In the December 20, 2013 issue of the Federal Register, FMCSA has issued guidance that addresses application of the 30-minute break requirement for drivers who begin their duty days as short-haul drivers but who occasionally exceed the short-haul distance or time limits.
As you know, short-haul drivers are exempt from the 30-minute break requirement, due to the nature of their job of getting in and out of the truck more often than an over-the-road driver.
Occasionally these drivers will begin their duty day expecting to meet the requirements of short-haul operations, as defined by Part 395.1(e), then encounter circumstances beyond their control that result in operations that no longer meet the requirements.
Because of that and related questions that have been asked, the FMCSA has issued this guidance to help carriers. FMCSA’s guidance states that when a driver first learns of the changes to his or her itinerary and subsequent ineligibility for the short-haul exemption, (the driver may have already missed the time limit for taking the 30-minute break), the driver should not be considered to be in violation of the break rule. In this instance, they should note on their Record of Duty Status (RODS) the reason that the rest break was not taken within the required time limit, and should then take the break at the earliest safe opportunity.
Keep in mind that many short-haul drivers are not required to complete a Record of Duty Status (driver log) but that the minute they would not meet the definition of a “short-haul” driver they would be required to begin a daily log.
Source: Federal Register