FMCSA Slow To Implement Changes
The trucking industry is anxiously awaiting news from the FMCSA on two important rule changes. First, are the changes to the Hours of Service rules. Second, what will the changes to the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program be and their degree of impact on trucking. Both issues are significant to the industry and in usual fashion, information and implementation from the FMCSA is painfully slow.
Hours of Services Rules are Changing
For Hours of Service, the mandate of the Electronic Logging Device in December of 2017, and its aftermath accentuated the need for more flexibility in the regulations. In August of 2018, the FMCSA published an Advanced Notice of Rulemaking that detailed 5 areas of the regulation it would seek comment on for potential change.
- Syncing the 150 and 100 Air Mile exemption into one exemption. In doing so, drivers of larger trucks over 26,000 lbs would have a 14 work day, similar to drivers of trucks under 26,000 lbs. Currently the exemption requires the larger trucks to end the day after 12 hours.
- When adverse driving conditions are encountered, currently drive time only can be extended by up to two hours. The proposed changes are to also extend the 14 hour day and work week limit by the same 2 hours.
- A change to the 30 minute rest break is being considered. Either eliminate it in its entirety or allow the 30 minutes to be accomplished in an On-Duty, Not Driving status. Currently, the 30 minute rest break must be taken in an Off Duty status.
- Change the split sleeper berth provision to allow more flexibility by allowing more combinations on how a driver may split up time in the sleeper berth to accomplish the 10 hours off duty.
The 5th considered change was a petition from the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA). Their petition asked that the FMCSA allow up to 3 hours off duty that would extend the 14 hour window.
Listening sessions were held to gain comment and were completed on October 10, 2018. There have been several promises of an expedited implementation. We are approaching 5 months since the last listening session with still no decision.
The changes coming to CSA are even more obscure.
This program has been the FMCSA’s data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program since 2010. It was designed to improve safety and prevent commercial motor vehicle crashes, fatalities and injuries. The program is used by the FMCSA to prioritize and identify carriers for intervention.
From strong push back from industry concerned with the accuracy and fairness of the program, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST ACT) of 2015, was passed. The FAST Act requires a comprehensive study of the CSA program that addresses the concerns. The Act allowed the continued use of the current program by the FMCSA while a study is performed but prohibited the FMCSA from making much of the information public.
The goals and objectives were published long ago. Exploration, analysis and development for changes took place in 2018. Testing and evaluation of the changes are supposed to be currently taking place with a full implementation scheduled for later in 2019.
What are the exact changes being tested? How will the new and improved program work? How will it impact industry? Currently it’s on a need to know basis within the FMCSA. Industry, the primary stakeholder in the effects of this program has been determined as not needing to know. Specific information has not been made available.
Be sure to stay tuned. We have a webinar in April 2019 that will cover the HOS changes, assuming the changes have been made public by this time. Register now!