Truckers asks FMCSA to reconsider revised hours of service regulations
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association filed a petition Monday asking the federal government to reconsider recently revised hours-of-service regulations for truckers, which the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published in the Federal Register Thursday.
Despite FMCSA Administrator Annette Sandberg's downplay of the changes in the revised regulations, OOIDA said in statement Tuesday that it has identified specific changes that will have a significant impact on truckers and their operations.
The new rules are set up in a way that if a trucker chooses to split up the required 10 hours of off-duty time, one of the two periods must be at least eight consecutive hours in the sleeper berth, said Jim Johnston, OOIDA president and chief executive officer. The eight-hour rest period stops the 14-hour clock. The other two hours of off-duty time can be taken consecutively, either in the sleeper or out, to fulfill the 10-hour off-duty requirement, but does not stop the 14-hour clock.
FMCSA stresses the importance of the two-hour portion of the split-sleeper berth provision in its final rule for the trucker's ability to take a nap or rest break, which FMCSA has encouraged as 'an important tool in combating fatigue.'
Despite the encouragement in the rule for truckers to cash in on the opportunity for a nap or short rest period, the fact that the two-hour break does not stop the 14-hour clock is a disincentive for truckers to utilize the break, OOIDA said.
'We're simply asking that those two hours would also stop the clock, that the driver could take those off-duty and not count against his working time,' Johnston said. 'We think its common sense because it's consistent with the 10-hour off-duty requirement.'