FMCSA Sets Meeting, Seeks Comments on Hours of Service Changes

The agency is considering revising for specific areas of the regulations, including extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions. The first in a series of public listening sessions is set for Aug. 24 in Dallas.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced Aug. 21 that it is seeking public comments on revising four specific areas of the current hours of service regulations, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers. The agency will be publishing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that it says "responds to widespread Congressional, industry, and citizen concerns." The comment period will be open for 30 days.

Four areas under consideration for revision are:

  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile "short-haul" exemption from 12 hours on duty to 14 hours on duty, in order 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 that are equipped with a sleeper berth compartment

The ANPRM also seeks public comments and relevant data on two recently submitted petitions requesting regulatory relief from HOS rules pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation (filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association) and pertaining to the 10-hour off-duty requirement (filed by TruckerNation).

FMCSA noted in its announcement that the congressionally mandated electronic logging device rule, which requires most FMCSA-regulated motor carriers to convert their records from paper to an electronic format, became effective earlier this year. Compliance with this rule has reached nearly 99 percent across the trucking industry, and it has focused new attention on HOS regulations, especially certain regulations having a significant impact on agriculture and other sectors of trucking.

The first in a series of public listening sessions on the ANPRM will take place Aug. 24 in Dallas at the downtown Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center beginning at 3 p.m. local time.

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