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FMCSA says you’ll have to wait a little longer for those ‘flexible’ HOS changes


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has listed a new date for the publication of its highly anticipated changes to truck driver Hours of Service (HOS) regulations — after it missed the last projected date.

New regulatory reporting posted last week by the Department of Transportation (DOT) indicates that the Hours of Service notice of proposed rule making is scheduled to be published on July 31, 2019.

Previously, the regulatory report had listed June 7, 2019, as the date that the HOS changes would make their debut, but the agency missed the mark, at least in part because the proposal is waiting for approval by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The new HOS rule publication date is very much subject to change. Following the publication of the Notice of Proposed Rule Making, the FMCSA will again accept public comments before publishing the changes as a Final Rule.

When federal authorities started the process of HOS regulation change in August of 2018, the FMCSA asked for public comment on HOS regulation reform and received thousands of responses from the trucking industry as well as the public at large.

Specifically, they asked the public to weigh in on four specific areas of HOS regulation:

  • 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 two 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; and
  • 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.

The FMCSA also asked the public for comment on two petitions:

  • An Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) petition that would allow drivers to take up to a three hour off-duty rest break during a 14 hour day period. OOIDA’s petition also asks for the elimination of the 30 minute rest break.
  • A Trucker Nation petition that would “revise the prohibition against driving after the 14th hour of the beginning of the work shift, allow drivers to use multiple off-duty periods of three hours or longer in lieu of having 10 consecutive hours off-duty, and eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement.”

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