The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has published a final rule updating hours of service (HOS) rules to increase safety on America’s roadways by updating existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers.
These updated hours of service rules are based on the thousands of comments received from the American people and will improve safety on America’s roadways and strengthen the nation’s motor carrier industry.
FMCSA’s final ruling makes the following changes to the existing HOS rules:
Short Haul Exception: This changes the short-haul exception by lengthening certain drivers’ maximum on-duty period from 12 to 14 hours and extending the distance limit from 100 to 150 air miles.
Adverse Conditions Exemption: This will modify the adverse driving conditions exception by extending by 2 hours the maximum window during which driving is permitted.
Split Sleeper-Berth: Drivers may now split their required 10 hours off duty into at least 7 consecutive hours in the sleeper-berth and no less than 2 consecutive hours, either off duty or in the sleeper-berth. Neither period would count against the driver’s 14-hour driving window.
30 Minute Rest Break: This rule increases flexibility, allowing 8 hours of uninterrupted driving time before a driver is required to take a 30 minute break, rather than 8 hours after coming on-duty. The break could also be satisfied by a driver using on duty, not driving status, rather than off duty status.
FMCSA cited flexibility as the driving force behind these changes which will go into effect 120 days after the rule is published in the Federal Register next week.
FMCSA’s final rule is crafted to improve safety on the nation’s roadways. The rule changes do not increase driving time and will continue to prevent CMV operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute break.
The new hours of service rule will have an implementation date of 120 days after publication in the Federal Register. The complete final rule is available here. FMCSA has also released a one-page summary of the ruling and a side by side comparison of the new and previous HOS regulations.