On July 11, the federal Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced a new regulatory guidance changing the way regulated motor carriers must account for and record driver breaks. Under the new guidance, drivers can record breaks of 30 minutes or more as off-duty time if they are relieved of all responsibility for the equipment and cargo or passengers, and are free to pursue activities of their own choice for the duration of the stop. These new interpretations replace more restrictive ones that made it difficult for drivers and motor carriers to consider such breaks to be non-working time.

Carriers no longer have to advise the driver in advance of the availability of the specific break time and location. The carrier also does not have to demonstrate that the break will relieve accumulated fatigue from driving. The new guidance took effect July 12 and can be found here.