New proposal gives drivers more flexibility
After much demand from the transportation industry the FMCSA has announced that they are putting forth a proposal to amend the existing hours of service rule. These new rules would allow for greater flexibility for drivers with rests and time in a sleeper berth.
The 5 major changes to the hours of service rule are:
- Change the short-haul exception to the record of duty status requirement to certain CMV drivers by lengthening the max on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours. It also extends the distance limit that the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
- Extending adverse conditions exceptions by 2 hours.
- Increased flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of driving time instead of on-duty time and allowing the requirement to be satisfied by an on-duty break from driving as opposed to an off- duty break.
- Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into 2 periods, one of at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than 2 consecutive hours either off duty or in sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the drivers 14 hour driving window
- Allowing one off duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours that would pause the truck drivers 14-hour window provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hour off-duty at the end of the work shift.
The changes to the hours of service rules are being lauded for their understanding of needed flexibility for a driver. The ATA President and CEO Chris Spear has said “We look forward to studying and understanding how these proposed changes will impact our industry so we can provide relevant data and information to strengthen and support a good final rule that bolsters safety and provides drivers needed flexibility.”
OOIDA President Todd Spencer says that these steps are in the right direction. “There may not be a one-size fits all solution, but the proposed changes are a positive start since truckers don’t have any control over their schedules or traffic conditions. For too long and too often, they find themselves in unsafe circumstances because of current, overly restrictive rules that decrease highway safety.”
Overall theses changes are a welcome event as it shows that the FMCSA is listening to the concerns voiced by major players in the industry.
The proposal is open to comment for 45-days after being published in the Federal Register. It was published on August 14, 2019.
To read the proposed changes in full check out the FMCSA proposal.