FMCSA releases clarification of rest breaks
Amidst a growing list of exceptions to the 30-minute rest break mandated by the new HOS laws, the FMCSA has issued a clarification, the first in what is certain to be a series. Keep in mind though, that the clarification only applies if you don’t qualify for an exception. Confused yet?
A portion of the HOS rules initially enacted in 1997 required that a driver have written instructions from the carrier relieving him of all duties, in order to log meal and other routine stops during a tour of duty as off-duty time. The new clarification eliminates the requirement of carrier “guidance,” written or otherwise, to log the break(s) as off-duty time, provided that the driver’s activities are at his own discretion during that period.
The clarification emphasizes that periods of time during which the driver is free to stop working and engage in activities of his/her choosing may be recorded as off-duty time “irrespective of whether the driver has the means or opportunity to leave a particular facility or location.”