FMCSA HOS Rule Changes

FMCSA Hours of Service Final Rule Summary & Notes

FMCSA Hours of Service Final Rule Conference Call Notes

By Scopelitis Transportation Consulting

On June 1, 2020, the “final rule” making changes to the Hours of Service of Drivers (HOS) rules in Part 395 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations was published in the Federal Register.

Prior to that, at 1:00 EDT on May 21, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration convened a conference call with industry stakeholders to answer questions about the new FMCSA Hours of Service Final rule, released on the Agency’s website on May 14, 2020. Below is a summary of the call organized by subject.


  • Acting Administrator Mullen thanked our drivers and motor carriers who have acted as heroes during the pandemic. This includes the motor coach industry, who have suffered severe economic harm but have still stepped up to transport health care professionals.
  • FMCSA has collaborated in the distribution of masks and other PPE and expects to do more in the future.

Impacts of the rule:

  • Safety
    • FMCSA is “bullish” on the safety benefits to drivers and highway safety.
  • The rule will not increase driving or work time time limits.
  • Economic
    • There is an expected $270M in regulatory savings to the industry.
    • This flexibility is critically important as the industry recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.

Publication and effective date:

  • FMCSA expects the final rule to be published in the Federal Register in the “very near future.”
  • It will be effective at midnight EDT 120 days from publication
    • FMCSA chose 120 days because in vendor response comments, they all indicated the most difficult proposed change would be the pause of the 14-hour clock. Because FMCSA eliminated that proposed change, 120 days is reasonable in their view.
  • FMCSA will continue outreach and training to be sure the industry, vendors and enforcement are prepared for the change. Plans will be announced in the next few weeks.
  • An ELD vendor raised concerns about how vendors should best handle the timing and roll out of the changes considering it could be challenging to push all the required data to all customers at once.
    • FMCSA will convene off-line conversations with ELD vendors to reach an amenable solution.

Specific clarifying questions about the new rules:

  • 30-minute rest break
    • New rules are based on 8 hours of accumulated driving time, not consecutive driving time.
    • If a driver accumulates more than 8 hours of driving time without a break, he will be in violation.
  • Split sleeper
    • Both rest periods must be present to reset the calculation point. In other words, if a driver takes his two-hour break first, but never takes his 8-hour break, his clock does not rest at the end of the two-hour break. Both breaks must be present to rest the calculation point.
  • Short-haul provision
    • A driver who occasionally violates the terms of the short-haul exception may use paper logs on those days, provided it happens no more than 8 times in any 30-day period.

Get your copy of the Summary of FMCSA’s Hours of Service Rule Changes with a comparison of the new rules to the past rules, along with summarized impacts of each rule change. Want more information? Visit our Regulatory Resource Center.

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