Hours-of-service proposal projects to publish July 31

July 1, 2019

Mark Schremmer

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July 31 is the new projected date for when the FMCSA’s revised hours-of-service proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register, according to the Department of Transportation’s Significant Rulemaking Report for June.

The notice of proposed rulemaking, which is promised to provide more flexibility within the hours-of-service regulations, was sent to the Office of Management and Budget on March 28. As of Monday, July 1, the proposed rule was still listed as “pending review.”

Truck drivers are eager to see the proposal as there has been a growing push for hours-of-service reform since the electronic logging mandate went into effect in December 2017.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association helped start the discussion on hours-of-service reform when the trucking group submitted a petition to FMCSA in February 2018. 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 the agency to eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement.

FMCSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking about the hours of service in August 2018. The agency hosted five public listening sessions on the topic and received more than 5,200 comments. Many of the comments from truck drivers said the current regulations are too rigid and can force drivers to travel in unsafe weather conditions or extreme traffic.

While no definitive details of the revised hours of service have been revealed, U.S. DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and FMCSA Administrator Raymond Martinez have each promised an increase in flexibility.

After the notice of proposed rulemaking is published, there will be a comment period. The projected date for the end of the comment period is Sept. 16. However, July 31 and Sept. 16 are only projections. The original projected date for publication was May 8.

“I think a new ‘projected’ date is the key term,” Jay Grimes, OOIDA’s director of federal affairs, told OOIDA’s Land Line Now. “July 31 is probably a new ballpark date. It could mean sooner. Generally, it doesn’t seem like these rulemakings ever come out before the projected date, but it is possible. Otherwise, we’re looking at a few more weeks here.”

Mark Schremmer

Mark Schremmer, associate editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and nearly two decades of journalism experience to our staff.

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