FMCSA fills in details on second hours-of-service listening session

August 30, 2019

Land Line Staff

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A second public listening session on FMCSA’s proposal for hours-of-service reform is scheduled for Sept. 17 in Washington, D.C.

The listening session will give truck drivers and other industry stakeholders an opportunity to present comments, views and relevant research regarding the agency’s plan to provide commercial drivers more flexibility within the hours-of-service rules.

On Aug. 14, the FMCSA announced its notice of proposed rulemaking on hours-of-service. The agency proposed five changes.

  • The limits for short-haul operations would increase from 12 to 14 hours and from 100 air miles to 150.
  • The adverse driving provision would allow a driver up to a 16-hour window within which to complete up to 13 hours of driving if the driver encounters adverse conditions.
  • The 30-minute break requirement would be modified, prohibiting driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least one 30-minute change in duty status. This would allow 30 minutes of on-duty, not driving time, off-duty time, or sleeper-berth time to qualify as a break.”
  • In addition to splits of 10/0 and 8/2, drivers would be allowed a split-sleeper option of 7/3.
  • Drivers would have the option of stopping the clock a minimum of 30 minutes and up to three hours consecutively once per duty period.

The listening session will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time on Sept. 17 at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE in Washington, D.C.

A previous listening session was held in August at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas. OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh spoke at the listening session and suggested some tweaks to the proposal.

OOIDA has lobbied to eliminate the 30-minute break but would like to see drivers have the ability to split the time up if it’s going to remain a requirement.

“If it’s not going to go away … why can’t we break that up into two 15-minute breaks or a 10 and a 20? With ELDs, especially, you can log every second that the truck is moving and not moving. So wouldn’t it be better if they stopped and took three 10-minute breaks or two 15-minute breaks if they wanted to run that way? Why does it have to be a whole 30 minutes?”

Pugh also used his time to encourage FMCSA to do something to help prevent motor carriers from using the hours-of-service changes to coerce truckers into working longer days.

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“I ask that you look at your National Consumer Complaint Database, where guys can comment about coercion,” Pugh said. “Because I know at OOIDA we have filed tons of these complaints about carriers coercing drivers. There has never been any action on any of them that we know. We hope if this goes forward and you do (allow drivers to stop the clock for three hours), one thing you will address is that site, so that if drivers are being coerced they can report it to you, and there will be action taken against a carrier that would do that do a driver.”

The 45-day comment period on the proposal opened on Aug. 22, and comments can be made at the Regulations.gov website by using docket number FMCSA-2018-0248 until Oct. 7.

OOIDA is encouraging all drivers to offer the agency its feedback.

“We are definitely encouraging all of our members and all drivers – whether they are a member or not – to please file comments,” Pugh said.

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