Though wildly controversial the ELD Mandate has flashed a light on some major concerns that have been plaguing the trucking industry for some time now. One is the lack of available safe overnight parking, particularly in Metro areas. Another is the issues with hours of service (HOS) regulations. Thousands of drivers across the nation implored the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make changes to HOS in order to restore much-needed flexibility to the industry and improve safety conditions on our nation’s roads. FMCSA’s proposed rule on hours of service offers five key revisions to the existing HOS rules:
- Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without 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.
- Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
- Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three 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.
- 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.
On March 2, 2020, FMCSA submitted its final rule to the Office of Management and Budget for review. “While I can’t go into the specifics of this final rule, please know that the goal of this process from the beginning has been to improve safety for all motorists and to increase flexibility for commercial drivers,” FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen said in a statement. Details will not be made public until FMCSA publishes the final rule.