There have been a lot of changes this year in the trucking industry. From disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic to new regulations in place for truck drivers, the industry seems to be rapidly evolving. More specifically, carriers and drivers alike need to stay updated on the change in Hours of Service (HOS) rule allotted by the FMCSA.
Beginning September 2020, the government’s motor carrier division put its revised hours of service rules into effect. This rule gives truck drivers expanded split-sleeper berth options that allow them to effectively stop their 14-hour clock for up to three hours in a duty shift.
Increasing Awareness & Flexibility
With the new split-sleeper berth provision, truck drivers have one more hour of flexibility than the current 8/2 split. However, as a major change under the looming HOS regulations, the shorter period does not count against a drivers’ 14-hour clock.
These efforts by the FMCSA are focusing on trying to reduce the number of accidents resulting from commercial truck driver fatigue. Of the roughly 500,000 annual trucking accidents in the U.S., about 5,000 ends in death. To new rules are hoping to slow that data down and bring more awareness to overworked trucking professionals.
For trucking companies, operating with trucking insurance helps to keep significant driver fatigue claims at bay. While trucking insurance doesn’t stop accidents from happening, it can help protect trucking carriers and their drivers from major financial, legal, and reputational damage.
Another way truck drivers preserve on-duty time under the new HOS rule is by logging the 30-minute break differently than they do now. Under the previous HOS regulations, drivers had to take a 30-minute break within the first eight hours of on-duty time and record it as off duty. If a driver stops to fuel up, dock a trailer, or do other non-driving work pertinent to their job, the time was considered as on duty and, as such, didn’t count toward the required break.
Now, the new HOS rule offers drivers more flexibility in that area. Drivers still break for 30 minutes, but within the first eight hours of drive time, rather than their on-duty time. Additionally, they can log the time however they wish, including on duty, off duty, or sleeper berth.
If truck drivers spend eight hours behind the wheel, wait at a dock, or stop for fuel, they can drive another three hours by having more flexibility to reach the maximum limit of 11 hours.
Lastly, the short-haul exemption radius is now extended from 100 to 150 air miles and allows trucking fleets an increase in the maximum on-duty limit from 12 to 14 hours. With the new exemption, qualified fleets and their truck drivers don’t have to keep an ongoing record of duty status or take 30-minute breaks.
About Western Truck Insurance Services
Western Truck Insurance Services is a commercial truck insurance agency with roots dating back to 1954. We have evolved into a highly respected, professionally managed, truck, and transportation insurance brokerage. The hallmark of our organization is our desire to provide unparalleled service. We go way beyond what you expect to receive from an insurance brokerage. Equipped with state of the art automation, Western Truck Insurance can provide you with lightning fast truck insurance quotes, customer service, Insurance certificates, and coverage changes. Contact us today at (800) 937-8785 to learn more.