FMCSA Proposes Seven Changes in Hours Rule

ATA says the new HOS proposal disregards the negative safety impacts the proposed changes will have.

By Oliver B. Patton, Washington Editor

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing seven changes in the current hours of service rules in order to, it says, give drivers the flexibility to take a break during the day and reduce the health and safety risks of long hours of work.

Here are the changes the agency is proposing:

* Consider the possibility of limiting daily driving time to 10 hours rather than the current 11 hours. The agency said it favors a 10-hour limit but is looking for comments and data on the issue.

* Drivers would have to be released from duty after 14 consecutive hours, rather than have the current option of continuing on duty but not drive. This would apply to regional drivers as well, who currently get the option of one 16-hour shift a week. Certain short-haul non-CDL drivers would still get two 16-hour shifts a week but would have to be released from duty afterwards.

* Give drivers a one-hour break during the day by limiting actual duty time within the 14-hour driving window to 13 hours.

* Limit consecutive time behind the wheel by prohibiting a driver from driving if it has been more than 7 hours since his last off-duty or sleeper-berth period of at least 30 minutes.

* Modify the 34-hour restart: it would have to include two periods between midnight and 6 a.m., and it could be used only once a week.

* Change the definition of on-duty time from any time in the truck, except the sleeper berth, to exempt any time spent resting in a parked truck and up to two hours in the passenger seat of a moving truck immediately before or after eight hours in a sleeper berth.

* The oilfield operations exception would be revised to clarify the language on waiting time and to state that waiting time would not be included in the calculation of the driving window.

Other key components of the rule would not change: drivers would still have to take off 10 consecutive hours per day, the weekly limits for on-duty hours would stay at 60 in 7 days and 70 in 8 days.

The sleeper berth requirement for at least 8 consecutive hours in the berth and 2 hours either in the berth or off duty would remain the same, but the changes proposed for driving, on-duty time and duty-period limits would apply.

It remains to be seen if these changes will end the litigation and attendant uncertainty that has vexed the industry and the enforcement community since the current rules took effect in 2004.

The agency took on this rewrite attempt in order to address issues raised in several successive suits brought against the rule by Public Citizen and the Teamsters union – neither of which had posted a reaction as of late yesterday afternoon.

American Trucking Associations’ reaction was quick and highly negative.

The proposal is “overly complex, chock full of unnecessary restrictions on professional truck drivers and, at its core, would substantially reduce trucking’s productivity,” said ATA President and CEO Bill Graves in a statement.

The statement signals the concerns that ATA will no doubt address in comments on the rule. It says, for example, that the proposal disregards the negative safety impacts the proposed changes will have.

“FMCSA previously found that the 11th hour of driving time does not increase driver weekly hours; is used for flexibility purposes; does not increase driver fatigue risks; and that eliminating it would promote more aggressive driving and lead to placing tens of thousands of less experienced drivers on the road who would pose greater crash risks,” the association said.

ATA has geared up to challenge the proposal by establishing a web site: www.safedriverhours.com.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said in a statement that it is still studying the proposal.

“We are carefully analyzing the proposal, but I can tell you that to make additional safety gains, the next hours-of-service rule must be more flexible to allow drivers to sleep when tired and to work when rested,” said Executive Vice President Todd Spencer in a statement. “The rules must encourage truck drivers to get off the road when they are tired and must not penalize them for doing so.”

More info: FMCSA HOS Proposal

Printer Friendly Version
Email This Story
RSS
Bookmark and Share

Government/Regulations: Related News

12/24/2010 – FMCSA Proposes Seven Changes in Hours Rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is proposing seven changes in the current hours of service rules in order to, it says, give drivers the flexibility to take a break during the day and reduce the health and safety risks of long hours of work….
More

12/23/2010 – FMCSA Posts Proposed HOS Revisions

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has posted long-awaited proposed revisions to the hours of service rule….
More

12/22/2010 – U.S. DOT Releases Latest “Faces of Distracted Driving” Video

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today released the latest video in the Department of Transportation’s “Faces of Distracted Driving” series….
More

12/22/2010 – Trucking Groups Say Port Registries Violate Federal Law


The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), the New Jersey Motor Truck Association and the Port Drivers Federation 18 have filed a petition asking the Department of Transportation (DOT) for a determination that mandatory drayage truck registries conducted by various ports and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) are pre-empted by federal law….
More

12/20/2010 – PacLease to Host Webinar on Lease Accounting Changes for Private Fleet Operators


PacLease will hold a webinar on Jan. 6, 2011, to discuss proposed new lease accounting standards that will be finalized later in the year. The webinar is geared for private fleet operators….
More

12/20/2010 – Hours Proposal Cleared by OMB

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service proposal was cleared by the Office of Management and Budget on Friday, which means that it is on track to be published before the end of the year as the agency expects….
More

12/20/2010 – FMCSA Proposes Middle Approach to Cell Phone Restriction


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has chosen the middle path in its proposal to restrict cell phone use by commercial drivers.

The proposal essentially says that truck and bus drivers could only use a hands-free phone while driving. It would prohibit a driver from reaching for, dialing or holding a mobile phone while the truck is moving….
More

12/20/2010 – Heavy Trucks Forced back onto Maine State Highways

As of midnight Friday Dec. 17, the legal limit weight limit on I-295, I-395 and portions of I-95 dropped back to 80,000 pounds following the failure of the Senate to pass the $1.1 trillion 2011 omnibus budget bill….
More

12/17/2010 – DOT Proposes Rule to Ban Hand-Held Cell Phone Use for Commercial Truck and Bus Drivers


The U.S. Department of Transportation today proposed a new safety regulation that would specifically prohibit interstate commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while operating a commercial motor vehicle….
More

12/17/2010 – LA Harbor Commission Closes Clean Truck Class-7 Loophole

The Los Angeles Harbor Commission voted Thursday to include Class 7 trucks in the same emissions rules that already apply to Class 8 trucks….
More

12/15/2010 – Senators Keep Heavy-Truck Pilot Alive, for Now

Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., have put language into pending legislation that would permit a one-year extension of the pilot program that exempts federal highways in Maine and Vermont from the 80,000-pound truck weight limit. …
More

12/14/2010 – Slowdown at CSA Website Caused by Data Download

If you tried to log on to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA website yesterday and found it slow going, you were not alone.

Access to the web-based system was occasionally jammed as commercial interests tapped into the site and started downloading the entire database, an agency official said….
More

12/13/2010 – FMCSA Opens CSA Data to Public Following Court’s Denial of Suit

The next stage of the Federal Motor Carrier Administration’s CSA 2010 safety program went live over the weekend, after a federal appeals court denied a suit by several groups of small trucking companies to prevent release of CSA safety data….
More

12/13/2010 – House Drops Truck Pilot in Maine, Vermont; Senate to Consider

The House passed a 9-month extension of the current federal highway program that would halt the heavy-truck pilot program in Maine and Vermont….
More

12/10/2010 – Mica Selected Chairman of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

To hardly anyone’s surprise, U.S. Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.) has been confirmed by vote of the House Republican Conference to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the 112th Congress….
More

12/9/2010 – Canadian Carriers Looking to Extended Tractor and Combo Lengths

The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is proposing changes to Canada’s vehicle length rules to accommodate longer tractor wheelbases and longer over-all lengths for B-train combinations….
More

12/8/2010 – Court Ruling Pending in Suit to Stop Opening of CSA 2010 Data


The suit by several groups of small trucking companies against the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new safety program, CSA 2010, has gone through the argument phase and is approaching a decision by the court….
More

12/7/2010 – FMCSA Appoints Three New Members to Medical Review Board

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has appointed three new medical experts to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Medical Review Board….
More

12/7/2010 – HOS Proposal Taking Longer than Expected at OMB

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours of service proposal is taking longer than expected….
More

12/6/2010 – Supporters of Higher Truck Weights Hope that Now is Their Time


Trucking and shipping interests are hoping the time is right for them to win long-sought relief from the 80,000-pound federal restriction on truck weights.

The restriction has resisted trucking’s best efforts for years, mainly due to opposition from the railroads and safety advocates but also because the trucking industry itself has been of two minds on the issue — some carriers want to run heavier loads, some don’t want the expense of the new equipment….
More

12/3/2010 – FMCSA Toughens Up Requirements for HHG Brokers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration granted a petition by the American Moving Storage Association to require interstate household goods brokers to comply with a number of rules and consumer requirements already required for household goods carriers….
More

12/3/2010 – Enforcement Community Applauds CSA 2010

Government and law enforcement agencies at the state and local levels are continuing to be fiscally challenged with respect to resources being made available for highway safety activities. The public – and rightly so – has an expectation that a basic responsibility of government is to keep our citizens traveling the roadways safe and secure. The challenge unfortunately is all too often public safety is one of the first areas of government to be cut …
More

12/2/2010 – ATA Rings Alarm Bell on Pending Hours of Service Proposal

American Trucking Associations is alarmed about proposed changes in hours of service regulations it sees coming from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and today will launch a website to coordinate an industry response….
More

12/2/2010 – ATA Calls for Changes to CSA 2010 Severity Weights

As part of its ongoing effort to improve CSA 2010, ATA submitted a comprehensive letter to FMCSA, Nov. 29, suggesting additional changes to the Agency’s evolving program….
More

12/1/2010 – Fuel Economy, Emissions Proposal Ready for Comment

The docket is now open for comments on the federal proposal to establish national standards for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions for medium and heavy trucks….
More

12/1/2010 – DERA Reauthorization Makes Progress in Senate

The Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010, introduced Nov. 18, was passed out of committee Tuesday by the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee….
More

11/30/2010 – Inspector General to Look Into FMCSA’s Handling of New Entrants

The Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General is initiating an audit of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s response to National Transportation Safety Board recommendations to improve the New Entrant Safety Assurance Program….
More

11/30/2010 – Carrier Groups Sue to Halt CSA 2010 Safety Data Publication

Several groups of small trucking companies have sued to prevent publication of carriers’ safety performance data under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new CSA 2010 program….
More

11/29/2010 – Alberta’s Distracted Driving Bill Leaves CB Radios Turned On


Truckers in the province of Alberta are breathing a sigh of relief. It turns out the government is not planning to take away their CB radios after all….
More

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
We'll deliver tax strategies to your inbox from our CPA firm.
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.