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FMCSA seeking comment on proposed HOS changes in the U.S.


WASHINGTON D.C. – Hours of service (HOS) rules might be changing to add more flexibility says Federal Motor Carrier Safety (FMCSA) administrator Ray Martinez.

The FMCSA put out an advanced notice of proposed rule making and opened a 30-day comment period on HOS issues yesterday aimed to get input on the proposed changes from stakeholders and members of the public.

The proposed changes will come in four areas including expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty; extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions; revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8-hours of continuous driving; and reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth.

The administration is also seeking public comment and relevant data on two recently submitted petitions filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) and TruckerNation. The petitions are requesting relief from the 14-hour on-duty limitation and the 10-hour off-duty requirement.

OOIDA President Todd Spencer says his group is proud they got the ball rolling on some of the changes being proposed and is looking forward to working with the FMCSA.

“Our members have continuously told federal officials that current regulations are overly complex, provide no flexibility, and in no way reflect the physical capabilities or limitations of individual drivers.”

Martinez says the proposed changes are coming after hearing from industry insiders who have asked for more room to maneuver through their day in light of increasing traffic, longer waits at docks and ports, and mandatory electronic logging devices.

“That’s what we kept hearing ‘flexibility, flexibility, flexibility,’” he said.

The FMCSA says it’s keeping the proposed changes as general as possible during the comment period to encourage those in the industry to give feedback and put forward ideas on what the final changes should look like.

In a press conference on the issue Martinez issued a reminder that there is no guarantee that the changes would go forward after the comment period and encouraged those with something to say to speak up during the comment period.

“We’ve got 30 days here where we’re really looking for people to step up,” he said. “This has been deliberately very non-specific to provide a framework… We want to see what kind of interest there is out there.”

As part of the public comment period the FMCSA will be hosting public listening sessions – the first is being held in Dallas, Texas on Aug. 24.

More information on the changes and how to submit comments can be found here.


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13 Comments » for FMCSA seeking comment on proposed HOS changes in the U.S.
  1. Shawn huff says:

    We have spent time and money to come to these rules already. The failure of our government process is its perpetual ability to focus the attention of it’s people on subjects previously visited. We have seen less fatigue related accidents since a mandatory 30 min break and controlled 8 and 2 split sleeper birth that exists now. Besides older driver require less sleep ( see many studies on elder sleeping patterns) Those who can’t sleep that long should use the extra time getting some much needed exercise. Splitting the sleeper birth will lead to poor sleeping habits for more truckers.

  2. Mark Trnchik sr says:

    Please institute Canadian hours of service. This gives driver flexibility to take much needed resrT break when tired not when scheduled. Thank you for opportunity to comment. I hope fm said will consider this.

  3. Bill Self says:

    About me I have been driving for 40 yrs accident free. I do not know what the safety numbers show but I feel my risk is higher due to 14hr clock and I really do not understand why I need 10 hr off who sleeps for 10 hrs. How many man hrs are being waisted due to 10hr breaks.
    If I get drowsy or feel fatigued during the 14 hr clock to bad have to go how is that safe . I could go on and on about how I disagree with the present HOS rules. I wish that the person’s that make the rulings for this industry would actually listen to the safe drivers in our industry. What has worked for me for over 40 years of accident free driving is knowledge that they should be listening to. There are so many variables in our day that with no flexibility in our HOS increase my risk on the road.

  4. Nikki Garrett says:

    I have been out on these roads 22 years driving my truck accident and ticket free, doing my part of keeping our country food supply going. The 14 hour clock and the 30 minute break is not helping at all. It is not safe and I am all about saftey. I am not a machine. I am a person that takes a breath. I think that you people should go out in a truck with real drivers and see what life is like out here for us. We are being over ruled and regulated with our time. I do not need 10 hours to sleep, never have never will. I think some big changes need to be made that is for the professional truck drivers.

  5. CHARLES W JAMES says:

    Plain and simple: GET RID OF THE 14-HOUR CLOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Dean Martinsen says:

    2 things… 1 bring back the split sleeper provision and 2 get rid of the 14 hr rule. This would fix the problems!!!

  7. Tim Havert says:

    I would like to see the hours of service changed to a 12 hour period on and 12 hours off and split the 12 hours off .Get rid of the 8 day 70 hours and 7 day 60 hours rule ,keep the 34 hour restart

  8. David F. says:

    30 yrs exp. only the driver knows when he’s tired. Since ELD I have been forced to drive in fog,heavy downpours,rush hour,and having to sleep in unsafe places. We do not have enough time to eat a decent meal and fuel with the 14 hr. rule.

  9. RC Jones says:

    I starting drive commercially in 1970. The Hours of Service rules that the industry was using then seemed to have worked without a problem. 10 Hrs.driving/8hrs. off duty. After a driver had worked 15hrs.(driving and on duty combined) he/she was required to take at least 8hrs. off duty. No 14 hour window.
    I don’t know what the solution is for today’s problem but if the FMCSA would look back to the 10/8 rule and use it as model with maybe a few adjustments we could devise a plan that everyone could work with.

    Thanks for considering my comment.

  10. Harbinder says:

    I driving truck 5 yers so Inside truck you can not sleep 10 hours only 5 to 8 hour sleep and need 14 hours drive time and no need 34 hour off duty after 70 hours Need after 90 hour 12 to 15 hours off duty and no need E l D because e l d is electronic machine human body is not electronic machine Thank you

  11. Khushvinder Kailey says:

    We have spent time and money to come to these rules already. The failure of our government process is its perpetual ability to focus the attention of it’s people on subjects previously visited. We have seen less fatigue related accidents since a mandatory 30 min break and controlled 8 and 2 split sleeper birth that exists now. Besides older driver require less sleep ( see many studies on elder sleeping patterns) Those who can’t sleep that long should use the extra time getting some much needed exercise. Splitting the sleeper birth will lead to poor sleeping habits for more truckers.

  12. Manjinder says:

    I think need to change window time and sleep splits

  13. Robert DuVall says:

    Drivers are about safety. Our safety and everyone else on the road. The safest thing is for us to drive when we feel that we can and rest when we know we need it. Not when we are told to.

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