Mark S. Morgan, NEFI Regulatory Counsel: firstname.lastname@example.org
There continues to be many questions about applicability of the U.S. DOT’s 30-minute rest break for CDL drivers. In its simplest form, the 30-minute rest break does not allow drivers to drive for more than 8 hours on duty without taking a 30-minute rest break. However, the U.S. DOT provides drivers with a number of exemptions from the 30-minute rest break requirement.
Short Haul Exemption
The 30-minute break requirement and the ELD do not apply to CDL drivers who qualify for the “short haul” exemption under the HOS regulations. This exemption applies under the following conditions:
- Driver must stay within 100 air miles radius of the location where the daily shift began; and
- Driver must go off duty after 12 hours on duty (no more than 11 driving hours per shift); and
- Driver must report back to starting location at the end of the 12-hour shift; and
- Driver must take 10 consecutive hours rest after going off duty and before starting a new shift.
A driver that meets all four of these criteria is exempt from the 30-minute rest break requirement.
Breaking the Short Haul Exemption
If a driver breaks any of the four qualifying conditions under the short haul exemption, then a 30-minute rest break is required. The time by which a driver must take the rest break depends on when the condition was broken.
- If any condition of the short haul condition is broken within the first 8 hours on duty, then the driver must take the 30-minute break before the end of the 8th hour.
- If any short haul condition is broken afterthe 8th hour, then the driver must take the 30-minute rest break before the end of the 14th hour.
Hazardous Materials Partial Exemption
This exemption applies to hazardous material drivers who do not qualify for the short haul exemption and must take the 30-minute rest break. This is not an exemption from the 30-minute rest break requirement itself. Instead, this is an exemption from the requirement that drivers must go off duty and leave the truck during the 30-minute rest break period. The requirement to go off duty and leave the truck for rest breaks conflicts with U.S. DOT security regulations requiring hazardous material drivers to stay with the truck and remain on duty at all times during the driver’s daily shift. In order to resolve this conflict, the DOT created a partial exemption allowing drivers hauling hazardous materials to take the 30-minute rest break while on duty and in the truck. This exemption applies under the following conditions:
- Driver must not qualify for the short haul exemption;
- Driver must be hauling a hazardous material requiring a placard;
- Driver must be in “attendance” (sitting in the truck or staying within 25 feet) during the 30-minute rest period;
- Driver must record the 30-minute rest break as “on duty” time in electronic logbooks;
- Driver must not perform any other duties while taking the 30-minute break; and
- Carrier must have a “satisfactory” safety rating for the driver to qualify for the exemption.
If all these conditions are met, the driver may sit in the cab or remain within 25 feet during of the truck when taking the required 30-minute rest break.
Important! Time spent waiting in line at the terminal rack or loading and unloading product cannot be counted towards the 30-minute rest break. Drivers taking the rest break under this exemption cannot be perform any other duty during the 30-minute period.
Drivers qualifying for the short haul exemption are also exempt from the 30-minute rest break requirement. Drivers who haul hazardous materials and do not qualify for the short haul exemption must take the rest break, remain on duty and stay within 25 feet of the truck during the entire 30-minute period.