Time out

Truckers take issue with 30-minute rest break.

November 2019

Greg Grisolano

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A notice of proposed rulemaking that would significantly change hours of service for truckers drew lots of input from the industry.

As of Oct. 10, about 7,200 comments had been filed. The comment period was set to end Oct. 21.

FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register in August that included five main changes to the hours of service.

Many of the drivers wished that the agency had gone even further by the 30-minute rest break.

“I find myself in constant rush to get to a place where I can safely park a large truck for 30 minutes. Especially when I drive the majority of the time in Seattle traffic,” Mark Eitemiller wrote.

Driver Phil Killerlain, an OOIDA member, called the 30-minute break, “the most worthless piece of the current hours … which more than half of drivers take while sitting in the truck counting off the minutes till they can leave.”

“If this was to include the use of on duty times and split into two separate times it would then make sense,” he wrote. “Right now it is the cause of some fuel island troubles as drivers block up the fuel lanes not wanting to start the clock back up, delaying others that want to go.”

Another driver and OOIDA member, Bill Taylor, echoed concerns that the mandatory break causes more problems than it solves – particularly when it comes to finding a place to park when parking is in short supply.

“The hardest part of the 30-minute break presently is finding a place to stop for 30 minutes in congested areas,” writes Taylor, an owner-operator since 1989. “This is one of the reasons that the fuel islands at truck stops are full of trucks not getting fuel but, taking their mandated 30-minute breaks.” LL

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.