FMCSA Issues Proposed Rule on Hours-of-Service Requirements for Commercial Truck Drivers
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today issued a regulatory proposal that would revise hours-of-service (HOS) requirements for commercial truck drivers.
The publication of this proposed rule coincides with the timeframe established in a court settlement agreement that requires FMCSA to publish a final HOS rule by July 26, 2011.
This new HOS proposal would retain the “34-hour restart” provision allowing drivers to restart the clock on their weekly 60 or 70 hours by taking at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. However, the restart period would have to include two consecutive off-duty periods from midnight to 6:00 a.m. Drivers would be allowed to use this restart only once during a seven-day period.
Additionally the proposal would require commercial truck drivers to complete all driving within a 14-hour workday, and to complete all on-duty work-related activities within 13 hours to allow for at least a one hour break. It also leaves open for comment whether drivers should be limited to 10 or 11 hours of daily driving time, although FMCSA currently favors a 10-hour limit.
“In January, we began this rulemaking process by hosting five public listening sessions with stakeholders across the country,” said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. “This proposed rule provides another opportunity for the public to weigh in on a safety issue that impacts everyone on our roadways.”
Driving hours are regulated by federal HOS rules, which are designed to prevent commercial vehicle-related crashes and fatalities by prescribing on-duty and rest periods for drivers.
Commercial truck drivers who violate this proposed rule would face civil penalties of up to $2,750 for each offense. Trucking companies that allow their drivers to violate the proposal’s driving limits would face penalties of up to $11,000 for each offense.
Other key provisions include the option of extending a driver’s daily shift to 16 hours twice a week to accommodate for issues such as loading and unloading at terminals or ports, and allowing drivers to count some time spent parked in their trucks toward off-duty hours.
“TIA will continue to participate in the hours of service rulemaking process at FMCSA. The current hours of service rules have resulted in one of the safest periods of American transport. We know that FMCSA seeks to enhance safety while allowing the industry to meet economic demands. We look forward to reviewing the proposed rules and working with the agency and the rest of the industry,” said TIA president Robert Voltmann.
Click here to read copy of the rulemaking proposal on FMCSA’s Web site. The rulemaking will be published in the Federal Register on December 29 and the public will then have 60 days to comment. Information on how to submit comments and evidentiary material is available here.
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