FMCSA misses projected publication date for new ‘flexible’ HOS rules — again

What's the hold up?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has once again failed to meet the projected publication date set for the agency to debut their highly anticipated changes to truck driver Hours of Service regulations.

Regulatory reports from the Department of Transportation listed July 31, 2019, as the date when the FMCSA was expected to publish a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for changes to Hours of Service rules. That date has come and gone with no news from the FMCSA.

Previously, the FMCSA had projected that they’d be publishing the NPRM on June 7, 2019, but they obviously failed to meet that deadline as well.

So what’s the hold up?

The FMCSA has been at work on new Hours of Service regulation since August of 2018 when it published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making and asked for public comment on several aspects of Hours of Service reform. The FMCSA received more than 5,200 comments — many of them coming from truck drivers asking for relief from the strict regulations that they say could force them to drive while fatigued.

Since then, the FMCSA has indicated that they are very close to being ready to publish the NPRM and they have promised industry stakeholders that the new rules will give drivers increased “flexibility” — leading some to speculate that the mandatory 30 minute break rule could be eliminated or that the 14 hour rule will return to something like the pre-2003 version that would give drivers the ability to “stop the on-duty clock.”

However, the NPRM must be approved by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget before it can be published. The Trucker reports that the Trump administration is delaying the publication of the NPRM because they are looking to make the regulation changes more “business friendly.”

No new date has been set for the publication of the Hours of Service NPRM. Once the NPRM is finally published, the FMCSA will once again accept public comment before publishing a Final Rule.

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