USDOT finalizes hours of service reforms for truck drivers

A federal rule to overtake the hours of service laws that govern truck drivers’ schedules will quickly be printed within the Federal Register, the USDOT’s Federal Motor Service Security Administration (FMCSA) introduced Thursday. Of notice, the rule expands the split-sleeper berth choices afforded to drivers to permit them to separate their 10-hour off-duty interval into home windows of seven hours and three hours, along with the prevailing eight-hour/two-hour possibility.

In contrast to present regs, the shorter window in any break up of off-duty time is not going to depend in opposition to drivers’ 14-hour on-duty clock.

The approaching reforms additionally overhaul provisions across the 30-minute break requirement, permitting drivers to make use of the break in an on-duty, not-driving standing and to make use of it inside their first eight hours of drive time, somewhat than their first eight hours on-duty.

FMCSA mentioned the rule must be printed within the Federal Register within the coming week. The modifications will turn out to be efficient 120 days after its publication, so if the rule is printed subsequent week drivers may start working underneath the brand new HOS regs in late September. These are the primary modifications to hours regs carried out by FMCSA since 2013, although a number of provisions inside that rule (corresponding to the bounds on using a 34-hour restart) have been finally reversed by Congress.

The approaching overhaul is not going to change the every day 14-hour on-duty restrict or the 11-hour drive-time restrict. Nevertheless, the rule will increase the hostile driving circumstances provision by permitting drivers to increase each their drive-time window and their time on-duty by two hours in the event that they encounter hostile circumstances corresponding to climate or site visitors congestion. The company mentioned the availability will permit drivers to both sit and wait out the circumstances or drive slowly via them.

In contrast to the hours proposal FMCSA issued final August, the ultimate hours reforms don’t embody the choice for drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for as much as three hours and go off-duty. FMCSA Performing Administrator Jim Mullen mentioned the company deemed the seven-hour/three-hour break up “sufficiently versatile” to that finish. Additionally, he mentioned, issues expressed within the public remark interval final fall gave the company pause in continuing with the availability as proposed.

Lastly, the modifications increase the exemptions for short-haul drivers by extending their allowed on-duty interval from 12 hours to 14 hours, and increasing the short-haul radius from 100 air miles to 150 air miles. Drivers underneath the short-haul exemption aren’t required to maintain information of responsibility standing.

Mullen introduced the modifications in a media name Thursday morning and was joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.