4 HOS Rule Changes Carriers Need to Know About

Cassandra Gaines
June 2, 2020

Mark your calendars!

Starting September 29, 2020, there will be Four Major Changes to the Hours of Service (HOS) Rules.

  1. More shipments will qualify for the “short-haul” exemption
  2. 150 air miles (used to be 100)
  3. Cassandra math = approx. 172miles.
  4. Can work max 14-hours per day (used to be 12)
  5. A driver has 2 additional hours during adverse weather conditions to drive.
  6. Only if the driver found out about the adverse condition after dispatch
  7. Allows the driver to park and wait out the adverse conditions or drive slowly
  8. Flexible 30-minute break
  9. After driving for 8 hours, must take 30 min non-driving break
  10. The 8 hours used to be on-duty, now it’s simply driving
  11. The 30-minute break used to be off-duty, now its non-driving
  12. A driver can break the consecutive 10-hour off-duty rule into 2 periods:
  13. 7 hours must be in the berth
  14. 2 hours outside of the berth off-duty
  15. 1 hour that the driver decides to use in/outside the berth off-duty.
  16. Neither of these periods counts against the 14-hour driving window.

Interesting TIL side notes:

  • The FMCSA did not issue these changes due to COVID or because a few carriers recently marched to DC. These changes have been in process since August of 2019 when the FMCSA announced the potential rule changes, and the public had the opportunity to submit feedback to the FMCSA. This final ruling is a result of that almost year-long process.
  • Not surprisingly, when the FMCSA announced the proposed changes last year, they received nearly 1,460 written comments from individuals who wanted other parts of the HOS rules to be altered or eliminated. The FMCSA acknowledged the suggestions but chose not to address them since they were outside the scope of the FMCSA’s proposal.
  • The 4 new rule changes do not add driving time to a driver’s day (except adverse conditions); nevertheless, the FMCSA still claims that carriers will save money due to the flexibility these changes provide.
  • All the other rules remain the same. For example, drivers are still prohibited from driving more than 11 hours during a shift, and driving is not permitted after 14 hours of on-duty time.
  • For adverse conditions, the driver cannot drive more than 13 hours during a work shift and 16 hours on-duty.
  • An “air-mile” is a term defined internationally as a “nautical mile” which is equivalent to 6,076 feet. Because there are 5,280 feet in 1 mile, 150 air miles results in approximately 172 miles.


Cassandra Gaines (aka MadGaines) is dedicated to helping everyone in the transportation industry learn how to avoid freight problems. Cassandra is also a voice for those who need to be heard in our industry. Cassandra Gaines has dedicated her entire career to the transportation industry. She has uniquely gained significant experience by working for top transportation providers across the country. Now Cassandra manages her own law firm and consulting company and she speaks across the country at different conferences. Cassandra teaches transportation providers how to manage the full spectrum of their risks and how to develop customized strategies to address without negatively impacting business.

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