FMCSA Changes Instructions for Off-Duty Time

July 12, 2013

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has simplified its instructions for driver off-duty time.

The old guidance said that the driver had to get written instructions from his employer spelling out how long the off-duty time would be.

Under the new guidance, effective today, there is no requirement for employer instructions, either written or verbal.

In a notice in today’s Federal Register, the agency said the old requirement had the effect of discouraging drivers from taking breaks or documenting those breaks in their logs.

It imposed a recordkeeping requirement but did require that records actually be kept. Also, it was not enforceable because it said the break had to be long enough to “significantly reduce” fatigue.

The new guidance says drivers may record meal and other routine stops, including the 30-minute break required by the new hours of service rule, as off-duty time provided they are relieved of duty for the truck and its cargo and they are at liberty to do what they want during the break.


  1. 1. vince [ July 12, 2013 @ 04:53PM ]

    when i start out the day, my e-log tells me i have 8hrs drive time. under the new law i must take the manitory 30min break within that time. so once i take my 30min break i get 5 more hrs. is it my math, or an error in my e-logs?

  2. 2. Tony [ July 13, 2013 @ 04:10AM ]

    It's not your math that's the remainder of your 14 hrs

  3. 3. J LONG [ July 14, 2013 @ 08:44AM ]

    After 8 hours driving and 30 min break will have only 3 more hours driving
    within his 14 hours on duty . Driving is limited to 11 hours. as I understand.

  4. 4. Marian B. [ July 15, 2013 @ 05:10AM ]

    If I remember well DOT use to have a guidance as : every 150-200 mi you stop in a safe haven (rest area, truck stop...) get out of the truck , do a walk around ,do a visual inspection, kick the tires , stretch out and continue with your journey , but I guess drivers don't do it and they felt they had to enforce a break . Most loads are set for 45-54 mph , and if you do your calculations right you have more than enough time to rest and get to your destination .

  5. 5. sunshine [ July 15, 2013 @ 07:11AM ]

    the rule about 150 - 200 miles had changed when I started driving in 2005 was changed to whenever you stop and was geared towards hazmat loads. don't know what company you work. but not many companies have set up loads for 45 to 54 mph. and I have talked to several drivers with elogs and their attitude is they have to go. including speeding threw construction zones.

  6. 6. Judy Buckner [ July 21, 2013 @ 09:19AM ]

    The reason all you guys have a different opinion is that instead of keeping up with the actual laws you are taught your company's policy and the larger companies like you to think that their POLICY is the law when in fact it is not.


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