Drastically Reduce Detention Pay with New HOS Regulation – Split Duty Proposal

Just as our spinning heads have come to a slow roll after Q2’s HOS changes, FMCSA is hitting us with another one. This time, however, could significantly and financially benefit trucking companies.

A pilot program has been proposed that will allow drivers to extend their 30-minute DOT break up to 3 hours, if needed. This off-duty break would pause the 14-hour clock. Drivers could, in theory, maximize hours to a 17-hour workday, as long as they complete a 10-hour break. The 7/3 and 8/2 rules would not apply in these circumstances, however.

The Split Duty Period Pilot Program will last up to 3 years. Only a certain chosen few will be able to utilize the rule during the pilot program. This test run will prove whether it is a feasible practice to adopt throughout the trucking industry.

The Split Duty Period Pilot Program – Advantages

Unladen Breaks

Drivers who finish a load at the beginning of a shift will no longer waste hours waiting for a new assignment. We all know the struggle, watching hours tick away as your dispatcher searches for a load.

This process can sometimes take hours and cost drivers miles and money, as well as cause undue stress. Now, drivers will be able to take up to a three-hour break after unloading to wait for a new assignment. Even if it takes up to three hours for the dispatcher to get a new load, the driver can finish out the rest of their 14-hour clock. No time wasted.

Avoid Rush Hour

Drivers will no longer experience the frustration of getting caught in stop and go traffic through big cities. Rush hour traffic can drastically reduce a truck driver’s earned miles. As the old saying goes, “If the wheels ain’t turnin’, you ain’t earnin’.”

“If the wheels ain’t turnin’, you ain’t earnin’.”

Drivers who want to utilize the rule to avoid traffic jams will simply need to consider a 3-hour break while pre-planning trips. Truck drivers will now be able to pull off the highway mid-afternoon and take a break while traffic picks up. They can continue rolling mid-evening, after traffic has thinned, without losing a single working hour. Finally!

On-Duty Break in lieu of Detention Pay

Some truck drivers make several thousand dollars a year by simply sitting in a yard, waiting to be loaded or unloaded. Since drivers are paid by the mile, these “non-rolling” hours must be compensated. While it may sound like easy money, real truck drivers want to drive. Sitting and waiting is a massive source of frustration for most professional drivers.

Trucking companies could consider having their truck drivers utilize this 3-hour break instead of paying out detention and losing on-duty hours. This will increase capacity in that drivers won’t be wasting hours waiting to be loaded or unloaded. It is yet to be seen if this will have any impact on shippers’ and receivers’ procedures.

Communicate Changes to Your Fleet

This may be a difficult adjustment for even the most experienced professional drivers. The best thing you can do is anticipate those struggles and proactively prepare your fleet.

Any time you make changes to your company policy, you must communicate those changes to your fleet and gain their acknowledgment. Infinit-I Workforce Solutions can help! Click here to discover how we can assign your custom content to your entire fleet at the touch of a button.


For future IWS clients, we want to get you started for free. Click here for your 30-day Complimentary Trial. No Obligation. No Risk. Simple Communication.

By the way, you can reach me at [email protected] with any comments, questions, or hilarious jokes about life on the road.

Thanks for sticking with me. Drive safe out there!

  • Lindsay Presley
  • Former Fleet Manager, now Copywriter
  • Infinit-I Workforce Solutions


Author Bio

Lindsay Presley is the copywriter at Infinit-I Workforce Solutions. Specializing in the trucking industry, Lindsay has spent her professional career studying industry best practices. From recruiter to dispatcher to fleet manager to trainer, Lindsay knows the in’s and out’s of trucking. 

She brings her experience to the Infinit-I Workforce Solutions blog through years of front-line experience. Throughout her career, she states the most rewarding experience was supporting her favorite truckers, running miles, and moving freight.


[email protected]

Additional Resources

“It’s More than Rain.” Three Tractors Overturned, My Driver Made the Right Call

My Best Friend, the Trucker: How We Transformed the Dispatcher & Driver Relationship

Spotted Lanternfly: Operating Without a Permit Could Cost You $20,000

Top 5 Surprising Ways Lawyers Attack Trucking Companies – Know Your Risk