In response to the HOS issues highlighted during the ELD mandate rollout, and in an effort to improve safety and flexibility to CMV drivers, the new hours-of-service rule changes effective September 29th.
“Right now, there’s no effort to abate or hold off on Sept. 29,” said the agency’s Acting Administrator, Jim Mullen, in FMCSA’s online Truck Safety Summit held Aug. 5.
In August of 2019 the FMCSA released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) related to the hours of service rules and regulations and were also taking public comment on the DOT hours-of-service proposal.
On March 2, 2020, the FMCSA announced that they have filed the rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is one of the final steps before the rule is published in the Federal Register.
When will the HOS rule take effect?
Drivers could begin operating under the new HOS regulations on September 29, 2020 after the rule was debuted on May 14, 2020.
During this time, ELD providers will have to implement software changes to reflect the new hours of service rules.
The only thing that could delay the HOS rules is a $1.5 trillion transportation and infrastructure bill passed by the House in July.
According to the bill, it would require that the FMCSA perform a comprehensive review of the regulations to determine their safety impact and give an additional public comment period, delaying HOS rule changes for months.
What are the new hours of service rules?
There are 4 major changes to be included in the hours of service reforms.
For detailed examples of what would or would not qualify as a violation…
Download FMCSA HOS Updates Guide
Changes will lengthen the current 100 air-mile exemption of the drivers’ maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours, and extending the short-haul radius from 100 air-miles to 150 air-miles, to be consistent with the 150 air-mile exemption of trucks with a GVWR of 26,000 lbs. or less.
Drivers under the short-haul exemption are not required to keep records of duty status.
Adverse driving conditions exception:
Changes will extend both their drive-time limit and their on-duty window by 2 hours if they encounter adverse conditions such as weather or traffic congestion.
According to the FMCSA, the provision will allow drivers to either sit and wait out the conditions or to slowly drive through them with caution.
30-minute break requirement:
Changes will allow drivers to satisfy the required break using on-duty (not driving status) rather than off-duty, and requiring it within their first 8 hours of drive time, rather than their first 8 hours on-duty.
For example, if you are on-duty refueling your truck and it takes 30 minutes, this could qualify as your 30-minute rest break.
Sleeper berth exception:
Changes will allow more flexibility for drivers to split the required 10 hours off-duty into two periods.
7 and 3 split: Must contain at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and 3 hours off duty. The shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.
8 and 2 split: Must contain at least 8 consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and no less than 2 consecutive hours off duty. The shorter period will pause the rolling on-duty clock.
Unlike the proposal issued last August, the hours of service changes do not include the option for drivers to pause their 14-hour clock for up to three hours while off-duty to extend the 14-hour clock.
Mullen said the agency deemed the seven-hour, three-hour split “sufficiently flexible” to that end, given with the new change the shorter period in any sleeper split will in fact stop the rolling duty clock, unlike the current split-sleeper rules.
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What does this mean for fleets and truck drivers?
These changes provide an important time for fleets to update their driver training. CNS offers a variety of in-person and online training courses for the specific needs or weaknesses of your company or its’ drivers.
Fleets that incorporate training alongside driver qualification, drug testing and fuel tax management can create a complete picture of fleet safety.
Our complete safety program—Proactive Safety Management (PSM) Program—will complement or become your current safety department, without the cost of employing the many staff members it takes to run an effective safety program.