DOT officially floats HOS changes that would alter 14-hour clock, 30-minute break

August 18, 2019

The U.S. DOT on Wednesday officially announced proposed changes to federal hours of service regulations for truck operators. Chiefly, the proposed changes, if made final, would allow drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three hours in a shift and go off-duty in that time period.

Drivers would be required to take a 10-hour off-duty break at the conclusion of their 14 hours on-duty after using the proposed pause option. Also, the 11-hour drive-time limit per an on-duty shift will remain. Allowing drivers to pause the 14-hour clock would help them avoid peak traffic hours, weather events and help “mitigate the effect…of long detention times,†according to notes within the proposal, which was announced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Ray Martinez, administrator of FMCSA, says he expects the notice of proposed rulemaking to be published Monday, Aug. 19, in the Federal Register. Drivers and the public at large will have 45 days to file comments on the rule, and the agency will consider the comments in crafting a final HOS rule. A final rule will likely take months, if not a year or longer, to be finalized and published in the Federal Register. Once published, the final rule likely won’t take effect for another year or more.