WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has proposed a new string of changes to its Hours-of-Service rules for commercial drivers, though the group is still considering whether to drop the maximum daily driving time from 11 hours to 10. Both times are currently under consideration according to the December 2010 HOS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, released today, though FMCSA currently favours a 10-hour limit, according to a news release.
The FMSCA has also added limitations to its current 34-hour restart rule, which allows drivers to restart their weekly clock after 34 consecutive off-duty hours. The proposed rule would require the 34-hour off-duty period to include two periods between midnight and 6 a.m. Drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.
“A fatigued driver has no place behind the wheel of a large commercial truck,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We are committed to an Hours-of-Service rule that will help create an environment where commercial truck drivers are rested, alert and focused on safety while on the job.”
Additionally, the proposal would require commercial truck drivers to complete all driving within a 14-hour workday, and to complete all on-duty work-related activities within 13 hours to allow for at least a one hour break.
Other key provisions include the option of extending a driver’s daily shift to 16 hours twice a week to accommodate for issues such as loading and unloading at terminals or ports, and allowing drivers to count some time spent parked in their trucks toward off-duty hours.
The publication of this proposed rule coincides with the timeframe established in a court settlement agreement that requires FMCSA to publish a final HOS rule by July 26.
A copy of the rulemaking proposal is available on FMCSA’s Web site at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/HOS. The rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register on Dec. 29 and the public will then have 60 days to comment. Information on how to submit comments and evidentiary material is available at http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/HOS.
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