August 5, 2013: The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has upheld all of the new Hours of Service regulations for DOT-regulated trucking operations, except one: the requirement of a 30-minute break during the first eight hours of work for short-haul drivers.
This is of particular note to some UPS package car drivers, who may want to take their lunch break at the end of a shift to escape some measure of forced overtime. The new Hours of Service regs had outlawed this practice, but now the court has restored it.
The new hours of service regulations make three changes: the 34-hour restart can only be used once per week; that 34-hour time off must include at least portions of two nights; and road drivers must take at least a 30-minute rest stop during the first eight hours on duty.
These changes primarily affect nonunion drivers, as few Teamsters are compelled to use the 34-hour restart, and most Teamster road drivers do take a rest or lunch stop.
The latest court ruling ends several years of legal wrangling over the HOS regulations. The American Trucking Associations was the primarily force behind seeking to kill the new regs.
The August 2 court decision is available here.