Chris on the Hill: FMCSA HOS NPRM

By Chris Burroughs, Vice President of Government Affairs

This week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released the much-anticipated notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) outlining proposed changes to the hours-of-service (HOS) rules and regulations on commercial motor vehicle drivers.

The Trump Administration has outlined this as a top priority to improve highway safety, while extending some flexibility to truck drivers. In speaking with Agency officials, this rulemaking is being streamlined with the intention of getting to a final rule prior to the 2020 Presidential election.

The proposed changes basically check every box that motor carrier industry stakeholders asked for when the agency published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) almost a year ago on August 23, 2018. While concerns remain for safety advocates, this could be considered a major victory for the trucking industry. Specifically, the Agency proposes to make the following five key amendments to the rules and regulations:

 

  • The Agency proposes to increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty. 

 

  • The Agency proposes to modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.

 

  • The Agency proposes to allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

 

  • The Agency proposes to modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.

 

  • The Agency proposes a change to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.

 

In 2018, the TIA Highway Logistics Conference filed comments in support of providing truck drivers more flexibility around the short-haul exemption and the split sleeper berth rules. With the full implementation of the electronic-logging device (ELD) rule in April of 2018, the Agency is seeing a 97% compliance rate amongst those motor carriers using an ELD during a roadside inspection and a significant decrease of 48% in the number of HOS violations. These numbers have given the Agency the leeway they need to reexamine the impact of HOS regulations and make necessary improvements.

The TIA Highway Logistics Conference under the leadership of Chairman John Miller, Owner, Plains Dedicated with work through the NPRM and develop our formal comments and policy stance to ensure that the motor carriers our members utilize are provided with a more flexibility HOS regulatory environment.

CLICK HERE to learn more about TIA and how the TIAPAC enables members and their employees to have a voice.

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