The FMCSA is making moves to improve the flexibility of the current Hours of Service regulations. According to a monthly report by the Department of Transportation (DOT), the proposed changes to the Hours of Service rules are set to be released to the public on June 7.
After the implementation of the ELD mandate, the focus shifted on Hours of Service regulations. The strict enforcement of the mandate and availability of valuable data were instrumental in highlighting the potential shortcomings and opportunities for improvement in the current HOS rules.
Since August 2018, the FMCSA has been listening to industry stakeholders and obtaining valuable information on how to improve the Hours of Service rules.
According to the regulatory update by the U.S. DOT, the provisions will “provide greater flexibility for drivers subject to the HOS rules without adversely affecting safety.”
The FMCSA’s Administrator, Raymond Martinez, hinted at changes in Hours-of-Service rules in May 2018. He said, “Let’s look at Hours of Service and see whether some modifications—not extending the hours—but providing some flexibility in the current rules.”
4 potential changes
Regarding potential changes in the Hours of Service rules, the FMCSA asked for public comments on four specific areas in August 2018. Those areas are:
- Expanding the current 100 air-mile short-haul exemption from 12 hours on duty to 14 hours on duty.
- Expanding the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to 2 hours, in case of adverse driving conditions.
- The revision of the current 30-minute break rest rule that is mandatory for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving.
- Splitting up the required 10-hour, off-duty rest period for drivers operating trucks that have a sleeper-berth compartment.
Travis Baskin, head of regulatory affairs at KeepTruckin, shared his insight on the upcoming Hours of Service changes. He said:
“Administrator Martinez has been very clear that the aim of these upcoming proposed changes to the Hours of Service rules is to provide flexibility to drivers so they can effectively and safely handle the realities of being on the road today. Drivers have known for years that the one-size-fits-all rigidity of the HOS rules didn’t really work. Now, with the data generated and stored by ELDs, the Regulators are seeing that too.”
The new rules are set to be made public on June 7. However, keep in mind the Department of Transportation can change the date.
After publishing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the FMCSA will accept public comments before deciding whether to proceed with the final rule or
The FMCSA will take public comments after publishing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Based on the public comments that are submitted, the Agency will then decide whether to proceed to a final rule or make changes.
For more information, stay tuned. In the meantime, here are some useful resources for HOS and compliance.