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Understanding the New 30-Minute Break Rule

What is the FMCSAs 30-minute break rule?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently updated the 30-Minute Break Rule in Part 395.

Read this updated 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, a driver has a window of 8 hours to drive after their last off-duty period of at least 30 minutes.

In the old rule, once a driver went on-duty in a day, the driver had to take a 30-minute break by the 8th hour before being allowed to drive again.

This could be satisfied by either taking 30 consecutive minutes of off-duty time, or 30 consecutive minutes in the sleeper berth, or a combination of both to equal 30 consecutive minutes.

Under the new rule, a 30-minute break is still required, however, it is after 8 hours of driving time.

In addition, this driving time is cumulative, therefore it does not need to be consecutive.

The required 30-minute break by the 8th hour of driving does not extend the 14-hour window. Therefore, when a driver takes the break, those 30 minutes will count towards the available 14-hour window that the driver gets daily.

For example, if the driver started driving immediately after coming on-duty, he or she could drive for 8 consecutive hours, then take the 30-minute break, and then drive another 3 hours for 11 total hours of driving in the 14-hour window.

The driver must be off-duty for at least 30 consecutive minutes.

As you can appreciate, this will allow a driver more flexibility to remain productive by performing on-duty tasks that are not driving and have them count as a part of the 30-minute rest break, if the driver choose to do so.

The new rule also allows a driver to combine the 30-minute break into 10 minutes of off-duty time, 10 minutes of sleeper berth time, and 10 minutes of on-duty-not-driving time or any other combination thereof if the driver wishes to do so.

I am not entirely sure who would want to take 10 minutes in a Sleeper Berth, but you do have that option, nonetheless.

The only stipulation is that those times must be 30 minutes of consecutive time.

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 a driver can perform other on-duty tasks, that are not associated with driving on a public highway for 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 mandatory unless you qualify for an exemption to it. For example, all short-haul drivers who operate within a 150 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 at different times in a day and count them as your 30-minute break.
  • The 30-minute break does not extend the 14-hour driving window. These 30 minutes are deducted from your available 14-hour window.
  • If you take your 30-minute break early, you may need to take more than one of these breaks during the day.


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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 may not have to restart it again. In this new world, you would be able to move your vehicle as a yard move during this 30-minute break since on-duty time is permissible with this new 30-Minute Break Rule, provided you are not moving on a public highway.

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 by driving, and you don’t need to restart it. 

Examples of the 30-Minute Break Rule In Action

Two HOS log examples with the 30-minute break rule in action.


Let’s begin by assuming that this driver has driven for 8 hours and now needs to take a 30-minute break.

As you can see if we were operating under the previous 30-Minute Break Rule, only the top HOS log would be compliant as the driver is actually going off-duty.

In the second example the driver is going on-duty, but not driving.

With this new rule, both logs are compliant, as a driver is able to take the 30-minute break – either off-duty, in the sleeper berth, or on-duty-not-driving.

Please note that short non-consecutive periods cannot be combined to reach 30 minutes of non-driving time.

It must be an entire 30-minute break to make a consecutive break.

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!