Two years after the FMCSA officially started work on reforming the Hours Of Service (HOS) regulations for commercial truck drivers, the final rule has been issued. Four out of the five provisions that were laid out in the proposed revisions were implemented.
Announced on May 14th, the new rule won’t go into effect until 120 days after its publication in the Federal Register. In the meantime, safety advocates and some within the transportation industry will likely be making their displeasure known.
Here are the final revisions:
- The revised rule will allow a little more flexibility for the 30-minute rest break. Now even if they are on-duty, a trucker can count non-driving time towards their 30-minute break.
- Drivers who were looking for more flexibility on how they split up their sleep schedule got only a little extra wiggle room. Drivers will be able to split their required 10 hours off duty into either an 8/2 or 7/3 split.
- The exemption for adverse driving conditions has been extended by two hours. This will allow drivers up to a total of four additional hours of driving time on top of the 11-hour and 14-hour clocks.
- The short-haul exemption will allow for driver’s maximum on-duty time to increase from 12 to 14 hours. Additionally, the distance limit which qualifies a load as ‘short haul’ has increased from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
This means that the final proposed change, allowing a 4-hour “pause” on the 14-hour rule, has been abandoned.
According to the FMCSA, the final rule was created after taking into account all of the public comments that were submitted on the topic.
“This new final rule will improve safety for all motorists and increase flexibility for America’s truckers,” DOT Secretary Elaine Chao said. “This has been a deliberate and a careful process provided by the direct feedback we’ve had from truckers, carriers, safety advocates, law enforcement, and concerned residents and citizens.”
Large carriers seem satisfied with the changes, with both the ATA and TCA thanking the FMCSA for their work. TCA issued a statement saying that they were “very pleased.” ATA Chairman Randy Guillot issued a statement praising the rule as a “good example” of how government can craft a rule that “benefits the industry, specifically drivers, and maintains highway safety.”
You can view the final rule here.