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August 19, 2016 12:00 PM, EDT
FMCSA Denies Effort to Rescind 30-Minute Rest Break

Federal trucking regulators dismissed safety inspectors’ request to do away with a 30-minute rest requirement in an hours-of-service rule, the regulators indicated Aug. 8.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicated that it does not see a reason for rescinding the 30-minute rest break requirement, noting that scientific studies in recent years support claims about the break’s safety benefits.

“FMCSA disagrees with petitioners’ argument that the current exemptions make enforcement efforts more difficult and increase uncertainties about the overall benefit of the HOS rules,” FMCSA administrator Scott Darling wrote in a letter obtained by Transport Topics.

“The agency believes that exemptions provide appropriate relief for specific segments of the industry and that drivers covered by most of the exemptions do indeed take breaks during the day, though not always in 30-minute increments,” Darling added.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance filed the petition in October asking the agency to rescind the 30-minute rest break requirement. The break must be taken within the first eight hours of a trucker’s driving time after being off-duty.

CVSA, a truck and bus safety inspectors’ trade group, insisted the requirement is difficult to enforce because the inspector has no way of verifying whether the break was taken. CVSA also argued a driver could skip the break and instead perform work-related duties.