The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced this week that a on changes to truck driver hours-of-service () rules on September 14.

This announcement follows an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) issued by the on August 23.

In the ANPRM, FMCSA officials said that the organization is holding this hearing to seek public comment on four specific aspects of the HOS rules for which the FMCSA is considering changes, including:

  • the short-haul HOS limit;
  • the HOS exception for adverse driving conditions;
  • the 30-minute rest break provision; and
  • the split-sleeper berth rule to allow drivers to split their required time in the sleeper berth

And it also requested public comment on petitions for rulemaking from the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and FMCSA said it encourages vendors of electronic logging devices (ELDs) to participate to address potential implementation issues should changes to the HOS rules be made.

FMCSA said that OOIDA petitioned the agency to amend HOS rules to allow drivers to take a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for up to three consecutive hours if the driver is off-duty. The OOIDA petition also requests that FMCSA eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement, which the FMCSA has identified as an area of consideration for rulemaking. TruckerNation petitioned the FMCSA to revise the prohibition against driving after the 14th hour of the beginning of the work shift, allow drivers to use multiple off-duty periods of three hours or longer in lieu of having 10 consecutive hours off-duty, and eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement.

The ANPRM also stated that “the introduction of electronic logging devices and their ability to accurately record compliance with hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for drivers of commercial motor vehicles have prompted numerous requests from Congress and the FMCSA to consider revising certain HOS provisions.”

While the outcome from this upcoming listening session remains to be seen, trucking industry executives have long maintained that any changes to HOS – no matter what their apparent benefits – is costly to them. That’s because those changes require months of advancing planning, possibly adding potential costs in terms of additional equipment and drivers. Shippers also face the difficult situation of not knowing exactly how far and how long truck drivers can legally operate, affecting their Just-in-Time inventory planning and delivery schedules.

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