The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently published its final ruling on hours-of-service regulations for truck drivers. Gathering 8,000 comments from the public, the agency was able to make four key changes to the existing ruling which FMCSA Acting Administrator Jim Mullen stated would “add flexibility in the lives of America’s truckers” without jeopardizing safety. (1) Changes are as follows:
1) Air-mile short-haul radius will be increased from 100 to 150 air miles and allow for a 14 hour work shift, rather than 12 hours.
2) Provides an additional 2 hours driving window when operating under adverse driving conditions.
3) Drivers are required to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours of consecutive driving in which an “on-duty/not driving” status can qualify as a rest period.
4) Drivers will be allowed to split their 10 hour off-duty requirement into two periods (8 hours in sleeper-berth/2 hours inside or out of the berth or a 7 hours in sleeper-berth/3 hours in or out of the berth split).
Many drivers expressed disappointment, hoping that one of the changes would allow for a “pause” in the 14 hour clock.
The agency notes that these changes will “save American consumers and the U.S. economy $274 million per year,” in particular due to the “increased flexibility that the new 30 minute rest break rule will provide for drivers.” (2)
The HOS changes are expected to go into effect in September 2020. Read the entire ruling here.
The FMCSA also announced an extension to the Hours of Service waiver issued back in March for those truckers transporting goods related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Originally extended on April 8th and set to expire May 15th, the waiver will now run through June 14th, or until the President declares an end to the emergency.
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