“Flexible” Hours of Service Rule Set to Debut June 7

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that the new and improved "flexible" Hours of Service (HOS) Rule will debut on June 7, 2019.

There will be a 49 day comment period on the new HOS that is set to end on July 26, 2019. These dates are susceptible to changes; however, they are currently set for these days.

The ELD Mandate's effect on HOS

"The introduction of electronic logging devices and their ability to accurately record hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) have prompted numerous requests from Congress and the public for FMCSA to consider revising certain HOS provisions," states the FMCSA's Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The Department of Transportation has taken note of the feedback from the trucking industry and worked to improve the HOS Rules. The goal is to provide revisions to certain areas of the HOS provisions allowing for greater flexibility for drivers without affecting their safety.

HOS regulation areas of focus

The FMCSA is focusing on 4 key areas under the HOS regulations:

  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile "short-haul" exemption from 12 to 14 hours on-duty
  • Adding up to 2 hours to the current 14 hour on-duty limitation for drivers that encounter adverse driving conditions
  • Revision of the 3o minute break rule at the 8 hour driving mark
  • Allowing the option for splitting up required 10 hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating a truck with a sleeper-berth compartment

There have also been several petitions regarding the HOS:

  • The Owner-Operated Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) petitioned for the elimination of the 30 minute break rule while allowing drivers to take up to a 3 hour off-duty rest break during a 14 hour day period
  • Trucker Nation petitioned to “revise the prohibition against driving after the 14th hour of the beginning of the work shift, allow drivers to use multiple off-duty periods of three hours or longer in lieu of having 10 consecutive hours off-duty, and eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement.”