Hours-of-service regulations for truckers are attracting attention again, with some dead set against any relaxation in the rules and others fighting to give truckers more flexibility.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association reports that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration now plans to publish a revised hours-of-service proposal by July 31, citing a reference in the Department of Transportation’s Significant Rulemaking Report for June.

From a news release published by OOIDA:

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 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, a group supported by insurance and consumer interests, 
is urging Congress to reject efforts to diminish the rule requiring the use of ELDs and to further erode HOS regulations.

From the group’s website:


Driver fatigue is a well-known CMV safety problem. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly cited fatigue as a major contributor to truck crashes and included reducing fatigue related crashes in every edition of its Most Wanted List of safety changes since 2016. Currently, truck drivers are permitted to drive up to 11 hours per day for a total of 77 hours per week. These grueling hours can lead to cumulative fatigue and devastating safety consequences. Self-reports of fatigue, which almost always underestimate the problem, document that fatigue in truck operations is a significant issue.

 In a 2006 driver survey prepared for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), “65 percent [of drivers] reported that they often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving” and almost half (47.6 percent) of drivers said they had fallen asleep while driving in the previous year. Yet, certain segments of the trucking industry continue to push for further weakening of hours-of-service (HOS) safety regulations.

One of the most effective tools to help prevent driver fatigue is the use of Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) to record drivers’ HOS. Paper logs are frequently referred to as “comic books” throughout the industry because of the ease in falsifying actual driving and work time. The FMCSA estimates that requiring ELDs will save 26 lives, prevent over 500 injuries and avoid over 1,800 crashes annually. In addition, the U.S. DOT estimates the annualized net benefits of adopting ELDs to be over $1 billion. Congress, recognizing the benefits of ELDs, mandated their use as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act.[15] In 2015, the FMCSA delivered on this Congressional directive and issued a rule requiring the use of ELDs which went into effect in December 2017. FMCSA reports that since the implementation of the ELD rule, the percentage of driver inspections with an HOS violation has decreased 39 percent.[16] Despite this compelling evidence, broad support and an established final rule, a vocal minority continues to object to the use of this technology and is filing meritless applications for exemptions from compliance with the federal law with the FMCSA in a concerted effort to undermine the regulation.

A barrage of legislative and regulatory proposals also continue to target ELDs and HOS rules. For instance, last year FMCSA issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that would dismantle several important safeguards in the HOS regulations including the 30-minute rest break provision. Advocates is especially concerned that the FMCSA also eliminated enhanced driver protections for meal and rest breaks by issuing a decision preempting California law. This egregious agency overstep should be reversed. Further, special interests continue to push Congress to expand working and driving limits or create carve-outs under the guise of “flexibility.”  These are nothing more than attempts to force drivers to work even more demanding schedules.


TK: With the new proposed rule reportedly only weeks away, we’ll soon see the direction FMSCA is taking on relaxing hours of service regulations — and the blowback that the administration will surely see from highway safety groups and some members of Congress.

 
Comments
Submitted by greg on Wed, 07/10/2019 - 11:55

we need alot more truck parking, eld are a bad ideam forcing me to drive whenever and under any conditions, you want me to be rested? fine the shipper and recievers for detetion!! ask any trucker how many hours thet spend waiting to load unload!! as the eld clock is ticking!!

Submitted by William steele on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 07:56

Agree 100% the shippers appt times are a joke and they run your clock out !

In reply to by greg (not verified)

Submitted by William steele on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 08:01

Many of the closed or abandoned weigh stations could be made into parking lots, we NEED more parking parking with Hos rules it's hard to find parking and many of us are forced to park on entrance ramps

In reply to by greg (not verified)

Submitted by greg on Wed, 07/10/2019 - 11:55

we need alot more truck parking, eld are a bad ideam forcing me to drive whenever and under any conditions, you want me to be rested? fine the shipper and recievers for detetion!! ask any trucker how many hours thet spend waiting to load unload!! as the eld clock is ticking!!

Submitted by Eric on Wed, 07/24/2019 - 15:53

I somewhat agree,the 30 min break should be left up to the driver within his day,not you have to within first 8 hrs.as long as he does shows one.but I do agree the 14 should stop like the old days,we cant control car accidents,weather,NOW construction,they shut down highways,lanes of traffic,etc...I've sat for 2 hours,cause of construction.who paid I did.i had to reschedule the load cause I was late.

Submitted by Ed on Wed, 07/24/2019 - 18:16

I really think these lawmakers that are in the truck industry lawmaking. they should be qualified in driving truck for at least 2 years. That way they know exactly what we go through. I believe that if these lawmakers were to drive truck they would Help the trucking business not destroy it.

Submitted by Jean MC on Sat, 07/27/2019 - 12:13

As a retired driver & parent of a current driver, I have been following this debate. I concur with all statements previously entered and add more from my experience.
1. Insisting a driver be on a "time clock" schedule is unrealistic expectation, the trucking industry runs on it's own schedule which DOES NOT fit into most labor regulation structures, that is part of why flexible HOS came into being. You CAN'T pigeon hole a driver into the same class as a factory worker drone!

2. Allowing a driver to "listen" to their bio-rhythum is the best way for them to avoid fatigue! With the ELD aka electronic time clock, it forces a driver into situations which promote unsafe decisions in order to move the freight. Many a day, my son has ran into what we call 'Dukes of Hazard' which is down to the last 30 min trying to find a safe location to park for the next 10 hrs.
3. With the very restrictive nature of the incessant time clock, ANY interference in the smooth transition of progress as mentioned in road conditions, shipper/receiver delays, accidents, weather, & many more upset the apple cart. This causes stress which has its own dominoe affect!

4. Sometimes just the boredom of long days of open road driving, not being able to rest when you lay down, accumulated stress, mentally replaying events of the day, worries abt home life & more interfere with quality sleep!

5. Those "experts" who have NEVER set foot in a truck but profess to know exactly what the drivers job is, needs to experience a week in the trenches. You CAN NOT learn from a book, research studies & the like, what a driver's daily duty life is like, you have to experience it!

6. Previous paper log HOS, allowed for bad weather, for long delays at shipper/receiver locations, the need to 'take a power nap', you're not 'on duty' all the time at a destination point, couple this with the stress created by the mental though of 'my time clock is clicking away' adds to the many small accumulative stresses.

Every part of a driver's daily duty life adds ways which brings on some form of fatigue. Individual drivers find various ways for dealing with this part of the job. Adding a robot time clock just adds to this bucket of issues which comprise a driver's day.
Even the Tach-o-graph (mechanical ELD of the 1960's) went the way of the Dodo bird.. for many of the same reasons being debated or argued now.. FLEXIBILITY is the major factor needed in the logistics industry. You can not expect this 24/7 industry to fit into a neat category slot of "one size fits all" along with the people who make it run! Everyday persons do not realize, the trucking industry is a rolling warehouse system.
Bringing back some of the flexibility of the paper log rules will give drivers this greatly needed flexibility!

The HOS argument will continue with heated debate from all sides!

Submitted by Mark on Thu, 08/01/2019 - 07:46

What happened to July 31st?

Submitted by Keith on Sun, 08/25/2019 - 19:23

The ELD forces us to drive fatigue and in bad weather and driving conditions. We need 12 hours of driving time and 8 hours of sleep time and no 30 minute break which should be decided by the driver to stop for a rest room break or lunch time.

Submitted by Keith on Sun, 08/25/2019 - 19:23

The ELD forces us to drive fatigue and in bad weather and driving conditions. We need 12 hours of driving time and 8 hours of sleep time and no 30 minute break which should be decided by the driver to stop for a rest room break or lunch time.