Regulatory Reform in the United States: More Flexible Hours of Service on the Horizon

Apr 1, 2019

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At the Mid-American Trucking Show on March 29, Elaine Chao of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) officially announced that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is moving forward with the next steps in the Hours of Service reform. During her presentation, Chao confirmed that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking has been sent to the White House.

Although the details have not yet been released, Chao assured that the DOT has fully understood the interest of industry professionals in greater regulatory flexibility. The FMCSA said it was working to increase flexibility for commercial drivers while maintaining maximum safety for all motorists.

Last summer, the FMCSA surveyed the public to get their opinion on four main topics about hours of service. In total, the association received more than 5,200 comments. The subjects in question were:

  • Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8-hours of continuous driving; and
  • 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.
  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers;
  • Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;

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