It’s been all over the trucking news, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been forced to roll back it’s controversial hours of service reset provisions at least temporarily. Temporarily because the FMCSA must now revisit and do additional studies to prove that the new rules will in fact “provide a greater net benefit for the operational, safety, health and fatigue impacts.” It is possible that this roll back will take as long as two years but it’s anyone’s guess what the future holds for this convoluted rule.
The Omnibus Spending Bill signed by President Obama on December 16 effectively ended enforcement of the 34-hour restart which also had to include two overnight periods of 1-5 a.m and could only be taken once per week. This vastly limited what drivers could do out on the roads. Drivers who took more time then required off often still faced reductions in their Hours of Service due to restart provisions and their limitations. This made no sense in real world application of an industry that runs 24/7 and often found drivers starting their drive time after a reset during busy morning rush hour.
What now changes
What changes now is US Hours of Service Rules in regards to resets will revert back to the old ones which do not limit drivers to any specific time period or how many times a driver can reset his or her hours in a week as long as the time off meets or exceeds 34 consecutive hours off duty.
What do cross border drivers need to know
For Canadian drivers heading into the United States, their current 36 consecutive hours off duty exceeds the US requirement but for US drivers heading into Canada they must meet or exceed the Canadian 36 consecutive hours off duty meaning they need to make sure they add two hours to their reset.
What remains the same
Drivers are warned that the 30 minute break before 8 hours on duty time requirement does remain on the books.
We have been fielding a lot of questions regarding enforcement. As we understand it officers should not be issuing violations for breaking the now suspended restart rules starting December 17, 2014. It may though take time before all officers have been given the information so it is possible a few tickets might be issued and should be fought.
AGENCY: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), DOT.
SUMMARY: FMCSA suspends enforcement of certain sections of the Agency’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules as required by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, enacted December 16, 2014. Specifically, FMCSA suspends the requirements regarding the restart of a driver’s 60- or 70-hour limit that drivers were required to comply with beginning July 1, 2013. The restart provisions have no force or effect from the date of enactment of the Appropriations Act through the period of suspension, and such provisions are replaced with the previous restart provisions in effect on June 30, 2013. FMCSA provides this notice to motor carriers, commercial drivers, State Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program grant recipients and other law enforcement personnel of these immediate enforcement changes.
DATES: The suspension of enforcement of § 395.3(c) and (d) is effective as of 12:01 a.m. on December 16, 2014.