Limitations on the 34-hour restart, mandatory breaks, and changes to the definition of on-duty time highlight the new version of the hours-of-service regulations released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on December 22, 2011.
The new regulations retain the 60/70 hour limit, but the driver of a property-carrying commercial motor vehicle who utilizes the 34-hour restart provision must include two periods of time between 1:00 am and 5:00 am in his/her off-duty period of 34 consecutive hours. Also the driver may only use the restart once within a period of 168 consecutive hours (7-day period).
The final rule maintains the 11-hour driving limit and the 14-hour duty window for drivers of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles, but includes a provision that requires a driver to take a break of at least 30 minutes once he/she has been on duty for a maximum of 8 hours.
The definition of on-duty time has changed. Under the final rule the definition does not include time resting in a parked commercial motor vehicle. Also, the definition does not include up to 2 hours in the passenger seat of a commercial motor vehicle immediately before or after spending 8 hours in a sleeper berth. This definition applies to both property-carrying and passenger-carrying drivers.
The compliance date for the changed definition of on-duty time is February 27, 2012.
The compliance date for the changes to the 34-hour restart and the mandatory break provision is July 1, 2013.