HOURS Act: Four HOS Reforms You Should Know About

Last Thursday, Reps. Rick Crawford, Sanford Bishop, and Bruce Westerman introduced the Honest Operators Undertake Road Safety Act (HOURS Act).  If passed, the Act would provide changes to the hours-of-service regulations, allowing drivers more flexibility, especially those running short-hauls.  Here are some key sectors that would be affected:

Agricultural Haulers:  If passed, the HOURS Act would exempt drivers hauling livestock and agricultural products within a 150-mile radius of their product source, from hours-of-service restrictions and maintaining records of on-duty status year-round, rather than just during peak seasons. (1)

Supporting Documents:  Currently, drivers must be prepared to present a minimum of eight documents to support the accuracy of their electronic logs but the Act would cut that number down to just two, “one to verify the start of their work day and one to verify the end of it.” (1)

Sleeper Berth Time:  You may recall the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s pilot program proposal last June, which would “give a limited number of CDL holders temporary relief from the existing sleeper-berth regulation,” which requires a driver to have 10-hours off duty in which they can split into two segments of 8 hours and 2 hours. (2)  The pilot program, however, would provide flexibility in how a driver splits their sleeper berth time, allowing them to break it into segments of 7-3, 6-4, 5-5, etc.  The agency would analyze the drivers’ performance and fatigue levels.  The proposal is still pending approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget.

The HOURS Act would “allow FMCSA to skip the advanced notice of proposed rulemaking stage and move directly to proposing the rule and accepting public comments.” (1)

Short-haul Drivers:  Those CDL drivers traveling within a 150-mile radius of their place of employment would be exempt from ELDs and HOS regulations “if they complete their work day within a 14-hour period.” (1) This differs from current regulations in which the rule only applies to non-CDL drivers.

The American Trucking Associations is showing their support for the HOURS Act saying that it would “provide common sense hours-of-service relief and flexibility for professional truck drivers while enhancing highway safety and supply chain efficiency.” (3)