After much delay, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has reset the projected date of publication for the new and improved “flexible” Hours-of-Service (HOS) Rule to July 31, 2019. This date was released by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the June 2019 Significant Rulemaking Report.
The proposed driver’s HOS Ruling was set to debut on June 7, 2019; however, this was delayed while the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review the FMCSA’s Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM). The OMB has been reviewing the ANPRM since late in March and has yet to approve the document and release it for the public comment period.
Once released, there will be a 49 day public comment period on the new HOS regulations. The comment period is set to conclude September 16, 2019.
Hours of Service
The compliance date for the current HOS regulations was July 1, 2013. “The introduction of electronic logging devices and their ability to accurately record hours-of-service 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 ANPRM.
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. “The FMCSA hours of service (HOS) rules are designed to eliminate the type of drowsiness that can lead to crashes.”
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.”