FMCSA Proposes Hours of Service Rule Changes After ELDs Highlighted Major Issues
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that while ELD compliance has reached “nearly 99% across the trucking industry, it has also brought focus to HOS regulations (try our HOS Regulations Quiz before we have to make changes), especially with regard to certain regulations having a significant impact on agriculture and other sectors of trucking.”
FMCSA announced on Aug. 21 that it has begun a rulemaking process that potentially could reform four specific areas of current hours-of-service regulations, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers.
- Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers
- Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to 2 hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions
- Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving
- Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment
FMCSA said the pre-rule is its response to “widespread congressional, industry, and citizen concerns and seeks feedback from the public to determine if HOS revisions may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads.”
FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said that “This is an opportunity. Hours of service have not been seriously addressed in 15 years.”
Martinez referenced the 30-minute rest break as one portion of the rule that could be eliminated or changed. When asked about the meaning of “adverse” driving conditions, Martinez said that could best be defined through the public comments.
The agency’s move to begin evaluating hours of service regs was applauded the American Trucking Associations.
The first of several public listening sessions is scheduled for Aug. 24 in Dallas.