FMCSA Seeking Comments on Hours-of-Service Rule Changes

August 21, 2018 by Alan Adler, @AlanAdler

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration opened a 30-day comment period Tuesday for drivers and carriers to lobby for changes in hours-of-service rules some claim hurt their business.

“It’s been 15 years since we last looked at hours of service. And there’s been great changes in how trucking moves on the roadways,” FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez said in a media briefing announcing an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

The advanced rulemaking proposal will be published in the Federal Register and comments can be submitted in writing.

“It’s time we have an honest conversation on the hours-of-service rule,” Martinez said.

The hours-of-service rule limits a driver to 11 hours behind the wheel in a 14-hour period. Several other restrictions are also part of the rule.

Martinez became the truck safety agency’s top executive in March. He said he has conducted listening sessions and met with drivers, carriers and other industry stakeholders.

The trucking industry faces pressure for faster delivery of goods because services like Amazon Prime guarantee two-day delivery. A shortage of drivers and mechanics, and a new rule requiring drivers to electronically record their hours driven, all were issues raised with Martinez.

“We want to see what kind of interest is out there,” he said. “There is no guarantee that we move forward.”

The four specific areas considered for revision are:

  • Expanding the current “short-haul” exemption from 12 to 14 hours to mirror rules for long-haul drivers.
  • Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limit by up to two hours because of adverse driving conditions.
  • Changing or eliminating the 30-minute break required after eight hours of continuous driving.
  • Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for trucks equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment.

“We’re looking for the industry to come back to us,” Martinez said. “We know that they have a lot of data. A lot of folks have information that could help inform the FMCSA if or how to move forward.”

The FMCSA received hours-of-service reform petitions from four trucking groups, including the 161,000-member Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

“The agency is finally listening and the door is open for truckers to make their voices heard and spur real, common-sense changes to match the realities of freight movement,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said.

The American Trucking Associations also supported the safety agency’s action.

“While today’s notice is just the first step, ATA stands ready to work with drivers and motor carriers to provide information to improve the safety of our highways and the efficiency of our industry,” ATA Chief Executive Chris Spear said.

Martinez said four public sessions will be held. The first is August 24 at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas.

Read Next: ATA Says Trucking Revenue Topped $700 Billion in 2017

10 Responses

  1. Richard Lowry

    Short Haul work better with longer hours, Drop that 30 minute break ,craziest rule in my 40 years, New 3 Hr rule would work well but these companies will take it and twist it to force drivers into bad situations,Adverse conditions leave it along nothing wrong there. last but not least ELD’s what a ass kicking you gave us with this, Stealing money right from my pocket.

  2. David Fry

    My thought on H.O.S. Would be that since E.L.D,s are now mandatory, unlock the 14 hour clock. Allow drivers the ability to take their breaks when it works for them and not have to worry about the 14 hours tick tick ticking away. They would not be pressured into driving in rush hour if they didn’t need to, thus reducing the volume of trucks in the big cities. It might even free up parking spaces in the truck stops if everyone wasn’t forced to stop in the same 3 hour window.

  3. Dave

    You should only be allowed to run a 70hr log if your truck has a sleeper, day cabs should have to run 60 hr logs. Also sleeper time should only have to add up to 8hrs in a 24hr period maybe 9 not 10 that is to much down time sitting in a truck stop,split maybe 1or 2 or 3 hr break or nap anywhere anytime you want run til you are out of hours shut down that night jump in the sleeper for 5 or 6 or 7 hrs sleep wake up with a fresh set of hours to run all day. That’s a lot of sleep and off duty on the road that is my opinion.

  4. Dan hartley

    Drop 14 hour get rid of the half hour keep the 11 hour driving go with a spit sleeper in the 24 hours

  5. Laura Stephenson

    My name is Billy Stephenson. I have driven a truck for 38 years. look in the truck stops. They are full by 5 pm The states have been forced to let us park on the ramps.The split sleeper is their for a reason.I am the driver who got Yellow in deep trouble. The answer in my opinion is keep the 14 hour rule, but allow an extension of 2 hours if the driver is down for 4 hours, to a total of 16 hours. Allow an extension of 3 hours if the driver is down 5 hours, for a total of 17 hours. Allow an extension of 4 hours if the driver is down 6 hours totaling 18 hours. Allow an extension of 6 hours if the driver is down 7 hours totaling 20 hours. allow an 8 hour extension if the driver is down 8 hours (no penalty). This is in the sleeper obviously. Continue to allow 8 and 2 just as it is. I have had to set at docks 7 hours but under 8 too many times. It takes a while to relax after stopping however. My kidneys are real good at waking up before 8 hours is up. Do I get an amen?

  6. William lorch

    I think a driver should be able to shut his clock off while he’s loading or unloadibe able to split his Sleeper Berth and be able to stop and take a nap without running into his drive time or to avoid rush-hour traffic

  7. Jeff Buckner

    The rules are causing drivers to work longer hours for the same or less money. Who will sign up for that? Drivers can not plan to miss rush hour traffic in big cities because they cannot stop the clock and move on when traffic clears. This rule has cities and highways way more dangerous. I have drivers that spend as much as 6 hours getting loaded and unloaded and not making money with the clock still ticking. ELD’s are a great tool, just help these guys out so they can make a honest living. They know when they need sleep-let these guys split the sleeper birth and keep this country moving. We also need the younger generation to get involved for driver shortage. If all the hear is negative things, who will want to drive a truck? Help us out!!!

  8. Justin

    I feel the Hours of Service need to be STRICTLY 12 working with an 11 Driving maximum then 10 Off no exceptions. My company thinks its ok to do what they want. I have an hour commute on the front and back side of my shift.

  9. William Burd

    I’m looking forward to the new hours of service changes, Being able to stop my clock up to 3 hours will help me because I do sit a lot when I’m waiting for my load ,, Plus it will come in handy during bad weather or accidents ahead…
    I’m also looking forward to the 30 break changes…..


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