FMCSA proposes changes to Hours-of-Service rules

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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 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

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  • No disrespect intended towards Ray Lahood as I am sure he means well but he seems to have his head firmly implanted in his rear end. The hours of service are already complicatwd enough to coprehend without these rediculous proposals!

  • The FMCSA should listen instead of dictate the hours of service. Go ask a driver or group of drivers or union of drivers how can we make life easier, safer and cost effective to allow sleep, customer service, quality of life and load planning and logistics. I don’t want to be stranded in parking lots because of bad planning or uncoperative shippers and receivers that refuse to work with a driver in regards to hours of service rather than against the driver with no consideration to the driver. Pissing in bottles and craping in a bucket has no part in the trucking community. Trucks are not Winnebago’s and should not be considered as such. Forcing drivers to run team to meet regulations or sit for unheard of amouts of time is costing companies in time, drivers, loss of freight, loss of revenue and added pressure to use other ways and means to meet the bottom line. The bottom line is pickup or deliver the freight in the time frame as agreed for the price as agreed. It’s pretty simple, big or small the company – just get it done. After running Canadian and US hours of service I can say the Canadian hours are far more productive for the companies and driver friendly than any proposed new and improved mess of disfunctional nightmare of endless adaptations and changes. Just stop the insanity. Set out the Canadian rules North American wide for 3 years as a test to see if the driver and the companies involved are making money, running safe, running legal and helping solo drivers improve their quality of life?

  • It is unfortunate that the only winners in this situation will be the lawyers as this will be before the courts for years. It is my opinion that everyone will be confused by the proposed rules and the interpretation of these proposed rules will vary from state to state and probably even from scale to scale within a state. Freight will be late and as usual, it will be the driver’s fault. Now more trucks will be required to move the same amount of freight as the driver will not have enough time to complete his task and with more trucks, the consumption of fuel will increase and with everything else, costs will go up adding to inflation which will be passed on to the everyday consumer who is just starting to recover from the economic hubris of the last few years.