The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing several amendments to the hours of service requirements. The changes are geared towards providing drivers with greater flexibility without negatively affecting safety.
The proposed amendments include:
- Changing the short haul extension to the record of duty status requirements by extending drivers’ maximum on duty time from 12 hours to 14 hours and extending the distance limit from 100 air miles to 150 air miles
- Extending the adverse driving conditions exception by 2 hours
- Modifying the 30-minute break rule by requiring the break after 8 hours of driving time rather than on-duty time
- Allowing drivers to split the required 10-hours off duty time into two periods – the first must be a minimum of 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the second must be at least 2 consecutive hours off duty or in the sleeper berth
- Permitting one off-duty break consisting of no less than 30 minutes and no more than 3 hours that would pause the 14-hour driving window as long as the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off duty at the end of the work shift
FMCSA Chief Ray Martinez is encouraging those in the trucking industry to provide feedback on the proposed rule changes. “I hope that people will comment. Don’t assume this is a done deal,” Martinez said. “If you like it, please tell us you like it. If you like parts of it, tell us you like parts of it and what parts you don’t like. Be constructive in your criticism to help us create a final rule as quickly as possible…..I think it’s good that we’re here at a safety-focused competition because I think it highlights what this is all about. This proposed change in regulation is about safety. It’s what we’ve heard from the industry that adding more flexibility will not decrease safety; it will actually increase safety.”
The official comment period is expected to begin August 20,2019. Interested parties will have 45 days to submit comments on the proposed rule. Comments may be submitted via fax, courier, or mail and must include the docket number.