New Hours of Service Rules May Be Coming Soon
November 6, 1998
Nov. 7 – Some 18 months after the Federal Highway Administration's Office of Motor Carriers wrapped up hearings on how hours-of-service rules for truck drivers should be changed, new proposed rules may finally be issued.
According to an official with the U.S. Transportation Department, it is “possible” that proposed new regulations could be issued as early as next week.
There have been conflicting reports the government would either simply issue the proposed rules for public comment or issue a "negotiated regulation." In the latter situation, interested parties, such as trucking associations, safety groups and others, would work with federal officials to try and iron out any major objections they have to the proposed rules before they are released for public comment. This would allow the proposed rules to be placed on an expedited schedule, greatly reducing the time it would take for the final hours of service rules to be issued.
Insiders say the proposed new rules will be more liberal than the current 65-year-old regulations. Speculation is the proposed new rules will be more “performance-based” and could allow 12 hours of driving time per day with nine to 10 hours off, an increase from the 10 hours currently allowed for driving followed by eight hours off. There is great uncertainty as to whether or not the government will try to place any type of restrictions on nighttime driving.