Department of Transportation explores trucking rule changes

Department of Transportation explores trucking rule changes

The agency is initiating the process to potentially modify the Hours of Service rules now in place for drivers.

September 10, 2018

On Aug. 23, 2018, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) published a rulemaking process that is aimed at reforming specific areas of the current hours-of-service regulation. The hours-of-service (HOS) regulation was enacted to limit the total operating hours a commercial truck driver works on duty. The FMCSA will be examining four areas of the existing regulation. Once decided, the new rules, will be published as an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

Also read: A bump in the roadWhat you need to know about the ELD mandate and how it impacts the trucking industry, plant deliveries and your bottom line.

The agency has scheduled a public listening session for Sept. 14 to gather input. The four specific areas “under consideration for revision” by the agency include:

*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 2 hours when a truck driver encounters adverse driving conditions;

*Revising the current mandatory 30-minute break for truck drivers after 8 hours of continuous driving; and

*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.

Also read: Additional trucking guidance issued on agricultural exemption - The guidance provided more clarity on situations where time would not count against a commercial driver’s available hours of service.

The agency encourages vendors of electronic logging devices (ELDs) to participate to address potential implementation issues should changes to the HOS rules be made.

The listening session will take place at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Washington, D.C. It will be streamed live for the benefit of those not able to attend in person. Interested attendees will be able to present comments, views, and relevant research, and all comments will be transcribed and placed in the rulemaking docket for the FMCSA's consideration. Visit this page for more information on attending or watching the livestream.

During the livestream, attendees can send questions to

When and where
The listening session will take place Sept. 14 in Washington, D.C., at the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Washington, D.C. 20590. The session will begin at 1 p.m. (EDT) and end at 3 p.m., or earlier, if all participants wishing to express their views have done so.

Matt McClellan is Managing Editor of Nursery Management magazine.