Last week, the FMCSA released their highly anticipated proposed changes to the hours of service rules. Here are the five major proposed changes to the rule:
- Allowing drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three hours in a shift and go off-duty in that time period. This option allows drivers to maximize their hours of service by helping them avoid peak traffic hours and significant weather events, and would help alleviate the effect of long detention times.
- Flexibility for the required 30-minute break. Even though the agency intends to keep the break required as in the current regulation, this proposal allows for slight changes to when a driver must take the break. Specifically, the driver would be able to take the break within the first eight hours of drive time, which is different than the current regulation which requires drivers to take their break in the first eight hours of on-duty time. This change in the hours of service rules offers drivers more flexibility in choosing when to take their required break.
- A slight revision of the split-sleeper berth options that would allow drivers to split their off-duty sleeper berth time into two periods of seven hours and three hours, which differs from the current regulations requiring the split into eight-hour and two-hour time frames.
- Modifying the adverse driving conditions exception by extending the maximum window during which driving is permitted by two hours.
- Changing the short-haul exception available to certain commercial motor vehicle drivers by lengthening the maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours, as well as extending the distance limit within which the driver may operation from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
In the intervening time since the announcement, the response from industry groups has been mostly positive, hailing the increased flexibility for drivers and the common-sense approach to the hours of service rules. The American Trucking Associations, Truckload Carriers Association, and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association all supported the proposed changes. However, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters expressed concerns that the proposed rule changes will affect the safety of drivers on the road by "allowing drivers to push themselves to the limit even further," as Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa stated in a response to the proposed rule changes.
Drivers and the motoring public will have 45 days to file comments on the rule, which will be taken into consideration when drafting the final version. The final rule will likely take several months to be finalized and published in the Federal Register, and once published it won't take effect for another year or more.
EBE will be monitoring any further developments in the proposed hours of service rule change and we will update our website with the information.
EBE's Driver LifeCycle solutions are equipped with log management workflows, and are continually updated to include the latest FMCSA regulations. To learn more, visit www.ebeships.com or call 800.447.0612.
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