Last week, the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a final rule regarding hours of service for trucking operations.
The previous hours of service requirements for truck drivers were implemented in 2013 as a mechanism to enhance safety and reduce accidents involving long-haul trucks. Since the rollout in 2013, FMCSA has received complaints from lawmakers and the trucking industry that current regulations were over-prescriptive and lacked the flexibility to address the challenges faced by modern-day trucking operations. FMCSA began conducting a multi-year stakeholder outreach effort that culminated in the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking on August 22, 2019. RILA provided comments to FMCSA during the proposed rulemaking.
The agency highlights four key revisions to hours of service:
- Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by requiring a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty status.
- Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: an 8/2 split, or a 7/3 split—with neither period counting against the driver’s 14 hour driving window.
- Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
- Change 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.
For more information, please contact RILA Director of Government Affairs Austin Gold.