Trucking and logistics, like many industries in the U.S., is constantly changing to meet new business needs and new government regulations. Often in trucking, this means understanding and complying with safety regulations designed to promote the safety of both truck drivers and the motoring public. One of these regulations, the Hours of Service (HOS) rules, aims to do this by regulating the number of hours a driver can spend on the road at any given time before taking an extended break.According to Scopelitis Transportation Consulting, LLC, truckers and carriers alike have expressed concern over lingering safety issues during the last few years brought to the surface as a result of the new ELD mandate. Many of these concerns were raised with the FMCSA.
Recently, FMCSA gathered key stakeholders to figure out exactly how the Agency could update these HOS rules to make the trucking industry as a whole safer and more efficient. On August 22, FMCSA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow greater flexibility with HOS.
Here are several of the proposed rule changes, as outlined by Scopelitis:
- The 14-hour window: This proposed rule change would allow drivers to pause the 14-hour driving window once per day by taking an off-duty break between 30 minutes and three hours.
- The short haul exception: Currently, the maximum on-duty period for a CDL short-haul driver operating under the exception is 12 consecutive hours. This proposed rule change would lengthen the maximum on-duty period for short-haul drivers operating under the exception to 14 hours, and extend the current 100 air-mile radius 150 air miles.
- The 30-minute rest break: This proposed rule change would update the current 30-minute rest off-duty break rule to allow drivers to take their 30-minute break while on-duty (but not driving) time. Additionally, drivers could wait to take a break until they have accumulated eight hours of driving time instead of eight hours of on-duty time.
- The split sleeper berth rules: For drivers using the sleeper berth exception, this proposed rule change would allow them to split their off-duty periods in two different ways—an 8-hour period combined with a separate 2-hour period, or a 7-hour period combined with a separate 3-hour period.
- The adverse driving conditions exception: When adverse weather, or unusual road or traffic conditions, comes into play, drivers should be able to finish their routes for the day. This proposed rule change would allow drivers to extend their 14-hour window by an additional two hours if they come across unexpected driving conditions, like snow, sleet, or fog. The current rule only allows drivers to extend their 11-hour driving time.
FMCSA is seeking comments from all industry stakeholders. Although the comment period is set to end on October 7, petitions have already been filed to extend that period by 30-45 days. For instructions on how to comment, visit here. If FMCSA decides to move forward and finalize some or all of these proposals, it may take a year or more for the changes to go into effect.
At DriverReach, we understand that a changing industry can be an exciting and confusing time. Our team of experts are on hand to walk through different strategic options for recruiters and drivers to prepare for these proposed changes. Learn more here.
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