On Friday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced plans to launch a pilot program that they say could lead to more flexibility for truckers in terms of Hours of Service requirements.
On August 28, FMCSA announced plans to seek public comment on a pilot program that will allow participating drivers to take 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.
“Truckers are American heroes – they keep our supply chain moving; they carry essential goods we need to maintain our daily lives. The Department is seeking public comments on providing additional flexibility for truckers as they work to serve our country during this public health crisis,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao as she announced the pilot program.
The pilot program is scheduled to operate for no more than three years. At the end of the pilot program, FMCSA says that they’ll use the data gathered to determine whether to add the 14 hour driving window pause to current Hours of Service regulations.
“FMCSA wants to hear directly from drivers about the possibility and safety of an hours-of-service pause pilot program. The Agency remains committed to exploring ways to improve safety on our roadways, while increasing flexibility for truckers. We encourage drivers, motor carriers, and interested citizens to review the proposed pilot program and provide substantive public comments for FMCSA to review,” said FMCSA Deputy Administrator Jim Mullen.
The pilot program announcement comes just one month before a number of long-awaited changes to Hours of Service regulations are set to go into effect on September 29, 2020, and just days before Mullen is set to step down from his role with the FMCSA at the end of August.