The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed revising its Hours of Service Drivers rules for commercial truck drivers and is seeking comment on the changes.

"This proposed rule seeks to enhance safety by giving America's commercial drivers more flexibility while maintaining the safety limits on driving time," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

The proposal includes five main revisions:

  • Change the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers by lengthening the drivers' maximum on‑duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit within which the driver may operate from 100 air miles to 150 air miles.
  • Modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by two hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
  • Increase flexibility for the 30-minute break rule by tying the break requirement to eight hours of driving time without an interruption for at least 30 minutes, and allowing the break to be satisfied by a driver using "on duty, not driving" status, rather than "off duty" only.
  • Modify the sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods: one period of at least seven consecutive hours in the sleeper berth and the other period of not less than two consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14‑hour driving window.
  • Allow one off-duty break of at least 30 minutes, but not more than three hours, that would pause a truck driver's 14-hour driving window, provided the driver takes 10 consecutive hours off.

Driving Time Unchanged

"FMCSA wants drivers and all commercial vehicle stakeholders to share their thoughts and opinions on the proposed changes to hours of service rules that we are putting forward today," said FMCSA administrator Raymond Martine.

"We listened directly to the concerns of drivers for rules that are safer and have more flexibility—and we have acted.

"We encourage everyone to review and comment on this proposal."

FMCSA's proposed rule is estimated to provide $274 million in savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers.

The proposed revisions would not increase driving time and would continue to prevent CMV operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute change in duty status.

In addition, FMCSA's proposed rule on hours of service regulations is estimated to provide $274 million in savings for the U.S. economy and American consumers.

The trucking industry is a key component to the national economy—employing more than seven million people and moving 70% of the nation's domestic freight.

Here is more information on the proposed changes, including how to submit comments.

For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).