The Department of Transportation is considering reopening the commercial driver hours of service regulations with a view to creating more flexibility for truck drivers.
The Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seeks public comments about whether it should reopen the proceeding that created the current HOS rules, and if it does so, what changes should be made.
The agency said it is responding “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.”
FMCSA noted that this year’s imposition of electronic logging devices has seen nearly 99% adoption by the trucking industry and has focused renewed attention on HOS regulations.
Four areas being considered for revision are:
- 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 two 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; and
- 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.
FMCSA also seeks comment and relevant data regarding driver groups’ requests for regulatory relief pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation and the 10-hour off-duty requirement.