes to the regulations stating what must be on the driver’s log (the regulations at §395.8). The 30-minute period on either line 1 (off duty) or line 2 (sleeper berth) of the driver’s grid graph, with city and state shown in the remarks, is all that is required.

34-hour restart

Question: The rule says a driver can only have one restart in every 7-day (168-hour) period. When does the 7-day/168-hour clock “start”?

Answer: The rule requires that a driver not start his/her next restart break until 168 hours have passed since the start of the driver’s last restart break. Therefore, if a driver started his/her last restart at 8:00 p.m. on Friday night, the earliest the driver could start his/her next restart break would be 8:00 p.m. the following Friday.

Question: Does this new rule mean that a driver cannot be given 34 hours or more off more than once per week?

Answer: No. Drivers can have off all the time they and their companies agree to. The only issue is that a driver who gets two (or more) breaks in a 7-day period that qualify as restarts must indicate which one (if any) is to be considered the restart.

Question: Since the restart can only be taken once per week (every 168 hours), what happens if I run out of hours 5 days after my last restart?

Answer: You can start driving again as soon as you have hours available under the 60 or 70 hours limit (based on the your recap) or you get a 34-hour restart that started more than 168 hours after the start of your last restart and includes two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods.

Question: Is a restart still going to be required when I run out of hours?

Answer: While a common practice, a driver taking a restart after running out of hours has never been required. If a driver runs out of hours today, but does his/her recap and determines that he/she will have hours available tomorrow, the driver can go ahead and use the available hours the next day (the driver does not have to wait for a restart).

Question: Is a driver required to stop and take a restart every 168 hours?

Answer: There is no requirement that the driver take a restart at any time. If the driver has hours available under his/her recap, the driver can continue to drive.

Question: Does the restart have to be taken at the driver’s home or home terminal to be considered a valid restart?

Answer: No, it does not. There has been some confusion on this as the rules require that the restart be taken in the driver’s “home terminal time.” What this means is the restart period, including the two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods, must be based on the driver’s “log time,” not the local time. So, if a driver who is based in Philadelphia (Eastern time zone) is in San Francisco (Pacific time zone) doing a restart, the driver’s two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods must be based on Eastern time (the driver’s “log time”).

This is a sampling of common questions we have been receiving. If you have questions, be careful about whom you ask. You want to be sure to get the facts, even if you might not agree with them, not someone’s opinion. In other words, be sure to contact an expert that will give you an accurate answer, even if it is unpopular!

Thomas Bray is an editor in the Transportation Publishing Department of the Editorial Resource Unit at J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc., specializing in motor carrier safety and operations management.


  1. 1. Cecil Risby [ July 25, 2013 @ 08:08AM ]

    I was told that your thirty min break had to be taken in off duty status. Is this true?

  2. 2. Tom Bray [ July 25, 2013 @ 11:32AM ]


    Off duty is one of the two options. The regulation (§395.3(a)(3)(ii)) requires that the break be in the off duty or sleeper status. Here is the actual regulation:

    §395.3(a)(3)(ii) Rest breaks. After June 30, 2013, driving is not permitted if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of the driver's last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.

    If it has been 8 hours since the driver’s last off-duty or sleeper break of 30 minutes or more, the driver needs to take 30 minutes off duty or in the sleeper to “reset” the 8 hour clock and drive again.

  3. 3. Brian Tollberg [ July 26, 2013 @ 09:10PM ]

    This report should be sent to all trucking companies.

  4. 4. cheryl pfeil [ July 30, 2013 @ 04:13AM ]

    if a driver misses their 30 minute break by a few minutes, he will show to be "in violation" for the remainder of his day when using EOBR systems, does this mean that the driver needs to stop driving at that point or can he continue as long as he takes his 30 minute break?

  5. 5. Frank [ August 08, 2013 @ 05:24AM ]

    I am lookink for correct info for local redi mix drivers and asphalt drivers also local sand and stone drivers hauling in state on local construction sites.

  6. 6. Ronda [ August 21, 2013 @ 11:38AM ]

    Dept of Transportation need to know the regulations, they are giving warnings for drivers marking sleeper berth for their 1/2 hr break & stating they only can mark it as off duty.

  7. 7. Happy [ August 21, 2013 @ 05:35PM ]

    Also what I do not see explained here is for example your taking your 34 hr restart and it has been 168 or more hrs since your last restart simple things need to be considered if your last restart started at 7pm or 19:00 hrs and you finished your week at 10 am your actual restart start time would be 19:00 hrs or you can count backwards from the second 5am period 34 hrs and that will give you your actual start time that includes two periods.. again this is providing the 168 hrs has been met already.

  8. 8. David [ August 28, 2013 @ 03:11PM ]

    Again the trucking industry lets the FEDS make laws that make no sense

  9. 9. Mike [ September 05, 2013 @ 01:41PM ]

    One important factor that people need to remember or have explained is the restart itself.
    if an individual keeps a close eye on his or her recap it can be work so that you may not ever have to restart. i currently run flatbed and since most facilities dont recieve on weekends, go home on Fridays and leave late Sunday night or early Monday. so far I haven't had to use a restart

  10. 10. efren [ September 09, 2013 @ 02:36PM ]

    do we still have to take the half hour break. after september 9 2013.. i was told a new rule went into effect todat september 9 2013 in regards to the half hour break is this true

  11. 11. Karrin [ May 27, 2014 @ 06:15AM ]

    I am confused. I had a 34 plus hr restart but from the last restart it has been 166 hrs. Explain if i did something wrong

  12. 12. Kevin [ July 07, 2014 @ 10:11AM ]

    Can someone tell me how I need to denote a vacation in my logbook? When my last seven days have been "no work performed" do I need to show seven log pages? Or can I denote that somehow on a single page?

  13. 13. half-simple ; to kevin [ July 31, 2014 @ 09:48AM ]

    all on one page unless 2 months are involved.ex; off duty 7/1/14 thru 7/8/14 in (city and state your domiciled in)

  14. 14. neal [ November 13, 2014 @ 11:46AM ]

    If you take a half hour break every day you accumulate a half an hour every day of off duty not driving does that count toward your 70 meaning you're allowed to work 73 hours

  15. 15. joey [ July 01, 2015 @ 08:17PM ]

    can anyone explain to me how the hours of service effects yard drivers. do I have to log 70 hour work week or do those hours not count until I Drive. thank you for your help in advance.

  16. 16. Michael john Reagan [ July 12, 2015 @ 12:00PM ]

    Can we fuel during a 34 restart. Running low on fuel

  17. 17. Fred Culver [ September 14, 2015 @ 03:28AM ]

    You can fuel but only enough for personal conveyance. Anything over that is considered on duty time. So if you were empty (unladen) or running bobtail around on your personal time it could be reasonably argued that you needed 10-20 gallons to do so. More than that would have to be logged.

  18. 18. Hardwick [ October 08, 2015 @ 05:44PM ]

    I started on duty Monday 0700 then 168hrs later Monday 0700 I would need to take 2 nights 0100 to 0500 off in order to be legal. This means I can't work on duty until Wednesday at 0501. RIGHT or WRONG

  19. 19. Manuel [ November 16, 2015 @ 01:47PM ]

    When I do a short run and only run 4hrs.and go park at a truck stop do I go off duty rest of day or go sleeper berth ? And if I am not getting a load for a couple days do I stay in sleeper berth or off duty please help me.

  20. 20. Jamie boyd [ June 02, 2016 @ 10:14AM ]

    If I have been working local for the past 7 days how would I show that on my log book?

  21. 21. Don Dixon [ September 09, 2016 @ 05:05AM ]

    Can a driver get a 34 hr restart and gain hrs from your recap both in the same week

  22. 22. Joe Ups [ December 03, 2016 @ 02:40PM ]

    If I work 10 hours in one day with a one hour lunch break, does the 10 hours count towards the 60 hour total for the week?

  23. 23. James Carroll Attorney in [ December 05, 2016 @ 06:38AM ]

    I need an expert in the hours of service rules for a court case. To talk about whether a driver could get from A to B in a certain period under the rules. The case is in Dallas. 214 760 7788 It would need to be someone local as this isn't a big case.

  24. 24. Angel Centeno [ December 06, 2016 @ 09:55AM ]

    How many half hour brakes do I have to show in the load book in a period of 14 hour day?

  25. 25. Charles Davis [ May 01, 2017 @ 06:11AM ]

    If I'm on my 34 restart and need some fuel do I restart all over again after fueling? Or can I add another 15minutes to the original 34 I started.

  26. 26. Shante [ August 01, 2017 @ 06:01PM ]

    Hours of service....I have ran out of hours and I don't want to do the recap of 34 h and I trying to go home. I have clocked out at 12:30 how many hours can I wait until my hour are available for me to drive..

  27. 27. Steve Hickman [ November 15, 2017 @ 09:39AM ]

    When driving bad weather In a day cab trying to get back to terminal do I get any extended drive time?

  28. 28. APRILLE [ January 13, 2018 @ 10:46AM ]



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