The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA’s) 30-minute break rule for commercial motor vehicles (CMV) drivers came into effect July 1, 2013. The 30-minute break rule essentially says that if a driver has been driving continuously for 8 hours, he needs to have a break of 30 minutes. It is important to know that drivers can work more than 8 hours without taking the 30-minute break if they are not driving. This means that they can perform on-duty tasks or other non-driving functions for more than 8 hours since their last off-duty break. This can include refueling, loading, unloading, logging and other tasks. However, the drivers should not go over their total on-duty hours for the day.

An important point to note about the 30-minute break rule is that the break period must be consecutive, all at once, to count. For example, a driver cannot take a 10 minutes break, and then a 20 minute break later and have either of those count as their 30-minute break.

If during your 30-minute break, you are asked to move your vehicle, and you are logging your break time using an electronic logging device (ELD) such as DriveELD, your log will automatically change your duty status to On Duty Driving which will break your 30-minute Off Duty break. In DriveELD, if your carrier has allowed it, there is an Off Duty Personal Conveyance duty status which would allow you to move your truck without ending your break.

Drivers exempt from the 30-minute break rule

  • Short-haul drivers who stay within a 100 air-mile radius of their starting location.
  • Non-CDL drivers who stay within a 150 air-mile radius of their starting location