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FMCSA to open debate on HOS regulations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is moving forward with plans to solicit public comment on current hours-of-service (HOS) regulations. The agency will formally announce its intentions in an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) to be published in an upcoming issue of the Federal Register.

The ANPRM is seeking to address concerns industry and drivers have with the current regulations and see if there are revisions that can be made to the current rules to “alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads.”

The comment period will be open for 30 days following publication of the notice.

FMCSA is specifically considering:

  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers;
  • Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;
  • Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8-hours of continuous driving; and
  • Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.

In addition, the ANPRM seeks public comment and relevant data on two recently submitted petitions requesting regulatory relief from HOS rules (1) pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation (filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association) and (2) pertaining to the 10-hour off-duty requirement (filed by TruckerNation).

 OOIDA has been pushing for changes to the regulations for more flexibility. Since the hard enforcement date of April 1 for ELD devices, the rigid nature of HOS rules – specifically the 14-hour clock – have become a more noticeable problem for many.

“OOIDA got this ball rolling with our petition, constant grassroots outreach from our members, and the relentless efforts of Congressman Brian Babin,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “Our members have continuously told federal officials that current regulations are overly complex, provide no flexibility, and in no way reflect the physical capabilities or limitations of individual drivers.”

OOIDA’s petition asks that drivers be allowed to take rest breaks once per 14-hour period for up to three consecutive hours as long as the driver is off-duty and the elimination of the 30-minute break requirement.

In March, U.S. Rep. Babin proposed a bill that would extend the 14-hour clock by up to 3 hours by adding in off-duty time.

“The agency is finally listening and now the door is open for truckers to make their voices heard and to spur real, common-sense changes to the hours-of-service regulations.  This rulemaking needs robust participation from real truckers so that the next incarnation of the hours-of-service regulations is not written by corporate trucking executives and anti-trucking groups that have no understanding of the realities of over-the-road trucking,” said Spencer.

Additional information on the ANPRM, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, is available at https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service-advanced-notice-proposed-rulemaking.


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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and fleetowner.com. Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.

8 Comments

  1. FMCSA just wants to fine as many $$$$ as they can drivers pay is not even middle class compared to what the FMCSA is making an it’s more dangerous out here since the change of HOS. We should be paid more for being away from our FAMILIES every wants there goods so fix our pay!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Probably need a special committee and years of study to determine that what we had 40 years ago worked just fine. Sleep when tired and drive when rested. And let the driver decide when that occurs.

  3. They need to abolish the 14 hour rule entirely or extend it when held up at known offender receivers and shippers that can’t get their jobs done within 2 hours of the appointment time. It’s not just adverse driving conditions this rule affects, but our every day lives in Trucking.

  4. 30 minute Break…
    My Bladder would love to be able to break this into (2) 15 minute breaks!
    Mandatory…10hr Sleeper Birth would make the 11/14/70 hr clocks no longer needed…
    and let the drivers run the remainding 14 hrs as driver sees fit.

  5. In my opinion, scrap the hours of service rules entirely. What they should be regulating is setting time aside to sleep.

    Let drivers log their approximate sleep time, and then get out of the way and let rested drivers deliver their loads!

  6. I see ther largest problem in the industry today is drivers driving sleepy because companies don’t allow for more than the 30 min break in 11 hour driving.
    Let’sMake it a 14hour work day in 24 hours this leaves 10hours of personal and sleep time you can take only two 5 hour rest breaks total of 10 hour breaks in a 24 hour period you may take it all at once or split it up 5 and 5
    12 hrs driving max. In 24 hours
    In 12 consecutive hours of driving a driver must show a minimum of a 1 hour rest break not counting against the on duty status of the day or week. do their job as required of them.
    Take the brakes at a 10 hr slot or 5 and 5 or the 1 hour in 12 does not allow for trucking companies to push the drivers to stay in the seat 10 hours consecutively or to eat fast foods day in and day out.

  7. Nobody is saying anything about the 34 hour reset.That cost me thousands every year.I do not need to sit for a day and a half.Pluse we should make double what we do.Truckers have mo balls.We should strike for more money.We need to get paid right.The hell with e logs .We need to get paid right.

  8. First off set rules that keep companies from working their steering wheel holders to hard,and let us owner operators run the way we need i dont care if you eld us let us make some damn money and run our buisiness the way we see fit and safe.

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