FMCSA Proposes Changes to Hours of Service Rules

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has at last proposed changes to its hours of service (HOS) rules. The notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) — which was delayed at the Office of Management and Budget by a few weeks — has received mostly positive coverage since its publication.

Flexibility concerning HOS rules has been a focus of AmericanHort since the implementation of the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate in 2018. FMCSA has heard from many industries regarding the rigidness of these recently enacted regulations and has been in the process of potentially modifying elements of HOS in certain situations. An advanced notice of proposed rulemaking was released last September.

So what changes is FMCSA considering? Below are the areas of proposed change:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.

These changes will have a 45-day comment period. AmericanHort will submit comments on behalf of the industry. Have thoughts on these changes? Please contact Director of Government Affairs Tal Coley at TalC@AmericanHort.org.

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