Hours of Service Changes | The Coronavirus Impact

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We’re about four months into the coronavirus outbreak and it’s certainly changed the landscape of almost every industry. We’ve written multiple blogs on the impact that the virus has had specifically on the trucking industry. From the changing job trends, to the guidelines and procedures for interacting with others outside of your rig, it’s no secret that we’re in uncharted water. One of the most recent changes has created quite a stir within the trucking community. Just recently, the Department of Transportation (DOT) has modified a variety of hours of service changes in order to help drivers during this pandemic. While some see this has a good thing, others are not so sure. Below we’re going take a look at some of these hours of service changes that will affect drivers.

Hours of Service Changes

These hours of service changes have certainly left the industry divided. While some see these new changes as more lenient, others fear they will increase the chance of dangerous driving. These rules could change as early as September of 2020.

The 30-Minute Break

Old Rule – The old rule regarding the 30-minute break says that truckers must take a 30-minute break in off-duty status within the first 8 hours of duty. This was implemented for driver safety and to prevent drivers from working long periods of time. Previously, drivers often would skip over this break in order to gain those extra miles, and extra money as well.

New Rule – The new rule change would allow drivers to take their 30-minute break in on-duty, non-driving status within the first 8 hours that they are working. This will allow truckers to make money from that 30-minute break and will ideally encourage drivers to incorporate the 30-minute break into his or her day.

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Off-Duty Splits

Old Rule – The old rule states that drivers are allowed to break up their off-duty splits into eight and two. This means that drivers can use the 10-hour off-duty split and use the 2-hour split to count against the 14-hour clock. This gave drivers at least a little flexibility when it came to using his or her off-duty time. Essentially, this ensured that you were at least getting 8 hours of rest between driving.

New Rule – This new rule provides a little more leniency when it comes to the off-duty split. On top of the eight and two splits, drivers can instead use a seven and three splits, and neither shift counts against the 14-hour clock. This will provide more flexibility when it comes to being off-duty.

Adverse Conditions

Old Rule – During adverse conditions, drivers can add two hours onto their 11-hour drive time, but they can’t add the two hours to the 14-hour on-duty clock. This was put in place to prevent drivers from losing money while stuck in adverse conditions.

New Rules – The new rules allow drivers to add two hours to both their drive time and on-duty clock. This gives a little more flexibility and gives drivers the opportunity to essentially “make up for lost time” when driving in adverse conditions.

Short-Haul Exemptions

Old Rule – Drivers working within 100 air-miles of their work base can work with no records of duty status and have a 12-hour on-duty limit.

New Rule – Arguably the most significant change proposed, drivers, working within 150 air-miles of their work base are allowed to work with no duty status records. They also have a 14-hour on-duty limit. Made in part to help the growing demand for essentials. This gives local drivers the ability to log more hours.

Bonus: Podcast!

What do you think of these new hours of service regulations? Do you think they are helping or hurting drivers? Comment your opinion below!

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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