Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Releases New Hours of Service Rulemaking

August 22, 2019

From Seth Waugh, Associate Vice President-Government Relations, National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors (NAW)

Last week the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued their notice of proposed rulemaking on updates to the current hours of service rules. Based on NAW’s initial assessment it appears that FMCSA agreed with many of the points NAW made in our submitted comments on October 9, 2018 (click here to read NAW’s comments). 

The key modifications to the existing hours of service rules are:

  • Changes the short-haul exemption to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the on-duty period from 12 hours to 14 hours and extending the distance limit from 100 airmiles to 150 airmiles;
  • Modifies the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted;
  • Gives increased flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to 8 hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes. This change allows the break to be satisfied by a driver using duty, not driving status, rather than off duty;
  • Modifies the sleeper berth exception to allow drivers to split their 10-hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the drivers 14-hour driving window; and
  • Allows one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours, that would pause a driver’s 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off duty at the end of the work shift.

Additionally, last week NAW submitted another set of comments to FMCSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking seeking information on how to establish a pilot program for non-military drivers who are under the age of 21 to obtain a commercial driver’s license for interstate commerce. Click here to read NAW’s comments.

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