The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has launched a process that could potentially reform Hours of Service for commercial drivers.  The FMCSA is seeking comments on 4 areas of the Hours of Service regulations. Your deadline to comment is October 10, 2018.

Is it important to comment?  Commercial drivers are under constant time pressure.  If you’re a professional driver, you’re concerned with traffic in the next city, or a looming weather forecast.  In order to find a parking place for your required break, your incentive is to quickly move through traffic and poor weather.  

CVSA tells us that during the most recent Roadcheck operation held in June of this year, drivers’ out of service rate dropped from 4.2% the previous year to 3.9% this year.  They attribute this to ELD’s automated enforcement of Hours of Service. Yet, that is not the whole story.

Statistics show in increase in large truck crash fatalities.  Statistics show speeding and distraction are the primary causes, and those instances are increasing.  For reference, review FMCSA’s statistics here – https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/safety/data-and-statistics/395166/van-steenburg-trb-trends-cmv-safety-final-508c.pdf  

Under consideration for review by the agency;

Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty.  This is the same as the total allowed on duty time for longer haul commercial drivers.

Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to 2 hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions.  Currently, only Driving time can be extended – not On Duty time.

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.  Previous HOS regulations allowed any combination as long as the smallest “off duty” or “sleeper” time segment was 2 hours or longer. Currently, the regulations are more restrictive.  

 

If you’d like commercial drivers to have less pressure and flexibility to comply with the HOS regulations, you have a chance to make your voice heard.  

To comment:

  1. Go to https://www.regulations.gov/  
  2. Search for Docket ID FMCSA-2018-0248, which will take you here – https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FMCSA-2018-0248  
  3. Select the “Comment Now” button.  
  4. Submit an effective comment.  One effective comment is worth more than numerous form letters.  Understand the item you are commenting on. Be concise but support your claims.  Argue based on facts, evidence, sound reasoning, and economic impact. Discuss opposing points of view.  More information on submitting effective comments are found here – https://www.regulations.gov/docs/Tips_For_Submitting_Effective_Comments.pdf  

 

Read the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking here;  https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/sites/fmcsa.dot.gov/files/docs/regulations/414636/hos-anprm.pdf  

Instructions on the  comment process are found at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/23/2018-18379/hours-of-service-of-drivers.