Bus/limo/taxi Transportation Trucking Federal agencies Hours of service

Proposed rule to amend trucker hours-of-service regs slated for publication in June, DOT says

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Washington — June 7 is the target date for publication of a proposed rule intended to add flexibility to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration hours-of-service regulations for commercial truck drivers, according to a Department of Transportation regulatory update released in May.

The comment period on the proposed rule is scheduled to conclude July 26. An FMCSA spokesperson confirmed to Safety+Health that the proposed rule, which was submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget on March 28, remains under OMB review.

“The timeline included in the department’s April regulatory update reflects FMCSA’s goal to move quickly during this rulemaking process, and the agency is hopeful that goal will be achieved,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to S+H.

Speaking in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said more than 5,200 comments were received on an advance notice of proposed rulemaking published in the Aug. 23 Federal Register. Among the possible changes to HOS regulations:

  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile short haul exemption to 14 hours on duty from 12 hours on duty, to be consistent with rules for long-haul truck drivers.
  • Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.
  • Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving.
  • Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks equipped with sleeper berth compartments.

FMCSA also weighed input on separate petitions requesting the agency to:

  • Allow covered commercial motor vehicle operators one rest break – for up to three consecutive hours – during every 14-hour on-duty period (filed by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association).
  • Allow covered CMV operators to use multiple off-duty periods of at least three hours in place of taking 10 consecutive hours off duty (filed by TruckerNation.org).

Numerous industry groups and stakeholders have awaited proposed changes to the rule. TruckerNation spokesperson Andrea Marks lauds the developments in a May 1 video posted on the organization’s Facebook page.

“This is significant in that it proves that FMCSA is continually committed to this aggressive timetable to get these regulations changed,” Marks said.

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