FMCSA Rejects Request To Delay Implementation of HOS Changes

Upcoming HOS Changes

Upcoming HOS ChangesThe FMCSA has rejected the ATA’s request to delay the implementation of the new HOS rules.

On January 25, President and CEO of the American Trucking Association Bill Graves wrote a letter to the FMCSA requesting the agency abstain from implementing the upcoming changes to HOS, which are scheduled to take effect on July 1.  The ATA has requested the agency set the date back three months.

The three-month delay would have given an appeals court time to render its decision on requests made by the ATA and other trucking groups to prevent the new regulations from going into effect.

In response to the request, FMCSA Chief Council T.F. Scott Darling III stated, “The FMCSA has evaluated the issues raised in your letter and, for the reasons set forth in this response, has determined that staying the compliance date of the rule is not warranted.”

“Mere uncertainty over the possible outcome of the litigation, which you recognize is a matter over which the parties differ, does not create a likelihood that the industry or the enforcement community will suffer due to wasted training resources or confusion,” Darling continued. “Moreover, the agency is unwilling to sacrifice what may be several months of public safety benefits from the timely implementation of the rule.”

The Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear oral arguments about the HOS changes on March 15, and the ATA fears it make take several months for the court to render its decision on the matter.

“We are disappointed that FMCSA refused to delay enforcement of its upcoming HOS rule changes until after the D.C. Circuit has ruled on ATA’s [and other groups’] pending challenges to the rule,” Dave Osiecki, ATA senior vice president of policy and regulatory affairs, said in response to the denial. “FMCSA’s response means that carriers, shippers and FMCSA-funded state enforcement agencies will have to spend time and money on training and adapting systems to a rule whose final form will not be certain until the court issues its decision. That’s why not only ATA, but also the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the National Industrial Transportation League and the National Association of Manufacturers all asked the FMCSA to provide three months after the court’s decision before enforcing the rule changes.”

Upcoming HOS changes:

1. Drivers are not permitted to drive after 8 hours without a break of at least
30 minutes. Drivers can take the 30-minute rest anytime during the 8-hour
window.

2. The 34-hour reset can be used only once per week and must include two full
consecutive periods of rest between the hours of 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.
This makes the reset time variable, with 34 hours being a minimum.

3. No changes were made to the basic rule of 11 hours of drive time. However,
with the requirement of the 30-minute break, the effective use of the 14-
hour duty day has been reduced to 13.5 hours.

4. Flexibility has been added to the “Off Duty” requirement of 10 hours to
allow 2 hours of off-duty time to be spent in a moving vehicle as a co-driver
before or after 8 hours of “Sleeper-Berth” status( this applies to team drivers)