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Friday, February 23, 2024

FMCSA Confirms HOS Changes

 The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has confirmed that there are major changes coming to the Hours of Service regulations for semi truck drivers.

At a recent conference, the head of the FMCSA, Ray Martinez, confirmed during a speech that his agency is hard at work creating changes to HOS (Hours of Service) regulations for drivers. This is the first time that the agency has publicly confirmed that these changes will happen.

Martinez said at the conference, “I am pleased to report at this juncture, given the quantity and the quality of the comments, that I can announce that we are moving forward to a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM).”

The FMCSA asked the public to weigh in on four areas of the HOS regulation:

  • 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

The FMCSA also asked for thoughts on two petitions:

  • A Trucker Nation petition that would “revise the prohibition against driving after the 14th hour of the beginning of the work shift, allow drivers to use multiple off-duty periods of three hours or longer in lieu of having 10 consecutive hours off-duty, and eliminate the 30-minute rest break requirement.”
  • An Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) petition that would allow drivers to take up to a three-hour off-duty rest break during a 14-hour day period. OOIDA’s petition also asks for the elimination of the 30-minute rest break.

The FMCSA received over five-thousand comments on the proposed changes to HOS regulations.