The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently accepting public comment on their proposed changes to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations.
From now through October 7, 2019, the FMCSA is accepting public comment on their recently published proposed changes to HOS regulations.
FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez has encouraged public comment from members of the trucking community and industry stakeholders: “FMCSA wants drivers and all CMV stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes to hours of service rules that we are putting forward today. We listened directly to the concerns of drivers for rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted. We encourage everyone to review and comment on this proposal.”
You can view a brief rundown of the 5 major proposed HOS changes below.
- The Agency proposes to increase safety and flexibility for the 30 minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty.
- The Agency proposes to modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
- The Agency proposes to allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.
- The Agency proposes to modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- The Agency proposes a change to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
Following the 45 day comment period, the FMCSA will review those comments and take them into consideration before publishing a Final Rule on HOS. The publication of the Final Rule could take several months. After the publication of the Final Rule, it could take another year before the HOS changes are actually implemented.
The FMCSA says that they believe that the changes would improve highway safety while providing $274 million in savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers.