Hours-of-service comment period almost over

October 8, 2018

Land Line Staff


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has received nearly 4,200 comments regarding the agency’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding possible changes to the hours-of-service rules. However, the agency still wants more input.

Truck drivers and other industry stakeholders have through Wednesday, Oct. 10 to submit comments on the issue.

FMCSA also has hosted public listening sessions regarding the proposal in Dallas; Reno, Nev.; Joplin, Mo.; and Orlando, Fla. The final listening session is planned for Oct. 10 in Washington, D.C.

The advance notice of proposed rulemaking was issued in August after the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association submitted a petition to FMCSA in February. The petition asked for regulations to allow drivers to take a rest break once per 14-hour duty period for three consecutive hours if the driver is off-duty. OOIDA also asked for the agency to eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement.

On Aug. 23, FMCSA asked for comments and data about possible HOS changes regarding short-haul operations, adverse driving conditions, the 30-minute break, and split-sleeper berth.

In late September, OOIDA submitted its formal comments on the agency’s proposal. OOIDA said that providing more flexibility to professional drivers will benefit highway safety.

“The current HOS regulations that dictate a truck driver’s work schedule are overly complex, provide virtually no flexibility and in no way reflect the physical capabilities or limitations of individual drivers,” the Association wrote in comments signed by OOIDA President Todd Spencer. “They effectively force drivers to be on the road when they are tired or fatigued, during busy travel times such as morning and afternoon rush hour, during adverse weather and road conditions, or when they simply are not feeling well. The unyielding 14-hour clock pressures truckers to drive faster when they’re running short on available time.”

Flexibility has been a common theme throughout the thousands of comments submitted by truck drivers.

“The more flexibility drivers have, the safer the roads will be,” Zebulon Tingley wrote in an online comment. “By instituting these rules, drivers will be able to drive in a much more relaxed and safer environment, while still following the law.”

The clock is ticking to add your comment to the list. In addition to submitting online, drivers can send their comments though the mail or fax. If you do so, be sure to include the Docket ID at the top of the page, as well as your name. Then you can:

  • Fax comments with the Docket ID number (FMCSA-2018-0248) to 202-493-2251; OR
  • Mail comments with the Docket ID (FMCSA-2018-0248) number to:
    Docket Management Facility
    U.S. Department of Transportation
    Room W-12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
    Washington, DC 20590-0001

In addition, you can hand deliver comments between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to the ground floor of the U.S. Department of Transportation building, Room W-12-140, 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE, Washington, D.C.