FMCSA denies petitions for new HOS rule

WASHINGTON, (Aug. 26, 2003) — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has denied eight petitions to alter the final hours-of-service final rule that was published on April 28. The new rules will go into effect on January 4, 2004.

The petitions to change the final rule included requests to allow off-duty time to extend the 14 hour on-duty limit; to exempt utility workers and to change the definition of commercial motor vehicles.

In its announcement, the FMCSA said it compared each petition to the core goals in the hours-of-service rulemaking: improved safety; greater opportunity for rest; movement toward the body’s 24-hour clock; and practicality, uniformity, and enforceability of the rule. The agency denied the petitions after what it termed “careful consideration of the petitioners’ arguments.”

“The new hours-of-service rule strikes a balance between reasonableness, consistency, and enforceability, while improving safety and protecting all highway users,” FMCSA Administrator Annette M. Sandberg said. “Recognizing that carriers, drivers, and law enforcement must prepare for the Jan. 4, 2004, compliance date, we have denied the petitions in sufficient time to allow these groups to meet the compliance deadline.”

The new final rule addresses the issue of driver fatigue and sets standards for driving and off-duty time. The previous rules had been in effect with few changes for more than 60 years.

This final rule can be viewed by searching for docket number FMCSA-97-2350 at The rule is document number 23305 on page 465 of the table of contents. The letters to the petitioners are in this docket.


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