FMCSA Seeking Public Comment on 18-21 Year Old Drivers and the New HOS Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is currently seeking public comments on the 2nd Pilot Program under the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that will allow 18 - 21 year old non-military drivers to operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate commerce.

Subsequently, there will be a new Hours of Service (HOS) Rule debuting June 7, 2019 that will be open to public comment for 49 days.

Pilot Program

Currently, drivers 18-21 can only operate CMVs for intrastate commerce with the exception of those with military training. In July of 2018, the Department of Transportation set in place the 1st Pilot Program under the FAST Act that allowed 18-21 year old military personnel to drive CMVs for interstate commerce.

Now, the FMCSA is calling for public comment on the 2nd Pilot Program that will allow for any 18-21 year old driver to driver from state to state. Comments must be received by July 15, 2019.

“We want input from the public on efforts that offer the potential to create more jobs in the commercial motor vehicle industry, while maintaining the highest level of safety.  We encourage all CMV stakeholders to submit comments on a potential interstate pilot program for younger drivers,” said FMCSA Administrator Raymond P. Martinez.

More information regarding the 2nd Pilot Program can be found here.

"Flexible" HOS Rule

"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 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.

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.”