Hours Of Service Rule Change LIVE Q&A Recap

Ahead of the FMCSA’s Hours of Service Rule Change on September 29th, we wanted to answer your questions. We received lots of questions on the rule change by email, and social channels. ORBCOMM’s ELD expert Scott Stofer answered your questions live via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. 

On LinkedIn, John asks “What will be changing in the HOS laws?”

Scott says: Thanks for your question John, that’s why we’re all here today! In short, the rule changes will impact the Adverse Driving Condition Exception, the Short-haul Exception, Sleeper Berth Provision and the 30-minute Break. We’ve done a thorough breakdown of the rules on the blog.

“Do I need a minimum number of hours driven for split sleeper to become available, some places take about 4 hours to load?”

Scott says: There is no driving limit specified for starting a split, let me explain here:


“How do these rules come into effect? Who decides them?”

Scott says: In brief, the rule changes are proposed by the FMCSA, based on review of current circumstances along with general input form the industry. Once they are proposed they are put up for review and comment by the public. After the comment and review period the feedback is considered, and any final revisions are submitted for approval. Once approved they are given an effective date and recorded in the federal registry. The publication in the federal registry make the regulation changes official. 

“Can I receive information on the configuration of adverse driving conditions? Will the TomToms have to be hard restarted on the 29th? What about units who are on the road driving during the upgrade? Also, when are the upgrades to FleetManager taking place?”

Scott says: Thanks for your question Rick. So, all changes in-cab and FleetManager will become available on midnight of the 28th and 29th and will not require a restart. For the Adverse Driving Conditions option, it will be available as a sub-status option once they select a status change after midnight. 

Russell asks via email: “Question about the 7/3 split. A driver said if he drives to the customer then is off for 3 hours that it won’t count against his 14. Is that correct?”

Scott says: Hi Russell, if the three hours is one segment of a spilt sleeper berth which also includes a segment of seven consecutive hours, then neither the three hours or the seven hours will count against the 14-Hour driving window. 

Adam asks this via email… “Can they continue to stay on the split breaks? Meaning can they take a 3-hour break, then a 7 when needed, then a 3 again…. never taking a full 10?” 

Scott says: Thanks Adam, Good question. The regulation as published prohibits “leaping-frogging” split sleeper berth time. The rule states:  
(ii) Sleeper berth. A driver may accumulate the equivalent of at least 10 consecutive hours off-duty by taking not more than two periods of either sleeper berth time or a combination of off-duty time and sleeper berth time… 
This ensures the drivers can’t link split segments and ensures that they have to get a total of 10 hours of rest. 

Mike asks via email: ?“My question is in regards to adverse driving conditions. Is there a weekly requirement or limit on how often adverse driving extension can be used?” 

Scott says: Hi Mike, there is no specified limit on how many times. Just that when used that the use is in conjunction with an Adverse Driving Condition that meets the criteria set out within the Adverse Driving definition. An Adverse Driving Condition is not an exception, so having multiples in a week under normal circumstances is rare.  Thanks for your question! 

Rick asks via email: “Does this apply to the US only or Canada too?” 

Scott says: The changes only affect HOS in the United States. These HOS changes do not apply to Hour of Service Regulations in Canada. Let me talk about this a bit more on video.
For more on our work toward Canadian ELD compliance, visit our website here.  



Edgar asks via email: ?“Based on the new rule, the sleeper berth requirements allow drivers to take the required 10 hours off duty in two periods, provided one off duty, whether in or out of the sleeper berth, is at least 2 hours long and the other is of at least seven consecutive hours spent in the sleeper berth. The revision also provides that neither period, when paired together, counts against the 14-hour driving window. 
What if my driver starts a new shift, drives 5 hours, then goes to sleeper berth for 8 consecutive hours, then he drives another 5 hours and then goes to OFF Duty (based on the regulation, he needs at least two hours, but what if he stays OFF duty for 10 hours, basically, completes his shift right there, will he be in compliance? 
Based on my interpretation of the language used in the rule (at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and at least 2 hours off duty (combined minimum of 10 hours) my driver’s log should be in compliance with the new regulations. But I want your expert opinion on that matter. 

Scott says: Hi Edgar, thanks for such an in-depth question. If he goes in for 10 Hours in OFF-Duty he needs to ensure that the vehicle isn’t rolling. 
Under that scenario, if the vehicle is rolling, he can only be in Off-Duty for up to 3 hours. (that is the time limit that the driver can be in the seat and handling paperwork personal affairs etc.) When they hit the 3 Hour mark that would put them at 8 Hours in Sleeper and 3 in Off duty for 11 Hours. The next 7 would not count toward a valid reset since he is Rolling and in Off Duty, not Sleeper. So, the clock would pause for 8 and 3 but everything after in Off duty is not compliant for a valid rest break. 
If the vehicle wasn’t rolling at the 3 Hour Mark and stayed stationary while he was off duty for the full 10 Hours, then it would be valid daily reset.
If the second segment of 10 Hours was in the sleeper berth it would be a full 10-hour rest at the end of the second segment and the clock would start once he exited the sleeper berth 10 Hours 1 min since he got the full 10 Consecutive. 

Tee-Tom asks via Twitter: Several organizations have filed a court petition to invalidate the new HOS rules. Do you think there will be an attempt by either or both sides to delay implementation? (That has happened previously.) 

Scott says: Hey Tom, there is always the possibility but under the circumstances, nothing leads us to believe it will at this point.

Next is an online question: When you complete your second split period, will that give a fresh 14-hour clock?

Scott says: When you complete your second split period it will give you a fresh 14-hours starting at the end of the first sleeper berth period. 

Another Question we received online: Can I take the 3 hours first and then the 7 hours next, or does it have to be 7 hours first and then three?

Scott says: This is a short one! The split can be taken in any order. 

From Daniel on our Facebook page: If a driver takes a 3-hour break, then a 4-hour break, then later takes a 7-hour break, will break will be calculated with the 7 hours? The 3 or the 4? Is it the 1st qualifying break or the most recent break before the 7-hour break? 

Scott says: Hi Daniel, thanks for joining in today. The Split should be based on the 4 and 7 the 3 wouldn’t count as a valid off duty period once the 4 hour period is taken. Since the Split is built on 2 qualifying segments one short period would get nullified. 

Here’s a question we got on email. Can I receive information on the configuration of adverse driving conditions? Will the TomTom’s have to be hard restarted on the 29th?  What about units who are on the road driving during the upgrade? Also, when are the upgrades to FleetManager taking place?

Scott says: All changes in-cab and FleetManager will become available on midnight of the 28th and 29th and will not require a restart. For adverse Driving Conditions, the option will be available as a sub-status option once the selects a status change after midnight. 

Todd asks via email: “Can a driver use time at a customer for the split.  An example would be the driver arrives at the customer at 0700 checks in, gets dock assignment, this takes 30 minutes. The driver then has to wait in the truck for 3 hours in sleeper berth waiting for the trailer to be loaded. During this time the driver is sleeping or reading a book. Will that time pause/extend the 14-hour rule for 3 additional hours later in the day?” 

Scott says: Why don’t I answer this one by video?


Adam asks via email: “If an off-duty period of 2.5 hours is taken will it extend the 14 clock for 2.5 hours, or is it just whole increments 2 hours or 3 hours?  
Charmane asks via email: “It is my understanding that drivers can use any combination as long as a minimum of 7 hours are spent in SB and at least 2 hours spent off-duty (either in or outside of the SB). Both periods must add up to 10 hours.  Is this correct?” 

Scott says: I think I can address both of these questions here: It would extend it for 2.5 Hours’ time is tracked to the minute so you should get your 2.5 hours. As long as the minimum time and the total of the 2 split segments is at least 10 Hours any partial hours above the minimum would count and be available to the driver. 

Alan asks via email: “Does ORBCOMM have everything in order (to support the new HOS rule changes)?  

Scott says: Yes, we have all the changes in place, and they will go into effect on Sept 29th at 12:01AM. 

Colette chatted in via our website asking “Does the 30-minute break happen during the first 8 hours, or has to be taken after the first 8 hours?  I need to know between what hours do they take it in.” 

Scott says: Excellent question Collette. I’m going to answer this one with a video.


If you’ve got any further questions on the Hours of Service Rule Change, feel free to ask in the comments below or email us: eld@orbcomm.com.

Get started with ORBCOMM

Digitalization is transforming industrial operations around the globe. Learn how ORBCOMM solutions can optimize yours.
Get a Tailored Quote