FMCSA proposes new changes to Hours of Service regulations

The FMCSA has released its proposed changes to Hours of Service (HOS) regulations that are intended to give drivers more flexibility. The agency issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, which will be followed by a 45-day comment period, and eventually a final rule will be written. Below is a summary of the proposed changes:

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  • Split sleeper berth time - Drivers of trucks with sleeper berths are currently required to have a 10-hour off-duty period for sleeping. The new rule would allow drivers to split the time into two periods. One period must be least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period must be at least 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Furthermore, neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour on-duty window.
  • Increased flexibility for 30-minute break - Currently drivers are required to take at least a 30-minute break after 8 hours of being on duty, but the clock remains running for the driver's 14-hour on-duty limit .The proposed change would allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes (but not more than 3 hours) that would pause the driver’s 14-hour window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off duty at the end of the work shift. This would be a help to drivers if they get delayed at a shipper or receiver. For example, a driver could take a 3-hour break at a shipper's facility and it would pause the 14-hour clock.
  • Increased time for adverse driving conditions - Current HOS rules allow drivers to take an additional 2 hours of driving time during adverse conditions, such as snow, sleet, fog, etc. The new rule would allow an additional 2 hours of driving time (4 hours total) in adverse conditions.
  • Exemption for short-haul operations - In order to be exempt from using an ELDs, drivers must currently operate within 100 air miles of their work location and return to that location within 12 consecutive hours. The new rule would increase the distance to 150 miles and the time period to 14 hours.  

For more detailed information on these proposed changes, you can download the complete notice of proposed rulemaking from the FMCSA.  

Drivers: What do you think of these proposed changes to Hours of Service regulations? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Pat Pitz

Pat Pitz is the editor of the DAT Solutions freight broker newsletter. He has nearly 20 years experience as a professional writer and editor. Before joining DAT, he spent 8 years at a Portland advertising and public relations agency, where he wrote newsletters and other content for a variety of high-profile clients, including several in the trucking industry.



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