Safety and trucking groups are asking the FMCSA to delay the Hours Of Service final rule.
The groups include the Teamsters, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, Parents Against Tired Truckers, and the Truck Safety Coalition petitioned the FMCSA to reconsider a “controversial” final rule that the FMCSA would allow “added flexibility” to hours of service.
In May, the FMCSA announced released the Hours of Service Final Rule, making 4 key rule changes.
The agency has promised that the regulation changes will increase flexibility for U.S. truckers while maintaining highway safety.
“America’s truckers are doing a heroic job keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time and these rules will provide them greater flexibility to keep America moving,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
FMCSA says that they drafted the Final Rule after consulting more than 8,000 public comments from industry stakeholders, law enforcement, safety groups, and drivers themselves.
The Final Rule features four key changes to existing Hours of Service requirements.
- The Agency will increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
- The Agency will modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, or a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
- The Agency will modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- The Agency will change 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.
The new Hours of Service rules are set to go into effect in September.
“In an effort to increase so-called ‘flexibility’ for trucking companies, the FMCSA is abandoning safety and allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “Trucking is already one of the nation’s most dangerous jobs. We shouldn’t be sacrificing the health and safety of drivers just to pad the profits of their big business bosses.”
“Extending the work day to 14 hours for CDL-qualified short haul drivers will result in an increase in occupational injuries and driver fatigue,” said Lamont Byrd, Director of the Teamsters’ Safety and Health Department. “We are also concerned with the revised rest break provision. This revised rule could allow a driver to spend hours performing physically demanding work and then drive up to eight hours without having to take a break.”
The FMCSA says that the new Hours of Service rules will save American consumers and the U.S. economy $274 million per year. The agency says that most of these savings will come from the increased flexibility that the new 30 minute rest break rule will provide for drivers.
“The Department of Transportation and the Trump Administration listened directly to the concerns of truckers seeking rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted. These updated hours of service rules are based on the thousands of comments we received from the American people. These reforms will improve safety on America’s roadways and strengthen the nation’s motor carrier industry,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen.