Under the new rules, drivers who have not had at least a 30-minute break by the end of his/her eighth hour must take a 30-minute break before continuing driving. Time spent resting in a parked vehicle (including any type of vehicle, whether truck, bus, car, etc.) can be recorded as “off duty” (unless you are in a sleeper berth, in which case it would have to be recorded as “sleeper berth”).
In order for the 30-minute break to be counted as a valid break, it must be logged “off duty” or “sleeper berth.” In general, to be “off duty,” the rules require the driver to be free of all obligations and responsibilities and free to leave the premises. Any kind of “off duty” or “sleeper berth” time will satisfy the rule including lunch breaks, a 10-hour break, time spent resting in a sleeper berth, or time spent resting in a parked vehicle. Importantly, the key is that drivers must be relieved of all duty and responsibility and be free to walk away from the vehicle and the cargo for the duration of the break.
Drivers using the “100 air-mile radius” or “non-CDL 150 air-mile radius” provisions in section 395.1(e) of the new rules are not required to maintain logs so the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has stated they are not required to record the break periods. However, they are still required to take the minimum 30-minute break after the 8th hour of operating the vehicle and the breaks should not be included in the drivers’ total on-duty hours for the day (since they must be spent “off duty”).
Drivers not subject to the exemptions noted above should be recording the break periods as part of their normal driving logs.