The FMCSA has begun a rulemaking process that potentially could reform current hours-of-service regulations.
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The FMCSA has begun a rulemaking process that potentially could reform current hours-of-service regulations.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced on Aug. 21 that it has begun a rulemaking process that potentially could reform four specific areas of current hours-of-service regulations, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers.

To be published soon as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, also known as a “pre-rule,” the proposal is coached as a request for public comment on these four specific areas “under consideration for revision” by the agency:

  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers
  • Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to 2 hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions
  • Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving
  • Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment

In addition, the ANPRM seeks public comment and relevant data on two recently submitted petitions requesting regulatory relief from HOS rules pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation (which was filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association) and regarding the 10-hour off-duty requirement (filed by TruckerNation).

FMCSA said the pre-rule is its response to “widespread congressional, industry, and citizen concerns and seeks feedback from the public to determine if HOS revisions may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads.”  Once the comment period is open, via publication of the ANPRM in the Federal Register, it will run for 30 days.

The agency noted that while compliance with the ELD rule has reached “nearly 99% across the trucking industry, it has also brought focus to HOS regulations, especially with regard to certain regulations having a significant impact on agriculture and other sectors of trucking.”

Additional information on the ANPRM, including how to submit comments to the Federal Register docket, is posted online.

The agency also announced that the first in a series of public listening sessions on the ANPRM will take place Friday, August 24, 2018, in Dallas, Texas, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time. Further information is available online.

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