FMCSA Proposes Changes to Hours of Service of Drivers Rules
On August 22, 2019, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a notice of proposed rulemaking seeking comment on possible revisions to its Hours of Service of Drivers (HOS) rules for commercial truck drivers. The proposed revisions are intended to provide greater flexibility for drivers subject to the HOS rules without adversely affecting safety. The proposal includes five main changes:
- 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;
- Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted;
- Increase flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to 8 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”only;
- Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14?hour driving window; and,
- Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 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. Comments are due to FMCSA by October 7, 2019.