FMCSA Proposes Changes to Hours-of-Service Regulations; Industry Comments to be Solicited on Key Provisions

Originally posted by the Mid-West Truckers Association

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is today releasing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), outlining the agency’s proposed changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. 

Mid-West Truckers Association participated in a closed briefing yesterday afternoon, conducted by Wiley Deck, FMCSA’s Director of Governmental Affairs.  At that briefing, Deck stressed the changes proposed by FMCSA are a balance of safety and flexibility and are based on 18 months of public hearings and comments filed with the agency.

The proposed changes are as follows:

1.  Short Haul Exemption Changes –

     a. Current for CDL Operations – 100 air mile radius (interstate), 12-hour day

     b. Proposed for CDL Operations – 150 air mile radius (interstate), 14-hour day

2.  Adverse Driving Condition –

     a.  Current – adverse driving conditions only adds up to 2 hours to driving time, not daily limit.

     b.  Proposed – adverse driving conditions add up to 2 hours to driving time and daily limit, also asks for clarification on what qualifies as ‘adverse conditions.’                                                                                                                           
 

3.  30-Minute Break – 

     a.  Current – must be off-duty not driving within the first 8 hours of driving.

     b.  Proposed – can be recorded as on-duty not driving within the first 8 hours of driving.                                                                                                                                  
     

4.  Split Sleeper Berth-

     a.  Current – 10 hours off, or 8/2 split with only the 8 hours stopping the driving/daily time

     b.  Proposed – Retains the 10 hours off, 8/2 split with only the 8 hours stopping the driving/daily time.  Add a 7/3 split with both time periods stopping the driving/daily limits.  FMCSA is seeking data to show the value of a 6/4 split with both time periods stopping the driving/daily limits (which would be included in the final rule). 

5.  Off-Duty Break – FMCSA proposes to allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

MTA has previously filed comments with FMCSA and members had the opportunity to discuss the need for changes at MTA Conventions with FMCSA Director of Safety Jack Van Steenberg and FMCSA State Director Dan Meyer.  MTA Executive Director Don Schaefer and Associate Director Matt Wells have worked with a coalition of transportation groups representing small and medium-sized trucking operations, meeting in Washington with FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez and members of Congress, urging for more flexibility in the hours-of-service regulations.

The Federal Register Notice, including how to submit comments, is available here: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulations/hours-service/474821/nprmfile08-08-2019-131534.pdf

The public comments period will be open for 45 days.

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