FMCSA Announced the Proposed Changes to the Hours of Service Rules

Wednesday, August 14, 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on the long awaited changes they suggest for the Hours of Service (HOS) rules.

“This proposed rule seeks to enhance safety by giving America’s commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.

“FMCSA wants drivers and all CMV stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes to hours of service rules that we are putting forward today,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

Proposed Changes to HOS

The Department of Transportation has taken note of the feedback from the transportation industry and worked to improve the HOS Rules. The FMCSA focused on 4 key areas under the HOS regulations keeping in mind the petitions brought forward by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and Trucker Nation as well as the 5,200 public comments received during the first ANPRM regarding HOS.

5 Key revisions to the existing HOS rules

  • FMCSA proposes tying the 30 minute break rule to 8 hours of continuous driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes. The break will be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving, rather than off duty.

  • Modify the sleeper-berth exception allowing drivers to split their 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least 7 hours and the second of no less than 2 hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. This will not count against the 14-hour driving window.

  • Allow an off-duty break of 30 minutes up to 3 hours that would pause a driver’s 14-hour driving window, if the driver takes 10 hours off-duty after the work shift.

  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the drive time window by 2 hours.

  • Change the short-haul exception and make the driver’s max on-duty period 14 hours instead of 12 and extend the distance limit from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

    The changes proposed to the HOS regulations will not increase driving time for CMV operators and will still require a 30-minute change in duty status for every 8 hours driven.

    FMCSA’s proposed rule is estimated to save the U.S. economy and American consumers $274 million.

    “The trucking industry is a key component to the national economy—employing more than seven million people and moves 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight.”

    Public Comment Period

    There will be a public comment period of 45 days. You may submit comments identified by Docket Number FMCSA-2018-0248 using:

    1. Federal eRulemaking Portal
    2. Mail or Hand Delivery/Courier (between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. M-F) 
      • Docket Management Facility, U.S. Department of Transportation
      • 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, West Building, Ground Floor, Room W12-140
      • Washington, DC 20590-0001
    3. Fax: (202) 493-2251

    You can find more information in the FMCSA’s NPRM.

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