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RVer Beware, New Truck Driving Rules May Add Danger to Travel Days

RVer Beware, New Truck Driving Rules May Add Danger to Travel Days

Travel day is always the most stressful day for RV vacationers. Driving a motor home or towing a large trailer can be seriously challenging.

Today the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration may have made your travel day a little more dangerous.

Rule changes regarding semi-truck drivers announced in a press conference call will no doubt affect USA interstates.

Here’s what has changed.

Four Key Truck Driver Rule Changes

The press conference today addressed four significant rule changes. 

While these rules supposedly created a safer interstate experience, according to the FMCSA, it sounds like they increase delivery productivity instead.

The New Rules:

  1. Added flexibility for breaks. The original 30-minute break required within an 8-hour window of driving can now take place after 8 hours of driving. (Props to anyone who doesn’t need to urinate for 8 hours…or does that mean they urinate while driving?)
  2. Drivers can now split their 10-hour minimum sleeper berth into sections without counting against their 14-hour driving window.
  3. It added hours for adverse driving conditions. If adverse driving conditions slow drivers down, they can expand their 14-hour driving clock by two hours with the new rule.
  4. Short-haul truckers have increased driving window from 12 to 14 hours.

How Do These Rules Affect RVers

None of these rules directly affect how RVers travel. However, they have the potential to create more volatile interstate driving conditions.

For example, if truckers are tired or haven’t taken a long enough sleep break, interstate driving may be riskier.

Let us know if you think these new rules or worrisome in the comments section.

Also, take a look at our recent list of “The Don’ts of RV Travel Day!

Giving Truck Drivers The Benefit of the Doubt

Truck drivers are essential to the operation of our economy. From our experience, they are the best drivers on the interstate.

If the FMCSA thinks these rules will create a safe (less rushed) driving environment, we have a reason to believe they know what they’re doing.

The stats will tell the final story.

Either way, please be respectful to truck drivers on the road. They provide a super-important function to our society.

PRO TIP: We think all RVers should try a truck stop shower! They’re sweeter than some hotels.

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  1. Ronald says:

    Truck Stops are called that because they are for trucks and no RV‘er should be parked there, unless, it is a stop to fill up at a high volume pump. Truck drivers resent seeing RV’s parked in their spots, which often times are very crowded. Truck drivers are essential, no doubt. The new rules are pushed by a powerful industry lobby influencing decisions made by the FMCSA. Best thing to do for RV‘ers is to slow down and let the truckers pass by. I always drive 5 to 10 below speed limit. Makes for a much more relaxed travel day.

  2. William Drake says:

    they are a good change and mostly a reinstatement of older rules that work better. I drove for 37 yrs before I retired.

  3. Nicholas Velvet says:

    This is a sad attempt for humans to compete with driverless vehicles which, like it or not with long distance cross country hauling will be the norm rather than the exception within the next three years. The test runs CA to NY where already done. No need to pee,shower or eat so enjoy those truckstop showers as they will soon be a thing in the past. Why you may ask….because in addition to being driverless these new trucks will also be electric.

  4. Kyle & Olivia Brady says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Bob says:

    Less safe. Everything in capitalism is about profit. Just as they want people to get out and spend money even if you get the virus and die. They ones who make the rules only care that they don’t die. They don’t care if you do.
    I try to stay off the interstates as more relaxing to drive the other roads. Since in an RV I don’t need the toilets in a rest stop. Especially dangerous now with the virus.
    There was “Travels with Charlie”. Then a newer version “Blue Highways”. But now it seems as if people instead want “Fast and Furious”. Ugh!!

  6. Ron Stacy says:

    With all due respect, please don’t tie up truckstop showers. RVs have showers, mostly, please use those.

  7. Kyle & Olivia Brady says:

    If you read our article about it, we say never use them if there’s a wait

  8. Mike says:

    I retired from truck driving in 2018. These rule changes aren’t that big.
    1. The 30 minute break changed from before 8 hours on duty, to 8 hours driving. Not a big difference. You commented about urinating. A driver can stop to use the restroom for a short period of time, if it’s less than 30 minutes, it doesn’t count as the break. For instance, you could stop for 6 times for 5 minutes each and it wouldn’t count.
    2. The split sleaper berth was there when I retired, but just a 8/2 split. Now they’ve added a 7/3 split. Not a big difference.
    3. Adverse weather- drivers were already allowed to add 2 hours to their driving hours, the new rule allows 2 hours onto their on duty time as well.
    4. This is the rule that makes the biggest difference, in my opinion.

  9. Kyle & Olivia Brady says:

    Your insight is awesome! Thanks for it 👍🏻

  10. carolyn says:

    I have read Blue Highways twice and also loved Travels with Charlie. I recommend both! Well written.

  11. Geoffrey S Schrader says:

    Most truckstops are no longer called truckstops anymore. They are Travel Centers. No, it is not right for a small camper to occupy a truck parking spot anymore than it is acceptable for a combination vehicle to arbitrarily occupy six smaller vehicle spaces. These are private businesses. For truckers to say the showers are “for them” or that a person driving a RV should not be permitted to pee in the rest room is nuts. I am a truck driver. I also happen to live in a fifth wheel and work seasonally in different areas. The attitude of many truckers is ridiculous. I don’t know where this came from. It was not this way 30 or 40 years ago. Rest areas are built to keep the highways safe and let drivers take a break. They don’t belong to truckers. Like when you are in your car and go to a mall and their’s no available parking spaces, you move on. If you pull into a rest area and there’s no spaces, move on. Many states now have illuminated signs several miles before reaching a rest area telling you how much space is left. Yes, we all need the goods shipped over the highways. I, and my brother (and sister) drivers, need our paychecks as well. Sorry, drivers, you do not have special rights at a travel center, a rest area or the right to ignore laws such as speed limits, lane usage and signaling while you are on the highway. Showing courtesy and respect goes for everyone on the road.

  12. Anthony C. Stein says:

    As someone who spent several years doing the research that resulted in the new.(now old) hours of service regulations I find the sleeper berth split bothers me the most. Part of the 10 hour requirement was to make sure that the driver stayed in the same basic circadian cycle. Under the old rules a driver could be “legal” but have their circadian rhythm so fouled up that they were an accident waiting to happen. The 7/3 split brings that possibility closer.

  13. edc1951 says:

    As to urinating while driving: several truck drivers I knew wore condom catheters AKA Texas catheters which are the type that have a tube leading from a condom type end to a bag secured to the leg (ergo Texas) These guys did long haul and did not like to stop just to pee. However, since I knew them as patients (I was a nurse) I finally prevailed in them to take the break every 2-4 hours to add some exercise to the routine. I heard from one of them a year later to say he’d lost weight, gone off his heart meds and felt like a new person. This is one of the reasons my husband and I stop every 2 hours to switch drivers and stretch. It keeps you more alert.

    We have stayed in truck stops every so often but only if there are a lot of spaces open. We have not used the showers for the very reason that we do have one.

    However, while these new rules may have some effect on some drivers I think car, and some RV drivers are far more of a danger to truckers than the other way around. I can’t count the number of times I’be seen cars cut off trucks on an exit or the highway, wait until the last minute to pull out in front of a truck s-l-o-w-l-y, or cut in front of them on a hill and then slow down.
    Most of us in cars and RVs are not working while we are driving. Let’s try to remember that they are and give them the benefit of good manners. I suspect that the bad manners we’ve seen are at the root of some of their anger.

  14. Theresa says:

    Sounds a little worrisome to me. Not sure I want to be on the road with tired truck drivers. I’ve never stopped at a truck stop but I have tried to stop at rest areas that have been completely full of semis. Hardly room to drive through and they’re parked in lines at the entrance and exits. I’m solo and I can pee in my RV, but I still need someplace to stop. Why aren’t they at a truck stop? If they resent RVers at their truck stops, they should use them and just go on by the rest areas. I understand the importance of truck drivers but I don’t feel that they should be entitled to complete control of the highways. I’ve talked to truckers who don’t resent RVers at truck stops but they were friendly and considerate. Thanks, now that’s off my chest 🤗

  15. Kevin Robertson says:

    1 and 2 are the only real changes 40 years on the road. Truck stops are dangerous dont camp in truck stops. Dont dilly dalley. Next to a truck . If you’re going to pass get with it or fall in behind. Don’t ride next to a truck. Simple as that stay away from them.

  16. Alan Goldberg says:

    Bob,it’s capitalism that has allowed our country to be the greatest place in the world to live. That’s why people from other countries risk their life to come here. Just ask somebody who came here from East Germany, Russia, China, or our neighbors just south of the border.
    “Travels with Charlie” is one of my favorite books, that’s how I learned to observe where the truckers stop to eat if you want a good meal cheap. See its always about the money 🙂

  17. Carl A Johnson says:

    I do not believe that the new hours of service will make driving conditions less safe. Electronic logging devices pushes some drivers to drive while fatigued to make there delivery. When a driver can sleep when he or she wants to and still make delivery on time reduces the chances of unsafe driving. Best drivers out on the road that plan accordingly with there hours of service will have a conflict driving fatigue. 11 and 14 never counted down before electronic logging devices were put into force. Less big truck accidents occurred.

  18. Michael Stanley says:

    You can stop every hour for a 10 minute break, but guess what somewhere during that 10 hours you have to take a full 30 break. 10 hours without stopping. Before this change if you were tired you couldn’t afford to stop and take a nap your time would run out!

  19. William D Reed says:

    If the trucks stop. America stops. As a veteran truck driver, I can honestly say that weekend warriors. I.E. RV’s are the most dangerous vehicles on the road. They cause more problems than anyone else. They are uneducated, and inexperienced in the rules of the road. And have absolutely no idea how to keep it between the lines, let alone between the ditches!!! Stay where you belong. On the back roads, and out of the way of professional drivers trying to keep America’s economy rolling.

  20. Scott Hicks says:

    Do you even understand driverless trucks? They arent actually driverless. So unless they are putting shitters and showers in them. Your statement is false. Furthermore those trucks cant go from cali to ny without recharge. Thirdly no one can work on them. Fourthly they still have to comply to dot regs. 5thly there’s not enough orders for them to even start manufacturing thousands of them. I could go on for hours about how your wrong but I’ll leave it at that. For now.

  21. 4oclock says:

    Thanks for the clarification

  22. Trevor Dutton says:

    They haven’t passed through Congress yet. Anyway I’m a truck driver, there wouldn’t be much change to anything, except being able to stop that damn 14hr clock. That’s why some of us get rushed, trying to beat that 14hr clock, regardless you still can’t drive more than 11hrs. Most of our time gets eaten up waiting and you just see that 14hr clock constantly running, tick, tock, tick, tock, boom your done being loaded, but you got 45 minutes left on the 14, uh oh, the shipper doesn’t allow overnight parking, well guess what, closest truck stop or rest area is over an hour away, personal conveyance rule?, nope your company doesn’t allow that. So your screwed, you will violate your 14hr clock, hopefully the DOT man won’t stop you within the next 8 days and your company will only just take your safety bonus and give you a verbal warning. As far as the adverse driving rule, it’s always been there, say you want to park at the closest place available, an hour away, ok that’s great we got 2.5hrs left of drive time, have 1.5hrs to spare, right? No wrong, a storm came through and it rained like a hurricane was over you and all the cars are driving 20mph with their irritating 4 way flashers on. Someone has flipped their car over and caused a pile up. Now your stuck, waiting 3 hours to finally make it to your parking spot. Now you’ve run over your 11hr clock. Doesn’t matter how much your over, a second is the same as two hours as far as the law is concerned. Ok you made it to the parking spot, taken your break and now you’re going to start your day. Guess what, DOT officer decides to travel to the rest area where you are, nail biter. You’re thinking don’t pick me, please. Wrong, he comes up to your door and say he only wants to do a level 1 inspection(which is only your logs and insurance crap) Now he sees that you violated your hours of service yesterday and is giving you a ticket and guess what?, he’s putting you OUT OF SERVICE for 34 hours at a lousy rest area. You got no shower and you meant to get some food the other day but changed your mind probably because you were running out of time and didn’t want to risk violating HOS. Thanks I’m done. BTW we can split the ten hour break already as long as it’s at least 2 hours. Most do 8hour break in sleeper then get started and then get the other 2 hours in at a shipper.

  23. John says:

    Thank you so much, common sense eludes some people.

  24. Trevor Dutton says:

    And the old rule about the 30 minute break within 8 hours of driving isn’t correct, it’s that you have to take a 30 minute break within 8 hours from when your 14 hour clock started. What the new rule is saying that you can be On-Duty but not driving during your 30 minute break, what that means is you can drive for 7 hours and 59 minutes and 59 seconds without having to take a break(BTW most of us can, sometimes stopping for a few minutes here and there to do your business) and pull into a truck stop, go ON-Duty-fueling, which is required, and that time will now count towards your break and you won’t have to wait to get back on the road for an hour like it does now. You won’t have to fuel, pull out to a parking spot and start your 30 minutes all over again.

  25. Trevor Dutton says:

    Most don’t use truck stops because they are full or want to actually sleep and have some isolation without having to listen to a louder truck or a reefer trailer parked next to them in the middle of their break, vibrating their brains out for the remainder of the time and not be sufficiently rested. I prefer to park where no one can get next to me and it’s easier to avoid getting damage to not park at a truck stop If you get backed into, you can’t work and if the driver that hit you drives away sometimes you can’t identify who hit you. It costs time and money when the wheels aren’t turning and earning.

  26. Trevor Dutton says:

    Announced on May 14th, the new rule won’t go into effect until 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. In the meantime, safety advocates and some within the transportation industry will likely be making their displeasure known.

    Here are the final revisions:

    The revised rule will allow a little more flexibility for the 30-minute rest break. Now even if they are on-duty, a trucker can count non-driving time towards their 30-minute break.
    Drivers who were looking for more flexibility on how they split up their sleep schedule got only a little extra wiggle room. Drivers will be able to split their required 10 hours off duty into either an 8/2 or 7/3 split.
    The exemption for adverse driving conditions has been extended by two hours. This will allow drivers up to a total of four additional hours of driving time on top of the 11-hour and 14-hour clocks.
    The short-haul exemption will allow for driver’s maximum on-duty time to increase from 12 to 14 hours. Additionally, the distance limit which qualifies a load as ‘short haul’ has increased from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
    This means that the final proposed change, allowing a 4-hour “pause” on the 14-hour rule, has been abandoned.

    So, the best rule truckers wanted to pass got thrown out. You can’t “pause” the 14hr clock. In actuality, the changes mean nothing and are a waste of time coming up with the revisions at the taxpayers cost. 😤

  27. Trevor Dutton says:

    Your welcome. I just posted the actual letter from the FMCR with my comment on it at the end.

  28. Gregg Blair says:

    As an old retired trucker of 6 million miles, I can tell you these changes are great news.
    You think it takes 30 minutes to pee? A quick dash into a rest area, or a quick stop in Tim-buck-too, doesn’t require 30 minutes.
    Given 14 hours from start to finish of your day equates to ‘use it or lose it. A simple theory is that ‘the best time to sleep is when you’re sleepy’. Allowing you to stop for a nap without losing some of your precious 14 hours allows a very needed nap. Much safer environment for everyone on the road.

  29. Nomon R Kennedy says:

    My Son was a long haul Driver for many years. He has shared a lot with me on how drivers behave and how 4 wheelers behave and how RVers behave. I have learned to have a lot of respect for the TRUCK not necessarily the driver. I drive 5 -10 MPH below the speed limit never over 65. I always give way to the truck Flashing my headlights when they are cleared to pull over.
    Oh and my son said he never stopped to pee. He Carried Gallon jugs to pee in and emptied them when he fueled up. He would ask me why I didn’t do the same I was to embarrassed to tell him my drain tube was a wee bit short.
    Have respect for our truckers they are supplying this country.

  30. Terri says:

    I was a truck driver for over 33 years and now sometimes drive a RV. The rules are great changes. We had rules we called the Obama rules and they didn’t make any sense. Stop and take a break within 8 hours. Do you know what happens then, you kill momentum and actually make the driver tired. Normally if you have a experienced driver, they know what works. I as a female, would stop on exit or entrance ramps to pee b/c that takes 3 minutes and I was trying to make safe progress. Besides that I lived in Co. and have camped all my life, no biggie. Before the Obama rules, we could legally drive 15 hours and still have more for weather, so expanding it for winter driving just allows the drivers to be safe and is still less than before. I think if you talk to any long term experienced driver, short haul, long haul of which Ive been both, these rules all make sense without having to cheat them.

  31. Roy Voeller says:

    @William D Reed, To some extent I agree with you. I am also a veteran, now retired after 36 years of driving semi-truck. However, lets be fair to those of us like myself that drive an RV full-time that have experience driving big rigs or at the very least a pick-up truck and trailer combination. I’ve seen the idiots but I have also seen and experienced excellent drivers of all types of vehicles. I carry a CB with me in my vehicle and communicate when needed with truck drivers and those other drivers of other vehicles who might have a radio that is turned on. Communication and cooperation is so important. Is there a way to educate and pass on experience to all the drivers out there? Nope. But, communication by means of comments in places like this and others along with CB radios, small talk at truck stops and other places one might encounter an RV’er could be a benefit down the road. As drivers of any type, just like us truckers often said to each other… we are all in this together. Let’s help each other out when we can.

  32. Roy Voeller says:

    @Trevor Dutton, Excellent comment sir! Drove big truck for 36 years and everything you said is spot on. I don’t disagree with the idea that regulation needs to be in place. Heck, I hated the ELD when it became the new way of logging but, I have to say that in the end I liked getting more rest than I did when using paper logs. ELD stopped dispatch and shippers from “expecting” that you could, through creativity, get deliveries completed that made everyone happy but beat the living crap out of you the driver. BUT, then there is the ELD problem. It is exactly what you pointed out. Excellent comment sir!

  33. Trevor says:

    @Roy Voeller, Thanks, been a while since I left the comment, but I still have the same feelings. Still with the same company that doesn’t allow any personal conveyance, which sucks. However, I changed to a different dedicated account which allows me to take my truck home and just got a 2022 Cascadia, it’s ok, a lot more interior room and insulated very well, and gets a incredible 10.5 mpg without sacrificing power. This account allows me to set my own schedule setting up appointments with shippers and receivers and home every week for more than a reset if I want. Almost went out on my own but sinc I’m now debt free, this is basically a hobby now.