The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and announced it is seeking public comment on revising four specific areas of current hours-of-service regulations, which limit the operating hours of commercial truck drivers.

Comments are due Sept. 24.

According to the FMCSA, the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking responds to widespread Congressional, industry, and citizen concerns and seeks feedback from the public to determine if revisions to HOS regulations may alleviate unnecessary burdens placed on drivers while maintaining safety on our nation’s highways and roads.

The four specific areas under consideration for revision are:

  • Expanding the current 100 air-mile “short-haul” exemption from 12 hours on-duty to 14 hours on-duty, in order to be consistent with the rules for long-haul truck drivers
  • Extending the current 14-hour on-duty limitation by up to two hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions
  • Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after eight hours of continuous driving
  • Reinstating the option for splitting up the required 10-hour off-duty rest break for drivers operating trucks that are equipped with a sleeper-berth compartment

In addition, the ANPRM seeks public comment and relevant data on two recently submitted petitions requesting regulatory relief from HOS rules (1) pertaining to the 14-hour on-duty limitation (filed by the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association) and (2) pertaining to the 10-hour off-duty requirement (filed by TruckerNation).

Electronic Logging Device Rule

Earlier this year, the congressionally mandated electronic logging device rule, which required most FMCSA-regulated motor carriers to convert their records from paper to an electronic format, became effective.

While compliance with the ELD rule has reached nearly 99% across the trucking industry, it has also brought focus to HOS regulations, especially regarding certain regulations having a significant impact on agriculture and other sectors of trucking.