On August 14th, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration finally released the proposal to make changes to its hours-of-service rules that we’ve all been waiting for.
These proposed changes are meant to make truck drivers’ jobs better by revising five key elements of current HOS rules:
- Increase safety and flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption of at least 30 minutes, 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: 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 shorthaul 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
“This proposed rule seeks to enhance safety by giving America’s commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The FMCSA does not think that any of these changes to on-duty time will effect drivers in any negative way. Do you think this change will give drivers the flexibility they need?