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Feb 13, 2014

FMCSA allows leeway on rest breaks for drivers who exceed short-haul exception

Wage and Hour 

If drivers of commercial motor vehicles unexpectedly have to drive further or work longer than the short-haul exception allows, they won’t get in trouble for failing to take a 30-minute rest break on time as long as they take certain steps, said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in regulatory guidance.

If drivers of commercial motor vehicles unexpectedly have to drive further or work longer than the short-haul exception allows, they won’t get in trouble for failing to take a 30-minute rest break on time as long as they take certain steps, said the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in regulatory guidance.

Most property-carrying commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers must take a 30-minute rest break if more than 8 hours have passed since the end of their last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes. They must also complete a record of duty status, noting the hours that they drive and are on duty. There are two short-haul exceptions to the rest break requirement:  (1) 100-air-mile radius drivers who return to the normal work location at the end of the shift and are released from duty within 12 consecutive hours of beginning the shift, and (2) 150 air-mile radius drivers of CMVs that don’t require a commercial drivers’ license and who return to the normal work location at the end of the shift.

If the driver becomes aware of the need to exceed the short-haul exception after the 8-hour deadline has passed, the driver should take the 30-minute break at the earliest safe opportunity. The driver must also complete a record of duty status for that day and document why the required rest break wasn’t taken earlier (78 Fed Reg 76757, Dec. 19, 2013).

Tips: For more information on the FMCSA’s rules on rest breaks and keeping records of duty status, see our Legal Guide, “Motor Carrier Safety Requirements” (3146).

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