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hours of service revision

Regulatory Update: FMCSA Considering Revising Hours of Service Rules

By Sean M. Lyden - Staff Writer
Posted Oct 1st 2018 9:01AM

During the “Industry Outlook” panel discussion at Expedite Expo 2018 in July, one of the topics was the impact of the ELD mandate on expedited trucking operations. Panelist John Elliott, the CEO at Load One, commented that the problem isn’t with the ELD itself but with the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations that the ELD was intended to help enforce.

It appears that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) might be thinking the same thing.

In late August, the FMCSA announced that it is seeking public comment on revising four specific areas of the hours-of-service (HOS) rules, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers.

Those four areas include:

  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile "short-haul" exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty 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
  • Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.

WHAT REVISIONS WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE?
The agency is seeking public feedback to determine if HOS revisions may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on the nation’s highways and roads. The deadline for the public comment period, which was initially September 24, has been extended to October 10, 2018.

So, to make your voice heard, go to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/23/2018-18379/hours-of-service-of-drivers.

Here are a few examples of comments that have been submitted to give you a taste of some of the ideas being proposed:

  • “The 30-minute break is a great rule just as the coercion rule. It should be a choice without any repercussions if the driver chooses to take a break. Sometimes I really need to take a break sometimes I don't so it should be a choice. I've been driving a tractor trailer for 38 years.”
  • “I would like to see the mandatory 30-minute break eliminated. I would also like to be able to stop my 14-hour clock for up to 2 hours in the event of weather or traffic.”
  • “Please copy the Canadian hours of service. This is, in my opinion, the best fix for everyone. Pausing the clock does nothing but possibly turn you into a midnight worker by the end of the week. The break is useless also. I start my day @ 4 am on a 590-mile round trip, go to the same 2 places every day 5 days a week & home every day. If there is bad weather or traffic, it would be nice to still make it home legally & start the next day at the same time. Thanks for listening…”
  • "I am against the required 30-minute break. I work an 8 1/2 hour day and do not need a break. I go home every day. Also, there is nowhere to park to take the required break. Many states have closed their rest stops or do not have enough room for trucks to stay parked for 30 minutes. Most truck stops are also full, and there are no spots to park for 30 minutes."

To see the full slate of public comments, click here.

What about you? What changes would you like to see to make the HOS rules more practical as an expediter? Share your ideas with the Federal Register and make your voice heard.

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