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What is the FMCSAs 30 minute break rule?The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) 30 minute break rule is designed to make sure that drivers have enough rest time and don’t get tired while on the road. Read this blog post to learn more about how the 30 minute break rule works!

What Is The 30 Minute Break Rule?

According to the FMCSA’s 30 minute break rule, drivers have a window of 8 hours to drive after their last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes. Before being allowed to drive again after this 8 hour window has passed, the driver must take a 30 minute break.

It’s important to know that drivers can work past this 8 hour mark without taking the 30 minute break as long as they’re not driving. This means that they can perform other on-duty, not driving tasks more than 8 hours after their last off-duty break (such as loading and unloading), as long as they’re not going over their total available on-duty hours determined by where they are operating.

What Do I Need To Know
About The 30 Minute Break Rule?
Although the basics are simple, the 30 minute break rule can be confusing. Here are a few important things to know:

  • The 30 minute break rule is Trucks taking a break a a truck stopmandatory unless you qualify for an exemption to it. For example, all short-haul drivers who operate within a 100 air-mile radius of their starting location are exempt, as well as all non-CDL drivers who operate within a 150 air-mile radius of their starting location.
  • This 30 minute break must be consecutive. For example, you can’t take 3 shorter breaks of 10 minutes and count them as your 30 minute break.
  • The 30 minute break does not extend the 14 hour driving window. These 30 minutes are subtracted from your available 14 hours.
  • If you take your 30 minute break early, you may need to take more than one of these breaks during the day.

What If I'm Asked To Move My Vehicle During My 30 Minute Break?

Let’s say that you’re asked to move your vehicle a few feet during your 30 minute break after only 20 minutes have passed. If you’re using BigRoad’s DashLink as an electronic logging device (ELD), you must take the full 30 minute break in order for it to count. If you interrupt this break at any point, you will have to restart it again. In this situation, you would not be able to move your vehicle until the full 30 minutes had passed.

If you’re using BigRoad’s DashLink as an automatic onboard recording device (AOBRD), make sure you switch your status to ‘Start Yard Move’ before you drive your vehicle at all. Once you’ve stopped moving again, you can change your status to ‘End Yard Move’. Using the Yard Move status will ensure that your break isn’t interrupted and you don’t need to restart it. 

Examples Of The 30 Minute Break Rule In Action

Scenario 1: Driver Is Running In Violation Of The 30 Minute Break Rule

Start Time End Time Status Duration
12:00am 10:00am Off Duty 10 hours
10:00am 11:00am On Duty, Not Driving 1 hour
11:00am 4:00pm Driving 5 hours
4:00pm 6:00pm On Duty, Not Driving 2 hours
6:00pm 10:00pm Driving 4 hours
10:00pm 11:00pm On Duty, Not Driving 1 hour
11:00pm 12:00am Driving 1 hour
12:00am 10:00am Off Duty 10 hours 


Verdict:
This driver is driving in violation of the 30 minute break rule because they should have taken a 30 minute break at 6:00pm rather than switching to driving status. By 6:00pm, it had been 8 hours since their last off-duty break, meaning that they can’t drive again until they’ve taken another off-duty break.

Scenario 2: Driver Is Correctly Using The 30 Minute Break Rule

Start Time End Time Status Duration
12:00am 10:00am Off Duty 10 hours
10:00am 11:00am On Duty, Not Driving 1 hour
11:00am 6:00pm Driving 7 hours
6:00pm 8:00pm On Duty, Not Driving 2 hours
8:00pm 8:30pm Off Duty 30 minutes
8:30pm 12:00am Driving 3.5 hours 


Verdict: This driver is correctly using the 30 minute break rule. Although they were on-duty, not driving between 6:00pm and 8:00pm (10 hours after their 8 hour driving window had passed), this was not a violation because they weren’t driving the vehicle.


How Can BigRoad Help?

The BigRoad Mobile App and DashLink ELD make it easy to take your breaks at the right times. Our solution accurately tracks your hours and shows you a countdown of how many available hours you have left. To book a free demo, click on the button below!

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About the Author: Alecz Sallows

Alecz Sallows

Alecz is a Marketing Specialist at BigRoad. She loves her cat, red wine, and desserts (despite being a terrible baker who consistently misses ingredients).