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    -5.440
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  • OTRI.USA
    24.500
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  • OTVI.USA
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    7.440
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.040
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
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  • WAIT.USA
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  • ITVI.USA
    15,076.880
    -5.440
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  • OTRI.USA
    24.500
    -0.400
    -1.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,056.840
    7.440
    0%
  • TLT.USA
    2.730
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    3.070
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    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.660
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    16.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
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Driver issuesNewsTrucking Regulation

FMCSA to consider easing 14-hour driving window restrictions

Pilot project to investigate whether drivers will be pressured to use proposed off-duty break to cover detention time

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is considering allowing drivers 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.

The FMCSA announced Friday it would consider the change, which includes a stipulation that the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off duty at the end of the work shift, through a three-year pilot program. Details of the proposal can be viewed here.

“Truckers are American heroes — they keep our supply chain moving, they carry essential goods we need to maintain our daily lives,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao in announcing the program.

“The department is seeking public comments on providing additional flexibility for truckers as they work to serve our country during this public health crisis. FMCSA wants to hear directly from drivers about the possibility and safety of an hours-of-service pause pilot program.”

The study group would include drivers from small, medium, and large carriers, as well as independent owner-operators. FMCSA is estimating the desired sample size in the final study design to be between 200 and 400 drivers over a period of up to three years, with individual driver participation potentially limited to a period of six months or one year.

Owner-operators would have to be leased to a single carrier and obtain the carrier’s approval to be eligible to participate.

To qualify for the pilot, carriers must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Must have proper operating authority and registration; 
  • Must have the minimum levels of financial responsibility, if applicable; 
  • Must not be a high or moderate risk motor carrier; 
  • Must not have a conditional or unsatisfactory safety rating; 
  • Must not have any enforcement actions within the past 3 years; 
  • Must not have a crash rate above the national average; 
  • Must not have a driver Out of Service (OOS) rate above the national average; and 
  • Must not have a vehicle OOS rate above the national average.

The pause in the 14-hour driving window had been considered as part of other changes to driver HOS but did not make it into the final rule announced in May (which go into effect on Sept. 29) based on comments the agency received.

“Many commenters…believed that drivers would be pressured by carriers, shippers, or receivers to use the break to cover detention time, which would not necessarily provide the driver an optimal environment for restorative rest,” FMCSA acknowledged. “This suggests that the pause could have unintended consequences that were not adequately evaluated” as the other rule changes were developed, the agency stated. However, “FMCSA continues to believe that an opportunity for a single off-duty pause in the 14-hour driving window could provide flexibility for drivers without compromising safety.”

Related articles:

Click for more FreightWaves articles by John Gallagher

John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

13 Comments

  1. It would be more beneficial if we could use a 8 hour break instead of a 10 hour break something similar to the Proposed split sleeper provision of 8and 2 or 7and 3

  2. We need to be able to drive when we want an sleep when we want racing that stupid e log clock to get to a location so that we can sleep is not safe some days I sleep 9 hours an need that other days 6, 7, or 8 is enough that e log says I have hours to drive but I cant hold my eyes open other times it says I have no drive time left an I am wide awake bottom line we should be in charge of our own sleep or breast pattern not some government controlled box the whole hos is bull crap

  3. Log books were not created to track a driver. They were actually implemented in regards to fuel tax evasion. The laws and regulations are dated when it comes to technology. Our trucks, our phones, our trailers, and our tablets or Qualcomm devices all have GPS tracking systems. Throw the book out the door and be done with it. FMCSA is not even qualified to operate or regulate the industry. The only thing that shines bright from that organization is the seats their asses rub.

    1. Maybe new drivers need guidelines to go by but i been doing this long time don’t think need anyone tell me when need a nap most the ones making rules never been in a truck

  4. I think being able to pause that clock is most important. Three hours would be great. I really hate driving in rush hour traffic the laws in most cities make us stay where people are gettin on and off the freeway not good. Three hours so i dont have to deal with people during rush hour makes the most since.

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