The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is advancing a proposal that “modernizes current hours of service (HOS) regulations,” according to Ray Martinez, FMCSA Administrator.  He adds these changes were based on feedback from stakeholders and advanced by the U.S. DOT and the Trump Administration.  Five proposed modifications, he says, are aimed at improving safety and providing commercial drivers with greater flexibility.

Here’s what ACPA contractors had to say about the proposed modifications:

“This proposed rule changes continue the common-sense rule changes championed last year by the ACPA for trucks hauling batched concrete from the plant,” says David Howard, P.E., President & CEO of Koss Construction Co. (and 2nd Vice Chairman of the ACPA Board of Directors).  “In construction, and in the paving business in particular, interruptions in production happen and rule changes–like the proposed 30-minute break requirement being modified to qualify the drivers using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off duty status, for break times–help our people tremendously.”

Northern Improvement Co. adds, “The most exciting thing is the 100 miles to 150 air miles while crossing state lines.  Right now, we can only go 150 air miles if we stay in state. It is good that [the FMCSA is] looking at the 14 hour day–that is huge!  I hope they continue with the ‘short haul exemption’ with the proviso that no e-logs will be required.” 

FMCSA on Monday formally published the notice of rulemaking, which signals the beginning of an open comment period.  ACPA encourages members who may be impacted by the proposed modifications to comment. Comments may be added online at: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FMCSA-2018-0248-5400

The five proposed modifications include:

  • A change to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
  • Modifying the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • Increasing 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. The change also would allow the break to be satisfied by a driver using on-duty, not driving status, rather than off-duty. 
  • Modifying the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 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 driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
  • Allowing one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than 3 hours; this would pause a truck driver’s 14-hour driving window, as long as the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off-duty at the end of the work shift.

For more information, please click here to view HOS page prepared by the FMCA. 

As reported previously, ACPA previously requested exemptions to the HOS regulations.  The effort was led by ACPA staff, along the support of Association members, non-members, and AGC and ARTBA.  FMCSA granted two exemptions based on that request.  Click here to read the story (ACPA TODAY, Feb. 5).
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