On Thursday, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) debuted new Hours of Service (HOS) rules — and drivers had a lot to say about the changes.
The Final Rule unveiled on May 14 features four major changes to existing HOS regulations:
- 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.
Soon after the Final Rule was shared with the public, truckers took to social media to weigh in — and the many of commenters were disappointed.
One of the biggest complaints from truckers FMCSA did not address the problem of racing against the 14 hour clock with an option to “pause.” Others said that the new rules are an improvement in terms of flexibility but that the regulators did not do enough to help truckers.
Here’s a sampling of the instant reaction from drivers on the CDLLife Facebook page:
Groups like the American Trucking Associations (ATA) and the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) have spoken out in favor of the HOS changes.
“Today’s rule is the result of a two-year, data-driven process and it will result in needed flexibility for America’s professional truck drivers while maintaining the safety of our roads… We appreciate the time and attention President Trump, Secretary Chao and Administrator Mullen have paid to our industry and to this regulation, which, while maintaining the core limitations on drivers’ work and rest cycles, makes smart changes to portions of the rules,” said Chris Spear, American Trucking Associations President and CEO.
“The new hours-of-service changes show that FMCSA is listening to industry and fulfilling its duty to establish data-driven regulations that truly work …we especially thank the Agency for moving forward with additional sleeper berth flexibility. While TCA and our members advocate for full flexibility in the sleeper berth for our drivers, FMCSA’s new regulations demonstrate that we are one step closer to achieving that goal,” said John Lyboldt, President of the Truckload Carriers Association
The HOS changes are expected to go into effect in September 2020.
For more information on the new Hours of Service regulation changes, please click here.