Hours of Service Off Duty Requirements

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    Viking, I am having problems with your site and hopefully you will receive this. The other day I met up with a young drive at my local Petrol who was worried about not being able to finish lunch prior to having to get off his 30 minute break. When I explained that the required 30 minute break was a minimum time required by part 395 he did not believe me at first. After explaining my past history of driver/training/safety person, he did finish his lunch and probably had been off duty for 45 minutes to an hour. It made me wonder how many others may have the same misunderstanding of the rule.

    What conditions must be met for a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) driver to record meal and other routine stops made during a work shift as off-duty time?

    Drivers may record meal and other routine stops, including a rest break of at least 30 minutes intended to satisfy 49 CFR 395.3(a)(3)(ii), as off-duty time provided:
    1. The driver is relieved of all duty and responsibility for the care and custody of the vehicle, its accessories, and any cargo or passengers it may be carrying.
    2. During the stop, and for the duration of the stop, the driver must be at liberty to pursue activities of his/her own choosing.

    Jerry Ashley
    “Windy City” Scorpio-retired
    [email protected]



    I’m not Red. Ive seen many misunderstandings because of not knowing the FMCSA regulations. Even though the regs are sold in book form at almost every truck stop and those regs are freely available online, few drivers read any of them. Most dtivers rely on the opinions they heat during CDL school, the trainer at their first company, and a stew of old wives tales & tricks learned over the CB or in driver waiting rooms.

    There is NO requirement to take a 34 hour reset. You can take one evety other day or never. Company policy may require it. The law does not.

    Crossing state borders does NOT violate the short-haul exemption from keeping a “logbook”.

    I think since the regulations are not pleasant reading, and some drivers don’t read a lot, there is a culture of “just tell me what to do” in trucking. There is little distinction between company policy, regulations, maximizing productivity, or what you can get away with. The most common justification I hear is “my trainer said I had to do X”, which is often then claimed to be “the law requires X”.

    Here’s a link to regulations for those that want to know them. They aren’t meant to be read like a novel, but searched and read in small doses.


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