There has been a whole lot of confusion over the specifics of the new HOS rules here on our forums and among drivers nationwide, especially concerning the 30-minute break that drivers must take at least once every 8 hours. It seems that the FMCSA has taken notice of the confusion as they have announced that they will be issuing some guidance on the Hours Of Service rules on Friday, July 12th.
The “clarification” comes in the form of two new conditions that must be met in order for the 30-minutes you spend not driving to count as your federally mandated “break.”
1) “The driver is relieved of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the vehicle, its accessories, and any cargo or passengers it may be carrying.”
2) “During the stop, and for the duration of the stop, the driver must be at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that there will be more than a few drivers who take issue with the first condition. The idea that a driver is EVER “relieved of all duty and responsibility” for their vehicle and its contents is truly laughable. If a driver walks away from his rig for half an hour and he comes back to find it stripped of all parts, his cargo gone, and his trailer on fire, I don’t think that his company will absolve him of responsibility because he was taking his federally mandated break.
What those in the industry always seem to fail to understand is that trucking isn’t a normal job. It’s often a 24-hour commitment when you’re on the road. Whether you’re at the wheel or asleep in your bunk, you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of your vehicle and cargo. Your responsibilities don’t just go away because a rule says that you’re not really resting unless they do.
Forgive me, FMCSA, but I think your clarification needs a little clarification.
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